One of three initial releases for the Preservation Hall Recordings label, The Preservation Hall Hot 4 with Duke Dejan, recorded in 1996, is an engaging listen that centers around the vocals of the legendary founder of the Olympia Brass Band, Harold "Duke" Dejan. Spotlighting the bare essentials of what makes Preservation Hall the preeminent New Orleans band, the group is paired down to trumpeter/vocalist Wendell Brunious, guitarist/vocalist Don Vappie, pianist Thadeus Richard, and bassist Benjamin Jaffe. Aged jazzer Dejan has a rough but still melodic voice, soaked in tradition that works perfectly on such tasty standards as "I'm Alone Because I Love You" and "Basin Street Blues," in which he humorously ad-libs, "Now Basin Street used to be a good location. Right next door to that fillin' station. That's where you'd get your good stuff. You'd get your oil, you'd get your grease and hear the woman say, 'Aw daddy, would ya come in please?'" However, it's Brunious, with his Louis Armstrong-cum-Clifford Brown trumpet style that brilliantly updates Preservation Hall's traditional roots. He and Vappie also take some compelling and joyful vocal turns on "Corrina, Corrina" and "Ain't She Sweet," respectively.
AllMusic Review by Matt Collar