Picks and Pans Review: When the Saints Go Marching in New Orleans, Vol. Iii

updated 02/06/1984 AT 01:00 AM EST

originally published 02/06/1984 AT 01:00 AM EST

Preservation Hall Jazz Band

Handed down, largely unwritten, from teacher to pupil since the beginning of the century, New Orleans jazz is one of America's great folk musics, a come-as-you-are celebration of everyday joys and sorrows. The Preservation Hall septet, ranging in age from 48 to 83, keeps the style from gathering moss. You would never guess, from the gusto with which trumpeter Percy Humphrey sings the title cut, that New Orleans musicians generally regard that song as hackneyed (a famous bandstand sign in Preservation Hall reads, "Traditional requests $1, Others $2, Saints $5"). But the best moments on this LP are found on Just a Closer Walk With Thee, Part I. The reason is the pace at which it's taken: that of a traditional New Orleans funeral march. In music, as in film, slow motion magnifies detail. At a fast tempo, a good musician can get by on technique. Slow it down and you've got to say something. In its dreamy, flannel-cozy rendition of that old spiritual, the PHJB brings time almost to a standstill. (Columbia)

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