New music spotlight: The New Orleans Jazz Vipers

Published on: July 23rd, 2015


"The New Orleans Jazz Vipers at the Spotted Cat Music Club on Frenchmen Street [Photo by Scott Myers]
by Nita Ketner

Alto saxophonist Joe Braun soaked up New Orleans jazz for years while busking on Jackson Square with the likes of Tuba Fats, Benny Jones, Uncle Lionel Batiste, and even a young Trumpet Black before forming his own acoustic swing band, The Jazz Vipers, and becoming a fixture on the Frenchmen Street scene. On “Going! Going! Gone!” the band’s fifth CD, those years spent on the street continue to pay off as Braun and Co. present a baker’s dozen of authentic traditional treats.

Soul Queen of New Orleans Irma Thomas guests on Braun’s love song to our city, “I Hope You’re Coming Back to New Orleans,” a song that was featured on the HBO series “Treme.” While longtime fans have grown accustomed to Braun’s gravelly voice enhancing the sentiment of the song, Ms. Thomas lends it a sweet authenticity and charm that is hard to argue with.

Songs like “One O’Clock Jump,” “I Can’t Believe You’re in Love With Me,’ and “Darktown Strutters’ Ball” reach back into a familiar repertoire, but it is “Hummin’ To Myself,” again sung by Braun, that stands out as the type of dark trad that Tom Waits often delivers. The most exciting tune on the CD is the title track, played with an urgency that suits the message.

Whether you’re away from the fray of New Orleans or kicking back right here at home, Going! Going! Gone! will have you strolling from Jackson Square to Frenchmen Street on a perfect, moonlit night.

You can stream or buy it on MP3 here, or purchase it on CD from the Louisiana Music Factory. Learn more about the band, and see their other releases, on their website.

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