alibi online
Free Will AstrologyAlibi's Personals

Flyer on the Web Post yours here
See more flyers here

LABOR DAY FESTIVAL
LABOR DAY FESTIVAL
9.1.2014
3 BAD JACKS
3 BAD JACKS
9.4.2014
Kombat Kitty rocks!
Kombat Kitty rocks!
9.5.2014
Brazilian Independence da
Brazilian Independence da
9.5.2014
Brazilian Independence da
Brazilian Independence da
9.5.2014
Animales Animados
Animales Animados
9.7.2014
 
 
 V.16 No.28 | July 12 - 18, 2007 

Jazzed

Alpha Cats Take a Playful Swipe at Swing

Hissing and purring, Lewis Winn brings two-guitar quartet to Albuquerque museum

Alpha Cats and archtops
Anne Hayunga
Alpha Cats and archtops

It didn't take long for guitarist Lewis Winn to realize that Somebody wanted him to swing.

First, he ran across an old guitar-playing buddy, George Langston. The two of them had been invited by bassist Susan Hyde Holmes to join her all-star jam at Santa Fe's GiG. Playing acoustic rhythm that night behind Langston’s Telecaster lead, Winn decided, “I want to be in a band with that guy.”

That sounded good to Langston.

The two of them had a Jerry Reed twangy twin guitar thing in mind, and who better for bass than Ms. Holmes? A founding member of that sassy cowgirl group The Buckarettes, she’s comfortable with just about anything from C&W to punk.

“Hell, yes, I am so down for that!” was her response, Winn recalls, and the Alpha Cats were born.

Everybody started bringing material to rehearsals. “We all kind of gravitated to older swing tunes,” he says. “George and Susan had never done any jazz, so I sort of fell into the role of leader.”

Then the phone rang.

“Joey Bradley called me out of the blue,” says Winn. The singer had an Eastman archtop guitar, a jazz player’s dreama high-quality, handmade instrument with a fat jazz tone and great feel, economically priced because it’s made in China.

Even at a nice price, it was too much for Winn, who’s been “fighting the inevitable descent into abject poverty.”

Then Bradley landed what Winn calls the “killer blow”“I had a vision of you playing one of these things.”

Winn maintains a healthy skepticism, but Bradley, he says, has “got the mojo, so I had to take it seriously.”

A few days later, Winn was playing a Saturday night gig at Bumble Bee’s when Bradley brought the guitar in. “He opened it up, and the angels were singing,” says Winn. “I played it and it was just perfect.” But still too expensive.

The next night, guitarist Bill West showed up at the Sunday night jam at Seasons, where Winn was playing bass. Out of the blue he says, “Yeah, I got this Eastman I’m trying to sell.”

“It freaked me out so much I didn’t even say anything to him,” says Winn.

Several days later, he called West and the two arranged a deal that allowed Winn to get a beautiful sunburst Eastman archtop and delay abject poverty a little longer.

It just so happened that night was the Alpha Cats’ very first gigand the archtop’s professional debut. Which is how the Alpha Cats got way into the archtop swing thing.

“It all seemed so guided,” says Winn.

Langston, you see, has an archtop, too, and when the two of them are playing those guitars together, “It’s just so satisfying. Sweet and old-school,” says Winn.

Langston and Winn still take out their Fenders when they’re feeling a bit rowdier. Winn relishes Langston’s work on the Fender: “He’s just a Tele god. He’s got all that pseudo-steely country twangy stuff that I love.”

On bass, Holmes brings a sweeping knowledge of musical styles and a rollicking good time. She’s played with Jon Gagan, Joey Bradley, John Egenes, among others, and for years she worked as a bassist and backing vocalist for Bill and Bonnie Hearne. Cal Haines, recently returned to New Mexico after a stay in California, holds down the drum stool. His credits stretch from Diahann Carroll, Rich Little and Bob Hope to Charlie Rich, Al Green and Clark Terry.

With their breadth of experience, the group is as likely to pull out a jazz standard as an original, and they’ve got Western swing, blues, bossas and ballads in their bag, too.

The bottom line for Winn is having a good time. He can do without the solemn reverence that some bring to a jazz performance. “We take a more playful swipe at the music,” he says.

The Alpha Cats and Avatar, featuring Michael Herndon, appear in the New Mexico Jazz Workshop’s Jazz and Blues Series at the Albuquerque Museum amphitheater on Saturday, July 14, at 7 p.m. Doors open at 6:30 p.m. Tickets $12, $10 seniors (60+) and students with ID, $9 NMJW and Albuquerque Museum members, children under 12 free. Tickets at the door or in advance by calling 255-9798.

 
Join our mailing list for exclusive info, the week's events and free stuff!
 

  • Select sidebar boxes to add below. You can also click and drag to rearrange the boxes; close using the little X icons on each box. To re-add a box you closed, return to this menu.
  • Because you are not logged in, any changes you make to these boxes will vanish as soon as you click to another page. If you log in, the boxes will stick.
  • alibi.com
  • Latest Posts
  • Web Exclusives
  • Recent Rocksquawk Discussions
  • Recent Classifieds
  • Latest User Posts
  • Most Active Users
  • Most Active Stories
  • Calendar Comments
  • Upcoming Alibi Picks
  • Albuquerque
  • Duke City Fix
  • Albuquerque Beer Scene
  • What's Wrong With This Picture?
  • Reddit Albuquerque
  • ABQ Journal Metro
  • ABQrising
  • ABQ Journal Latest News
  • Del.icio.us Albuquerque
  • NM and the West
  • New Mexico FBIHOP
  • Democracy for New Mexico
  • Only in New Mexico
  • Mario Burgos
  • Democracy for New Mexico
  • High Country News
  • El Grito
  • NM Politics with Joe Monahan
  • Stephen W. Terrell's Web Log
  • The Net Is Vast and Infinite
  • Slashdot
  • Freedom to Tinker
  • Is there a feed that should be on this list? Tell us about it.
    LABOR DAY FESTIVAL
    LABOR DAY FESTIVAL9.1.2014