In 1961, tuba player Allan Jaffe and his wife Sandra decided to turn a small building in the heart of the New Orleans French Quarter into a performance hall. The idea behind this project was to help preserve the history and sound of New Orleans Jazz. Given the name “Preservation Hall”, this little building quickly became the spot in town where people knew they could always hear exceptional musicians preform classic New Orleans Jazz. The small size of the venue gave audience members an up-close and personal show allowing them to really connect with the musicians and vice versa. Shortly after the hall opened some of it’s regular musicians started performing together outside of the club as the Preservation Hall Jazz Band. Now after 50 of keeping the sound of New Orleans Jazz alive the band’s done something for the very first time in it’s career, they’ve released an album of original music.
Now some purists might think it’s a little strange for a band that’s made a career of playing standards to release an album of original music, but after listening to THAT’S IT! for about 30 seconds you seem to forget these tunes weren’t written in 1920. The material on this album is strong and in some cases may even be stronger then some of the classics that fill the band’s regular set! (GASP) The sound on this album is clearly that of a band that’s out for blood. Songs like the album’s title track and Halfway Right, Halfway Wrong are fierce and in your face while the tune Dear Load (Give Me Strength) will have you up and dancing in your living room. Rattlin’ Bones is probably the funkiest tune on the record and although the lyrics might be a little silly this song is upbeat and fun which is really what this music’s all about, having fun. With that in mind, it’s funny that the only real somber tune on the album maybe also be one of the album’s strongest. While listening to the bluesy balled August Nights it’s easy to imagine yourself alone in a bar on Frenchman’s street at 3am listening to the band play. This song is so beautiful and fits perfectly among the other more upbeat material. It’s nice to see that after 50 years the band’s message is still the same, no matter your who you are, if you’re a positive person and wanna party, then you’re welcome here.