‘Rock band with horns’: Louis Prima Jr. pays tribute to legendary father at Seafood Festival

Jordan Swanson
Son of swing music star Louis Prima will perform with his band Louis Prima Jr. and the Witnesses featuring Sarah Spiegel on Oct. 7 at 3 p.m. at the Seafood Festival.

If you want to sing and dance to a live performance of “Jump, Jive, an’ Wail,” then look no further than the upcoming Seafood Festival.

Louis Prima Jr., the son of the namesake singer, actor, songwriter, and trumpeter, is planning to play in Destin for the festival, and he promises a special surprise guest will be in the audience.

“If you are looking for a nostalgia act or a tribute act, that is not what we are,” Prima said. “We are a rock band with horns. We play the music like we own it.”

Prima will perform with his band Louis Prima Jr. and the Witnesses featuring Sarah Spiegel on the HarborWalk Village stage for the Seafood Festival on Sunday, Oct. 7 at 3 p.m. This will be the band’s first time performing in Destin. Prima’s mother, Gia Maione Prima, has lived in Destin for about seven years. Prima last visited Destin from Las Vegas, Nev. over the summer with his 14- and 18-year-old sons.

According to Wikipedia, his introduction to stage came at age five, when his father brought him onstage to sing Three Dog Night’s “Joy to the World,” along with sister Lena. Flash forward decades later, and Prima’s message to his Destin audience is “come prepared to be entertained.”

“It’s a completely different band — it’s an actual thriving force now rather than me on stage with a bunch of hired musicians,” said Prima, during a phone interview with The Log.

Prima encourages his audience to come with an open mind as he said, “We’re not what people expect us to be.”

The group comprises nine band mates — eight men and one woman. The name “the Witnesses” derived from Prima’s father’s band.

“That was my father’s name that he gave his band I believe starting in the ’50s … he used that for the remainder of his career — I use that as a name recognition thing.”

Prima sings and plays the trumpet, while he said he dabbles in a hundred million other instruments, calling himself a “master of none, jack of all.”

Prima said for the Seafood Festival they are going to perform Louis Prima favorites like ”Just a Gigolo” and “Jump, Jive, an’ Wail.”

“I’ve always had a hard time describing my father’s music as swing because I really never felt he was swing music,” he said.

Prima described his group’s music as “Louisiana-based shuffle, but we lean toward the rock side of it.”

“I call it Prima music,” he said. “It’s tough to put us in a genre. We play very aggressively and we try to be very true to swing roots.”

“We’re playing this music, so that people in 2012 can enjoy it as well,” said Prima.

“Return of the Wildest” is the band’s debut CD released on July 10. It can be purchased from online outlets as well as in-store locations like Best Buy.

For more information on the band’s show schedule, find them on Facebook at Louis Prima, Jr. and the Witnesses featuring Sarah Spiegel or visit

“If you think you don’t know any Prima songs, I guarantee you will know every single song that we play,” said Prima.

EVENT DATES Saturday, Oct. 6: 10 a.m. – 10 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 7: 11a.m. - 5 p.m.

WHERE When the 34th Annual Destin Seafood Festival kicks off Oct. 5, the free festival will stretch along the Destin harbor from HarborWalk Village to Dockside and The Boathouse.

MUSIC With multiple stages throughout the venue, the emphasis is on local talent. This year’s musical lineup will feature Heritage, Cadillac Willy, Bouku Groove, Season Ammons, Cheryl Jones & Company and Forrest Williams, The Sauce Boss and Wild Country Blue, just to name a few. There will also be live music along the boardwalk, at the Tipsy Turtle, AJ’s Seafood and Oyster Bar and the Boathouse Oyster Bar, Crab Island Cantina, Louisiana Lagniappe, Elmo’s Grill and the Back Porch. Louis Prima Jr., namesake son of the famous musician, will headline Sunday. All concerts are free on two stages of entertainment, the Destin City Stage and the Harborwalk Village stage. For a complete lineup visit the Destin Seafood Festival’s Facebook page.

ARTS Capt. Mike Eller, co-chairman of the Destin Charter Boat Association and festival organizer, said this year’s festival will also include 80 arts and crafts vendors that appeal to all, featuring a wide range of glass artists, handmade jewelry, wood sculptures, photography and festival/Caribbean arts, signs and other goodies.

FIREWORKS A colorful display will glisten in the sky at 10 p.m. on Saturday Oct. 6, during a fireworks show visible from Destin City stage and HarborWalk Village stage.

FOOD It wouldn’t be the Seafood Festival without seafood, so this year’s gathering will include local fare from Harry T’s, AJ’s Seafood and Oyster Bar, Rotolo’s, the Fisherman’s Wharf, Boathouse Oyster Bar, Crab Island Cantina, Louisiana Lagniappe, Elmo’s Grill and the Back Porch.

PARKING Festival parking will be in the vicinity of the event, Emerald Grande at HarborWalk Village, the city of Destin's parking lot at Marler Street and at the Destin Community Center. Free shuttles and pedicabs will be offered. Shuttles pick up locations are at Destin Commons in the parking lot in front of Lowe’s and The Track.