The Preservation Jazz Band has played all over the world. They’ve gone from Louisiana to Lincoln Center — and now Laurinburg.
The New Orleans’ traditional jazz standard-bearers packed the Southeastern Storytelling and Arts Center on Friday for two sold out concerts.
Normally booked at larger concert venues and festivals, the performance at the Storytelling Center offered an opportunity to see the musicians in the smallest venue they play anywhere in the world this year.
Following the group’s first performance, Storytelling and Arts Center Director Jan Schmidt thanked those in attendance for “such a truly special night.”
Recognizing the significance of a packed house to the center, Schmidt said that she was “so happy” to see the capacity crowd. Schmidt also invited those in attendance back for a later performance, and it would seem that many took the invitation as the second show was similarly crowded.
Several attendees took to social media sites to express their approval.
Dot Coble, former feature editor for The Laurinburg Exchange said she was delighted that so many attended the performance.
“It was a great evening,” Coble wrote. “Seems everybody there got into the music of this great New Orleans-jazz group.
Laurinburg’s Beachum Mcdougald said that he found the live concert awe inspiring.
“Most of us use the spoken or written word to communicate,” he wrote on Facebook.”Preservation Hall uses their instruments; improvising where necessary to get the special polyrhythms giving each song its special sound. Wherever possible some of the musicians offer their unique voices adding zest to the songs.
He added that the musicians improvises together like a well-oiled team with each part dependent upon the others.
“The encore of “When the Saints Go Marching In” was undoubtedly the bluesiest version that I have ever experienced – not heard – but experienced,” he said. “It filled nearly every sense. Chills ran down my spine as I knew that history was in the making in downtown Laurinburg.”
The jazz band, which in its 48 years has built a global reputation for presenting the traditional New Orleans sound, is taking a more contemporary approach these days — recruiting younger players, expanding its repertoire and allowing surrealist elements to creep into its performances.
The Preservation Hall Jazz Band derives its name from Preservation Hall, the venerable music venue located in the heart of New Orleans’ French Quarter, founded in 1961 by Allan and Sandra Jaffe.