With the release of "WildcatJazz" the band formerly known as "The Original Wildcat Jass Band" adds a bold new chapter to it's 10+ year history as Arizona's premier classic jazz ensemble. No longer a tuba-based rhythm section, the addition of a string bass has opened up fresh musical vistas and the band meets the creative potential with relish.
The "front line" remains: Rick Peron on trumpet, Marco Rosano on clarinet and Rob Boone on trombone. The rhythm section is still anchored by Rob Wright on banjo and Ray Templin on drums. "Newbie" Evan Dain is the welcome addition on string bass. He is not only a solid bassist, but also sings and plays four and five string banjo to boot.
The band's current sound is a far cry from it's beginnings over ten years ago. I think the listener will be instantly enamored of the group's expanded repertoire and swinging arrangements. Rick and Boonie each step up to the vocal microphone here for the first time and guest artists trumpeter Jason Carder and vocalist Crystal Stark lend their considerable talents to this diverse and satisfying program of tunes spanning almost nine decades.
Rick Peron - trumpet, vocals
Marco Rosano - clarinet, bass sax, backup vocals
Rob Boone - trombone, piano, vocals
Evan Dain - bass, banjo, vocals
Ray Templin - drums, piano, vocals
Rob Wright - banjo, guitar, ukulele, vocals
Crystal Stark - vocal
Jason Carder - trumpet
Lu Watters' 1949 gem "Sage Hen Strut" features Jason on second trumpet and Ray on piano. A full eight-piece jazz band salute to the San Francisco jazz revival of the 1940's.
Boonie, on piano, croons out a swinging "Who's Honey Are You?" ala Fats Waller and His Rhythm circa 1935.
Duke Ellington's 1929 Jungle Band is represented with "Shout 'Em, Aunt Tillie" and if you're not dancing by now, I'd consider seeing a doctor.
Louis Armstrong's 1939 hit "Old Man Mose Is Dead" is next with a great vocal by Rick backed up by the "Tres Amigos" Rob, Rob and Ev.
Now down to New Orleans for a jazz funeral: "Flee As a Bird to Your Mountain," the classic dirge from 1840, processing to the grave and W.C. Handy's 1902 "Oh, Didn't He Ramble" for the jubilant return home.
With the 1920 Irving Berlin prohibition-era "I'll See You In CUBA," Evan and Rob whisk us to the island where the rum flows almost as freely as the patter lyrics by Bing and Olga San Juan in the movie "Blue Skies."
Twilight In Tinseltown is a catchy 1980s ditty from the pen of friend Don Nelson who, besides being a fine singer and musician, was a Hollywood writer, prolific artist and younger bro. to Ozzie. You won't hear this one anywhere else.
Tucson songbird Crystal Stark belts out Bessie Smith's 1929 classic "I've Got What It Takes (But It Breaks My Heart To Give It Away)" with the verve and style befitting a season 5 "American Idol" finalist.
The 1944 standard "Candy" showcases Rick's buttery-smooth trumpet. Is he channeling Ray Anthony here? Perhaps. Boonie again on piano for this one. There's room for one more couple on the dance floor.
It's Rob and Ray back in the saloon with Ray at the piano for the 1909 standard "Ace In The Hole" hoping Bobby Darin and Johnny Mercer will be proud of their camaraderie.
Marco leads the band on a merry clarinet chase through "Tico Tico," written way back in 1917. Boonie is back at the keys. Who knew Brazilian music could swing this hard!
"Oh! By Jingo" from the 1919 Broadway blockbuster "Linger Longer, Letty" - honest! - "Linger Longer, Letty" gets a vocal and deft banjo solo from Rob plus Marco on the big bass saxophone.
Duke Ellington's "Just Squeeze Me" from 1944 shows off Rick and Jason trading wonderful trumpet licks and some fine piano work from the Boonester.
Blues legend Ethel Waters' 1925 "Shake That Thing" is given the full party treatment by Evan and the Rowdies. Keep it down to a roar! Quite the finish to quite an album.
I think you'll agree that this recording is very listen-able, very danceable and signals a very bright future for this fun-loving gang of masterful performers henceforth known as WildcatJazz.
Ray Templin 2014 Tucson, AZ.
1. Sage Hen Strut
2. Whose Honey Are You?
3. Shout 'em Aunt Tillie
4. Old Man Mose Is Dead
5. Flee As A Bird To Your Mountain /
Oh, Didn't He Ramble
6. I'll See You In C-U-B-A
7. Twilight In Tinseltown
8. I've Got What It Takes
10. Ace In The Hole
11. Tico Tico
12. Oh By Jingo
13. Just Squeeze Me
14 Shake That Thing