Jazz Preser­va­tion Hall Jazz Band at Red Rocks

The Denver Post - - LIFE & CULTURE - Preser­va­tion Hall Jazz Band has Wil­son Ben Jaffe, Buck­ner Funken Jazz Dr. Pieces Of A Dream, Selina Al­bright, Brian Cul­bert­son and Diana Krall

New Or­leans’ been pro­vid­ing lis­ten­ers with rol­lick­ing tra­di­tional jazz for more than half a cen­tury. For the most part, the for­mula for suc­cess has been con­sis­tent: Mas­ter­ful artists, mostly vet­er­ans of the Cres­cent City, breathe life into jazz clas­sics that date back to the era of swing pi­o­neer Louis Arm­strong.

But lately, there have been some changes to the band’s ap­proach, and along with that, sig­nif­i­cant cre­ative re­wards. The new PHJB al­bum, “So It Is,” is heav­ily in­flu­enced by Afro-Cuban rhythms, and the re­sults are as in­vig­o­rat­ing as they are dance­able. The tra­di­tional acous­tic, horn­based lineup is still there, but in­fused with a re­newed en­ergy. The al­lo­rig­i­nal com­po­si­tions, some co-writ­ten with Dan

of the rock group Semisonic, re­call the New Or­leans brass bands as well as con­tem­po­rary and global styles. Ac­cord­ing to bassist and tuba player

who also serves as the band’s cre­ative di­rec­tor, an in­vi­ta­tion to per­form in Cuba al­tered ev­ery­one’s di­rec­tion.

“For a band like ours to go to the Ha­vana Jazz Fes­ti­val, well, it’s one of those im­por­tant mu­si­cal mec­cas,” he said. “We be­gan pre­par­ing our­selves for it mu­si­cally. When bands come to New Or­leans, you be­gin to know who’s come pre­pared, who’s im­mersed in the his­tory. Those are the peo­ple who we wanted to be when we went to Cuba. On many oc­ca­sions (in Cuba) we were writ­ing mu­sic on the street. Ev­ery­thing was kind of head­ing in this rhyth­mic di­rec­tion. It had this strong AfricanCuban feel­ing.”

Be­sides the PHJB’s new sound, the group, whose mem­bers range in age from 20s to 80s, have been per­form­ing in more rock­o­ri­ented en­vi­ron­ments, like their sched­uled July 11 ap­pear­ance at Red Rocks, open­ing for Beck. Is this a con­scious at­tempt to ex­pose younger lis­ten­ers to the tra­di­tional mu­sic of New Or­leans?

“Yes and no. Those things don’t present them­selves,” said Jaffe. “You have to con­stantly in­tro­duce your­self to au­di­ences. Oth­er­wise, you’ll look around and won­der where is your au­di­ence. It would be painful for me to watch New Or­leans mu­sic die. To be able to share it with the world - I’ll go to any ex­treme to get this mu­sic to peo­ple.”

(Preser­va­tion Hall Jazz Band, 7:30 p.m. July 11, Red Rocks Am­phithe­atre. Go to re­drock­son­line.com for de­tails.)

An­other New Or­leans hero, Dr. John, opens up for The Avert Broth­ers at Red Rocks on July 9, and plays City Park for free that same evening . ... Also on July 9: Or­gan ge­nius Lon­nie Smith ap­pears at Daz­zle . ... The Diana Cas­tro Band plays at Den­ver’s El Cha­pul­te­pec on July 11 . ... Colorado pi­anist Adam Bo­dine takes to the stage of Noc­turne on July 13 . ... The Win­ter Park Jazz Fes­ti­val takes place at Hide­away Park July 15-16, fea­tur­ing more. Get de­tails at play­win­ter­park.com . ...

col­lab­o­rates with the Colorado Sym­phony at Red Rocks on July 18. Bret Saun­ders (bret­saun­ders@ kbco.com) 97.3 FM. can be heard from 6 to 11 a.m. week­days at KBCO

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