Monday, January 23, 2012

CD REVIEW - Preservation Hall Jazz Band and Del McCoury Band - American Legacies

BY: Dan King

Preservation Hall Jazz Band and Del McCoury Band - American Legacies

Record Label: McCoury Music
Release Date: April 12, 2011

Collaboration. The dictionary defines it as people from different origins working together toward a common goal. Collaboration is what made America great. On “American Legacies,” The Preservation Hall Jazz Band and the Del McCoury Band come together in a brilliant collaboration of New Orleans Jazz and Bluegrass to make a CD that is authentic, well executed, interesting, and an absolute joy to listen to.

The album was born of the meeting between the two groups at a benefit for the Hall a few years back. It’s tracks boast arrangements that can make seamless transitions between the styles, then turn around to resemble a good old fashioned battle of the bands. The listener is taken on a journey through a dozen timeless classics that are representative of both worlds, and the music finds common ground in the blues roots both genres share.

When I listen to this album I can’t help but picture a vintage Bluegrass band on a road trip being blown off course by a powerful twister a la “The Wizard of Oz.” They land in New Orleans right outside a liquor establishment where a jazz band is in full swing inside. “We aint in Kentucky no more, Toto!” Fast forward an hour and we find the boys jamming, trading licks, and teaching each other songs.

Only in America.

In my estimation, two things would have made this effort a home run. I would like to have seen a more equal distribution of the spotlight between the jazz and bluegrass music as it is a bit weighted to the Preservation Hall sound. The other sticking point is the Preservation Hall main singer can sound a bit contrived at times, as he does to me on “I’ll Fly Away”. Other than that, this CD is chock full of wonderful good timey music, dripping with Americana, and a worthy addition to any collection.

Collaboration accomplished.

I’m giving it four and a half banjo strings out of a possible five.

Contact Dan King at

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