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Big Easy

Preservation Hall, the older-than-dirt building located at 726 Saint Peter St. in the French Quarter, is a legendary New Orleans landmark. The place oozes a primal jazz vibe, the sort of dirt-floor, standing-room only, Jellyroll Morton-King Oliver-Kid Ory-Louis Armstrong strain we now refer to as "traditional jazz," a Dixeland offshoot.

The cast of musicians who've christened themselves after this legendary jazz signpost have much to live up to. Happily, they've had little trouble doing just that. The Preservation Hall Jazz Band celebrates the sound of a city, a way of life, a jubilant, unvanquished and unvanquishable sound, a horn-driven melange of sass, swank and undeniable finesse. It's a sound that is somehow emblematic of the other America, the one that involves much less chest-beating and much more dancing, smiling and raising your glass.

At 7:30 p.m. Thursday, the University at Buffalo Center for the Arts teams with the Big Easy in Buffalo music education/concert series to present the Preservation Hall Jazz Band in a gig that will marry classics of the trad-jazz genre with Christmas and holiday tunes granted that immediately identifiable N'Awlins treatment.

Tickets are $20 for the general public, $18 for students, and are available through Ticketmaster or by calling 645-ARTS. Proceeds from the concert are earmarked for Buffalo and Niagara Falls musical instrument programs.
-- Jeff Miers

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