Welcome to Original Jass.

Tradition Never Goes Out of Style

The Swamp Donkeys play traditional jazz, blues, jass originals, vaudeville, modern jazz adaptations, and many other jazz and New Orleans-derived styles. They are extremely versatile. They have beginnings and educations in the authentic, New Orleans, grassroots music scene, playing local festivals and second lines, then growth into world-class music education programs, playing in concerts across the country. Their diverse sound is enormously accessible with their frontmen, the Louis Armstrong-sounding James Williams, and the audience-wooing, banjo-strumming Sam Friend. (Though James does plenty of audience-wooing himself!)

The Swamp Donkeys can play large and small venues, intimate crowds just the same. Formed recently in the fall of 2012, they are already closing out the first weekend of JazzFest 2014 and have played sold out shows at the Blue Note in New York City and other prestigious venues across the country. They bring a remarkable, diverse appearance and sound to the stage, hailing from the south, north-east and -west, this melting-pot of American musical culture brings people together from all walks of life.

Welcome to the most exciting, soulful, foot-tapping, New Orleans-style band to storm the country in years. Welcome to Original Jass.

James Wiliiams

Josh "Jams" Marotta

Wes Anderson 

Joe Goldberg

Joe Goldberg

Jon "ToeJam" Ramm

Sam Friend

Photos: Many Thanks to Kaitlin Hanrahan for all of her wonderful photography of the band throughout the website!

Cover Photo of website, from Jazz Ascona, courtesy Massimo Pedrazzini.