Saturday, 3 March 2018

Big Band Night Out

The Stray Katz have played once a month at Grappa's for over 15 years
The other day my inbox had an email about a local big band called The Stray Katz who would be disbanding after 27 years and this Saturday night would be their second last performance -- the last one is April 7.

I told my colleague about it and he brought his girlfriend along and we had dinner and a show at Grappa's Cellar in the basement of Jardine House in Central.

I don't usually go out Saturday nights -- usually having dinner with my relatives, but it's good to know Grappa's Cellar has some fun events from bands to solo artists to comedians who come through.

The Stray Katz is a rag-tag group, most averaging mid to late 50s, some Caucasian, some Filipino, some Chinese, playing trumpet, trombone, saxophone, drums, electric guitar and keyboard.

On the whole they were pretty good, playing everything from Dixieland to Frank Sinatra to Stevie Wonder to even their rendition of Spiderman. One singer sounded very much like Frank with the same phrasing, though on one song he lost track of the words and apologized! No need, he had a suave voice singing Fly Me to the Moon and Under My Skin, unlike another guy who didn't have the smooth touch so it sounded more like bad karaoke.

During a break I saw JR Robertson, the owner of Grappa's and he said the band leader of The Stray Katz wasn't there tonight because he arrived so drunk that they had to send him back home to Lantau in a taxi. Does this happen on a regular basis?

Robertson is disappointed The Stray Katz is disbanding because the band leader doesn't want to do it anymore, but Robertson has already talked to some of the band members about possibly continuing again. He explained the group meets up every week to practice, and some have day jobs.

It was a good night out, though the food was hit and miss. The bruschetta was OK, the deep-fried green olives were massive and filled with chopped pork inside, while the calamari was disappointing, flat in flavour.

The margherita pizza was massive -- a long rectangular pizza with around a dozen pieces on it, the taste improved with a tiny sprinkling of chili flakes.

Good thing we didn't order mains -- I would have been too full.

It was a fun evening bopping to the music, watching swing dancers on the floor -- including a guy in a turban dancing with a Chinese guy -- and having hilarious conversation threaded throughout.

Grappa's Cellar
Basement, Jardine House
1 Connaught Place
2521 2322

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