We don’t think of ourselves as a jazz band, we think of ourselves as a 1930s rock band. We just wail,” states Jitterbug Vipers bassist Francie Meaux Jeaux. Rau...cous and refined, toking and swinging.
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 every era 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. In 3 years, the band has released two albums. On its first offering, the quartet swaggered through the classic viper songbook with speakeasy boisterousness. For its most recent release, Phoebe’s Dream, the Jitterbug Vipers baked some originals steeped in the ribald wit, quaint sophistication, and graceful virtuosity of those blissfully heavy-lidded 1930s and 1940s classics.
The band’s mix of chops and charms have garnered them a loyal live following and plum press. Downbeat enthuses: “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.” The Austin Chronicle says: "The local quartet’s one of the funnest and best bands you can catch around Austin." Eugene Weekly says: "When the group plays, somehow, somewhere, Jerry Garcia hands Count Basie a joint and says, ‘Now that’s what I’m talking about.’”