Between a bright swoop of brass horns and a rolling drum line, Allen Toussaint declares that Preservation Hall Jazz Band puts “pride in your stride.” While this might not be the exact effect of St. Peter & 57th Street, the album certainly brings jazz to a place that’s accessible to non-jazz fans. Most of this power comes from two principles of jazz — improvisation and collaboration — and the participation of musicians from across the genre spectrum. The live album features frequent Preservation collaborators like Toussaint, My Morning Jacket’s Jim James, The Del McCoury Band, and folky Tao Seeger (son of Pete, of course). Also along for the ride are modern pop revolutionaries like Givers, tUnE-yArDs, and Mos Def, all of whom mold the jazz model to fit their sound. The happy surprise here is that this diverse cross-section of musicians mixes perfectly with Preservation Hall Jazz Band’s sound, which is remarkable in its own right. At the end of St. Peter & 57th Street, there is a bang and a tremble of instruments that seem to both breathe and quiver, leaving each note ringing long after the disk has come to a close.
Preservation Hall Jazz Band
St. Peter & 57th Street