Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Album Review: Preservation Hall Jazz Band- That's It!

Preservation Hall Jazz Band
That's It!
**** out of *****

That's It! has a level of amazement and novelty to it before it even begins as this is the first collection of all original material ever recorded by the long running group who are now into their 50th year. Ben Jaffe, the bands musical director and tuba player, should get a lot of the credit as the group of mixed aged musicians sound alive and creative as they mess with traditional genres and new jams easily.

The title track starts things with a thick groove as the band lock in tight and gets funky behind Mark Braud's crisp trumpeting. An immediate jarring of styles occurs however as the group goes from one of their dirtiest instrumental numbers into a spiritual traditional with "Dear Lord". While a fine song it takes a few minutes to get your ears right, before a simple traditional sounding number "Come With Me" rolls out easily. In the first three songs the bands current style, past love and reference to historical events are all evident. 

"Sugar Plum" brings back the groove with a really cool drum beat from John Lastie Jr. before "Rattlin' Bones" creaks out of the graveyard. Feeling like a lost Cab Calloway track you can almost see those Disney Skeletons getting down to the number. "I Think I Love You" is a great original blues/folk tune that highlights the disk in a simplistic way in the vein of "My Only Sunshine".  

The second half of things isn't as dramatic but it does contain the weepy "August Nights" and the mix of stripped down old timey jazz with latin flair during "Yellow Moon". Two bonus live tracks round things out with "Tootie Ma Is A Big Fine Thing" rollicks along behind Clint Maedgen singing the saxophone lines.

Barring some sequencing issues this is a great disk, capturing the current lineup of the band in top notch form. While the group will always butter their biscuits in the live setting, this document should live on as a true testament to the song writing of this version of The Preservation Hall Jazz Band.   
Love Pres Hall, seen them a bunch and they played a great show we caught a few years ago. We didn't like the offical CD as much from that gig, this one is actually a bit better. Can't wait to catch them at Jazzfest again.

Support the Band Here, buy the disk here, and peep some video below:

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