2006 National Medal of Arts
PRESERVATION HALL JAZZ BAND
Jazz ensemble, New Orleans, LA
The Preservation Hall Jazz Band derives its name from Preservation Hall, the
venerable music venue located in the heart of New Orleans' French Quarter,
founded in 1961 by Allan and Sandra Jaffe. The band has traveled worldwide
spreading its mission to nurture and perpetuate the art form of New Orleans
Jazz. Whether performing at Carnegie Hall or Lincoln Center, for British
Royalty or the King of Thailand, the band conveys a joyful, timeless spirit.
Under the auspices of current director, Ben Jaffe, the son of founders Allan
and Sandra, Preservation Hall continues with a deep reverence and consciousness
of its impressive history as a venue, band, and record label.
The building that houses Preservation Hall has housed many businesses over
the years including a tavern during the war of 1812, a photo studio, and
an art gallery. It was during the years of the art gallery that then owner,
Larry Bornstein, began holding informal jam sessions for his close friends.
Out of these sessions grew the concept of Preservation Hall. The intimate
venue has a weathered exterior untouched over its history. To this day,
Preservation Hall has no drinks, air conditioning, or other typical accoutrements,
strictly welcoming people of all ages interested in having one of the last
pure music experiences left on the earth.
The PHJB began touring in 1963 and for many years there were several bands
successfully touring under the name Preservation Hall. Many of the band's
charter members performed with the pioneers who invented jazz in the early
twentieth century including Buddy Bolden, Jelly Roll Morton, Louis Armstrong,
and Bunk Johnson. Band leaders over the band's history include the brothers
Willie and Percy Humphrey, husband and wife Billie and De De Pierce, and
famed pianist Sweet Emma Barrett. These founding artists and dozens of others
passed on the lessons of their music to a younger generation who now follow
in their footsteps including current band leader and trumpeter John Brunious.
Representing 2006 National Medal of Arts recipient the Preservation Hall Jazz Band are band director Ben Jaffe and co-founder Sandra Jaffe accepting the award from President and Mrs. Laura Bush in an Oval Office ceremony on November 9, 2006. The citations reads, "With enormous talent and pride, this ageless ensemble has toured the world displaying the unbreakable spirit of New Orleans and sharing the joy of New Orleans jazz with us all." White House photo by Paul Morse.
< 2006 National Medal of Arts press release
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