Among the many musicians travelling from around the continent to join Pentastic Jazz Festival is Wally’s Warehouse Waifs, whose members will be meet up in Penticton from four different states.
“We’re all constantly working, just not always working together,” said frontman and trumpet player Dave Tatrow.
“There’s a high degree of competence – these guys are professional players and we’ve been together 14 years.”
Albeit in 14 years, the band has never had a rehearsal together.
“We basically go and we play music, and that’s what jazz is. It’s impromptu and about putting things together right on the spot. That’s what makes jazz fun and exciting.”
Tatrow is from a rural town in Michigan, though he said musical tastes aren’t dependant on geography.
“It’s not the particular state you grow up in, it’s the kind of music that you grow up being surrounded by.”
He was raised by a family of musicians, all of whom played banjo.
Tatrow became a banjo player by age seven, and after a few years of being steeped in 1950s pop culture, he decided to take up the trumpet.
One big influence was Louis Armstrong, who he found out about through his sister whose 10 years older than he is.
“Her and I listened to that music all the time and I decided I wanted to play trumpet.”
This will be the first year that Wally’s Warehouse Waifs will be featured at Pentastic, and they are scheduled to perform eight times in the three days.
“We’re not going to be repeating any tunes,” he said. “There’ll be traditional jazz, swing and everything in between. But I don’t really know what we’re going to be playing yet – we try to cater each of our performances to the crowds.”
He said the combined experience of the members allows the band to achieve a dynamic range, including vocalist Theresa Scavarda, who’s capable of performing swing songs, ballets and even songs in different languages.
“She’s a wonderful vocalist. Altogether we’re going to range from ragtime to swing and everything in between.”
The band’s first show of the weekend is at Bourbon Street (in the Penticton Trade and Convention Centre) at 6 p.m. on Sept. 11.
They’ll be at Bourbon Street again on Sept. 12 for two shows at 10:30 a.m. and 7:30 p.m. They perform at the French Quarter (also in the PTCC) at 9 p.m. on Sept. 11 and noon on Sept. 13. They’re scheduled to play Satchmo’s at 1:30 p.m. on Sept. 12, and then at 4:30 p.m. at Speakeasy (SS Sicamous). The Waifs will also be at the Cotton Club (Elks Hall) at 9 a.m. on Sept. 13.