Reserve the best seats in the house and skip the line.
Presenting at 6pm...The Southern Syncopators with Steve Pistorius.
Steve Pistorius has the “dubious honor” of being New Orleans' last remaining home-grown early Jazz pianist. Now known around the world for his Ragtime, Stride, and early Jazz rags, Steve started playing the piano as a kid in his Kenner home. Music was a love, not an ambition, so Steve didn't consider becoming a professional musician until he responded to an ad for an apple barrel piano player at a pizza joint in Metairie. He was 18 years old and had no formal training, but Steve was the only applicant and he got the job. We should all be grateful to one extremely patient banjo player at the pizza place who took the time to teach Steve how to play with other musicians, because he's been gigging ever since.
Steve's greatest influence has been Jelly Roll Martin, another Native Orleanian who is often (but not often enough, according to Steve) credited with loosening up Ragtime and transforming it into early Jazz. Early on in his career and before these legends passed, Steve had the chance to play with early 20th century Jazz impresarios like Chester Zardis, Willie Humphrey, Louis Barbarin, and composer Eubie Blake.
While many musicians in New Orleans diverge from jazz standards by experimenting with elements from the other musical genres teeming in this city, Steve is working to preserve the pure traditions of early Jazz. Since 1980 Preservation Hall has asked Steve to put together traditional jazz bands that never fail to rile the crowd at New Orleans' hallmark jazz venue. In addition to The Southern Syncopators, he is a part of Dr. Michael White's Liberty Jazz Band and plays regularly aboard the Steamboat Natchez as part of Duke Heitger's Steamboat Stompers. Steve brings New Orleans piano to Jazz festivals spanning all corners of the globe, and here in the US has played at monumental institutions such as Lincoln Center, Carnegie Hall, and Kennedy Center.
Presenting at 8, 9, and 10pm...The Preservation Hall All Stars with Charlie Gabriel.
Clarinetist, saxophonist, and flutist Charlie Gabriel is a fourth-generation jazz musician from New Orleans. Raised in a classically trained musical family that emigrated from Santo Domingo in the 1850s, Gabriel began playing clarinet professionally with the Eureka Jazz Band when he was eleven years old. During World War II, his father, clarinetist and drummer Martin Manuel “Manny” Gabriel often sent his son as a substitute on gigs. Charlie recalls how the musicians with whom he played —T-Boy Remy, Kid Humphrey, Kid Sheik, Kid Shots, Kid Clayton, and Kid Howard— also raised him and brought him home after the gigs.
In a career spanning countless genres, Gabriel has performed with Tony Bennett, Frankie Avalon, Brenda Lee, Mary Wells, Eddie Willis, Joe Hunter, and many other early Motown artists. Gabriel sums up the influence of his fellow musicians: “I have many, many people inside of me that I have rubbed shoulders with, and I got something from each one of them. It’s all wrapped up inside of me, and by me still playing today and still able to go around the universe, I give to them all these other things I have from those that I have came in contact with.”