Smorgasbord Blog Magazine – The Music Column with William Price King – Don Vappie – Banjo

Welcome to the next of the series featuring jazz instrumentalists and as with most of the versatile musicians we feature, Don Vappie has a versatile background of playing funk, rhythm and blues, and pop music enhances his unique perspective on music and performance

Here is his offical biography from Don

Don Vappie is a world renowned jazz musician and presenter from New Orleans. He leads the Creole Jazz Serenaders, a classic New Orleans jazz orchestra, as well as his various jazz and R&B combos. He has produced and recorded numerous CDs and film sound tracks and is star of the PBS documentary AMERICAN CREOLE: NEW ORLEANS REUNION.

Known for his virtuosic banjo skills, Don is a stellar bassist, guitarist and vocalist. Add to that his commitment to the cultural creole music of New Orleans he calls “creole jazz”.

As an educator, he has participated, presented and/or performed for programs at Jazz at Lincoln Center, Carnegie Hall, Tulane University, Historic New Orleans Collection, NPR, Smithsonian, Appalachian State University and many more. He currently serves as jazz guitar instructor at Loyola University and is a member of the Loyola Jazz Faculty Combo. He is also an instructor at the Don “Moose” Jamison Heritage School of Music sponsored by the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Foundation.

In The Summertime,” a *skiffle blues, is the first single by British rock band Mungo Jerry, written and composed by its lead singer, Ray Dorset, celebrating the carefree days of summer. In this piece, filmed at “Le Duc des Lombards” in Paris in 2012, one can hear the influences coming from the musical legacy of the New Orleans Creole culture which, by the way, sprang from the mixture of French, Spanish, African and American Indian people who had strong ties to the Caribbean Islands.

* Skiffle is a music genre with jazz, blues, folk and American folk influences, usually using a combination of manufactured and homemade or improvised instruments.

In the span of his 43 year career he has performed with Peggy Lee, Joel Gray, Carol Channing, Danny Barker, Wynton Marsalis, Otis Taylor, Terence Blanchard, Johnny Adams, Eric Clapton, Cheick Hamala Diabate, Bassekou Kouyate (both of Mali), Demma DIa of Sengal, Bette Midler, Ellis Marsalis, Diana Krall and many more.

“That’s a Plenty” is a 1914 ragtime piano composition by Lew Pollack. The composition started out as a *rag but is nowadays played as a part of the Dixieland Jazz repertoire. This song has been recorded by numerous artists and is considered a jazz standard. Don Vappie’s band is composed of extremely versatile musicians with backgrounds ranging from classical to modern jazz. Instead of trying to duplicate the exact phrasing and instrumentation of the original version, they use their New Orleans stylistic talents very creatively. To me, that’s what traditional jazz is all about.

i.e. rag is a musical style that enjoyed its peak popularity between 1895 and 1918. Its cardinal trait is its syncopated, or “ragged,” rhythm.

As a headliner, he’s performed at numerous festivals and venues around the world. His transcriptions of early jazz recordings are available from Warner Bros. Publishing and his orchestral arrangements for banjo and orchestra are distributed worldwide on the NAXOS label.

Buy Don Vappie Music:
Don Vappie Performance Schedule:

About William Price King

William Price King is an American jazz singer, crooner, and composer.

His interest in music began at an early age when he studied piano and clarinet in high school. At Morehouse College in Atlanta where he grew up, he sang in the Glee Club and studied classical music. After graduation he went off to the Yale School of Music where he earned a Masters degree. From there he journeyed to New York where he created a jazz trio ‘Au Naturel’ which performed in some of the hottest venues in Manhattan including gigs on Broadway and the famous ‘Rainbow Room.’ These gigs opened doors for performances in Montreal and a European tour.

While touring Europe he met a lovely French lady, Jeanne Maïstre, who, a year later became his wife. King left the group ‘Au Naturel’ and settled in the south of France where he started a new life on the French Riviera, opening his own music school – the “Price King Ecole Internationale de Chant.” He has had the pleasure over the years of seeing many of his students excel as singers on a professional level, and some going on to become national celebrities. He continues to coach young singers today, in his spare time.

His debut jazz album was entitled “Home,” and was a collection of contemporary compositions he composed, with lyrics written by his wife Jeanne King. His second album was a Duo (Voice and Guitar) with Eric Sempé on the guitar. This album included original songs as well as well known standards from contemporary jazz and pop artists. The “King-Sempé” duo toured France and thrilled audiences for more than three years before going their separate ways. King has formed a new duo with French/Greek guitarist Manolis, and is now exploring new ideas, in a smooth jazz/soul/folk direction.

In addition to singing and composing, King has been collaborating with author Sally Cronin over the past few years on her blog “Smorgasbord – Variety is the spice of life,” with the series “A Man And His Music – Jazz, Contemporary, Classical, and Legends” and now, the “William Price King Music Column.” Working with author Sally Cronin has been an exhilarating experience in many ways and has brought a new dimension to King’s creative life. King has also created a micro blog, “Improvisation,” which features and introduces mostly jazz artists from across the jazz spectrum who have made considerable contributions in the world of jazz; and also artwork from painters who have made their mark in the world of art. This micro blog can be found on Tumblr.

His vocal mentors are two of the greatest giants in jazz, Nat King Cole and Mel Tormé. King has a distinctive wide-ranging voice which displays a remarkable technical facility and emotional depth.

William Price King on Tumblr – IMPROVISATION

Connect with William

Regular Venue 

You can find all of the Music Column series in this directory:

Thank you for dropping in and hope you will tune in again next week for another post in the series Jazz instrumentalists.