King Britt x Preservation Hall Jazz Band x Carnegie Hall
Not too long after the flood in Nola, I traveled down there to work with Ben Jaffe and The Preservation Hall Jazz Band, on some music. One magical night, Ben and myself were kinda messing about in his studio and he started playing St James Infirmary, which traditionally is a slow funeral march. When I think of funerals and death, I tend to lean toward a celebration of their lives, rather than a somber time. So with this vibe, I created a double time version which was happier and upbeat, but keeping the traditional instrumentation. I sampled some horns as an idea for the band to re-interpret as well and then we recorded in the Hall. This has now become a staple in the band’s show, which I am still in awe of this. Later, they did a video (below) for the song, which brings back memories of the old cartoons in the 40s/50s.
Flash forward to January 6, 2012, I was asked to be a part of history. The Preservation Hall Jazz Band called for me to perform the version with them for their 50th Anniversary Show at Carnegie Hall. It was a moment that combined the old w/ the new, the traditional with the non-traditional. A moment that had my heart pounding.
So, the live recording of this amazing night, which included My Morning Jacket, Trombone Shorty, Yasiin Bey (aka Mos Def), Blind Boys of Alabama, and Merrill Garbus of tUnE-yArDs and more! The album is entitled, St. Peter and 57th (September 25th, Rounder Records)
The concert was orchestrated to benefit the Preservation Hall Music Outreach Program, directly supporting the passing of the musical and cultural traditions of New Orleans to the city’s next generation of musicians. A portion of the proceeds from the album will also benefit the program.