Preservation Hall Jazz Band blends old and new

New Orleans group brings Dixieland tradition to the world

In the old French Quarter of New Orleans stands a building rich with history and slim on amenities. It serves no food or drink, has no air conditioning and offers very little in the way of sight lines and capacity. In short, it does not provide the greatest conditions in which to run a business.

Luckily, business is not high on the list of priorities at the now-legendary Preservation Hall.

The hall is run by Ben Jaffe, leader of the current Preservation Hall Jazz Band and son of founder Allan Jaffe. Since the late '60s, The Preservation Hall has employed the finest local players and, in an effort to remain accessible to everyone, now offers all-ages shows seven nights a week at the low price of $12 a head.

In addition to acting as an important local venue, the Preservation Hall Jazz Band was founded in an effort to spread the community-minded ethos of traditional New Orleans jazz worldwide.

The band has been touring since shortly after the hall's inception, taking familiar tunes like "Basin Street Blues" and "When the Saints Go Marching In" to all corners of the globe. Past members include Buddy Bolden, Louis Armstrong and Jelly Roll Morton. The band's current line-up continues this incredible pedigree, consisting of impeccable veteran players and sharp up-and-comers who've played with Wynton Marsalis, Professor Longhair and Aretha Franklin.

With chops to boot and brass to toot, The Preservation Hall Jazz Band continues its mission to preserve the Dixieland tradition of offering an exciting, all-inclusive, communal celebration of the life-affirming music of New Orleans.

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