Wildcat Jazz Band

Photo courtesy of Rob Wright

Helen Daley

The Wildcat Jazz Band is a first-class Traditional Jazz band. They will be entertaining for the Arizona Classic Jazz Society on March 19 from 1 to 4 p.m. at the Crowne Plaza Phoenix-Chandler Golf Resort, One San Marcos Place, Downtown Chandler. The show is open to the public, and tickets will be available at the door.

The reason that the word “jazz” brings something different to the minds of many people is that musicians back in the “olden” days played what became known as Traditional Jazz (New Orleans-style, Dixieland, Classic) but then started experimenting with different sounds and rhythms, and still called it jazz. Dixieland became important in the early 20th century, and its major influences were ragtime, blues, gospel, and military brass bands. The music spread through the U.S. and then Europe as musicians left New Orleans for other locales.

When the Wildcats first formed as a group, they described what they did as offering traditional New Orleans and Chicago jazz, performed in a spirit and style that is true to its musical roots and wildly popular with audiences around the United States. A Facebook contributor who attended a recent show the band performed put it simply: “Some of the most talented musicians this side of Heaven.”

As the music evolved in Chicago, the cornet, trombone, clarinet, drums, and piano were maintained; however, the tuba was replaced with a string bass, and guitar replaced the banjo. A saxophone was often added. The timing changed from 4/4 to 2/4 (with the accent put on beats 2 and 4 rather and 1 and 3). Whereas New Orleans-style emphasized ensemble playing, Chicago-style introduced more solos and faster, hard-driving tempos.

You will be able to enjoy these different genres of jazz with the Wildcats at the Crowne Plaza San Marcos Golf Resort in Chandler on March 19 from 1 to 4 p.m. The band members are Rob Wright (leader/banjo/guitar), Rob Boone (trombone), Evan Dain (bass/vocals), Rick Peron (trumpet), Marco Rosano, (reeds), Ray Templin (piano), and Arthur Vint (drums). You will witness how this band perpetuates and preserves Traditional Jazz as an art form. One important aspect of Traditional Jazz (and some say the most important) is that it is danceable. Two dance floors are provided, and both table or theater seating are available.

The cost is $15 for members and $20 for non-members, cash or check. Become a member of ACJS on March 19 and get in free that day (yearly membership: couple $35, single $25). For more information, contact Helen Daley at 480-620-3941 or www.azclassicjazz.org.