In the late 1950s, Stan Hall, Charlie DeVore, Don Berg, and others formed a band to play old jazz in the authentic New Orleans style, thanks largely to DeVore's studies during Navy service in New Orleans about 50 years ago. By the 1960s they were playing concerts and jobs in the Twin Cities area at Brady's bar on Hennepin Avenue and had begun a cultural link to the other end of the Mississippi River, bringing old New Orleans musicians to the Twin Cities to give Minnesotans a taste of the real roots of jazz. One landmark occasion was the 1964 Guthrie Theater concert by the Preservation Hall Jazz Band with pianist Sweet Emma Barrett. From 1966 to 1991 the Hall Brothers band, as business partners, owned and staffed the Emporium of Jazz in Mendota, continuing to bring to Minnesota the last of the musicians who had lived and performed during the Jazz Age in New Orleans, New York, and Chicago. Stan and Russ Hall are retired from music, but some members of the band are still working in the Twin Cities and beyond: cornetist/musicologist Charlie DeVore, trombonist/bassist Bill Evans, the Bill Evans New Orleans Jazz Band, and the original Butch Thompson Trio on A Prairie Home Companion: pianist/clarinetist Butch Thompson, drummer Don Doggie Berg, pianist/saxophonist Mike Polad. Around them has grown a battalion of musicians who make up the traditional-jazz scene in Minnesota today.
~Dick Parker, Roseville, MN