Joe's Story (3 of 5)
“One of my fond memories is watching Preservation Hall on TV, with Mr. Willie and Mr. Percy.” The Humphrey brothers, led the Preservation Hall Jazz Band in the ‘70s and continued to perform at Preservation Hall until their deaths in the mid-‘90s. “I’ll never forget that. I said, ‘Ooh, I would love to be there.’ That really caught my eye and my ear and I said, ‘Wow, that’s what I want to do.’ And a decade later, I went to the Preservation Hall Jazz Band. Now, how ironic is that? That’s just like someone seeing their favorite football team and saying ‘I would love to play with them.’ Sometimes it happens, sometimes it doesn’t. But it’s what happened. Me, on Long Island watching Preservation Hall for the first time – who’d think I’m going to play in the Preservation Hall Jazz Band for 27 years?”
In the late ‘80s, Lastie had regular gigs with Wallace Davenport at the Maison Bourbon, down the block from Preservation Hall, and at a spot called the Mediterranean Café with Gregg Stafford. When Sandra Jaffe called Stafford to find a fill-in drummer, he recommended Lastie. Lastie joined the Preservation Hall Jazz Band family of musicians – which was at the time, sadly, facing the loss of several early members, many of whom had been born in the early part of the 20th century. Drummer “Cie” Frazier, an original member, had passed in 1985. When drummer Frank Parker retired in 1990, Lastie inherited the chair. In his late twenties, he was by far the youngest member of the band; he soaked up instruction from the older men, hearing jazz as it had sounded at its birth and finding his own sound within that.