NICKEL A DANCE is a free series of Sunday afternoon jazz concerts each spring and fall, that is a hit with children, families, seniors, and the general dancing public that don’t tend to go to night clubs. It attracts a diverse group of fans that meet on Frenchmen Street to celebrate jazz as America’s original dance music while listening to the best of today’s classic jazz bands.
Born in New Orleans, Don Vappie is descended from a long line of New Orleans musicians that goes back to the nineteenth century. Once a featured performer in the Preservation Hall Band, Vappie now leads and tours with ‘The Creole Jazz Serenaders’ (CJS). After Hurricane Katrina, he co-founded with his wife Millie “Bring it on Home”, an organized effort to help displaced New Orleans musicians find work and return to their hometown. His family’s musical heritage was recently explored in “American Creole: New Orleans Reunion”, a PBS documentary. As a result, he was honored with a LA Creole Society Award for his promotion of the Creole culture of New Orleans in music and film. Recent recordings with the CJS include “Banjo A La Creole” and “Swing Out”. Offbeat Magazine chose his debut CD, ‘Creole Blues’, as one of Louisiana’s 100 Essential CDs of the 20th century. Vappie, known for his original banjo style, also plays mandolin, guitar, string bass and is a vocalist as well. He has also transcribed many early jazz recordings of Jelly Roll Morton, Louis Armstrong, King Oliver and others. He was also chosen by the Historic New Orleans Collection to serve as Musical Director for the premier of their newly discovered Jelly Roll Morton compositions. Over the past ten years, Don has appeared as a regular guest with Wynton Marsalis and Jazz At Lincoln Center.