I saw Allen Toussaint & the Preservation Hall Jazz Band at Liverpool's Philharmonic Hall on Tuesday evening. As well as being a stirring musical event, it was also rich in political symbolism. Both Toussaint, elegantly dapper as he carressed the piano, & the Preservation Hall Jazz Band, a joyous, riotous eruption of musical virtuosity, represent the music (& by extension spirit) of New Orleans. They acknowledged the heavy toll taken by Katrina, but declared that the music was leading the city's cultural re-emergence. One member of the Jazz Band commented that the reception they received on this side of the Atlantic was warmer than the one accorded them by Washington's power player &, in particular, their Commander-In-Chief. He seemed taken aback by the sustained applause this remark merited.
Allen Toussaint can be heard here in an interview with the WNYC Public Radio programme "Soundcheck", barely a month after Katrina struck:
The Preservation Hall Jazz Band have done a video in which they lovingly apply the Big Easy treatment to the old Kinks' song, "Complicated Life":