When the flood waters receded following Hurricane Katrina's direct hit on New Orleans, jazz fans around the world breathed a sigh of relief to hear that Preservation Hall, home of the Preservation Hall Jazz Band, remained intact. Within a year, the Hall was up and running, and once again, jazz filled the air from its permanent site on Saint Peter Street in the historic French Quarter.
In an effort to keep the music going, the Preservation Hall Jazz Band recently invited an eclectic group of folk, country, rock and blues artists to collaborate on "Preservation - An Album to Benefit Preservation Hall and The Preservation Hall Music Outreach Program."
One-by-one, they arrived in New Orleans to record with these masters of traditional jazz, from veterans Richie Havens, Pete Seeger, Tom Waits and The Blind Boys of Alabama, to newcomers Brandi Carlile, Jason Isbell and Paolo Nutini.
The Preservation Hall Jazz Band perform with Scottish singer Paolo Nutini together on "Between The Devil And The Deep Blue Sea." Also on the album, the band performs "Basin Street Blues" featuring Merle Haggard.
The traditional jazz sound that made New Orleans famous dates back more than a century. It's a sound that combined ragtime, blues and brass band marches, and as it spread north to Chicago and New York, became the foundation for swing, rhythm-and-blues, and early rock and roll.
Enter the Preservation Hall Jazz Band, performing with various lineups since the opening of Preservation Hall in 1961. While certainly not known for its luxurious accommodations - there's no running water, no air conditioning, and seating for less than 10 - the Hall is still one of the city's top tourist destinations.
The eight-piece band, comprised of members young and old, spends much of the year away from its landmark venue. On May 2, they will appear in the Preservation Hall-Star Revue at the 41st Annual New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival.