They Come to Play - OZY | A Modern Media Company
The Preservation Hall Jazz Band performs at On the Beach - A Sandy Relief Concert at the Paramount Theater in Asbury Park, New Jersey.


Because the doctor says you ought to get that heart rate up.

By Claire Campbell

You’d think a band that’s been the flame-tender of New Orleans jazz for half a century would never get asked, “So where are you guys from?” But that’s the new reality for the Preservation Hall Jazz Band. Under the direction of Ben Jaffe (son of founders Allan and Sandra Jaffe), the group has gone from borderline endangered to a hot ticket at Bonnaroo, and it’s suddenly reaching a whole new kind of audience.

This summer the band took the transformation a step further by releasing its first album of original material, the fruit of an unlikely collaboration with Jim James of My Morning Jacket. While the band has stayed true to the spirit of the old standards, there’s a new kind of energy at work in these tunes, especially the kinetic title track, “That’s It!”

But enough talk — as singer Charlie Gabriel says, “Move the things out of the way, ’cause I come to play.” Crank up the speakers and let this in-studio performance of “That’s It!” whisk you down to the Big Easy.

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