Monday, January 31, 2011

Six degrees of King Britt

Posted By on Mon, Jan 31, 2011 at 11:52 AM

Hip-hop producer King Britt is becoming an increasingly familiar face in New Orleans, and at Preservation Hall in particular. He was in town Friday and Saturday to perform his Sister Gertrude Morgan Experience live at the CAC (previewed in Gambit here). The Friday performance had moments of brilliance when he balanced recordings of Sister Gertrude Morgan with the live rock band and his mixing. Some songs, including one accompanied by collaged video projections of the Vietnam War and Nazi rallies, went further afield, and at times the band reduced Morgan's presence to incidental, but it was an interesting - if short - show. If nothing else, it was easy to understand why Britt thought he could mix music incorporating Morgan's powerful voice.

Preservation Hall artistic director Ben Jaffe sat in on a couple of songs on tuba. Britt and Jaffe also are involved in yet another multimedia performance this week. In October 2009, Preservation Hall released the video above, which features Britt's remix of the Preservation Hall Band performing "St. James Infirmary." That arrangement of the song was chosen by Trey McIntyre, the choreographer and founder of the Trey McIntyre Project, for a dance piece premiering this Friday at the Mahalia Jackson Theater. Titled The Sweeter End, it's a companion piece to his 2008 work Ma Maison, which was commissioned by the New Orleans Ballet Association. The Preservation Hall Jazz Band will perform an extended version of "St. James Infirmary" live onstage with the dance company. And the two groups will reunite for five performances in other cities, with the two dance pieces bookending a set by the band.

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