Out July 9, That's It!
features entirely original material — a first in Preservation Hall's
50-year tradition. Like previous recordings, the music conjures the
band's intimate performance space, just a can-kick away from the crush
of Bourbon Street. That's where jazz masters in black trousers, crisp
white shirts and sensible shoes welcome fans nightly to sit at their
feet. But this time around, sitting is not an option. The musicians are
presenting their songs, and they're playing hotter, harder and more smartly than ever. From Joseph Lastie Junior's opening drum beat, the ensemble pushes music lovers to dance. Just listen to the horns in
the title track — especially Mark Braud on trumpet and Ben Jaffe on
tuba. That sound and those rhythms are what Jelly Roll Morton was
talking about when he described the "Latin tinge" in New Orleans music.
a mid-20th-century feel to songs like "Come With Me," "Sugar Plum" and
"Yellow Moon" which calls to mind a particular vintage of cool. It
conjures images of Sidney Poitier on the dance floor — refined, sexy and
all grown up.
Each song has its own fun. "August Nights"
bespeaks a continental moodiness worthy of Jacques Brel smoking in the
rain, while "Rattlin' Bones" is a spooky treat, set to hilarious effect
in a graveyard. Braud's trumpet is, again, perfect. But trombonist
Freddie Lonzo is on vocals and he steals the show; he's half Boris
Karloff, half .
In fact, all the vocalists here are top-drawer,
including Clint Maedgen (sax) and a shouting Ronell Johnson (tuba).
Charlie Gabriel (clarinet) deserves particular mention for his
affectionate tone, which gives the recording its emotional heft and
recalls the original, legendary performers at Preservation Hall. At its heart, That's It!
is a memory trick, managing to sound both familiar and fresh. But this
is more than a live performance by a hot band. Producers Ben Jaffe and
Jim James of have created a unique sound, to the point where it may not be possible to replicate it.
idea what makes a piano solo like "Emmalena's Lullaby" so haunting?
Jaffe and his clever engineers miked the original studio performance at
Preservation Hall and had it pressed onto vinyl in Memphis. Then they
recorded the vinyl as it played in a 1950s dance hall outside the French
Quarter. Not until the end of the process did anyone hear the sound
they were hoping to achieve. And when they did, somebody had to say it: