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jenny detra: The Blue Cats

The Blue Cats

The Blue Cats

Jenny Detra's tight back up band, The Blue Cats are worth hearing in their own right. Comprised of seasoned, versatile players The Blue Cats jazz standards alternate from smooth to swing.  If some upbeat booty shakin' is required, The Blue Cats can kick some serious butt.  On bass is Jim Keefer. Wichita locals know Jim as one of the best bass players in town and may remember Jim's band Keefer Madness. Jim has the ability to turn a bass, usually relegated to rhythm status into a solo instrument.  On keyboards is Tom Szambecki who is also an alumni of Keefer Madness, as well as the band "Built For Comfort". Tom alternately tickles and tears up the keys with finesse as well as passion. His playing is a blast to experience. Last, but certainly not least, holding it all together is Corey Rolfe on the drums. Corey wields the brushes as well as the sticks with equal skill, all the while keeping it in the pocket. He is an extremely tasteful, sensitive player who understands the use of dynamics and can "stir the soup" one song and rock out on the next.

Jim Keefer - Bass

keefer.jpgOkay, a bio. Hmmm. What do i say about myself. Thought I was going to be a drummer, but when it was time for my parents to buy me an instrument, I decided on the trombone. By the 7th grade I started to play the baritone horn and from that grade on through high school and my short career in college, won many awards for my performance on the euphonium (tenor tuba).

In the eighth grade, my band instructor was starting up a jazz band to meet every thursday morning at 7 a.m. and he needed an upright bass player - "hey Keefer, would you play bass for us? The upright bass and euphonium read in the same register." I thought, "Sure, why not." He taught me the B flat scale on the upright bass and have been self taught from that point on.

 

I failed out of college while going to K-State during the VietNam conflict,. Of course that was not a good thing. I went immediately to the duty station in Fort Riley Kansas and auditioned on euphonium. They accepted me and sent me to the School of Music in Norfolk, Virginia. There they found out I also played upright bass. So I spent the rest of my career in the Army playing for USO and Special Services on upright and Fender electric bass.

 

After the Army I returned to Kansas and have been playing bass, (Fender, six string, electric upright and acoustic upright) ever since. Thank you.

 

After almost fifty years on upright bass and forty years on electric bass I have been working as a freelancer for the last 16 years in rock, blues, jazz, folk. recording and live performances. Oh yeah, I did bass work for K-Tel production providing bass lines for "Best of the Fifties" and "Best of the Sixties", sold on late night tv in the seventies.

 

I feel privileged to have been a part of the Wichita music scene for over 25 years.

Corey S. Rolfe - Drums

coreyshowdown.jpgCorey Rolfe discovered his musical gift early. Born to a professional musician/singer, Dwight Rolfe, Corey began playing drums at the age of two. After receiving his first drum set at the age of 4, Corey found he had to play to satisfy his musical hunger. Corey's Dad pushed him hard to practice and while the neighborhood kids were out playing, Corey was in the basement practicing on his drums. At the age of seven, Corey received his first Pearl drum set.

 

Coreys first musical venture was playing in church and since has performed with many major artists including gospel legends, the late Rev. James Moore, Tremaine Hawkins, Douglas Miller, Darryl Coley, Vashawn Mitchell and many others. Corey was the band director for numerous stage plays and most recently served as band director and traveled with the stage play, “The Melba Moore Story”, featuring the great Melba Moore and other artists from the Temptations and the R&B group “Silk”. Corey also performed on the 2008 “Mary Mary” tour.

 

Corey is currently owner of the Mixdown Studio's in Wichita, Kansas and is producing many up and coming artists of all genre's.

 

Tom Szambecki - Keyboards

tomjerrys_cropped.jpgTom's first gig was a solo evening at the Candle Club in Wichita, Kansas at the age of 14 in 1966. He earned a free meal. The next musical moment was 5 years later at the Wichita Club on top of the City of Wichita for $125.00 a
week where he was fired for playing too loud and not wearing shoes with his tux. The next gig was in the house band at the Fireside Club for Dan Daniels. Six nights a week on popcorn, bourbon and Tombstone Pizza.

It was time for a change when Pat McJimsey was putting a new band together and Tom was the piano player along with Pat, an organist, guitarist, bass and drums. This short-lived experience was called “Danny Donut and the Holes.” The best of this band was playing in Dallas at the Mother Blues Club and living for a
week over Freddie King's manager's transmission shop with the entire band and assorted girlfriends in one room. All the Pearl beer you could drink and it was air conditioned.

Then it was on to backing Craig Steward's Off The Wall band in the late 70's just before his time in LA. Craig left, but the blues were there like a hellhound in the form of “Off the Wall”, moving into “Built for Comfort”, and finally into “Keefer Madness”. The Madness was the first real recording experience. The recording landed a gig in Memphis at BB King's Club and a spot on NPR's Blues Stage opposite the Memphis Horns.

The career intentionally ended for 10 years or so until the irresistible call from Jenny Detra came. Tom needed some extra money and she looked like a winning filly.