The Blue Vipers of Brooklyn are an early jazz, swing, and blues band, composed of acoustic guitar/vocals, upright bass, homemade washboard percussion, trumpet and saxophone. Their repertoire of witty songs from the 1920’s and 30’s, New Orleans & Dixieland, classic Blues, R&B and Western Swing is augmented by original tunes with moving yet often bawdy lyrics and catchy 4 part vocal harmony.
“I Love them. They set a great tone for any event.” Bette Midler 5/2010
“The Blue Vipers of Brooklyn provided fantastic entertainment.”
Willie Nelson 6/2007
The Blue Vipers of Brooklyn are
Billy Nemec-guitar/lead vocals
Billy was born in Howells, Nebraska in 1977.Around the age of eighteen he joined up with a traveling carnival “Culpepper Concessions,” which eventually dropped him off in New Orleans.It was under the mentorship of clowns, jugglers, mimes, acrobats and legendary street performers like Anthony “Tuba Fatts” Lacen and The New Orleans Jazz Vipers that Billy honed his musical and performing ability.He spent four years playing for crowds on the streets of New Orleans and traveling with another carnival “Circus Ridikkulous.”In October 2001 Billy moved to New York City and brought with him a vast repertoire of early swing, Dixieland, gospel, country and blues music as well as an amazing ability to draw and hold large crowds wherever he performs.
Chris Pistorino is a New York City based upright and electric bass player. He performs in many various styles of music including straight ahead jazz, swing, early/trad jazz, classic blues and R&B, country as well as orchestral classical music. Chris entertains audiences throughout the week as co-leader of the popular vintage jazz group Lapis Luna and as a founding member of the rousing early jazz and swing band The Blue Vipers of Brooklyn. He is also the booking coordinator for The Blue Vipers.
He travels regularly up and down the east coast performing concerts, festivals, swing dances and private parties. In NYC Chris performs with Lapis Luna Wednesday nights at The Flatiron Room and every Thursday evening at the world famous Plaza Hotel’s Rose Club. Catch him playing with The Blue Vipers on Monday night at Chez Oskar and Tuesdays at Bar Tabac. Many Sunday afternoons you can hear him playing great old country music during brunch at Moto in Williamsburg, Brooklyn. He has toured America and Europe playing festivals and teaching master classes and seminars.
As an occasional member of the double bass section of several local community orchestras, Chris has had the pleasure of performing timeless works from Bach to Bartok as well as contemporary classical compositions. Chris has had the good fortune to perform with Grammy Award winners Norah Jones, Steve Miller, and Tom Jones, as well as Jane Monheit, Barry Harris, Junior Mance, Bobby Sanabria, Grant Green, Jr., and Billy Harper. He is a graduate of The New School of Jazz in NYC, educated by accomplished musicians such as Reggie Workman, Buster Williams, Andy McKee, Lisle Atkinson, Henry Martin, Junior Mance, Gary Dial, Bobby Sanabria and Arnie Lawrence. He has had the honor of studying privately for over five years with John Schaeffer, retired Principal Bassist of the New York Philharmonic.
David Langlois-washboard percussion/vocals
David was born in Paris, France, where he took up the drum set at age fifteen and quickly started performing at several jazz venues throughout Europe. At the age of twenty one David invented his signature washboard instrument and refined his technique, which immediately attracted several avenues of professional work, including performing at the highly esteemed Montreux Jazz Festival. Inspired by New Orleans jazz, David founded his own four piece band in 1993 called the “Sun Side Jazz Band,” which recorded two albums and performed in festivals throughout France and Switzerland. It was at this time that David traveled extensively in Africa, especially Senegal, where he collaborated with various bands as a freelance percussionist. In 2004, David arrived in New York, where he had the privilege of playing with Dorado Schmitt, Paquito de Rivera, Angelo Debarre, Brian Torff, Scott Robinson, Gil Goldstein, Andrew Sherman, Orrin Star, Stephane Wrembel, and John Jorgensen. He played as a special guest at the Django Reinhardt Festival at Birdland and Lincoln Center. He has performed at festivals including Djangofest Northeast, Chili Pepper Fiesta at the Botanical Garden in Brooklyn, French Tuesday, and the Django Reinhardt Book Release. He recently toured the West Coast with mandolin master David Grisman as a member of Stephane Wrembel’s Hot Club of New York.
Sam Hoyt was born in Sharon, Ct., and grew up in Millbrook, NY. He started playing traditional jazz with his father, and went on to complete his musical education at Wesleyan University. Sam has had the pleasure of performingand/or recording with such notables as Anthony Braxton, Roswell Rudd, Skah Shah, and Jorge Ben Jor, among others. He resides in Brooklyn, NY with his wife and daughter.
Thom Abbott was raised in a family of musicians in Orem, Utah. He has studied with Tony Malaby, Dave Glasser, Ray Smith, Tim Price, and at the New School University Jazz Program in New York City. A prolific composer and arranger, Abbott also plays and studies a variety of musical instruments, including baritone, alto, and tenor saxophones, clarinet, mandolin, banjo, bass clarinet, flute, bassoon, and piano.
The Vipers are often joined by the following fine musicians:
Tim Clement, Sean Condron, Mikey Hart – Guitar/Vocals
George Rush, Josh Levine – Upright Bass
Rich Levinson, Jeremy Noller – Percussion
David Luther, Adrian Cunningham, Peter and Will Anderson – Sax/Clarinet
Dan Blankinship, Charlie Caranicas – Trumpet
Matt Mussulman, James Zeller – Trombone
What people are saying
“Although they’ve been winning awards left and right and receiving accolades from music legends like Willie Nelson since 2007, the Blue Vipers have the kind of stuff that stardom is defined by. The group’s percolating soup of swing, New Orleans jazz, vintage jazz, and country is not only timeless but actually revolutionary in a sense; to a younger generation this will be seen as new, freshly scrubbed.” LESLIE CONNORS, JAZZTIMES Feb. 2011
“There are old souls in the young bodies of the Blue Vipers of Brooklyn. They play the best kind of roots music, one that explores the various sounds that turned on the youth in pre-and-post WWII America. Unifying it all is the band’s dazzling jazz chops.” ROBERT SUTTON, JAZZCORNER Feb. 2011
“Regular performers at Cobble Hill hot spot Bar Tabac, this five-man band offers twenties and thirties jazz supplemented by old-timey-style tunes. They are favored by music aficionados the city over, and even musicians themselves: The band played Lisa Loeb’s nuptials earlier this year.”
New York Magazine Weddings 2010 “The Best”
“The Blue Vipers of Brooklyn turned the whole damn (Big Tent at The Rochester Jazz Festival) into a swingin’ Tin Pan Alley. The Blue Vipers’ drummer apparently never graduated from the kitchen, as his whole set up was a lapfull of odds and ends that he binged, banged, whacked, and attacked with thimble digits like a Dixieland folley stage.”
FRANK DE BLASÉ, ROCHESTER CITY NEWSPAPER, June. 15th, 2008,
“The Blue Vipers play old-timey jazz, swing and blues. Their songs are witty, bouncy and full of fun – visions of flappers and men in straw-boater hats. They are one of the most popular bands that busk in the New York subways.”
CREATIVE LOAFING, TAMPA FL, MAY 2008
“Excellent musicianship and cool, New Orleans/Ragtime/Dixieland Jazz elements. Very Nice all around with a solid vocal performance, as well.”
TAXI “The World’s Leading Independent A&R Company,” October 5, 2007
Best live-music brunch: The Blue Vipers at Superfine
“Throngs of children and their minders head to this loft like Dumbo
eatery on Sundays ready to rock out and not to kiddie tunes from some lame band.” TIME OUT NEW YORK KIDS, October1, 2007
“The Blue Vipers of Brooklyn made us think of an act that we would hear on A Prairie Home Companion.”
GOTHAMIST: IDOL UNDERGROUND, August 5, 2007
“The Blue Vipers of Brooklyn are a rare treat even in New York City.”
CONCRETEBEAT, March 2007
“The Blue Vipers of Brooklyn play old-time music from 1910 to the 1940’s, just like your hip great-grandma’s great collection of scratchy 78s.”
LINCOLN CENTER OUT OF DOORS, August 20, 2006