"There was a time when I was concerned whether the music would continue," said Allan Jaffe from a hotel in Buffalo, "but now I'm sure that's going to happen. The younger generation wants to play the music now -- they realize that it's still an exciting and vital part of the music scene."
Jaffe, who owns and manages New Orleans' Preservation Hall with his wife Sandra and plays sousaphone with one of the hall's three bands, is on the road with the band about four months a year. The unit that features the Humphrey brothers will be at Wolf Trap tonight at 8.
Clarinetist Willie Humphrey, whose career began in his native city of New Orleans in the late teens, "has played with just about all the great New Orleans musicians," Jaffe said, including all the members of the Buddy Bolden band except the legendary leader, with King Oliver in Chicago and with Ma Rainey. His younger brother, trumpeter and leader Percy, has long been considered one of the great parade-style horn players in the city. Both were tutored by their grandfather Jim Humphrey, an illustrious music teacher who instructed many of the New Orleans jazz pioneers.
"The opportunity for someone who's been around since the inception of the music to be still playing strong is, I think, rather remarkable," Jaffe mused. "Just recently Willie was playing with a young trumpet player and he said to him, 'Hey, did you learn that phrase from your father? I taught it to him.' "