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NiteTalk: Ben Jaffe Brings Preservation Hall Jazz Band to the MIA

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    NEWSLETTERS

    There's nothing like New Orleans. In fact, even Miamians will admit the Crescent City has a flavor all its own. Part of that flavor is in its architecture; another part is in its food, and in its people. But all of it is made tasty by the music that bakes The Big Easy streets. When it comes to said sound, nobody does it quite like the powerhouse Preservation Hall Jazz Band, who stage at Coral Gables Congregational this Thursday. New Orleans' own Ben Jaffe gives us some lowdown.

    For the few who don't yet know, what exactly is Preservation Hall Jazz Band? The PHJB gets its name from Preservation Hall in New Orleans which is located in the heart of the French Quarter. Pres Hall was established as a space for New Orleans Jazz musicians to gather and perform in an environment that celebrates this incredible American art form...

    What position do you play? I am the Creative Director at Preservation Hall as well as the tuba player with the band. I also produce our albums and sweep the floors and get donuts when the band's hungry!!! Pretty much anything that needs to get done. The work of a boss is never done...

    Who else is in the Band? My old high school buddy Mark Braud plays trumpet....80 year-old Charlie Gabriel is on the clarinet, my student Ronell Johnson has been filling in for me on tuba (we're expecting our first child any day now!!!), Clint Maedgen from the New Orleans' Bingo Show is on sax, Little Joe Lastie is on drums and Rickie "the Professor" Monie is on piano...

    How long has the Band's namesake Hall been around anyway? The Hall began hosting informal jam sessions in the mid 1950s; Preservation Hall became officially established in 1961.

    Aren't you somehow inextricably linked to the place? Yes!!! My parents were involved in establishing Preservation Hall and my father also played tuba with the band. My mother is still with us and continues to be a guiding light...

    So one could say New Orleans jazz is in your blood? It's in my DNA!!!! To really play New Orleans Jazz, or cook New Orleans food, you have to grow up with it. What we do is something we have all been exposed to from before we were born. It is who we are.

    Couldn't we also say though it's kinda in everyone else's blood too? I truly believe in the words of the great Ernie K. Doe: "I'm not positive, but I'm pretty sure, all great music comes from New Orleans!!" It's our job, our mission, to expose as many people as we can to what we do. Our music is transformative. It can make you weep; it can make you dance. It'll make you stand up and start parading...

    Preservation Hall Jazz Band plays Thursday June 7, 8pm at Coral Gables Congregational Church. For more information log on here.