To the untrained ear, there might not seem to be any correlation between Dixieland Jazz and Bluegrass, and therefore no logical reason to pair the longstanding and phenomenally acclaimed Preservation Hall Jazz Band with the equally well-established and lauded Del McCoury Band. The fact is that Jazz and Bluegrass are slightly different branches of the same southern tree and there might be no better way to exemplify the genres’ commonalities than to put them in the same studio and on the same stage to show just how perfectly their styles and personalities mesh.
The idea to link PHJB and the McCourys was sparked last year when Del McCoury got involved with Preservation, a multi-artist benefit project designed to raise funds for New Orleans’ Preservation Hall venue and its Music Outreach Program. PHJB and McCoury recognized their inherent similarities, both musical and historical. PHJB was founded in the early ’60s, just a few years before McCoury joined Bill Monroe and His Bluegrass Boys.
Planning to accentuate these odd points of intersection, PHJB and the Del McCoury Band collaborated on the just released American Legacies, a fascinating and joyous recording that makes one wonder why it took so long for someone to blend these two idiomatic titans.
An album naturally requires a tour, and so the Preservation Hall Jazz Band and the Del McCoury Band are gracing stages around the country, displaying once again their formidable individual talents in separate sets and, for the first time, showing off their amazing combined skills in a mad Jazz/Bluegrass jam session.Forget how long it took to connect the not so disparate gifts of the Preservation Hall Jazz Band and the Del McCoury Band — just marvel at the jaw-dropping wonder of two of the most divinely inspired bands on the planet becoming one.
PRESERVATION HALL JAZZ BAND and THE DEL MCCOURY BAND play the Aronoff Center’s Procter & Gamble Hall on Friday, May 20. Buy tickets, check out performance times and get venue details here.