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The great American composer and bandleader Edward Kennedy “Duke” Ellington was the first to say it outright: “It don’t mean a thing, if it ain’t got that swing.” And how right he was. The Viper Mad Trio has taken the Duke’s lesson to heart, instilling all their music with tons of swing and plenty more besides, all delivered with sophisticated nuance and musical singularity seldom mastered by such young musicians.

Central to the trio’s stunning exposition of the fundamental elements of trad-jazz swing is guitarist and vocalist Molly Reeves, a wise, old musical soul with a creative vision embodying decades of hipster musical experience despite her youthful, pixyish appearance. Emerging from California's active trad jazz scene, she found herself, along with two other young California trad-jazz alumni, bassist Kellen Garcia and trumpeter/vocalist Ryan Robertson, inexplicably drawn to the spiritual home of trad jazz, New Orleans, where they formed the Viper Mad Trio, taking its name from a composition by another New Orleans jazz giant, clarinet and saxophone player Sidney Bechet.

For material to define their sound, the three young musicians mined the rich repertoire of pre-WWII, small-combo jazz, a body of music often marked by an exuberant and often humorous approach that eventually influenced well-known bandleaders like Cab Calloway and Louis Jordan. What makes the Viper Mad Trio stand apart from other latter-day purveyors of swing, is an intimate and smoothly integrated sound -- less like a vocalist with a back-up band but more like a classical chamber quartet, with each element -- vocal, guitar, trumpet, and bass -- playing off each other and interweaving in an overall sound. With youthful talent to spare and intense musical passion very much in evidence, the Viper Mad Trio already impresses with its musical mastery and artistic originality, all the while swinging just like seasoned veterans.

 

   

 

 

Buddy Bolden's Blues

8 9 & 10

Just Squeeze Me

Shorty's Got To Go

Lotus Blossom

Bucket's Got A Hole In It

I'm Forever Blowing Bubbles

I'm Beboppin' Too

I'm Confessin' That I Love You

Sweet Marijuana Brown

Hot Nuts

Viper Mad

   
 

 

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