The Cool Cats, a special project of the Weston-based West Virginia Jazz Society (WVJS), will appear in Clarksburg on Saturday, August 27th, at Washington Square for a debut performance from 7 to 10 p.m.
This is the first time a band has been organized by the West Virginia Jazz Society as an “in house” ensemble and booked for a series of performances in different venues over a period of time.
According to Bob Workman, a WVJS board member who is helping to produce The Cool Cats, the nonprofit group always considered the idea of keeping an ensemble together and supporting them as they rehearse and plan.
“Over time, we noticed that certain groups seemed to have a special chemistry that held promise,” said Workman, a business owner and drummer, “and when we asked Seth Maynard, a jazz artist and music producer, to help us put together the group we wanted, he got on board right away.”
The Cool Cats is an organ-based quartet featuring Randraiz Wharton on keyboards, Maynard on guitar and vocals, Kyle Andrews on drums, and Rich Norwood on alto sax.
“This group has that special feeling,” said Maynard in an interview from his Elkins studio. “The audiences seem to pick up on it, and the guys in the band definitely feel it. We need to keep playing together.”
Maynard said The Cool Cats repertoire will include “highly improvised arrangements of jazz standards, funk and soul-jazz pieces”.
An early look at the set list includes a Kyle Andrews tune called “Milk and Honey”, and several more by Maynard. Norwood and Wharton will also contribute original compositions and arrangements. To facilitate guest soloists, the band plans to work up some arrangements for two horns.
In addition to the Clarksburg debut, The Cool Cats are booked to open the Meadowbrook Mall’s holiday festivities on Sunday, November 6th, a private birthday a doctor is giving for his wife in Morgantown’s Hotel Morgan, and as a participating band in the 2016 Holiday Jazz Stroll in Clarksburg on Friday, December 9th.
Reserved seats to the debut performance at Washington Square in Clarksburg are $15. Inquiries about The Cool Cats and reservations to the performances can be made by emailingCats@WVJazzSociety.com or by calling 304-527-9813 or 304-269-3683.