The New Orleans Jazz Vipers: A NOLA Institution
The Soggy Po’ Boys have been inspired by many great artists and ensembles throughout the history of New Orleans and beyond. Today I would like to take a moment and highlight one such band that has made a huge impact on every member of the Po’ Boys.
The New Orleans Jazz Vipers are a Frenchman Street institution that you can catch every single Sunday night at the Spotted Cat Music Club. Their leader, Joe Braun has played with everyone you can think of in NOLA and started his musical life playing in Jackson Square with the like of Tuba Fats and Uncle Lionel Batiste. He has assembled one of the most swinging ensembles you will ever hear in the Jazz Vipers and they are certainly a pleasure to watch play.
In 2001 they began their Sunday night residency at the Spotted Cat. From 10pm-2am you can hear these guys give one of the most fun history lessons out there while grabbing a beer and enjoying all that is Frenchman Street. Sure, Bourbon Street is what everyone knows in New Orleans, but you will find all of the hardcore music fans and musicians on Frenchmen Street where there is an amazing music club every few steps.
When Hurricane Katrina devastated the city, the Vipers took a brief hiatus to San Francisco and then Austin, TX. It wouldn’t be long before they returned home though and, in fact, were one of the first bands to do so, playing concerts before the electricity had been turned back on in many parts of the city.
The Jazz Vipers are a huge inspiration for the Po’ Boys. On a trip to New Orleans a number of years ago, the band got to witness a legendary Sunday night set as a unit and has been inspired by them ever since. Their infectious rhythms, repertoire, hospitality, and the amount of fun they have on stage changed the way the Po’ Boys approach their music and we are grateful to this band for so much.
You can check out the Vipers' fantastic albums HERE, and the next time you are lucky enough to be in New Orleans on a Sunday night, be sure to head down to Frenchmen Street and check these guys out at the Spotted Cat!