Tuba Skinny is currently my favorite band. They’re a street group from New Orleans, and they play straight-up old-style jazz as well or better than just about anyone out there. They have a lot of videos on YouTube, and I’ve never seen them play a single song that they haven’t totally crushed with awesomeness.
The band is full of standouts: vocalist Erika Lewis is absolutely amazing; cornet player Shaye Cohn seems to run the affair; and washboard player Robin Rapuzzi holds everything together.
Rapuzzi’s style is all about simplicity, simplicity, simplicity. He nails the four to the floor with unerring accuracy, and the band would miss him desperately if he weren’t there. On the other hand, as can be seen in the video up above, he can bust some crowd-pleasing moves during his solos.
His rig changes slightly from video to video, but he generally uses thimbles to play what looks to be a Maid Rite board à l‘américaine, augmented with a splash cymbal and a varying number of tin cans. He has also been known to pick up a couple of wood blocks in order to break things up a bit.
You can hear an interview with Rapuzzi, in which he discusses the state of street music in New Orleans: https://soundcloud.com/user6014483/tuba-skinnys-washboard-player
You can learn more about Tuba Skinny, hear their music and buy some tunes here.