Words by Garth Cartwright
Brass band veterans still know how to blow up a storm.
The Preservation Hall Jazz Band derive their name, as you might expect, from Preservation Hall, the venerable music venue that was founded in 1961 as a place for elderly local jazz musicians to play, located in the heart of New Orleans’ French Quarter. Both the venue and the Preservation Hall Jazz Band became famous and the ensemble have been touring and recording ever since. This fine album finds the current incarnation in remarkable form: the eight members play a loose, imaginative brass style that sounds very fresh. Ensemble playing and singing as good as this is a joy to listen to and the new compositions – apparently, this is the PHJB’s first ever album of all original material – are a delight. Where the Hot 8 Brass Band and Soul Rebels tend to create a loud brass roar influenced by funk and rap, the PHJB employ a lighter, more melodic touch – piano is used sparingly to emphasise melody and the two tubas keep things rhythmic without ever overwhelming. Subtle solos and strong singing ensure That’s It! is very strong. New Orleans brass is rooted in marching bands and the PHJB keep this at the root of their sound, while making music that is perfect for home listening.