Author page: jefito

Deeper Still

“Man, you suck.” These are supposedly the words spoken by Miles Davis to Chet Baker when Baker, after straining through a gig with Davis in attendance, walked up to introduce…

Shy Dog

When it comes to relationships, I’ve never been much of a stand-up-and-fight kind of guy. When it’s over, it’s over, and it’s time to move on. A few times, though, moving on has been easier said than done — and with one relationship in particular…

Don’t Be Afraid of the Dark

Lost Causes, “Don’t Be Afraid of the Dark” (play)

This is the opening track on my first album, and I vividly remember where I was and what I was doing the first time I heard it on one of the real, honest-to-goodness manufactured CDs I printed up. It’s a memory that’s lingered not only because listening to your first “real” album is usually a pretty significant personal milestone, but because the emotions it triggered were so seemingly incongruous that it confused me for a long time.

I was miserable.

I had no idea why this should be. It should have been a shining moment: After years of writing and recording, the album was finally finished, I was listening to it on a nice stereo in my brand new car, and I was driving on a last-minute errand before an album release party at a nice hotel that would culminate with me and the band playing for a room full of people. The local paper’s rock critic was even there. This was the moment I’d dreamed of…but it didn’t feel the way I thought it would. Why not?

Within Your Reach

Had a terrific chat this morning with Gorman Bechard, the director/author/photographer/all-around creative whirlwind whose latest film, Color Me Obsessed, is currently making the rounds at the festival circuit. It’s a…

New Interview: Ben Jaffe of Preservation Hall Jazz Band

What follows is the full transcript from my interview with the Preservation Hall Jazz Band’s Ben Jaffe, conducted for an article published in the March 2011 issue of the Hilton Head Monthly.

While preparing for our talk, I read a few of your interviews, and one thing that really stands out is how often you talk about the need to respect the traditions of your music.

I was raised with a sense of tradition, and I was also surrounded by it. Being around Preservation Hall and so many of its musicians, I developed a respect for them — almost the same way other people feel about their grandparents. It’s from the heart — it’s that kind of love. I also think it’s incredibly important, because of the nature of what we do, to have a respect for those traditions and know where we came from.

What struck a chord with me was that even though you’re very aware of those traditions, the band has spent the last several years expanding its audience in relatively non-traditional ways — with the Preservation album, for instance, which found you working with an eyebrow-raising list of guest stars, or with last year’s single, “It Ain’t My Fault,” which came together more organically — and was released a lot more quickly — than most music.

I think at the end of the day, I see what we do as being a continuation of what bands have been doing in New Orleans for over 100 years. If you look back to the very early days of New Orleans jazz, I mean, Louis Armstrong, King Oliver, Bunk Johnson, Pops Ellstein, Buddy Boldin, Jelly Roll Morton…there were no bigger names in music. These guys were the hip-hop artists of their day — wearing thousand-dollar suits, $10,000 tie pins, bragging about their womanizing and drinking. That’s something that I think it’s hard for people today to understand, because jazz is presented in such a different way.