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“Hot can be cool, and cool can be hot, and each can be both. But hot or cool, man, jazz is jazz.”- Louis Armstrong

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About Us - The Birth of a Jazz Band

by Mike Pittsley, trombonist & co-leader

Mike Pittsley - Bordeaux, France 

People who know me well, know that I'm not a particularly religious person; however, with that being said, I feel strongly that music is the language of God - that there is great joy in this life for those of us who have been blessed with some degree of fluency in that language.

We, as musicians have been chosen to be the blessed recipients of a priceless gift; the ability to bring joy, happiness and enrichment into the lives of others.  Through our music, we can make people smile, laugh and tap their toes.  In short, we feel called to entertain people and help make them forget their problems for a little while.

Every member of the Mission City Hot Rhythm Cats has spent literally decades developing their musical skill.  Individually, we have all spent many, many years playing with some of the best jazz musicians and jazz bands in the world.  In addition, as educators, many of us want to share our knowledge and teach aspiring young players the joy of learning how to play a musical instrument.

So, how did the Mission City Hot Rhythm Cats come into existence?

One evening in late February of 2008, we all had the occasion to be playing on the same gig in what is referred to as a "pick-up" band, an ad hoc group of freelance musicians contracted to perform one particular engagement.  One of us suggested, "Why don't we all put our own band together?"  The seed was planted and it simply grew from there.  We all thought it was a terrific idea, but it was cornetist/clarinetist David Jellema who finally took the first step to get the ball rolling and get the band started.

With this impetus, and my past experience as a bandleader, along with the various marketing skills related to such an endeavor, I went forward to make it official that there's a new jazz band in town, the Mission City Hot Rhythm Cats!

Like the music we play, the Mission City Hot Rhythm Cats is a living, breathing musical entity that is growing and developing all the time.  We're constantly adding to our repertoire of tunes and developing our ability to cover a wide variety of musical genres.

You, our listeners, are an important and integral part of this experience.  We do take requests!  One of my beloved mentors, the legendary trombonist, Abram "Abe" Lincoln, gave me what has turned out to be the most important piece of advice he could have ever given me.

"Play for the people!"

These four words speak volumes to us!  It is what guides us as we perform for our listeners.

Click here to read a review of our December, 2008 concert for the Austin Traditional Jazz Society.