07/03/08

“Preservation Hall Presents” Series Kicks Off August 5th With New Albums From Carl Leblanc And Joe Lastie, Jr.

Preservation Hall will launch a series of albums on Aug. 5 featuring members of the Preservation Hall Jazz Band, beginning with albums by banjoist Carl LeBlanc and drummer Joe Lastie Jr. (pictured).

The “Preservation Hall Presents” series “aims to document the careers of the musicians who perform either with the PHJB or at Preservation Hall, creating a showcase for the individual voices of the legendary New Orleans jazz ensemble,” a press release said.

LeBlanc’s album, 7th Ward Griot, features an Elton John cover, Mardi Gras Indian street rhythms, funk, soul and traditional jazz, the press release said. The album also includes a series of spoken word interludes, featuring personal memories and poems that serve to connect to LeBlanc’s music.

Lastie’s album was supposed to be a straight jazz album, with a few gospel tunes, but then some choice intervention changed things. Preservation Hall creative director Ben Jaffe, who produced the album, said he was surprised when Lastie’s family and friends, including organist Rev. Leon Vaughn, showed up on the second day of recording and took over. The group played for an hour straight, covering songs such as “I’ll Fly Away” and “Just a Closer Walk with Thee.” The spontaneous session became Joseph Lastie Jr. and the Lastie Family Gospel. The resulting album features a bare-bones gospel sound of family and friends coming together.

Aug. 5 will also see the release of the CD/DVD set The Hurricane Sessions, the visual and musical documents of last year’s boxed set Made in New Orleans. The collection includes new and unreleased recordings and video from Preservation Hall’s 40-plus-year history. According to the press release, current members of Preservation Hall Jazz Band recorded new material to complete the set, including a version of 1976’s “Over in the Glory Land.” There’s also a previously unreleased version of Billie and DeDe Pierce singing “Eh La Bas.”

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