July 6, 2015


Music

New Orleans ensemble gets les bons temps rollin' at raucous jazz fest show

It isn't exactly fil© gumbo, but there is a New Orleans recipe for a good time.

Ingredients: two sousaphones, one growling trombone, a trumpet, clarinet, tenor sax, piano and drums.

Preparation: mix well, and often. Shake them up a bit, even.

Dish: classic New Orleans jazz that never stops swinging, ever.

It's a dish that has sustained the Preservation Hall Jazz Band in its many iterations since 1961, and a dish that jazz festival fans ate up Thursday night while asking for more.

The show opened with a darkened stage as the drummer sat down and started playing those lovely, easily recognizable syncopated beats that immediately tell you there are some bon temps on the way.

Whether the band took Winnipeg fans on a Walk Down On Bourbon Street or down another road for Basin Street Blues, the result was the same: Party music born of the street parades and marching bands in the Big Easy, birthplace of jazz.

The sousaphones, those seemingly impossible contraptions to carry, let alone play, laid down the bottom line while the front-line horns kept the punchy, brassy sound happening.

Shake That Thing, a rousing tune about, you know, that thing, was quintessential New Orleans with its irreverent lyrics and great swinging ensemble playing.

Some lyrics during the show weren't as easily distinguishable, and that poses a problem when you're dealing with a genre that can be witty, and loves double entendres.

The band sent the folks home with a raucous rendition of When The Saints Go Marching In, earning a standing ovation.

However, as good as the musicians and the music are, there is no escaping a whiff of tourism in the easily digestible Preservation Hall package.

The Winnipeg International Jazz Festival runs through Sunday, June 23.

chris.smith@freepress.mb.ca

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition June 22, 2013 G9

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