Personality-plus, 7-piece band, Big Kitty, danced on to our stage and introduced themselves.
‘Ladies and Gentlemen. Take your seats. Strap yourselves in.
‘And a second set, which will be about anything but Love’.
‘We are here to celebrate and to Boogie!! Are you ready?’
The answer from the bubbling, buzzing full house crowd, was a resounding ‘Yes!!’.
And celebrate, we did. This was Boogie Fever, from the start to the end of a memorable night at the Brisbane Jazz Club.
Fronting Big Kitty, with her soaring vocals, huge curl, sparkling green dress, matching dangly earrings and a busy red fan, is Anna Eves.
Laying the foundation for that unmistakeable Big Kitty sound, is the talented 3-piece Rhythm Section; Mr. Personality, Matt Eves, he of the long pointy sideburns, on vocals and bass. Coojee Timms at the drum kit. And on backing vocals and a wailing Guild Manhattan 175, ‘all the way from the Boondall Wetlands’, guitarist Rupert Jenner.
And kicking the band into overdrive, is a classy 3-piece Horn Section; Mal Wood on Trumpet, Neil Wickham on Tenor sax (and piano) and Martha Baartz on Alto sax.
Wow!! Big Kitty!! When these guys are in the House, the floor rumbles, the walls rattle, and the roof gets blown off….by Anna’s Big voice….and by the band’s Big, Big wall-to-wall sound. Phil Spector could add nothing here!!
This band is soooo hard to beat when it comes to creating an atmosphere!! Seriously, if their showmanship was any bigger, you wouldn’t fit an audience in!!
They are loaded with as much personality as they have talent; a stage-full of happy musicians, all obviously having a good time. With every note and on every beat, there is at least one huge smile.
And it is contagious!!
OK, so it wasn’t Jazz. But this band is not without its pedigree; Matt grew up playing and studying jazz in WA, was in a Trad Jazz band at age 13, and has played with the Caxton Street Jazz Band, of which, Rupert’s clarinettist father, Andy, was a founding member. And Mal and Martha are among the five local musicians on the Brisbane Jazz Club’s t-shirt!!
And yes, there were a lot of songs that we don’t hear very often here.
Bob Dylan’s ‘I’ll Be your Baby Tonight’ brought the house down, with its thumping solos from Matt on the electric bass and Martha on the Alto sax.
And we all sang along to songs such as ‘Love Potion Number Nine’.
‘It’s a Jazz Club, so we should play a Country song’, said Matt with a grin. And they did; ‘Jackson’ and Hank Williams’ ‘Cold, Cold Heart’.
Their only really ‘squishy song’, (said Anna), was Etta James’ ‘At Last’, which left us savouring Anna’s tingling vibrato on that final phrase, as they finished the first Set.
Across their two Sets, we loved all those great solos from Matt, Rupert, Mal, Martha and Neil, (the latter on both piano and tenor sax).
And we loved dancing in our seats, until it all became so irresistible, that there was barely an inch of floor space around the Club, that wasn’t being danced on.
And by the time they encored with ‘When Will I Be Loved’, dodging dancers to get to the bar was becoming a major challenge!! Getting safely back to the table with two overflowing Expresso Martinis was impossible. 😊
Yes, we loved it all.
And when they signed off, it was to the loudest imaginable applause. The crowd did not want to let them go. And everyone was asking, ‘When will they be back?’
We have a lot of memorable nights and stand-out performances here at the Brisbane Jazz Club. Tonight, you can chalk up another one!!
Thank you Big Kitty. Happy Valentine’s Day, 2020.
Brisbane Jazz Club