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Preservation:  An Album To Benefit Preservation Hall & The Preservation Hall Music Outreach Program
Artist:  Preservation Hall Jazz Band (with many various artists) 
Label:  Preservation Hall Recordings
Time:  19 Tracks / 70 Minutes

The city of New Orleans has many wonderful musical treasures, one of which is The Preservation Hall Jazz Band. They have been around in various forms touring the world spreading the gospel of New Orleans Jazz. I know that when Hurricane Katrina ripped apart New Orleans, I wondered whether the music that was created there and the community of musicians that lived there would continue to go on. Fortunately several years into the ongoing recovery, it has.

The band has been based out of the building Preservation Hall, whose goal is to not only showcase New Orleans jazz music but also nurture younger musicians to carry on the tradition of playing this form of music.

So what you have here is a whole bunch of legendary artists and newcomers coming to Preservation Hall to record a beautiful tribute record that will benefit both Preservation Hall and the Preservation Hall Music Outreach Program. Yes there is something here for everybody. Artists that showed up to do a collaboration with The Preservation Hall Jazz Band include Andrew Bird, Dr. John, The Blind Boys Of Alabama, Buddy Miller, Jim James, Angelique Kidjo, Tom Waits, Merle Haggard, and Ani Difranco just to name a few.

Some of the standout tracks that I have been enjoying include the Tom Waits song "Tootie Ma Was A Big Fine Thing, which apparently is the earliest known Mardis Gras Song. Waits voice sounds spectacular mixed with the brass and percussion of the band. It is just one of the many magical musical moments on this disc.                                                                                                                                                                                                                  
Brandi Carlile's take on the spiritual "Old Rugged Cross" is also very wonderful. Her voice sounds mournful yet celebratory at the same time and along with swinging musical backdrop it just sounds incredible.                                                                                                                                                                                                                               
Of course how can you have any sort of tribute album come out of New Orleans without the wonderful talents of Dr. John. He joins the band on a great version of "Winin' Boy.                                                                                 
As I have listened to this over and over, there just isn't a weak moment to be found. Most tribute albums often miss the mark with me, however these collaborations capture the feeling of New Orleans and it's wonderful musical heritage perfectly.

So go out and purchase it and not only will you be supporting the Preservation Hall and their mission to keep New Orleans music alive and well, but you will also get a whole bunch of great music in the process as well.

By Gar Saeger  



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