Bandleader Ben Jaffe stood in the cool, damp, slightly humid air as the Preservation Hall Jazz Band vamped behind him.
“Whenever we open our hotel door tomorrow morning and see the Fort Worth Star-Telegram staring up at us,” Jaffe began, “we want the headlines to read ‘Rain did not keep away the party at the garden.’ ”
He continued, “ ‘At one moment, all 2,000 people stood up and started dancing.’
“This is that moment, y’all!”
And, on cue, most of the near-capacity crowd at the Fort Worth Botanic Garden joyfully rose up and danced a little as the band played on.
Indeed, Mother Nature couldn’t put a damper on the Preservation Hall Jazz Band on Friday — or those who braved muddy, drenched grounds to hear them.
After a rain-soaked afternoon (and week), the six-member New Orleans institution kicked off the 26th annual season of Concerts in the Garden at the Botanic Garden with a rollicking, sizzling set of N’awlins standards and instrumentals.
As a nod to the weather, saxophonist/vocalist Clint Maedgen even indulged in You Are My Sunshine, urging the audience to sing along.
It was an evening with an emphasis on audience participation, with the band establishing a rapport early and thanking those in attendance for braving the iffy conditions and dancing wherever a moderately dry patch of ground could be found.
The whole evening, in fact, ended up more or less just as Jaffe described: a freewheeling party, full of good feeling and ace musicianship, and one that no amount of rain could have washed away.
Concerts in the Garden
- Through July 4
- Fort Worth Botanic Garden
- $22-$60 (Children under 10 admitted free to lawn area)
- 817-665-6000; www.fwsymphony.org