Preservation Infatuation

While roots rock is thriving, one doesn't hear similar tales regarding the roots of jazz. Some older styles of jazz coexist, even blossom, alongside contemporary -- bebop, swing, soul-jazz -- but the music's New Orleans origins are often overlooked or written off. Truth is, the real stuff -- Luis Russell, King Oliver -- is just as raw, fiery, and feral as anything by Charlie Feathers or Albert Ayler. Case in point: the Preservation Hall Jazz Band.

In 1961, art dealer Larry Borenstein opened Preservation Hall so the remaining Crescent City jazz masters and their young followers would have a venue all their own. Soon after, the Preservation Hall Jazz Band was born. With a membership more fluid than the Mekons or Spinal Tap, the PHJB roars into the 21st Century, bringing a few talented upstarts like clarinetist Dr. Michael White, who joins mainstays Frank Demond and Don Vappie. Their latest platter, Shake That Thing, celebrates N'awlins roots -- French, Cajun, gospel, marching band -- in a manner that's anything but nostalgic or academic.

Preservation Hall Jazz Band plays at 7 and 9 p.m. Friday, February 4, at the Broward Center for the Performing Arts, 201 SW Fifth Ave., Fort Lauderdale. Tickets cost $29.50 to $39.50. Call 954-462-0222.

 
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