About Wholly Cats Swing Club
Wholly Cats Swing Club are Ambassadors of the Music of The Great Swing Era, specializing in the music of the Benny Goodman Sextet featuring America’s first Guitar Hero, Charlie Christian. They have quickly gained a following as Tucson’s Premier Swing Band and have been performing at several dance and jazz venues in the area while helping give rise to the live local dance scene. They currently are performing a monthly residency at The Century Room, Tucson's World-Class Jazz Club, while continuing performances at other venues and festivals.
The band was formed by Marc Rosen and Tony Spear, whose mutual love of these artists sparked an idea for a dance band with multi-generational appeal. In addition to the songs of Goodman and Christian, their repertoire includes popular classic hits by Duke Ellington, Nat King Cole, Peggy Lee, Louis Armstrong, Louie Prima and even contemporary artists like Tom Waits and Imelda May.
Marc attended the University of Illinois College of Music and performs on clarinet and tenor saxophone. He was the driving creative force of the The Kinda Cool Quintet, inspired by the music of Gerry Mulligan. Previously he was a member of the 10-piece, swing revival band, Big Time Operator, who toured throughout the Southwest. Marc is the musical director of Wholly Cats Swing Club and writes all of the original arrangements for the band.
Tony is a lifelong guitarist and has most recently studied the music of America's original electric guitar hero, Charlie Christian, under world-renowned guitar virtuoso and instructor, Frank Vignola. He has also studied with other world-class jazz musicians including Scott Black, Howard Alden, Sid Jacobs and John Stowell. Tony has previously played with local jazz groups including Susan Artemis and Frim Fram as well as The Red Moon Trio. Tony is the business manager for the band and also produced the band's first album,“Jumpin' and Jivin'”
Singer Chelsee Hicks was born in Tucson, Arizona but grew up in the 1.1 square mile town of Neodesha, Kansas. She returned to the desert and graduated from the University of Arizona summa cum laude. An old soul indeed, Chelsee got her start singing vintage music with The Manhattan Dolls. In addition to performing with Wholly Cats Swing Club she sings regularly with groups such as the popular cover band 80s and Gentlemen and jazz trio Blue Dream.
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What People are Saying…
“…Wholly Cats Swing Club brought us to the elegance of The Cub Room in the 1940s, lights dim and martinis clinking in the shadows…”
- Paul Bowman, Host, The Century Room, Tucson, AZ
“There is nothing like live swing music to get the dancers out on the floor. We can always cound on Wholly Cats Swing Club to keep the house swinging and the dancers dancing.”
- Brian Bell, Past President, Arizona Swing Cats Dance Dance Club
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