Friday: 7:45 p.m. Railroad; Saturday: 2 p.m. Railroad, 3:45 p.m. Kenduskeag; Sunday: 5 p.m. Railroad
New Orleans-based Don Vappie and the Creole Jazz Serenaders perform classic early jazz. Drawing heavily on New Orleans’ Creole heritage, the band’s repertoire includes early Creole jazz tunes performed in the traditional French of the region. It is one of the few bands that perform French Creole jazz songs and the compositions made famous by Ferdinand “Jelly Roll” Morton, Joe “King” Oliver and other early New Orleans jazz greats.
Don Vappie was born in New Orleans, La., into a respected jazz family. His great-uncle, Papa John Joseph, was a bass player with the George Lewis band, and his grandmother Stella Joseph Walker played banjo and guitar. Vappie seeks out tunes and songs from the 1920s and 1930s, including lesser-known ones from Jelly Roll Morton, Jabbo Smith, Sam Morgan and The New Orleans Owls.
The group combines the instrumental sounds of the trumpet, alto saxophone, clarinet, tenor saxophone, drums, piano and banjo. Often called the best and most original banjoist in New Orleans, Vappie performs on a six-string banjo.
The Creole Jazz Serenaders breathe fire into the jazz classics. Louisiana folklorist Nick Spitzer says, “The dignity and flamboyance, the composed and improvised, the past and future of traditional jazz are all in the performances of The Creole Jazz Serenaders.”