Jazz, funk and a dash of Rudd roots
Celebrated as an energetic festival band, Australian rocksteady jazz group The Cat Empire will head to Margaret River early next month for the first Summer Salt music festival.
Vocalist and trumpeter Harry James Angus spoke with the Times ahead of the band’s gig at 3 Oceans Winery alongside Xavier Rudd.
The man behind The Cat Empire’s iconic calypso-jazz trumpet said the band looked forward to being back in the South West.
“We love playing down that way, and the festival’s double bill with Xavier Rudd is a good fit for us and the crowd,” he said.
“We played at a few festivals with Rudd early this year in Adelaide and Queensland and it was an awesome vibe. I think ourselves and him make for a good combo.”
Formed in 1999, the band’s origins can be traced back to Melbourne-based band Jazz Cat, who later spawned The Cat Empire, which was then a three-piece, with Felix Riebl on percussion and vocals, Ollie McGill on keyboards and Ryan Monro on double bass.
The Cat Empire have since welcomed Angus, Will Hull-Brown and Jamshid Khadiwhala, but remain well known as a fiery mash-up of jazz and funk with a hint of Caribbean mento.
“When we first started playing, we didn’t really have songs,” Angus said. “We mainly had long instrumental sections. It was a lot of music played for crowd reaction and a lot of spontaneous and ad-lib music.
“Our music has consolidated itself into one of its own and I’d probably describe it as ‘world exotic’. We just love making music that people can dance to.”
Without giving too much away, Angus said 2018 would consist of more travel, and potentially new music.
The Cat Empire will co-headline with Xavier Rudd at Summer Salt on Saturday, December 2.
Tickets are available via summersaltmusic.com.au.
The Cat Empire will play at SummerSalt music festival next month.