That's It!

Preservation Hall Jazz Band

Legacy Recordings, 2013

REVIEW BY: Tom Haugen


An institution in the area of jazz, the Preservation Hall Jazz Band was initiated in 1961 as a way to highlight genuine New Orleans jazz. Though at their inception players like George Lewis, Sweet Emma Barrett, and Kid Thomas Valentine were the movers and shakers of the operation, through the years plenty of esteemed musicians have been rotated in and out. A first for the band, my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250 That's It! contains entirely brand new compositions from current members Ben Jaffe, Charlie Gabriel, Rickie Monie, and Clint Maedgen, as well as being helped out by collaborators Paul Williams, Dan Wilson, and Chris Stapleton. The legendary Jim James (My Morning Jacket) turned the knobs and even played on the album, too.

With so many different influences on board, this easily remains Preservation Hall Jazz Band's most varied outing to date, bringing trumpets, saxophones, banjos, pianos, clarinets, and trombones to the party. Each track shines in its own light, often highlighting different strengths from the ensemble. "Come With Me" relies heavily on piano to steer the course. "I Think I Love You" is punctuated by silky smooth saxophone. "Sugar Plum" puts the brass instruments into the foreground. Similarly, the tones shift as multiple genres are touched upon. "Dear Lord (Give Me Strength)", not so surprisingly, is gospel based. "Emmalena's Lullaby" finds their balladry a nice home. Elsewhere, things get funky with "Halfway Right, Halfway Wrong" and the Caribbean influence on "I Think I Love You."

A good mix of instrumentals and lively, upbeat songs with vocals from multiple members and even Jim James, one quickly wonders why Preservation Hall Jazz Band waited so long to pen an album of originals. Let's hope it's not another half century before it happens again, as this journey with multiple collaborators from different musical scenes has yielded a career highlight in an already shining back catalog.

Rating: B+

User Rating: Not Yet Rated



© 2013 Tom Haugen and The Daily Vault. All rights reserved. Review or any portion may not be reproduced without written permission. Cover art is the intellectual property of Legacy Recordings, and is used for informational purposes only.