If you don’t know much about jazz, you might think it’s boring, old people music, a refined genre that’s good for sipping cognac to but not so good for getting down and dirty on the dance floor. Well, Indianapolis history says different; throughout the great cultural past of Indianapolis, jazz has always been a major factor in Indy‘s ability to have fun. Just look at Indiana Avenue. In the early decades of the century, that Indianapolis cultural district was hopping with jazz masters from all around the Circle City and the United States. Since then, Indianapolis jazz has evolved along lots of different branches, from acid jazz (think In a Silent Way) to lounge jazz to hard bop revival.
|Video of The Twin Cats performing live at the Jazz Kitchen in Indianapolis|
And if you want to have a party in Indianapolis, jazz can still bring down the house: just look at jazz funk quintet The Twin Cats. Founded in 1998 by twin brothers Adam and Seth Catron, The Twin Cats play a funky, groove laced style of jazz that brings to mind 70’s funk bands like Sly and the Family Stone and legendary jam groups like Phish. This ain’t your grandpa’s jazz; this is the sound of classy Indianapolis nightlife. The Indianapolis band consists of five members, a lineup that was finalized in 2004: Adam Catron on drums, Seth Catron on guitar and lead vocals, Nick Gerlach on sax, Phil Geyer on keyboard, and Cameron Reel on bass.
|Video of Indianapolis band The Twin Cats performing “Dax MacCarty’s Magic Elixir” live at The Vogue Theater in Indianapolis|
Throughout their twelve year history, The Twin Cats have evolved from a basic jazz funk group to a blender of seemingly disparate genres, citing progressive rock, electronica, hard rock, and 80’s synth as factors in their music. The Indianapolis music group has so far released two albums, 2008’s United and 2009’s Thick. United was a self-released album that showcased the band’s cohesion and energy, capturing the infectious good feelings that are usually generated by the Indianapolis events they perform at.
|Video of The Twin Cats performing “King Cobra” at The Mousetrap in Indianapolis|
The record was good enough to gain the attention of Owl Studios, an Indianapolis jazz label that also includes plenty of Indy jazz stars like Steve Allee and Rob Dixon. Owl Studios released Thick in 2009; Thick was a step forward for The Twin Cats, further sending the band into prog jazz territory with spiraling solos, rambling bass lines, tight percussion, and digital effects. It was a virtuoso performances that netted them even more recognition among Indianapolis media outlets like NUVO Newsweekly.
|Video interview with the members of The Twin Cats, a jazz funk band based out of Indianapolis|
The Twin Cats have performed all over the six Indianapolis cultural districts, and they’ve definitely gained more of a following over the past two years. The band can primarily be seen in Broad Ripple Village and Mass Ave, though sometimes they venture into downtown Indianapolis; they’re regulars at The Vogue Theater and Birdy’s Bar and Grill, and their status as a jam band makes them a perfect fit for an evening at The Mousetrap, an Indianapolis music venue they’ve played at several times. The Slippery Noodle Inn, The Jazz Kitchen, the Music Mill, and the Chatterbox Jazz Club have also, unsurprisingly, hosted the jazz funk quintet to much acclaim. The band has even played at the Indianapolis Museum of Art.
|Video of Indianapolis jazz funk band The Twin Cats performing “Snow Globe Time Capsule” live at The Mousetrap in Indianapolis|
The Twin Cats represent one facet of the always changing Indianapolis jazz scene. Their groovy, funk laced brand of progressive jazz can get your feet moving; you might even feel inclined to indulge in a little air sax action. This band just keeps getting tighter and tighter; United was a foray into jazz ambition, but Thick took it a step further with more layers, more complex rhythms, and more soul. It’ll be interesting to see what The Twin Cats come up with next; this Indianapolis quintet will likely be socking it in at Indianapolis bars and Indianapolis restaurants for a long time to come.
For more information on The Twin Cats, including tour dates, audio samples, videos, a blog, and much more, visit The Twin Cats’ homepage.
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