Monday, March 26, 2007
Soulful and smooth players at the Municipal Auditorium: Preservation Hall Jazz Band concert sweet though sparse of audience
Inside the hall, there was more privation (no alcohol) and the musicians looked like octogenarians. They played a bizarre, historic music in a primitive room: wooden benches, no A/C. It was an intense experience, as in I Survived learning about jazz in Preservation Hall.
In the Shreveport Municipal Auditorium this weekend, however, we met the new century purveyors of the roots of jazz. They were supple performers and capable, we realized, of playing any kind of music. Led by droll trumpet player John Brunious, the group conjured both Mississippi mud and Trout Amandine.
The Preservation Hall players are the cream of the Big Easy insiders: drummer Joseph Lastie comes from a family known for musicianship over several generations. Trombone player Lucien Barbarin counts 2 of his forebears as players with Louis Armstrong.
Those who enjoyed the concert and want a deeper appreciation for that band and the Crescent City might seek out the book Up from the Roots of Jazz: New Orleans Music since WWII. It is a classic history book by Jason Berry, Jonathan Foose and Tad Jones. There you will follow the intertwining lines of R n B, the Mardi Gras Indian tribes and modern as well as traditional jazz.
The Municipal Auditorium was a lovely venue for the Basin Street fellows. The video projection screens were an excellent addition to the show.
The audience was relatively small. Traditional jazz, we realized, remains an art music. And maybe Shreveport just isn't really a jazz lovin' town.