Like most New Orleans-born-and-bred musicians, Ben Jaffe understands music not as a byproduct of the human experience but as a heart-deep part of that experience itself. Jaffe—tuba player, bassist and current leader/co-composer for the venerable Preservation Hall Jazz Band—comes by it honest, as they say. In 1961, his parents founded the Preservation Hall venue, a performance space especially notable during the Jim Crow era for being one of a handful in New Orleans open to both white and black players. What started as the venue’s de facto house band is now a pillar of the city’s musical history: a live performance, recording and educational outreach project 55 years strong and counting. PHJB’s new album, So It Is, continues the band’s longstanding custom of preserving and contributing new material to traditional New Orleans acoustic music. Jaffe will be guest editing magnetmagazine.com all week. Read our feature on the band.
Jaffe: Being a member of the New Orleans community comes with a great responsibility. We started the Preservation Hall Foundation as a means to ensure the musical traditions of New Orleans are passed on generation after generation. Through the Foundation, we bring music education to schools in New Orleans and around the world. There’s something very important embedded in the DNA of our music. A deeper message of love and community, a joy, and a celebration of life that can only be communicated through the musical experience itself.