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CAT'S A BEAR [Article by John Biggie]
One other band staffed by members of Tito is Cat's A Bear. It has been described as "an 8-piece band with 2 members", which is essentially correct. Cat's A Bear does all original jazz music, written by Frank Singer (guitar, saxophone, keyboards) and arranged by Joe Dorris (drums). As you might expect, they rely heavily on computer sequencing - but NOT in the manner that technology is normally utilized. Instead of letting the computer do all the work, Frank will play everything in manually, by ear and by feel, bass horns, etc., line by line, so that it doesn't come off artificially. This allows for much more flexibility. Also, the drums are live, which makes an enormous difference in how much in control of the music the musicians are. As Singer put it, "...with electronic drums you never get out of that stiff, repetitious feel. We can change (snap) at a moment's notice and turn it into a different kind of tune - swing in and play it Latin, play it straight - which is what a live drummer does in that situation. So we're free in that respect, because the computer is like a bass player - it's locked into the tunes while we're free to improvise."
The result of all this effort is a refreshing new sound that is both diverse and intense while remaining focused...and always, as clean as you could imagine. Frank Singer, whose work has been compared to that of George Benson and Larry Coryell, easily comes across as the consummate musician that he is; Joe Dorris's clever arrangements, combined with his authoritative performance on drums, show the character and style of a dedicated professional. Together, they're nothing less than impressive - a joy to watch as well as to listen to.
Cat's A Bear performs live at Smuggler's Wharf on the 4th Friday of every month.
Currently Erie... Oct/Nov 1991 issue [ top ] [ press page ]