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Although New Orleans' traditional jazz scene had many top players in the 1950s, there was no one center for the city's veteran greats to play. In 1961, local art dealer Larry Borenstein opened a building in the French Quarter called Preservation Hall. The young tuba player Allan Jaffe ran the hall and organized tours for the musicians who often performed there, naming the band after the venue. In the Hall's early days, the key musicians included, at various times, trumpeters Kid Thomas Valentine, Punch Miller, or De De Pierce; trombonists Louis Nelson or Jim Robinson; clarinetists George Lewis, Albert Burbank, or Willie Humphrey; and pianists Joseph Robichaux, Billie Pierce, or Sweet Emma Barrett. By the early '70s, trumpeter Percy Humphrey, his brother Willie on clarinet, and trombonist Jim Robinson (who, after his death in 1976, was succeeded by Frank Demond) usually comprised the front line. The deaths of the Humphreys and Percy's occasional fill-in Kid Sheik Colar in the mid-'90s signalled more lineup changes. Four decades after the group's genesis, the Preservation Hall Jazz Band continues to honor the musical traditions of New Orleans, despite these switches in personnel.
In general, the group's best recordings are their early records under the leadership of Barrett and the Pierces; they also cut three hit-or-miss albums for Columbia during 1976-1992. The Preservation Hall Jazz Band's worldwide tours have resulted in a good deal of goodwill, and the band remained on the road throughout much of 2005 and early 2006, due to the temporary closure of Preservation Hall in the wake of Hurricane Katrina. Although the hurricane devastated the city, it left some of the band's archival recordings unscathed, resulting in the release of Made in New Orleans: The Hurricane Sessions in 2007.
Preservation Hall Jazz Band derives its name from the Preservation Hall venue located in New Orleans’ French Quarter.The band is known for performing traditional New Orleans-style Jazz.
The musicians in the groups have varied during the years since the founding of the hall in the early 1960s. Bands of the Preservation Hall Jazz Band perform at Preservation Hall on 726 St. Peter Street in the French Quarter, and tour around the world for more than 150 days a year.
Preservation Hall’s doors were closed through the fall and winter of 2005 due to Hurricane Katrina. Although the building remained shut until Spring of 2006, the band continued to tour while the Hall was closed.
New Orleans Jazz vs. Dixieland Jazz 
Although similar music sometimes is described now as "Dixieland Jazz", there are distinct characteristics of traditional New Orleans jazz that are not shared among performances often bearing the "Dixieland" label. The latter often is considered as commercial exploitation and distortion of a pure tradition and, therefore, a strict differentiation between the two is made by admirers of what they recognize as "New Orleans Jazz". One may find the term used among traditional New Orleans musicians prior to the change in perception.
The Early Years - 1960's 
The popularity of Traditional New Orleans Jazz had waned leading up to the 60’s, putting many musicians out of work. There were few jazz connoisseurs actively capturing the traditions of New Orleans jazz during this time. New Orleans Jazz Historian, Bill Russell, was leading the traditional jazz revival through his persistent documenting and recording. When Allan and Sandra Jaffe transformed the 726 venue into Preservation Hall in 1961, they made it a point to integrate and highlight jazz musicians who were present during the birth of jazz through hosting nightly performances. These musicians included George Lewis, and ‘Sweet’ Emma Barrett, who led their own bands under their own names.
During the time of Preservation Hall’s incarnation, New Orleans was a racially segregated community under Jim Crow laws. Preservation Hall was among the few venues in New Orleans that welcomed both Caucasian and African American musicians.
The nightly jazz concerts at Preservation Hall gathered a significant amount of press interest from its inception. As time went on, Allan believed the success of both the Hall and its mission of preservation would require these bands to tour, and in 1963, he organized the newly minted Preservation Hall Jazz Band, which was essentially The Kid Thomas Band (Kid Thomas Valentine, George Lewis, Louis Nelson, Emanuel Paul, Joe James, Joe “Twat” Butler, and Sammy Penn). Their first string of dates were set in the Midwest and included a performance at the Guthrie Theater, a venue that future Preservation Hall Jazz Bands would later record at.
The aftermath of Kid Thomas’ tour sparked interest in the Preservation Hall Jazz Band and the rediscovery of New Orleans music began stretching beyond the United States. International interest in Traditional New Orleans Jazz lead to the Preservation Hall Jazz Band’s second tour to Japan in 1964. The Japan tour featured The George Lewis Band.
During that same year, Allan sent Sweet Emma Barrett and her Preservation Hall Jazz Band to the Guthrie Theater to record a live performance. The subsequent recording turned into The Preservation Hall Jazz Band’s first record, Sweet Emma and Her Preservation Hall Jazz Band.
In 1967, The Preservation Hall Jazz Band performed at a Bill Graham (promoter) production in San Francisco, CA, which featured The Grateful Dead, Carlos Santana, and Steppenwolf (band). This Preservation Hall Jazz Band performance was led by Billie and De De Pierce and Their Preservation Hall Jazz Band. The introduction of the Preservation Hall Jazz Band to mainstream music festivals would prove to be only the beginning in future collaborations, as well as touring festival circuits.
70’s – Preservation Hall Jazz Band and Duke Dejan’s Olympia Brass Band 
Sweet Emma Barrett’s health began to decline in the 70’s, which forced her to step away from the touring circuit. Her leadership position was replaced by brothers, Percy (trumpet) and Willie (clarinet) Humphrey. The new Preservation Hall Jazz Band lineup included the Humphrey Brothers, Frank Demond (trombone), James Prevost (bass), James ‘Sing’ Miller (piano), Cie Frazier (drums), Jim Robinson (trombone), Narvin Kimball (Banjo), and Allan Jaffe (tuba).
During the late 60’s and early 70’s, many of the touring members of the Preservation Hall Jazz Band were recruited by Harold ‘Duke’ Dejan to join Dejan’s Olympia Brass Band. This New Orleans based brass band became not only a staple at Preservation Hall, but also influenced the Preservation Hall Jazz Band and future Preservation Hall musicians.
Dejan’s regular sidemen included the Andy Anderson (trumpet), Milton Batiste (trumpet), and Kid Sheik Cola (trumpet), Paul Crawford (trombone) and Gerald Joseph (trombone), Eman-uel Paul (Tenor Saxophone), Andrew Jefferson (Snare), and bass drummers John Smith, Henry “Booker T” Glass, and Glass’s son Nowell “Papa” Glass. Cag Cagnolatti, Kid Thomas Valentine, Louis Nelson, Louis Cottrell, Jr., Cié Frazier, Emanuel Sayles, and Allan Jaffe on performing Tuba were among those who played with the group. Olympia Among the band’s later recordings is the album Here Come da Great Olympia Band (Kernfeld, Schafer)
During the Olympia years, a young Harry Connick Jr. sat in with Sweet Emma and the members of the Olympia Brass Band at Preservation Hall.
In 1977, Preservation Hall’s Allan Jaffe teamed up with Arthur Hall and his Afro-American Dance Ensemble to release Fat Tuesday and All That Jazz! A Mardi Gras Dance Musical. The world premiere of the dance musical was presented on February 19, 1977 and was followed by a tour throughout the United States.
Dejan’s Olympia Brass Band was featured in Fat Tuesday and All That Jazz, in addition to the Arthur Hall Afro-American Dance Ensemble of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
80’s/90’s – Passing of the Greats, Continuing a Tradition 
"As many as 20 different bands, drawn from a pool of about 150 local musicians, had played at Preservation Hall in the 1960s, but by 1999 virtually all of the older generation of musicians had died and the band members were a mixture of younger African-American players and white musicians from overseas. Most notable among the former were Michael White (ii), Wendell Brunious (who gradually took over the leadership of Valentine’s band in the elder trumpeter’s final years, as well as the touring band), Freddie Lonzo, and the tuba player Walter Payton; Europeans included the Swedish pianist Lars Edegran, the English trumpeter Clive Wilson, Orange Kellin, and Jacques Gauthé" (Hazeldine, Kernfeld).
In 1987, Allan Jaffe passed away due to cancer. The Preservation Hall Jazz Band’s tour manager at the time, Christopher Botsford, describes Allan’s achievements as being ‘a real labor of love for him.’
Allan’s son, Ben Jaffe, assumes his father’s position as Director of Preservation Hall and management of the Preservation Hall Jazz Band after graduating from Oberlin College in 1993. Ben also begins tour with the Preservation Hall Jazz Band, playing upright bass and tuba. He also began to instill the educational initiatives that his father developed.
The Preservation Hall Jazz Band continued to tour nationally, internationally, and at Preservation Hall in New Orleans. During this time, the Preservation Hall Jazz Band was lead by trumpet player, Wendell Brunious. Wendell was later replaced by his older brother, John Brunious.
In 2006, the Preservation Hall Jazz Band was awarded the 2006 National Medal of the Arts, the nation’s highest honor for artistic excellence. The award was presented to creative director of Preservation Hall, Benjamin Jaffe and co-founder of Preservation Hall, Sandra Jaffe, who accepted the award from President and Mrs. Laura Bush in an Oval Office ceremony on November 9, 2006. The citations read, “With enormous talent and pride, this ageless ensemble has toured the world displaying the unbreakable spirit of New Orleans and sharing the joy of New Orleans jazz with us all.”
Nearing Preservation Hall’s 45th Anniversary, the Preservation Hall Jazz Band begins exploring collaborations with artist of differing genres and artistic disciplines. Examples of collaborations are seen in the Blind Boys of Alabama’s Grammy Award winning record Down in New Orleans, which feature the Preservation Hall Jazz Band in several tracks. New Orleans rock cabaret act, The New Orleans BINGO! Show supported the touring band during their 45th Anniversary.
In 2010, The Preservation Hall Jazz Band released Preservation: An Album to Benefit the Preservation Hall Music Outreach Program. The album includes traditional standards and featured guest vocalists on each track. Guest artists include: Tom Waits, Andrew Bird, Pete Seeger, Dr. John, Jim James, The Del McCoury Band and many more.
The Preservation Hall Jazz Band followed the release of Preservation by supporting My Morning Jacket on tour.
The record after Preservation, American Legacies, was another collaboration-based project with the Del McCoury Band. This record proved to show the two distinct American roots genres of bluesgrass and Traditional New Orleans Jazz working together in harmony. The two groups followed up their recording with a US tour.
During this time, The Trey McIntrye Project dance ensemble collaborated with the Preservation Hall Jazz Band to create Ma Maison, a contemporary dance work set to the music of New Orleans. The two ensembles toured numerous dates nationally, including performances at the Hollywood Bowl and the Lincoln Center.
Preservation Hall's 50th Anniversary 
Preservation Hall celebrated its Golden Anniversary from 2011 to 2012. In honor of the past, present, and future, Preservation Hall produced several projects celebrating 50 years. The culminations of projects led to a sold out performance at Carnegie Hall.
Projects include:Preservation Hall’s 50th Anniversary Concert at Carnegie Hall featuring the The Preservation Hall Jazz Band with Friends. Friends included, Allen Toussaint, Frank Demond, Yasiin Bey (FKA Mos Def), Givers, Steve Earle and many more.Art and Jazz: Preservation Hall at 50 - Presented at the Ogden Museum of Southern ArtOpened the ‘Preservation Hall at 50’ exhibit at the Old US Mint in New OrleansPerformed a 50th Anniversary Celebration at New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival featuring the Preservation Hall Jazz Band alongside a number of special guests including Bonnie Raitt, Jim James of My Morning Jacket, Allen Toussaint, Steve Earle, Rebirth Brass Band and more (Preservation Hall and Friends)The Band became the first group to perform at both the Newport Jazz Festival and the Newport Folk Festival in the same yearReleased two records in the same month, including a Preservation Hall Jazz Band 50th Anniversary Collection (Sony Legacy) and a recording of Preservation Hall’s 50th Anniversary concert at Carnegie Hall entitled St. Peter & 57th St. (Rounder Records)
The Preservation Hall Jazz Band performed alongside The Black Keys and Dr. John at the 55th Annual Grammy Awards Ceremony
Alphabetical lists of personnel 
Current Members (2013) Ben Jaffe - Creative Director / Tuba / BassMark Braud - Trumpet / Band Leader / VocalistCharlie Gabriel - Clarinet / Saxophone / VocalistRonell Johnson - Tuba / VocalistJoseph Lastie, Jr - DrumsFreddie Lonzo - Trombone / VocalistClint Maedgen - Tenor Saxophone / VocalistRickie Monie - Piano
Historic members 
A partial listing of the musicians who have played under the "Preservation Hall Jazz Band" name includes:Lucien Barbarin - trombone"Sweet Emma" Barrett - pianistCarl Le Blanc - banjoJohn Brunious - trumpeterWendell Brunious - trumpeterGreg Stafford - trumpeterAlbert Burbank - clarinetistRaymond Burke - clarinetistMaynard Chatters - trombonistKid Sheik Colar - trumpeterManny Crusto (Manuel Mitchell Crusto) - clarinetist (died March 18, 2002 at age 83)Frank Demond - tromboneLars Edegran - PianoJosiah "Cie" Frazier - drummerPercy Humphrey - trumpeterWillie Humphrey - clarinetistAllan Jaffe - tuba playerRalph H. Johnson, Sr. - clarinet (d. 7 December 2009)Leroy Jones - trumpetJeanette Kimball - pianistNarvin Kimball - banjo playerGeorge Lewis - clarinetistPunch Miller - trumpeterSing Miller - pianistLouis Nelson - trombonistAlcide "Slow Drag" Pavageau - bass playerWalter Payton - double bassBillie Pierce - pianistDe De Pierce - trumpeter and cornetistShannon Powell - drumsJames Prevost - bassJoseph Robichaux - pianistJim Robinson - trombonistEmanuel Sayles - banjo playerKid Thomas Valentine - trumpeterPapa Don Vappie - banjoMari Watanabe - pianoDr. Michael White -clarinetist