Two powerful forces in the world of jazz come together in Resurrection! Airto Moreira and the Preservation Hall Jazz Band. Airto Moreira is a world-renowned jazz drummer and percussionist from Brazil, who exhibited great talent at a young age.
In his twenties he traveled to the U.S.A. in pursuit of Flora Purim, the woman with whom he had fallen in love, who had left Brazil to sing Bossa Nova with saxophonist Stan Getz. Over the years, Airto became a major musical figure by bringing his Brazilian percussion to American jazz, playing with Miles Davis, Chick Corea, and numerous other artists, as well as recording his own records.
Fifty years after coming to the U.S., dealing with a number of personal challenges, Airto was depressed.
Preservation Hall was created in 1961 in the French Quarter of New Orleans as a venue where traditional New Orleans jazz musicians, who were struggling to keep their music alive, could play. Over the years, Preservation Hall became a revered part of New Orleans culture, where a group of venerable talented New Orleans musicians were able to continue to perform.
In addition, the Preservation Hall Jazz Band (PHJB), founded by tuba player, Allan Jaffe, began touring widely and attained a high level of recognition. The PHJB was awarded the National Medal of Arts, with this citation: “With enormous talent and pride, this ageless ensemble has toured the world displaying the unbreakable spirit of New Orleans and sharing the joy of New Orleans jazz with us all.”
Filmmaker and jazz enthusiast, Dale Djerassi attended four nights of performances by the Preservation Hall Jazz Band at SF Jazz Center, the premiere venue for jazz in San Francisco. Each night, a different musical guest would perform with the band.
On the last night, Dale approached Ben Jaffe, creative director, and tuba and bass player in the Preservation Hall Jazz Band, to ask if they had ever considered playing with Airto Moreira as their guest. Ben was excited by the idea and invited Airto, as well as his daughter, singer Diana Purim Moreira, and her husband, Krishna Booker to come to New Orleans.
On Mardi Gras morning they met the Preservation Hall Jazz Band at Congo Square in the middle of Armstrong Park in old New Orleans and they immediately began to play music and found a great groove together. The next night, they performed three shows together in Preservation Hall before enthusiastic cheering audiences.
As a result of this encounter, Airto felt rejuvenated and regained his passion for playing music, and The Preservation Hall Jazz Band experienced the joy of combining their musical tradition with the Brazilian musical traditions of Airto.
This is music as medicine for the soul!
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