Holiday Gift Guide 2012
Jazz geniuses boxed in
Taking stock of Mingus, Hawkins and more
Published: November 21, 2012
The collection jumps ahead 30 years to Vaughan plus her working trio and the Los Angeles Philharmonic, co-credited to conductor Michael Tilson Thomas; it's soaring high-drama stuff, tour de force, monumental it shouts! This is about as far from the nightclub ambience as you can be. The collection finishes with one of her final projects, the third of her Brazilian songbooks, with Sergio Mendes producing and Milton Nascimento turning in a guest vocal.
The short booklet essay in 50th Anniversary Collection by the Preservation Hall Jazz Band tells the story of how traditional jazz found an institutional base in New Orleans, where so much of the jazz story begins. And, ironically, the story about preserving the tradition is also a story about carving out Preservation Hall as a space for progressive values in the Jim Crow South (note to Bill O'Reilly on that whole "traditional America" thing). With the platform provided by Atlantic and then Columbia Records and a heavy touring schedule, a battle was won. Consider these four discs as a small taste of the fruits of victory. Contemporaries of Louis Armstrong like George Lewis and Sweet Emma Barrett, over the course of the collection, give way to a younger New Orleans generation (including longtime Detroit transplant Charlie Gabriel). Later sessions expand the tradition with sympatico collaborators like Tom Waits, Richie Havens and the Del McCoury Band'; some selections revamp the beat to connect the dots of a New Orleans second line to rock. Want a really special gift for someone? Send them to NOLA to hear this music at Preservation Hall. More reasonable, probably: Tell them to close their eyes, and play some of this.
The Preservation Hall Jazz Band performs a holiday-themed show starting at 8 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 6, at the Max M. Fisher Music Center, 3711 Woodward Ave., Detroit; 313-576-5111; dso.org; $18.
W. Kim Heron is editor of Metro Times. Send comments to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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