Don Vappie has been a bit hyperbolically called the Jimi Hendrix of the banjo. The latest in a long, ancestral line of New Orleans jazz musicians and a former member of the Preservation Hall Jazz Band, Vappie actually is a banjo virtuoso and vocalist as well as a brilliant arranger of traditional New Orleans jazz—the stuff he and his intrepid Serenaders play with the fiery spirit and dynamic intensity of those who originated it in the early decades of the last century. As a banjoist, Vappie picks up on the work of greats like Johnny St. Cyr and Danny Barker, tracing the instrument's evolution from a bass-like band foundation to a more lead role. Meanwhile, the Serenaders' swinging repertoire encompasses the likes of Sidney Bechet, Louis Armstrong, Jelly Roll Morton, King Oliver, Kid Ory, and McKinney's Cotton Pickers, not only capturing the exhilarating vibe of the 1920s and '30s, but also tracing the influential Spanish tinge that Jelly Roll often mentioned back to its Caribbean origins. The show will be emceed by Nick Spitzer, host of the American Routes radio program, and recorded for later broadcast. $30 at 7:00 p.m.; $20 at 9:30 p.m.
Thu., Sept. 27, 2007