Swing in the new year with these cats
Celebrate the season with some wicked bouncing boogie blues when sultry award-winning vocalist Sabrina Weeks and Swing Cat Bounce headline New Year’s Eve at the Vernon Jazz Club.
Swing Cats include Mike Hilliard on lead guitar, brother Ed Hilliard on drums, Bill White on rhythm guitar, and special guest for this show only, blues legend Jack Lavin on bass.
The band’s high energy repertoire swings with a range of lively grooves.
“We play several kinds of swing, from traditional bounce to Texas swing. We also play some R&B, some hoppin’ rock-n-roll, and of course, some blues — down and dirty,” said Weeks.
The 2011 Maple Blues Award Best New Artist, Weeks will perform covers by artists like BB King, Little Walter, Aretha Franklin, Koko Taylor, and Weeks’ favourite, Etta James.
The band will also feature some original songs including tunes from their upcoming CD Got My Eye on You, being released digitally in January.
“This CD features the playing of Mr. John Lee Sanders, as well as the return of the Powder Blues horn section. It’s going to be hot!” said Weeks.
Their previous debut CD, Tales from Lenny’s Diner, entered the Roots Music Report’s Blues Chart at #1, getting airplay at home and abroad.
Weeks just returned in November from a performance at Toronto’s Massey Hall.
“I was one of the featured vocalists for the 26th annual Women in Blues Review,” said Weeks. “It was an incredible experience to be part of such a crazy, talented, loving group of women.”
The blues is a natural fit for Weeks’ powerful, expressive voice.
“I’ve said this before and I’ll say it again, blues music is like breath. I often feel myself falling in love while singing a song – there’s such a beautiful exchange with an audience,” said Weeks.
Former member of the Salmon Armenians, Steamer, and The Mobb, lead guitarist Mike Hilliard has appeared with some of Canadian music’s biggest names like The Guess Who, Steppenwolf, Colin James, and Powder Blues Band. He also performs with Weeks’ duo and trio, and the King Pins.
Brother Ed has been making music with Mike for over 40 years. After studying at Humber College in Toronto, they formed the band Steamer, performing from 1976 to 1984.
Ed is the music teacher at Sahali Secondary and currently plays with the Kamloops Big Band.
Guitarist White has toured extensively throughout North America and Europe with various bands, performing for presidents, prime ministers, popes, and royalty. Recently, he spent five years playing bass with Calgary’s Southern Stardust Big Band and the ‘Round Midnight Jazz Quintet.
Bassist Lavin toured, wrote, and recorded three albums with Powder Blues Band between 1978 and 1983. His song Thirsty Ears earned him a Songwriter of the Year nomination at the 1981 Junos. He is currently producing Weeks’ new CD Got My Eye on You.
Besides the fabulous music, party guests will also enjoy delicious gourmet appetizers, a complimentary champagne toast, hats, and noisemakers.
Local favourite boogie-woogie piano player Brandon Schmor opens the evening. Doors to the Vernon Jazz Club, located at 3000 31st St. (above Nolan’s Pharmasave) open at 8 p.m. Weeks and Swing Cat Bounce are expected to take the stage at 9 p.m.
Tickets are $50 each, available at the Bean Scene and Bean to Cup coffee houses as well as online at www.vernonjazzclub.ca.