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January 24, 2003 - Image 78

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 2003-01-24

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.

Arts & Entertainment

Klezmer South

A young musician adds Jewish soul to the
Preservation Hall Jazz Band.

SUZANNE CHESSLER
Special to the Jewish News

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DETROIT JEWISH NEWS

Built as a residence in 1750, the
building became a tavern during the
War of 1812, then a longtime home
for creative artists and writers and next
an art gallery.
The gallery owner, during the 1950s,
invited musicians to rehearse for his
friends and later moved the artwork
next door as the instrumentalists estab-
lished themselves in the building. The
performers set out a wicker basket —
still there — to invite tips from visitors.
Jazz lovers continue to be drawn to
the landmark, where young musicians
can learn as they immerse themselves in
authentic New Orleans sounds. The
city's hallmark music is played a shade
slower than other jazz forms and fea-
tures melodies that can be heard clearly.
"Most of the musicians in our band
trace their roots to the very earliest

he song "Dreidel, Dreidel,
Dreidel" definitely will not be
on the upcoming Michigan
program performed by the
Preservation Hall Jazz Band, but there's
no telling what else will be.
Ben Jaffe, the bass player and business
manager of the New Orleans-based
group, recently added the Chanukah
song to the touring band's holiday shows.
Besides noting his personal religious con-
nection, he also recognized a strictly
musical tie — especially when the
Chanukah favorite has a klezmer tinge.
The clarinet, important to New
Orleans jazz, also plays an important
role in klezmer music, and there is
common ground through rhythms,
chord changes and har-
monies.
"There are literally hun-
dreds of songs in the band's
repertoire, and what we play
depends on the mood at the
time of the performance and
the city where we're playing,"
says Jaffe, who is bringing the
group to "the Macomb Center
for the Performing Arts on
Sunday afternoon, Jan. 26.
"A lot of the decision-mak-
ing of what will be played
The Preservation Hall Jazz Band: "I was attracted
just falls on the shoulders of
to
the bass as a little kid because it was the biggest
the leader of the band, our
instrument"
says Ben Jaffe, 32, the . youngest in the
trumpet player, and his 50
seven-piece
combo
associated with Preservation Hall,
years of musical experience
the
New
Orleans
landmark
bought and maintained
lets him know the right thing
by
his
parents,
Sandra
and
the
late Allan Jaffe.
to do at the right time. We've
never had a devoted singer,
days of jazz," says Jaffe, a graduate of
but members of the band sing."
the Oberlin Conservatory of Music in
Ohio and a former student, in his
Preserving A Landmark
early years, of jazz great Walter Payton.
"This is partof their history, and
Jaffe, 32, is the youngest member of the
when
they take the stage every night,
seven-piece combo associated with -
it's
apparent
that the sounds run
Preservation Hall, a New Orleans land-
through their veins. I was attracted to
mark and tourist attraction that serves as
the rehearsal center for the instrumental- the bass as a little kid because it was
the biggest instrument, and I knew
ists. The structure was bought in 1961
early on this was something I was
by his parents, Allan and Sandra Jaffe,
who wanted to capture the musical heart going to do for the rest of my life."
Jaffe, who attended Interlochen Arts
of the city, and arranged performances
Camp for two summers, has booked the
inside and outside the building.
band throughout Michigan over many
Allan Jaffe, also a tuba player, died
in 1987, and his widow has since gone years and even has mingled the players'
talents with the Detroit Symphony
into semi-retirement.

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