November 2, 2013


10 Dos and Don'ts at a Preservation Hall Jazz Band Show

Ariel LeBeau for Fuse
Ariel LeBeau for Fuse

Preservation Hall Jazz Band is moving on up. After their much smaller and earlier set at New Orleans' Voodoo Fest last year, the storied jazz band returned to their hometown, this time on the main stage opening for Macklemore.

Preservation Hall Jazz Band has had more than 40 members since its inception in 1962. So it goes without saying that the group, who celebrated their 50th anniversary last year, are seasoned live performers. While New Orleans natives might know what to expect from one of their tireless live shows, a newbie might not.

After checking out their Voodoo sets both last year and this year, we're pretty sure we know all the rules now. So here are some essential dos and don'ts for maximum entertainment at a Preservation Hall Jazz Band show.

Do dance. This is Rule No. 1 at a Preservation Hall Jazz Band show! There's something about a live brass band riffing on stage for 45 minutes that's just impossible not to move to. If you need to, copy the guy in the Saints shirt next to you. It's definitely not his first time.

Don't wear neon. You can sport as much purple and gold as you want (NOLA pride!), but your bright green "Keep Calm and Listen to Dubstep" shirt will definitely make you stick out just a little too much in this crowd.

Don't attempt to count the instruments. We did that for you. Preservation Hall Jazz Band currently has eight members, and they all play the following instruments: sousaphone, bass, trumpet, clarinet, saxophone, tuba, drums, trombone, tenor sax and piano. I'm tired just typing that. 

Don't start a fight. Chill, bro in the white sunglasses! Now is not the time. (Wait for Kid Rock's set on Sunday).

Don't worry, despite what it looks like the tuba player will not pass out. His name is Ronell Johnson and he's a professional.

Don't feel bad if you get tired. These guys take almost no breaks between songs--they're essentially a jam band. And yes, most of them are probably much older than you.

Do go on with your bad self. Follow the lead of the band's Creative Director/bass player Ben Jaffe and really let your hair down. (No really, he has an epic 'fro.) These guys have been making people dance for 50 years. They're going to force you one way or another!

Don't be surprised if you're suddenly turned on to jazz. People might tend to think "smooth jazz" when they think "jazz," which automatically makes them think "Kenny G." So not the case here.

Do pick up their latest album That's It! Now that you're a jazz fan and Preservation Hall Jazz Band is your favorite jazz artist, pick up the band's latest release so you can keep the dance party going.

Do stop by Preservation Hall (if you can). The place that started it all. Located in the French Quarter, the music venue is a cornerstone of New Orleans music and culture. As fellow New Orleans jazz legend Louis Armstrong once said, "Preservation Hall. Now that's where you'll find all of the greats."