Get Wild with the “Cats”

Helen Daley

The “Wildcats” started life in 2004 as the Original Wildcat Jass Band. As members of the group changed, so did their name. Jass was the original spelling of jazz. In the early 1900s, it was considered risqué and vulgar to scratch the “j” off posters decorating New York subways. How nice it would be today if that was the word chosen to be scribbled everywhere. So, now we have the Wildcat Jazz Band who changed their lineup from tuba and sax to bass and clarinet/tenor sax for a more modern presentation.

It’s been a few years since the Wildcats have appeared at a monthly jazz party for the Arizona Classic Jazz Society. They have been very busy performing concerts and shows. Their latest show was “Bathtub Gin,” a prohibition era musical extravaganza set in a New York City speakeasy that played to rave reviews. They include professional dancers, often Karen and Dabney Hopkins, in their shows and their music is geared for the pleasure of both dancers and listeners.

The Wildcat lineup for Sunday, Jan. 19, from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. will be Rob Wright (leader, banjo/guitar), Rob Boone (trombone), Evan Dain (bass/vocals), Max Goldschmidt (trumpet), Duane Reilley (clarinet/tenor sax), and Ray Templin (drums/piano). They will be playing for the Arizona Classic Jazz Society at the Crowne Plaza Phoenix-Chandler Golf Resort, One San Marcos Place, in beautiful Downtown Chandler. Music will include Roaring Twenties, Mardi Gras-style tunes, as well as selections from recent shows. Cost is $15 for ACJS members; $20 non-members (become a new member on the 19th and get in free; yearly membership $35 couple, single $25). Great dance floors. The public is welcome. For more information, go to or call 480-620-3941.