Preservation Hall Jazz Band

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Preservation Hall Jazz Band
Preservation Hall Jazz Band
October 1, 2007
Background information
Origin New Orleans, Louisiana, United States
Genres Jazz
Years active 1963–present
Labels Preservation Hall Recordings
Associated acts Olympia Brass Band

Preservation Hall Jazz Band derives its name from the Preservation Hall venue located in New OrleansFrench Quarter. The band is known for performing traditional New Orleans-style jazz.

The musicians in the groups have varied during the years since the founding of the hall in the early 1960s. Bands of the Preservation Hall Jazz Band perform at Preservation Hall on 726 St. Peter Street in the French Quarter, and tour around the world for more than 150 days a year.

Preservation Hall’s doors were closed through the fall and winter of 2005 due to Hurricane Katrina. Although the building remained shut until spring of 2006, the band continued to tour while the Hall was closed.

The early years - 1960s

The popularity of traditional New Orleans jazz had waned leading up to the 1960s, putting many musicians out of work. There were few jazz connoisseurs actively capturing the traditions of New Orleans jazz during this time. New Orleans Jazz historian William "Bill" Russell led the traditional jazz revival through his persistent documenting and recording. When Allan and Sandra Jaffe transformed the 726 venue into Preservation Hall in 1961, they made it a point to integrate and highlight jazz musicians who were present during the birth of jazz through hosting nightly performances. These musicians included George Lewis, and "Sweet" Emma Barrett, who led bands under their own names.

During the time of Preservation Hall’s incarnation, New Orleans was a racially segregated community under Jim Crow laws. Preservation Hall was among the few venues in New Orleans that welcomed both Caucasian and African-American musicians.

The nightly jazz concerts at Preservation Hall gathered a significant amount of press interest from its inception. As time went on, Allan believed the success of both the Hall and its mission of preservation would require these bands to tour, and in 1963, he organized the newly minted Preservation Hall Jazz Band, which was essentially the Kid Thomas Band (Kid Thomas Valentine, George Lewis, Louis Nelson, Emanuel Paul, Joe James, Joe “Twat” Butler, and Sammy Penn). Their first string of dates were set in the midwest and included a performance at the Guthrie Theater, a venue that future Preservation Hall Jazz Bands would later record at.

The aftermath of Kid Thomas’ tour sparked interest in the Preservation Hall Jazz Band and the rediscovery of New Orleans music began stretching beyond the United States. International interest in traditional New Orleans jazz led to the Preservation Hall Jazz Band’s second tour to Japan in 1964. The Japan tour featured the George Lewis Band.

During that same year, Allan sent Sweet Emma Barrett and her Preservation Hall Jazz Band to the Guthrie Theater to record a live performance. The subsequent recording turned into The Preservation Hall Jazz Band’s first record, Sweet Emma and Her Preservation Hall Jazz Band. Later Paul Barbarin and his band was a regular at Preservation Hall with Lester Santiago, John Brunious and others.

In 1967, The Preservation Hall Jazz Band performed at a Bill Graham production in San Francisco, CA, which featured The Grateful Dead, Carlos Santana, and Steppenwolf (band). This Preservation Hall Jazz Band performance was led by Billie and De De Pierce and Their Preservation Hall Jazz Band. The introduction of the Preservation Hall Jazz Band to mainstream music festivals would prove to be only the beginning in future collaborations, as well as touring festival circuits.

1970s – Preservation Hall Jazz Band and Duke Dejan’s Olympia Brass Band

Sweet Emma Barrett’s health began to decline in the 1970s, which forced her to step away from the touring circuit. Her leadership position was replaced by brothers, Percy Humphrey (trumpet) and Willie Humphrey (clarinet). The new Preservation Hall Jazz Band lineup included the Humphrey Brothers, Frank Demond (trombone), James Prevost (bass), James "Sing" Miller (piano), Cie Frazier (drums), Jim Robinson (trombone), Narvin Kimball (banjo), and Allan Jaffe (tuba).

During the late 1960s and early 1970s, many of the touring members of the Preservation Hall Jazz Band were recruited by Harold ‘Duke’ Dejan to join Dejan’s Olympia Brass Band. This New Orleans based brass band became not only a staple at Preservation Hall, but also influenced the Preservation Hall Jazz Band and future Preservation Hall musicians.

Dejan’s regular sidemen included the Andy Anderson (trumpet), Milton Batiste (trumpet), and Kid Sheik Cola (trumpet), Paul Crawford (trombone) and Gerald Joseph (trombone), Emanuel Paul (tenor saxophone), Andrew Jefferson (snare), and bass drummers John Smith, Henry “Booker T” Glass, and Glass’s son Nowell “Papa” Glass. Cag Cagnolatti, Kid Thomas Valentine, Louis Nelson, Louis Cottrell, Jr., Cié Frazier, Emanuel Sayles, and Allan Jaffe on performing Tuba were among those who played with the group. Olympia Among the band’s later recordings is the album Here Come da Great Olympia Band (Kernfeld, Schafer).

During the Olympia years, a young Harry Connick Jr. sat in with Sweet Emma and the members of the Olympia Brass Band at Preservation Hall.

In 1977, Preservation Hall’s Allan Jaffe teamed up with Arthur Hall and his Afro-American Dance Ensemble to release Fat Tuesday and All That Jazz! A Mardi Gras Dance Musical. The world premiere of the dance musical was presented on February 19, 1977, and was followed by a tour throughout the United States.

Dejan’s Olympia Brass Band was featured in Fat Tuesday and All That Jazz, in addition to the Arthur Hall Afro-American Dance Ensemble of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

1980s/90s – passing of the greats; continuing a tradition

"As many as 20 different bands, drawn from a pool of about 150 local musicians, had played at Preservation Hall in the 1960s, but by 1999 virtually all of the older generation of musicians had died and the band members were a mixture of younger African-American players and white musicians from overseas. Most notable among the former were Michael White (ii), Wendell Brunious (who gradually took over the leadership of Valentine’s band in the elder trumpeter’s final years, as well as the touring band), Freddie Lonzo, and the tuba player Walter Payton; Europeans included the Swedish pianist Lars Edegran, the English trumpeter Clive Wilson, Orange Kellin, and Jacques Gauthé" (Hazeldine, Kernfeld).

In 1987, Allan Jaffe died due to cancer. Allan’s son, Ben Jaffe, assumed his father’s position as Director of Preservation Hall and management of the Preservation Hall Jazz Band after graduating from Oberlin College in 1993. Ben also began touring with the Preservation Hall Jazz Band, playing upright bass and tuba. He also began to instill the educational initiatives that his father developed.


The Preservation Hall Jazz Band continued to tour nationally, internationally, and at Preservation Hall in New Orleans. During this time, the Preservation Hall Jazz Band was led by trumpet player, Wendell Brunious. Wendell was later replaced by his older brother, John Brunious.

In 2006, the Preservation Hall Jazz Band was awarded the 2006 National Medal of Arts, the nation’s highest honor for artistic excellence. The award was presented to creative director of Preservation Hall, Benjamin Jaffe and co-founder of Preservation Hall, Sandra Jaffe, who accepted the award from President and Mrs. Laura Bush in an Oval Office ceremony on November 9, 2006. The citations read: “With enormous talent and pride, this ageless ensemble has toured the world displaying the unbreakable spirit of New Orleans and sharing the joy of New Orleans jazz with us all.”

Nearing Preservation Hall’s 45th anniversary, the Preservation Hall Jazz Band begins exploring collaborations with artist of differing genres and artistic disciplines. Examples of collaborations are seen in the Blind Boys of Alabama’s Grammy Award-winning record Down in New Orleans, which features the Preservation Hall Jazz Band on several tracks. New Orleans rock cabaret act The New Orleans Bingo! Show supported the touring band during their 45th anniversary.


In 2010, The Preservation Hall Jazz Band released Preservation: An Album to Benefit the Preservation Hall Music Outreach Program. The album includes traditional standards and featured guest vocalists on each track. Guest artists include: Tom Waits, Andrew Bird, Pete Seeger, Dr. John, Jim James, The Del McCoury Band and many more.

The Preservation Hall Jazz Band followed the release of Preservation by supporting My Morning Jacket on tour.

The record after Preservation, entitled American Legacies, was another collaboration-based project with the Del McCoury Band. This record proved to show the two distinct American roots genres of bluegrass music and traditional New Orleans jazz working together in harmony. The two groups followed up their recording with a US tour.

During this time, the Trey McIntyre Project dance ensemble collaborated with the Preservation Hall Jazz Band to create Ma Maison and The Sweeter End, two contemporary dance works set to the music of New Orleans. The two ensembles toured numerous dates nationally, including performances at the Hollywood Bowl and the Lincoln Center.

In 2013, they performed on Late Night with Jimmy Fallon, promoting their new album, That's It!.

During Coachella 2014, they performed the song Wake Up with Arcade Fire to close the festival.[1]

In 2014, The Preservation Hall Jazz Band made a guest appearance on the Foo Fighters' eighth studio album Sonic Highways.[2]

Preservation Hall's 50th anniversary

Preservation Hall celebrated its Golden Anniversary from 2011 to 2012. In honor of the past, present, and future, Preservation Hall produced several projects celebrating 50 years. The culminations of projects led to a sold out performance at Carnegie Hall.

Projects include:


The Preservation Hall Jazz Band performed alongside The Black Keys and Dr. John at the 55th Annual Grammy Awards Ceremony.

Alphabetical lists of personnel

Current members (2014)

As son of co-founders Allan and Sandra Jaffe, Ben has lived his whole life with the rhythm of the French Quarter pulsing through his veins. Raised in the company of New Orleans’ greatest musicians, Ben returned from his collegiate education at Oberlin College in Ohio to play with the group and assume his father’s duties as Director of Preservation Hall. Today he serves as Creative Director for both PHJB and the Hall itself, where he has spearheaded such programs as the New Orleans Musicians Hurricane Relief Fund.

  • Mark Braud (born New Orleans June 21, 1973 - ) Trumpet / Band Leader / Vocalist:

As nephew to two former PHJB leaders, Wendell and John Brunious, Jr., Mark is proud to further his family’s musical legacy in the company of so many historic players. Beginning his career playing with the Olympia Kids, a young players’ offshoot of the famous Olympia Brass Band, Mark has gone on to record, tour, and play with New Orleans legends of both traditional jazz and R&B, including Eddie Bo, Henry Butler, Harry Connick Jr., and Dr. Michael White.

  • Charlie Gabriel/Clarinet and Vocals:

The musical heritage of Charlie Gabriel can be traced back as far back as the 1850s. Great-grandson of New Orleans bass player Narcesse Gabriel, grandson of New Orleans cornet player Martin Joseph, and son of New Orleans drummer and clarinetist Martin Manuel Gabriel, Charlie is truly a living legend. At eighty-one years old, the extensive list of musicians with whom he’s played includes well-known PHJB alumni Kid Howard, Kid Sheik, Jim Robinson, and George Lewis.

  • Ronell Johnson/Tuba and Vocals:

Born and raised in New Orleans, Ronell started on the trumpet and piano around the age of 6. He is from a musical family and was taught to play, in the beginning, by his three older brothers who are also professional musicians. Also, he and his brothers are the great-nephews of Joseph "Kid Twat" Butler, who was the string bass player with the legendary Kid Thomas Valentine and the Preservation Hall Jazz Band. Ronell is recognized around the world and in a host of magazines and journals as one of New Orleans' prized musicians who adds a lot of energy, animation, humor, and fire to the band stand.

  • Joe Lastie Jr./Drums:

Born and raised in the Lower Ninth Ward, Joe comes from a long line of family members equally dedicated to music and the church. Having played his first job with a rhythm section backing the Desire Community Choir, he would go on to study jazz with Willie Metcalf at the Dryades Street YMCA with classmates Wynton and Branford Marsalis. After a brief move with his family to Queens, New York, Joe returned to New Orleans where he was invited to substitute on drums at Preservation Hall in 1989. He’s been a regular with the band ever since.

  • Freddie Lonzo (born New Orleans, Louisiana, 26 August 1950)/Trombone and Vocals:

Born and raised in New Orleans’ Uptown neighborhoods, Freddie was exposed to the music of the streets at a very young age. Having cemented his desire to play New Orleans jazz, these early Second Line parades would later offer him his first professional gig with EG Gabon and Doc Paulin’s Band. A true master of every style of New Orleans music, from marching brass to modern jazz, Freddie’s first appearances with Preservation Hall date back to the mid-eighties when he toured and played with Percy Humphrey and Kid Sheik.

  • Clint Maedgen/Saxophone and Vocals:

Though Clint is best known as leader of multi-media alt.cabaret group The New Orleans Bingo! Show, he has been in love with the sound of traditional New Orleans jazz since he was a small child. After studying with clarinet innovator Alvin Batiste at Southern University in Baton Rouge, Clint returned to New Orleans’ French Quarter where he cemented his reputation as an artist and collaborator through an ongoing series of eclectic and experimental musical ensembles. As a full-time member of the PHJB, he brings an infectious passion to both his playing and singing.

  • Rickie Monie/Piano:

Born and raised in New Orleans’ Ninth Ward to jazz loving church musicians, Rickie was inundated at an early age with the recordings of such great jazz and gospel pianists as Art Tatum, Oscar Peterson, and Teddy Wilson. After majoring in woodwind instruments at Dillard University, Rickie turned back to the piano and picked up work in every style of music. In 1982, Monie got his first call from Preservation Hall, to substitute for the legendary resident pianist Sweet Emma Barret after she suffered a stroke. To the delight of audiences around the world, he’s stayed on board ever since.

Previous members

A partial listing of the musicians who have played under the "Preservation Hall Jazz Band" name includes:



  • 1964 Sweet Emma and Her Preservation Hall Jazz Band
  • 1966 Billie and De De Pierce and Their Preservation Hall Jazz Band
  • 1977 New Orleans, Vol. 1
  • 1982 New Orleans, Vol. 2
  • 1982 When the Saints Go Marchin' In (New Orleans, Vol. 3)
  • 1987 New Orleans, Vol. 4
  • 1989 The Best of Preservation Hall Jazz Band
  • 1992 Live
  • 1996 In the Sweet Bye and Bye
  • 1997 Preservation Hall Jazz Band of New Orleans, LA
  • 1998 Because of You
  • 2001 Marching Down Bourbon Street
  • 2004 Preservation Hall Hot 4 with Duke Dejan
  • 2004 Shake That Thing
  • 2005 Sweet Emma (Re-release)
  • 2005 Songs of New Orleans
  • 2005 Best of the Early Years
  • 2006 Preservation Hall - Live at the 2006 New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival
  • 2007 The Essential Preservation Hall Jazz Band
  • 2007 Hurricane Sessions
  • 2009 New Orleans Preservation, Vol. 1
  • 2009 Billie and De De and Their Preservation Hall Jazz Band (Digital Re-release)
  • 2009 St. Peter Street Serenade (Digital)
  • 2009 Here come the great Olympia Band (Digital Re-release)
  • 2010 Preservation: An Album to Benefit Preservation Hall & The Preservation Hall Music Outreach Program
  • 2010 Preservation Hall Jazz Band with Tom Waits 78” Limited Edition Vinyl[3]
  • 2011 American Legacies: The Del McCoury Band and the Preservation Hall Jazz Band
  • 2012 St. Peter & 57th St.
  • 2012 Preservation Hall Jazz Band Live at Carnegie Hall Limited Edition Vinyl
  • 2012 Preservation Hall Jazz Band 50th Anniversary Collection
  • 2013 That's It!



External links