50th Anniversary Collection (Sony Legacy; 2012)
Finally a welcomed document of one of the most famous yet under appreciated ensemble within the jazz scene, The Preservation Hall Jazz Band. More an ethos of jazz - New Orleans jazz in particular - than the face of its musicians. The music was the essence of the cultural nature of America's swing and later early bop era. This massive collection spans the rich, vibrant and highly influential pieces performed by the ensemble of fifty years.
The beginnings were mainly to have a performance space for the ever-growing jazz scene. It turned into a breeding ground of talent. "Eh La Bas" opens the set and shows the jubilation and energy the ensemble creates every time they set foot on stage or in the studio. The call to arms by Dee Dee Pierce (and cornet) along with ferocious playing from the horn section will have you dancing out of seat faster than you know it; a lot learned from Armstrong's Hot Five Hot Sevens.
The versions of "Corina, Corina" and "St. James Infirmary" are fantastic. Wendell Brunious and Thadddeus Richard (trumpet and piano respectively) are killer standouts on Corina. While Lewis Nelson (trombone) and Billie Pierce tear it up on the vamp-tastic "...Infirmary" It is dark beauty and bluesy.
A more recent recording with Del McCoury (guitar, vocals) on the lovely "I'll Fly Away" stretches across gospel, jazz, bluegrass and country with ease, all with a special New Orleans flare. Another call-and-response barn burner "Shake That Thing" led by John Brunious (vocals, trumpet), Michael White (clarinet) and Joe Lastie (drums) pounds its rhythm into soul with passion and lots of humour.
"I'm Confessing That I Love You" and "Precious Lord" are those classic heart-gutting numbers that will make you reflect and cry but also show you the long way home through adversity. Sublime without a doubt.
There are so many tracks on this collection that it just will take way to long to talk about. And there are a number of collections that have been released already. But make no mistake this is one of those archival records that is a serious must have for music fans of any genre.
This set has been years in the making and it is well worth the wait. You can hear and think of almost every jazz artist you love at present that owes everything to this ensemble. Preservation Hall Jazz Band 50th Anniversary Collection is not only one of the best reissues of year--it should easily be one of the best records of year. It may cost some many but its definitely--HIGHLY RECOMMENDED.