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The Preservation Hall Jazz Band

Preservation Hall Jazz Band performed in a "sold out" concert at the Ormond Beach Performing Arts Center, in Ormond Beach, Fla., Tuesday, February 1, 2005.

(Photo: N-J/Pam Lockeby)


Preservation Hall Brings Best of Old New Orleans Jazz to '05 FIF Encore Season

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (Jan. 19, 2005) - The Preservation Hall Jazz Band, takes the stage Tuesday, Feb. 1, at the Ormond Beach Performing Arts Center, 399 N. U.S. Highway 1, Ormond Beach. The concert begins at 7:30 p.m. This is the second show of the 2004-2005 FIF "Encore Series" and promises to be an evening jam-packed with music for all jazz lovers!

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This marks the second year for the "Encore Series," a special showcase for favorite artists from past Florida International Festivals and popular groups and performers who cannot come to Daytona Beach during the summer.

Other dazzling "Encore" acts this season include Mountain Heart, March 18 and March 19, 2005, at Seaside Music Theater Downtown, and Wynton Marsalis, Friday, April 8, 2005, at the Mary McLeod Bethune Performing Arts Center, 698 W. International Speedway Blvd., Daytona Beach.

The Preservation Hall Jazz Band is a septet consisting of piano, string bass, banjo, drums, trumpet/coronet/, trombone, and clarinet. This group has existed in one form or another for nearly 50 years. The music this combo creates is the "ground zero" of jazz.

The group first introduced its unique and diverse New Orleans sound to the Florida International Festival in 1997 and was clearly an audience favorite. Each concert by the Preservation Hall Jazz Band starts out seemingly simple. A group of musicians take their seats, wearing dignified attire with instruments in hand.

Once the music starts, it suddenly isn't so simple. Instead, its love and it's the blues; its sorrow and its joy and when the concert ends, the group bows to the crowd, pack their horns and head to the next gig. But a little part of the Preservation Hall Jazz Band stays behind.

Everywhere they go, from the White House to the Great Wall of China, the Preservation Hall Jazz Band remains rooted in its New Orleans heritage as ambassadors of that city's legacy. In fact, no matter where they are playing, other members of the group always perform seven nights a week at the world-famous Preservation Hall! Whether rocking through "Milenberg Joys," celebrating earthly pleasures in "Shake That Thing," or playing a stately, "Just a Closer Walk With Thee," these are musicians of the spirit - bound to those who preceded them, not just in the Preservation Hall Jazz Band, but further back like Jelly Roll, Satchmo and Buddy Bolden.

Bandleader John Brunious is a gifted ambassador for the music and spirit of New Orleans -- an elegant and witty raconteur as well as a player of exceptional expressiveness. Brunious began taking lessons from his father at age 10 but mostly taught himself to play by listening to records and emulating what he heard; inspired by Dizzy Gillespie and Maynard Ferguson, he developed flair for flashy, high-note solos that earned him work at gigs and on record sessions in a variety of styles. But traditional jazz never lost its appeal. Eventually, while playing at a club called Crazy Shirley's in the French Quarter, he walked a half block down St. Peter Street to hear the band at Preservation Hall. They invited Brunious to play a number with the band -- that was sometime in the early 1980's, and he's been at the Hall ever since. Other Preservation Hall Jazz Band members include Bassist Walter Payton, Lester Caliste, trombone, Clarinetist Ralph Johnson, Joe Lastie, Jr., drums, Rickie Monie, piano, and Don Vappie, banjo and guitar.

Preservation Hall Recordings, launched January 2004, is the creation of Benjamin Jaffe and Facility Partners, Steve DeBro and Albert Lee. The label was created to accurately realize the sound of New Orleans Jazz and bring the music to the world. "Shake That Thing," "Songs of New Orleans," and "The Best of the Early Years," are just a few of the recordings available at

Tickets are $38 per person and may be purchased by calling the Box Office at (386) 257-7790; visiting us Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. at 210 S. Beach St. or by visiting our website at

Central Florida Cultural Endeavors, Inc., is a non-profit organization that presents a wide variety of cultural events in Volusia and Flagler counties, including a winter season of chamber music. The most important CFCE project is the Florida International Festival (July 15-31, 2005), featuring the London Symphony Orchestra.

Sunday, July 27, 1997

1997 Florida International Festival:
Audience hangs on musician's words


DAYTONA BEACH — The most instructive moment of Friday night's concert, “A Night In New Orleans,” came when a singer for the Preservation Hall Jazz Band omitted a word from a jazz standard.

For most of “When The Saints Go Marching In,” trumpeter John Brunious turned the tune into, “Oh when the Saints -- marrr-ching in.”

That purposeful omission signified the best of old New Orleans jazz, coming from the band and jazz hall-of-famers Pete Fountain and Al Hirt, at Peabody Auditorium.

It might sound trivial to emphasize the loss of a word here and there, but it's not, because good, legitimate New Orleans jazz is about skipping a word, or dropping a beat, or letting the trumpeter and the clarinetist play two distinctly different lines at the same time.

Such conscious imperfections create soul. It's not lazy, it's laissez-faire with a cause. The resulting sound is a seductive and half-lidded pleasure.

If you heard the same song from a technically accomplished jazz band playing from sheet music, in, say, San Diego, Calif., you'd likely be left with clean-cut automation. Who wants that?

The Preservation Jazz Band was clearly the audience favorite Friday night, and why not?

Since no one in the band is a star, each player is allowed to shine, and they do so mostly to stand-up-and-blow solos and songs that end in wild flourishes that beckon applause.

There was stand-up bassist Richard Payne smoking strings softly, and drummer Shannon Powell tapping on a block and a bell, and outstanding trombonist Lucien Barbarin making his instrument do a few Louis Armstrong impressions.

Even a slow funeral march lifted spirits, with Brunious tremolo-ing on trumpet while Don Vappie played the mandolin-like theme on his banjo.

But Pete Fountain, taking the stage before the Preservation Hall Jazz Band, made the most of solos for the night. Fountain is 67 years old, and he's playing so skillfully.

Fountain took no shortcuts. He can still work a quick arpeggio and change keys fast, fast, fast, without stumbling through the notes.

On ``Wolverine Blues,'' he took the audience for an impressive ride this way: hook -- pause (high hat) -- WAIL.

On another song, he tapped out little speed-demon triplets, and most impressive, he did so quietly and with precision. They weren't little meager soft notes, they were right-there-always.

Al Hirt, on the other hand, had his best moments at the mike, offering the audience frank praise to his band, and then letting them show off more than himself.

Hirt, now in his 70s, talked glowingly, in scratchy breath, about the good old times, his wife's ``tush,'' and his bluesy clarinetist.

Clarinetist Rene Netto was indeed very good, tooting out distinguishable 32nd notes on a slow beat, and then doing the old ``Yakity Sax'' on saxophone in double-time.

When it was all over, the most encouraging sight of the night was hearing Netto and the youngish trombonist Barbarin carrying on the old New Orleans jazz tradition, because someday their generations will make up all the top billings.


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