With the New Orleans Jazz Fest in full-swing, the Crescent City is filled with the glorious sounds of rhythm and blues and all manners of roots music that makes this city such a spectacular place. This week the newly opened Ace Hotel in the city’s warehouse district is doing its part to add to the city’s music legacy with its own slate of innovative programming. Today the new hotel, restaurant and cultural space is hosting a workshop with historic Preservation Hall Jazz Band reflecting its mission to preserve and proliferate traditional New Orleans Jazz music.
“It’s great that the Ace is reaching out to the local community for their programming,” says Ben Jaffe, creative director of the Preservation Hall Foundation as wells as a tuba and upright bass player who also curated today’s free all-day event at the hotel which he rightfully compares to a “symposium.”
The workshop will include performances by the Preservation Hall Hot 4Plus CM Radio (with Clint Maedgen mixing live electronics with traditional New Orleans Jazz); Joe Lastie Jr. and the Family Gospel a dance workshop with the Mardis Gras Indians percussion with Walter Harris as well as woodwinds and brass workshops.
The day’s programming will also feature a discussion of the segregated south and Preservation Hall, which since its opening in 1961 has been an inclusive place for all to gather despite laws that once made it illegal for different races to congregate in a social environment. The discussion will include Dodie Smith Simmons a civil rights activist and freedom rider and former Hall resident, Charlie Gabriel an 83-year-old who played sax and clarinet and Jaffe himself who says he not only had his own diapers changed at Preservation Hall (his father played Tuba with Preservation Hall), “but my son also had his diapers changed there.”
The day will also include Freddie Lonzo, Ronnell Johnson and Lucien Barbarin hosting a presentation on trombone and brass instruments, and Louis Ford, Charlie Gabriel and Tommy Sancton will explain woodwinds, clarinet and saxophone.
The Preservation Hall Jazz Band, which last night (Apr. 24) was inducted into the Tipitina’s Walk of Fame, will continue playing a series of “Midnight Preserves” shows. Last week alone, the band was joined by Irma Thomas, Sharon Jones, Nathaniel Rateliff and Henry Butler.