Composed of six world-class musicians, the Wildcat Jazz Band has been playing since 2004. They hail from Tucson. Band leader Rob Wright started playing banjo at age 10 and then progressed to ukulele and guitar. As a member of The New Christy Minstrels from 1979 to 1981, he played in all 50 of the United States. Rob Boone, trombone/piano, has been playing professionally since the age of 16. Rob is also a wildlife photographer and realtor. Evan Dain is a multi-instrumentalist but plays bass and sings with the Wildcats. Rick Perone spent 20 years playing with the prestigious Falconaires jazz ensemble of the USAF before settling in Tucson and playing trumpet for the Wildcats. Duane Reilley plays reeds and also teaches. Ray Templin, drums/piano/vocals, is a quintessential entertainer.
While most musicians have had no gigs for the last several months, Ray Templin and Rob Boone have put together a “Stay at Home Concert Series” which can be heard on YouTube. You can locate the recordings on YouTube by searching Rob Boone. Rob’s wife, the very talented harpist Christine Vivona, occasionally joins them.
On Sunday, Oct. 18, the Wildcat Jazz Band will be the pre-festival warmup for the Arizona Classic Jazz Festival starting Thursday, Nov. 5, and ending Sunday, Nov. 8. You can find the festival band lineup (of which the Wildcats are one) and schedule at www.azclassicjazz.org.
The festivities on the 18th go from 1 to 4 p.m. in the San Marcos Ballroom at the Crowne Plaza Phoenix-Chandler Golf Resort, One San Marcos Place, in downtown Chandler. Cost is $15 for Arizona Classic Jazz Society members; $20 non-members (become a member on the 18th and get in free; yearly membership $35 couple, single $25). There will be two dance floors and seating with spacing to meet everybody’s wishes, with the choice of table or theater seating. Masks, gloves, Clorox wipes, and hand sanitizer will be available. For more information, go to www.azclassicjazz.org or call 480-620-3941.