Nestled firmly in the French Quarter of New Orleans is a fairly non descript building that routinely hosts some of the most talented Jazz musicians in the world. That building is Preservation Hall, world famous by not only how long it has stood with doors open, but by how long it has made toes tap, heads bob, hands clap, and smiles widen. The resident band, aptly named “The Preservation Hall Jazz Band” provides this week’s soundtrack with “Santiago” from their album “So It Is”. This album sonically combines Afro Cuban beats with traditional New Orleans Jazz, making for a well composed concept and application.
The Sunday Morning that I skipped church services in New Orleans in favor of getting some beignets from Cafe Du Monde, Photos in the quarter, a glass of water and a headstart Hurricane from Pat O’s, I only really knew it would be warm and humid. Finding parking was somewhat of a nightmare, but by comparison to what the streets are like on a Saturday Night, it was a cakewalk. I forwent the full size Flipbin 33 for the shots and brought album covers in a really nice Vinyl Richie canvas bag I was gifted last year. Walking to find Preservation Hall gave me flashbacks of trying to reach it on another trip before I made a long MegaBus ride (shoutout @MegaBus) home before work the following day.
Both the time I frantically pursued the Hall and this morning of photos, the venue was actually closed.
I was early and had to move, but on this specific day, there was a very nice musician who was entering the hall with what looked to be a trombone case. I kept it brief and moved to place the “So It Is” LP jacket and boombox for the photo. I used my DSLR to prop up the record jacket on a milk crate found right outside the Hall’s front entrance.
“So It Is” was one of the first records that I was happy to eagerly preorder. I forget which crowdfunding site I used, but the project was yet to be fully funded at the time I heard about it and decided to make a pledge. As a result, I received a fancy PHJB Patch as well. So many of the records I purchase end up including a bit of nostalgia in their purchase price. Almost every time I make it to a record store, the shelves are lined with what feels like old friends to catch up with. Even if it’s the same story, the narrative is a deeply compelling one. In a way, this blog serves a similar purpose. You hear a tune and inescapably it takes you somewhere.
However, this record is one that I was excited to make memories with. The possibilities were palpable as was the desire to return to NOLA at some point to celebrate with the a band who has firmly held and championed the Jazz culture at every turn of their longstanding career.
In many ways, it seems that PHJB is sort of like a Supreme Court seat appointment. You hold it until you die or retire and you know it will be there for generations to come.
As I pulled off from New Orleans and stopped in Baton Rouge, I saw that the Hall had been used that Sunday morning to host an inclusive event that connected female musicians in the area. Had I allotted more time that day before another quick return to Houston to prep for work, I would have loved to had stayed. It just so happens that I will have to save that for another NOLA adventure very soon.
Happy Labor Day, y’all! Be safe out there.
Also, stay tuned later this week to see the announcement of the winner of our DIY Boombox Worldwide 2018 challenge!