Preservation Hall Jazz Band gets the Ball rolling

Adam Samolsky, Contributing Reporter

With a variety of artists and such an eclectic set, there certainly was something for everyone at the Preservation Hall Ball last weekend. The vibrant and animated audience that left the Civic Theatre that night was markedly different from the quiet and reserved crowd that entered earlier that evening.

The Preservation Hall Jazz Band really set the tone for the concert with its exuberant opening act. Its patchwork of a set consisted of traditional New Orleans jazz songs intermingled with some newer PHJB originals. Whether they were playing “Ain’t No City Like the One I’m From” or a jazzed-up version of “When The Saints Go Marching In,” the only constant was the crowd’s enthusiasm.

PHALL Ball 5

photo courtesy of Dino Perrucci

The only lull in volume that night occurred when Meshell Ndegeocello came on stage and serenaded us with a mellow, yet powerful, love song. 

During a brief intermission, the Preservation Hall Foundation took the opportunity to present the first-ever Harold ‘Duke’ Dejan Achievement in Brass Band Music Award to the late trombone player Waldren “Frog” Joseph. His entire extended family went on stage to accept the award on his behalf.

After this non-musical interlude, Corey Glover of Living Colour joined PHJB on stage, clad in a flamboyant teal suit. To no one’s surprise (and everybody’s enjoyment), he hit the ball out of the park with an impassioned delivery of “Cult of Personality.” This was a tough act to follow, but the following acts were up to the task. PHJB invited GRiZ on stage with his trusty saxophone. It definitely wasn’t what the crowd would have expected from the acclaimed electro-funk artist, but he nailed his solo.

PHJB definitely ended on a positive note, capping off the night with a joint cover of the Jackson 5’s “I Want You Back” and Stevie Wonder’s “Sir Duke.”

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