The Creole Jazz Serenaders have been performing at the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage festival annually for over 20 years. Starting out as an outlet project for Don Vappie to do his arranging and perform some of the early classics that he admired so much, this band has become a modern day classic New Orleans Jazz orchestra. “CJS performs a lot of music that most people have never heard," says Don Vappie. “it's good music and listeners get a bit of education about early New Orleans as well."
Creole Blues, the first cd release by the CJS, featured music from various early jazz artists like Jelly Roll Morton, papa Charlie Jackson, the Astoria Hot Eight and others including the great Danny Barker. The album was included in Offbeat Magazine’s The 100 Essential Louisiana CDs. And how was that decided? Well, as Jerry Brock, one of the final arbiters stated, ‘we sought the Bayou State equivalents of Bach and Beethoven, the “roots” music giants that we felt would prove timeless.” Creole Blues was also featured on Delta airline flights from Europe to the US.
Vappie was more interested in capturing the spirit of the culture, as opposed to trying to ‘recreate’ the sound of the past. “For me, this is better than trying to copy the sound of a classic orchestra from the past. We have a better chance if we are ourselves and play in the spirit of the culture,” says Vappie. The group has performed at the world famous Carnegie Hall in New York and many other theaters around the country and in various festivals around the world. Vappie has also arranged a few jazz classics for the CJS with orchestra.