The Legendary Preservation Hall Jazz Band returns to The Ridgefield Playhouse on September 3 to Celebrate their 60th Anniversary

 

It’s a night in New Orleans when the legendary Preservation Hall Jazz Band returns to The Ridgefield Playhouse stage!  The band is marking a milestone as they celebrate their 60th anniversary.  The special event, part of the Moffly Media Evening of Art, Wine & Jazz Series and sponsored by Barts Tree Service Comedy Series and Georgetown Auto Body, takes place on  Friday, September 3 at 7:30 pm.  Before the show, ticket holders can enjoy a free wine tasting and art exhibit by RPAC Art Gallery artist Abby DeublerPreservation Hall Jazz Band (PHJB), is known for its preservation of traditional New Orleans Jazz as well as bringing it to the new generation by performing with bands such as The Foo Fighters, My Morning Jacket, and Trombone Shorty.   Founded by musician Alan Jaffe in 1961, the Preservation Hall Jazz Band is dedicated to sustaining the art of New Orleans jazz. After 60 years, currently led by Alan’s son, Ben on bass and tuba, the band continues to share its message around the world, winning the National Medal of Arts in 2006 and the 2013 NAACP Image Award. While standards and its traditional New Orleans jazz repertoire remain the core focus, the band has transformed into a vibrantly cross-pollinated ambassador for the city, exploring original compositions and Afro-Cuban rhythms in collaboration with artists beyond the jazz spectrum.  From sharing festival stages with greats including Stevie Wonder, Elvis Costello, the Grateful Dead, My Morning Jacket, Arcade Fire, and the Black Keys to a guest appearance on the Foo Fighters’ eighth studio album Sonic Highways, and HBO documentary series, Sonic Highways, and starred in its own documentary, A Tuba to Cuba, in 2018 PHJB is redefining New Orleans music.  Enjoy a great night out with dinner and a show – visit Gallo (5 Grove Street, Ridgefield) and enjoy a complimentary glass of house wine with your entrée when you present your tickets!  The media sponsor is 89.5fm WPKN.

The evening also includes a special silent auction to raise money for the Kitty Rosa Preservation Fund.  Kitty, who passed away in 2014 at the age of 92, had a passion for the arts and was instrumental in helping launch The Ridgefield Playhouse as well as preserving the look and feel of the town of Ridgefield. She was a founder of the Keeler Tavern Museum and a chairperson of the Historic District Commission.  The Kitty Rosa Preservation Fund goes towards preserving The Ridgefield Playhouse, which is housed in a historic building that was built in 1909, with the Theater later added on in 1929. The theater was a gift from renowned architect Cass Gilbert and his son Cass Gibert, Jr. Kitty always appreciated the historic significance of the venue, and her favorite band was The Preservation Hall Jazz Band, whose mission also happens to be about preserving the history of New Orleans Jazz.

Founded by musician Alan Jaffe in 1961, the Preservation Hall Jazz Band is dedicated to sustaining the art of New Orleans jazz. After 60 years, currently led by Alan’s son, Ben on bass and tuba, the band continues to share its message around the world, winning the National Medal of Arts in 2006 and the 2013 NAACP Image Award. While standards and its traditional New Orleans jazz repertoire remain the core focus, the band has transformed into a vibrantly cross-pollinated ambassador for the city, exploring original compositions and Afro-Cuban rhythms in collaboration with artists beyond the jazz spectrum.  From sharing festival stages with greats including Stevie Wonder, Elvis Costello, the Grateful Dead, My Morning Jacket, Arcade Fire, and the Black Keys to a guest appearance on the Foo Fighters’ eighth studio album Sonic Highways, an HBO documentary series, Sonic Highways, and starred in its own documentary, A Tuba to Cuba, in 2018 PHJB is redefining New Orleans music.  Make it an even greater great night out – visit Gallo (5 Grove Street, Ridgefield) for dinner before the show and enjoy a complimentary glass of house wine with your entrée when you present your tickets!

           The Jaffes arrived in New Orleans in 1960, on an extended honeymoon from Mexico City. During their visit, they chanced to speak with a few jazz musicians who were on their way to “Mr. Larry’s Gallery.” As avid fans of New Orleans jazz, the honeymooners tagged along and were soon introduced to a number of living jazz greats that had gathered for a jam session. Needless to say, the Jaffes were enraptured by what they saw and heard. The music was pure and unaffected by the swaying of popular music. Most of these musicians were elderly, many of whom were contemporaries of Buddy Bolden and other early jazz practitioners. The Jaffes knew they had happened upon something special and, inspired, they soon after moved to New Orleans permanently.

            The jam sessions at 726 St. Peter became much more frequent, so much that “Mr. Larry” Borenstein moved his gallery to the building next door. Performances were held nightly for donations and were organized by a short-lived not-for-profit organization, The New Orleans Society for The Preservation of Traditional Jazz. Shortly after the Jaffes relocated to New Orleans, Borenstein passed the nightly operations of the hall to Allan Jaffe on a profit-or-loss basis, and Preservation Hall was born.

              Operating as a family business, Preservation Hall supported the unique culture of traditional jazz in New Orleans, which developed in the local melting pot of African, Caribbean, and European musical traditions at the turn of the 20th Century. Preservation Hall was a rare space in the South, where racially integrated bands and audiences shared music together during the Jim Crow era. At the center of that family business, the Jaffe’s became involved in the southern Civil Rights Movement (and were even persecuted) as heads of an integrated venue in a time of cruelly-policed racial segregation.

The nightly jazz concerts at Preservation Hall gathered a significant amount of press interest from its inception, first from local media, then a year later from national outlets, such as The New York Times and the Brinkley News Hour. 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 for a string of performances in the Midwest.

True to Jaffe’s suspicions, the tour was an enormous success and interest in the band and before long the rediscovery of New Orleans music stretched as far as Japan. The following decades found the band traveling far and wide and featured on a widely disparate array of performances, from The Filmore West with the Grateful Dead to the Palace of the King of Thailand (who even sat in on alto sax).

            For more information or to purchase a touchless print at home ticket ($50 – $55) go online at www.ridgefieldplayhouse.org or, you can visit or call the box office (203) 438-5795.  The Ridgefield Playhouse is a non-profit performing arts center located at 80 East Ridge, parallel to Main Street, Ridgefield, CT, and is committed to keeping the arts alive and available to all.

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