Preservation Hall Jazz Band channel the verve of traditional Cuban music with new LP So It Is, out April 21st via Legacy Recordings. The New Orleans septet showcase that added influence with lead single "Santiago," featuring funky full-band interplay between the horn section and Kyle Rousell's piano.
Art-rock mastermind Dave Sitek (TV on the Radio) produced the album, their second featuring all original material. In a statement, bandleader-bassist Ben Jaffe explained that the sessions were invigorated by a 2015 trip to Cuba, where they came "face to face with [their] musical counterparts."
"There's been a connection between Cuba and New Orleans since day one – we're family," he said. "A gigantic light bulb went off, and we realized that New Orleans music is not just a thing by itself; it's part of something much bigger. It was almost like having a religious epiphany."
Sitek recalled that, after arriving in New Orleans to meet the long-running band, he and Jaffe accidentally stumbled into one of the city's renowned second-line parades. "I was struck by the visceral energy of the live music all around, this spontaneous joy, everything so immediate," he said. "I knew I had to make sure that feeling came out of the studio. It needed to be alive. It needed to sound dangerous."
Jaffe and saxophonist Charlie Gabriel composed most of the music on So It Is, in collaboration with the full band. The current line-up features Jaffe, Gabriel, saxophonist Clint Maedgen and trombonist Ronell Johnson joined by new recruits Roussel, trumpet player Branden Lewis and drummer Walter Harris.
The Preservation Hall Jazz Band will kick off a North American tour April 13th in Solana Beach, California.
Preservation Hall Jazz Band So It Is Track List
1. "So It Is"
4. "La Malanga"
6. "One Hundred Fires"