Kath Raeber (centre) and the TomKats

Kath and her TomKats get the party started

Sultry queen of the blues Kath Raeber and her TomKats return to the Vernon Jazz Club to headline a special New Year’s Eve performance

If you’re looking for a party, sultry queen of the blues Kath and the TomKats returns to the Vernon Jazz Club to headline a special New Year’s Eve performance.

Kath Raeber’s unique bluesy vocals are well-matched by her TomKats, including Walt Musekamp on guitar, John Keith on drums, Craig Carmody on sax, and Jacob Chatterton on bass.

The band promises a sizzling evening of jazz, blues, and R&B for the biggest party night of the year.

“The feel to the first set will be up-tempo swing with a real nice jazz and blues groove featuring songs like Eva Cassidy’s version of Autumn Leaves, Nina Simone’s Feelin’ Good, and Koko Taylor’s Just Won’t Burn,” said Raeber. “From then on it will be full-out party-‘til-you-drop tunes that will bring us into the New Year.”

For the past 10 years, Raeber and the band have been entertaining Okanagan audiences, being voted best local jazz and blues band, as well as favourite local band  in the Okanagan Life Reader’s Choice awards.

Band leader and vocalist Raeber is also well known in the Okanagan community for her other musical ventures.

She co-founded and promotes the Rarearth Music Festival and she also founded the highly successful Our Kids Have Talent youth talent competition.

An original TomKat, Musekamp, brings 40 years in the business and a cool, clean guitar sound into the mix.

Over the years he’s played a wide variety of musical styles, including performing in local reggae favourites Samsara.

Musekamp taught music, toured all over B.C. and Alberta, and is the band’s musical director.

A 25-year veteran of the music industry, drummer Keith has played with many well-known musicians and worked as a sound engineer with musicians like Colin James, Buddy Guy, and Long John Baldry.

Owner of Killer Sound, Keith specializes in high-end live production and recording and also teaches sound and engineering at Kelowna’s Centre for Arts and Technology.

Saxophonist Carmody performed with a variety of rock bands as a teenager.

In the ‘70s, he performed with the popular progressive rock band Heat Exchange, which recorded three singles under the Yorkville label. Carmody moved to Vernon in 1994 where he developed his own instrument repair business and taught music lessons.

A TomKat for five years, he also performs with the Mark Rose Swing Band and Jazzco.

Newest member Chatterton is an accomplished bassist and computer guru. Early musical influences include folk, ‘80s pop, hip-hop, and classic and progressive rock.

Chatterton is also a founding member of Samsara.

Opening for Raeber is her protégé Brandon Schmor, a 16-year-old singer-songwriter and boogie-woogie piano player extraordinaire.

“I applaud the Vernon Jazz Club for providing this opportunity for Brandon to play,” said Raeber.  “He is a natural, so hold onto to your seats. I promise you won’t be disappointed.”

Besides the fabulous music, party guests will also enjoy delicious gourmet appetizers, a complimentary champagne toast, hats, and noisemakers.

“We’re looking forward to bringing in the New Year with friends,” smiled Raeber.

Doors to the Vernon Jazz Club, 3000-31st. St., open at 8 p.m. and music starts at 9 p.m. Boogie-woogie piano by Our Kids Have Talent finalist Brandon Schmor starts at 8 p.m. and goes to 8:50 p.m. Tickets are $50 each and are available at the Bean Scene and Bean to Cup.

–– Dvoira Yanovsky is a freelance writer who covers the Vernon Jazz Society series of concerts for The Morning Star.

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