Mr. Lars Edegran
“The first day I was in New Orleans I came to Preservation Hall. I came by in the afternoon and they were having a rehearsal in here for a recording session. Allan Jaffe, the founder of Preservation Hall, was here, and I got invited by him, which I thought was amazing. I was standing right by the gate here, and he was inside, and I hear the music and I'm peeping in-because I didn't even know what this place looked like or anything. So he asked me if I was interested in music and I said yes; I'm a musician. I played in Sweden before I came over here. I told him a little bit about my story, and that's when he invited me in. And then he let me sit in and play a song with the band-which I thought was really amazingly friendly for somebody to talk to a new person in town, who had no credits whatsoever. But anyway, that was my first experience in Preservation Hall. ”
- Lars Edegran
Piano, guitar, and banjo player Lars Edegran was born in Stockholm, Sweden, in 1944 and grew up in a musical family. He studied at the Juilliard School of Music in New York for two years and later worked at a record company in Chicago, where he heard musicians like Buddy Guy in blues clubs. As part of a wave of European musicians who moved to New Orleans, Edegran arrived in 1965, and on his first day in town, he went to Preservation Hall, where quickly became a regular. Trumpet player Johnny Wiggs took Edegran under his wing and got him work painting houses—including that of Hall clarinetist George Lewis.
Edegran has been greatly inspired by all the musicians at Preservation Hall, especially banjoist Father Al Lewis and pianist Tuts Washington. He has toured all over the world, playing at the White House with the Preservation Hall Jazz Band and at the Newport Jazz Festival, where he met Louis Armstrong and Mahalia Jackson. Edegran’s soundtrack for the movie Pretty Baby was nominated for an Academy Award in 1978. In 2010 he received an award from the Preservation Resource Center for outstanding musical contribution to the New Orleans community and jazz heritage. He has played at Preservation Hall off and on for the last forty years.
Photo courtesy of Shannon Brinkman.
Excerpted from “Preservation Hall: Portraits By Shannon Brinkman and Interviews by Eve Abrams” (LSU Press)
Purchase the paperback book HERE