Preservation Hall Jazz Band
There's a decrepit old building on St. Peter Street, in the heart of the French Quarter, with little in the way of amenities; drinks aren't even served there. Regardless, tourists line up hours before showtime because they know that Preservation Hall is one of the few pillars of old-school New Orleans-style jazz left in the city, if not the world. The style is bouncy and upbeat, borrowing from Caribbean rhythms, and the jazz band usually includes traditional Mardi Gras songs and old standards in its sets. The rotating cast of players ranges in age from 29 to 88, and the current lineup includes Ben Jaffe, son of tuba player Allan Jaffe, who opened the hall in 1961 and played until his death, in 1987. The touring-band roster is equally amorphous, but with decades of experience and a huge pool of talent and tradition to draw from -- even in post-Katrina New Orleans -- the group is not likely to disappoint.
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