Wolf von Waldow has lost count of how many bands he’s played in.
Thirty? Forty? Maybe.
But there’s one thing he’s sure of: Playing sax with Sarnia’s “rockified” jazz band The Fat Catz is among the best musical experiences he’s had.
“This is one of my favourites,” says von Waldow. “These guys are all professional players. They’ve played in a lot of other bands and they’ve taught others. They know what they’re doing.”
It was von Waldow’s idea to get the band together about a year ago.
The four of them – Roberto Gismondi on guitar; Dan Martin on bass; Chris Reid on drums and won Waldow on sax – played regularly as The Fat Catz six years ago when Two Amigos bar hosted jazz matinees.
They knew one another from The Music Box, a studio on Murphy Road owned by Gismondi where they all taught at one time or another.
But they soon scattered and it wasn’t until von Waldow called that they got back together in 2016.
“I really wanted to do an original project, something entirely instrumental,” he said.
The Fat Catz specialize in jazz fusion, taking classic jazz standards like All Blues by Miles Davis or Mr. P.C. by John Coltrane and adding a big rock attitude. The idea is to reach a wider audience, said von Waldow.
“I called the best jazz players I know and started working on original material.
“Our goal is to do one or two gigs a month and release an album, then see how much radio time we can get.
“Really, we just hope that people like us and listen to our music.”
The Fat Catz started playing out about five months ago and have a show this weekend at The Refined Fool on Davis Street.
They’ve performed at The Refined Fool before and packed the house, says von Waldow.
“We opened for a Toronto band and it was a great venue,” he said. “But it’s a small space and the sax has to be a little quiet.
“They don’t turn up my microphone much,” he laughed.
This time, The Fat Catz are the main attraction and will play three 45-minute sets.
IF YOU GO:
WHAT: A night of jazz rock fusion with Sarnia’s Fat Catz.
WHERE: The Refined Fool, 137 Davis St.
WHEN: Saturday, Jan. 14. Starts at 9:30 p.m.
TICKETS: No cover.
The Arts Journal is about what makes Sarnia tick culturally. Send your ideas to Cathy at [email protected] or call 226-932-0985.