Jazz, funk and a dash of Rudd roots

Augusta Margaret River Times - - Time Out Entertainment - Therese Col­man

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.

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