Primary Instrument: Band/orchestra
JITTERBUG VIPERS Phoebe’s Dream
“No Musical act embodies the ‘Keep Austin Weird’ civic mantra with more style and class than the ‘swingadelic’ quartet Jitterbug Vipers. The band’s witty updating of classic 1930s reefer jive music, featuring septuagenarian guitar genius Slim Rich front and center, is sly, sophisticated and more than a little habit-forming.” Downbeat
The Jitterbug Vipers specialize in a beloved cult jazz offshoot called “viper jazz,” a screeching U-Turn back to the party where jazz music packed the dance floor and dazzled the audience with brilliant streams of improvisatory musicianship. This musical heritage pulls from the cherished musicality of Ella Fitzgerald, Duke Ellington, Count Basie, Fats Waller, Cab Calloway, and Slim Galliard. The four piece’s distinct variety of this smoking intoxicant is known as “swingadelic” for its panoramic aesthetic sprawl. Fusing an authentic command of American roots music with wry wordplay and freewheeling hippie ethos, the Jitterbug Vipers energize and vibrantly reimagine a movement in music long shackled in by nostalgia and overly reverent revivalism.
It must have been reefer madness that brought this vibrant combo together. The Jitterbug Vipers are Slim Richey, a Santa Claus-bearded jazz/swing guitar legend deemed Texas’s “Most Dangerous Guitar Player”; Francie Meaux Jeaux, a rainbow-haired bassist boisterously laying down slinky lines; Masumi Jones, one of Japan’s finest big band drummers; and sultry chanteuse vocalist Sarah Sharp.
For their most recent album, Phoebe’s Dream, the group challenged themselves to write nine modern classics evoking the rollicking spirit of the swing era’s halcyon days. The album pairs these alongside evergreens such as Billie Holliday’s “Billie’s Blues” and the Top 10 hit of yore “Undecided,” popularized in 1939 by Ella Fitzgerald.
The album was written in spirited bursts of collaborative work. The sweetly woozy “Stuff It” was written with Asleep At The Wheel’s Elizabeth McQueen and features impishly clever wordplay. The balmy and laconic “That Was The Sauce Talking” is a hilarious hangover confessional. Guitarist Slim Richey steps out on the instrumental “Django’s Birthday” paring down the gypsy jazz genius’s majestic approach to its exquisite essentials.
The Jitterbug Vipers have been building an impressive live show, nearly selling out the prestigious One World Theater. The quartet has also become a festival staple, appearing at Kerrville Folk Festival, Old Settlers Music Fest, and Utopia Fest.
www.jitterbugvipers.com Radio: Powderfinger Promotions 800.356.1155 firstname.lastname@example.org
“No Musical act embodies the “Keep Austin Weird” civic mantra with more style and class than the “swingadelic” quartet Jitterbug Vipers. The band’s witty updating of classic 1930s reefer jive music, featuring septuagenarian guitar genius Slim Richey front and center, is sly, sophisticated and more than a little habit-forming. The inherent humor of the material disguises serious musicianship from not only Richey- who sparkles on the disc’s denouement, the closing “Django’s Birthday”-but also from bassist Francie Meaux Jeaux and drummer Masumi Jones. Sarah Sharp, who serves as the primary songwriter, sweetly sails through a selection of originals in the tradition with seductive nonchalance but also digs down deep for an exquisite rendition of “Billie’s Blues.” Michael Point
Disclaimer: All About Jazz is not responsible for the accuracy of the discographical data at the website(s) provided. If a link is no longer valid, please contact email@example.com. Thank you.