The contemporary jazz band, the Catz in the Hatz, performed last Saturday at the Hip Kitty Jazz and Fondue Club in Claremont. Band members Mike Weins (guitar) and Steve Johnson (vocals) commuted from Big Bear to play at the venue. The band will return to the Hip Kitty May 10 and again on June 14.
Maria J. Velasco
The Catz in the Hatz offered last Saturday’s audience at the Hip Kitty in Claremont an enjoyable night of jazz and good performances.
Steve Johnson, Mike Wiens, Mike Cross, Terry Copley and Steve Boggio form the jazz band Catz in the Hatz.
They have been together for almost five years.
They said their jazz band began as a happy accident.
Johnson, Copley and Cross had a classic rock band when someone asked them if they knew of any jazz bands for hire. They volunteered and changed the sound of their band. Later drummer Boggio and guitarist Wiens joined the group.
“We fell in love with jazz,” Wiens said.
Complete with fancy dress attire, the Catz in the Hatz completely immerse themselves into their art.
The sound of the Catz seems at times comparable to past music legends.
Vocalist and bongo player, Johnson, has the vocals of Frank Sinatra.
However, they have a whole lot of originality to offer. Besides playing classic jazz hits, like the music of Nat King Cole, the Catz also write their own music. They say their inspiration comes from classic artists like Ray Charles and the Rat Pack.
One of the most enjoyable pieces of the night, “Slow Down Jimmy,” a fast-paced comedic song about love, was composed by the band and was loudly applauded by the crowd.
Comedy is incorporated into the performance of the Catz. Between songs and during the songs band members enjoy joking around.
“They seem to enjoy what they are doing on stage,” audience member Cristina Ramirez said. “Their energy and their obvious love of what they are doing makes the audience love it as well.”
During the show the band promoted their CD that they were selling for $10 and were autographing them for the audience during their short breaks.
Ontario resident Cam Amos bought the CD and had it autographed by the band.
“They are very good musicians, well trained,” Amos said.
The Catz have placed their music in the top charts of jazz around the globe. They gladly share with their audiences the fact that one of their songs was number one in Moscow.
“They are fantastic,” Ontario resident Tina Scarsella said. “Very talented and very entertaining.”
However, the Hip Kitty is so small that some audience members were upset that there was no room to dance to the upbeat music.
“They should have some sort of dance floor,” Ramirez said. “It’s kind of uncomfortable to have to be sitting when your feet are involuntarily dancing along to the music.”
The Catz enjoyed their audience almost as much as the audience enjoyed their performance.
“We love the crowd and the owners are very nice,” Copley said.
“Everyone is so wonderful,” Cross said.
“Seeing that the crowd is actually listening and appreciating motivates us to do more,” Boggio said.
The Catz in the Hatz will play again at the Hip Kitty on May 10.
Maria J. Velasco can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.