'Sweet Emma and Her Preservation Hall Jazz Band' (1964 Vinyl Reissue)

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“Sweet” Emma Barrett was an early jazz pianist and vocalist from New Orleans. A distinctive and eccentric figure in the Preservation Hall Jazz Band pantheon who performed with the Original Tuxedo Orchestra in the 1920s and 1930s, Barrett worked with countless jazz greats during her life, including Oscar “Papa” Celestin, Armand Piron, John Robichaux, and Paul Barbarin. She was commonly identified by her signature red cap and came to be known as the “Bell Gal” because she wore matching red garters adorned with bells that chimed while she played. A trailblazer among women in jazz, she recorded as leader of her own ensemble on the Southland, Riverside, and Preservation Hall record labels. Although performance opportunities were often limited or affected by the era’s gender restrictions, Barrett excelled despite these challenges, taking cues from the early female classic blues singers who insinuated double entendre and interjected humor into their lyrics and stage performances.

Sweet Emma and Her Preservation Hall Jazz Band was recorded live in 1964 at the original Tyrone Guthrie Theater in Minneapolis, Minnesota, during PHJB’s early touring days.  Along with Ms. Barrett, the album features the brothers Percy and Willie Humphrey, “Big” Jim Robinson, Alcide “Slow Drag” Pavageau, and Josiah “Cie” Frazier.  

A quintessential New Orleans recording, this is the first re-issue since the album’s release in 1964. The record features marbled 180-gram vinyl, pressed at New Orleans Record Press in New Orleans.



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