Preservation Hall bandleader Ben Jaffe describes it as “the family business,” housed in a French Quarter landmark with history as valuable as “our pyramids.” This weekend, the landmark and its musicians will be profiled this weekend on “CBS Sunday Morning with Charles Osgood,” in an interview with Lesley Stahl.
Stahl, the CBS “60 Minutes” correspondent, visited the French Quarter landmark on Feb. 19, interviewing Jaffe and his mother, Sandra, who co-founded Preservation Hall in 1961 along with her husband Allan, Ben’s father, who died in 1987.
The interview will air Sunday at 8 a.m. on WWL-TV Channel 4.
In the interview, Ben Jaffe, who serves as the band’s director and also plays the upright bass and tuba with the band, tells Stahl he felt a responsibility to go into the family business.
According to a CBS press release, he said that it was when he was a student at Oberlin College he realized the importance of the band his family created in New Orleans.
“I grew up with these incredible musicians in an amazing community that I learned a tradition from, I was given a tradition,” Jaffe tells Stahl. “And I had – I really felt a responsibility to come back and be part of that tradition.”
Jaffe has enhanced but also expanded on that tradition, recording new albums and exposing the Preservation Hall Jazz Band and its music to a new generation, by touring the world and appearing at Voodoo Fest and other venues, even performing at the 2013 Grammy Awards alongside Dr. John and The Black Keys.
The CBS “Sunday Morning” segment highlights the new era for the hall, but also its history.
“When they founded the band, Jaffe’s parents lived in a carriage house behind the Preservation Hall, a small local concert venue,” according to the press release. “During performances, Jaffe recalls, his mother collected money at the door, while his father ran the band. It was a dangerous time, Jaffe says, because the hall celebrated African-American culture. ‘This was the only place in New Orleans where blacks and whites were congregating openly and where there were mixed bands. It was revolutionary,’ Jaffe tells Stahl.”
“I went into the family business,” says Jaffe. “This is – it is a family business. And you know, as long as there’s music in New Orleans, it will continue to be a family.”