In New Orleans, the Preservation Hall Jazz Band is an institution that’s revered above all others. Founded in the early 1960s, the band takes their name from the tiny, legendary local venue that became a home to the city’s jazz scene. The small club, located in the heart of the French Quarter, served as a meeting place and creative watering hole for local musicians who thrived through their music in an era where segregation and economic hardships ruled the deep South. In more recent years, Preservation Hall has become a place of tribute and worship, with the house band living by the same mission as they always have; to make their audience get up and dance.
SPIN had the exciting opportunity to visit Preservation Hall during New Orleans’ Jazz Fest as the venue hosted an intimate surprise performance with Alabama Shakes. Before the show, we sat down for a chat with the club’s director, Ben Jaffe, who explained the historical importance of the venue, the growth of New Orleans jazz, and the city’s local music’s national impact in the aftermath of Katrina. Use our backstage pass to watch the interview and a song from the Alabama Shakes performance in the video above.