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Born in the summer of 2002, in Northern California's Santa Cruz Mountains, and raised in the culturally and geographically diverse coastlands of The Monterey and San Francisco Bay Areas, this unique jazz/ funk quintet captures much of the eclectic nature of its colorful home.

Guitarist/writer Joe Menichetti, drummer Sid Thompson, bassist Scott McKenna, saxophonist Doug Rowan and pianist Jay Jackson have beautifully incorporated elements of jazz, blues, funk, fusion, rock, latin, celtic and more into this spirited project that features all original compositions. All highly regarded and seasoned Bay Area musicians, the members of Catwalk present a well rounded blend of fine skills, strong tunes and arrangements, as well as a good sense of humor. Plus, they all enjoy cantaloupe....
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”Last September, a last minute cancellation at the Monterey Jazz Festival gave local jazz-funk quintet Catwalk the opportunity of a lifetime. “It was an honor,” writer/guitarist Joe Menichetti says of the band’s festival debut. “We were there playing one stage and at the same time in the arena, Dave Brubeck was playing … We felt really fortunate. There are so many great jazz bands that would die to play there.” But humble though Menichetti may be, the band’s lucky break was most likely less kismet and more merit-based. In lieu of the common clutch of careworn jazz standards, Catwalk offers all original compositions, fundamentally written by Menichetti and evolved in rehearsal by the musical prowess of the band’s other members; Scott McKenna (bass), Doug Rowan (sax), Sid Thompson (drums) and Jay Jackson (piano). In 2002, the five men, all seasoned Bay Area musicians and according to Menichetti, all “old friends,” got together to jam and Catwalk was born. The band’s sonic foundation is built on a deep-set groove that prominently features Rowan’s fierce sax. The compositions are innovative and imaginative, and draw from the members’ diverse musical pedigree, which includes rock, Celtic, funk, Latin and blues. But what makes Catwalk’s music consistently accessible is the frequent inclusion of catchy melodic motifs, a possible consequence, says Menichetti, of his past experience writing “pop-oriented” tunes. “With some of my jazz stuff, you know, there are some hooks there.” On maintaining Catwalk as an all-original project, Menichetti describes the process as challenging, but infinitely more rewarding. “It’s a little bit more risky, as far as getting gigs,” he admits. “It’s not as accepted. If no one’s ever heard the music, it requires an open set of ears.” A challenge, perhaps? Be sure to bring your open ears to the Kuumbwa this Thursday. Amanda Martinez - Santa Cruz Good Times Weekly (Aug 29, 2007)

Local funky jazz five-piece Catwalk has gained a certain notoriety in town for its tasty slabs of down- home funk and soulful jazz stylings. Guitarist Joe Menichetti, drummer Sid Thompson, bassist Scott McKenna, saxophonist Doug Rowan and pianist Jay Jackson are Santa Cruz locals to the core, though their vibrant mixture of funk with fusion, Latin jazz, heartland rock and searing blues would be equally at home down in the Big Easy. While groups that try to put so many sources into one hot and spicy jambalaya often ruin the whole pot, Catwalk deftly keeps a reasonable balance, with a wide-reaching sensibility that never gets overly complex or academic. The band's wowed the discerning Monterey Jazz Festival crowd, and its 2006 release, Weather or Not, has earned the group nods in national jazz journals”. - Metro Santa Cruz (Aug 30, 2007)

“California based jazz fusion quintet Catwalk’s new album Weather or Knot melts funk into jazz, blends blues with swing and mixes salsa with soul. The gritty performances wielded by sax-man Doug Rowan, guitarist Joe Menichetti, drummer Sid Thompson, bassist Scott McKenna and keyboardist Jay Jackson set you up for an engaging listen, regardless of the climate......In summary, this album is one I think most jazz lovers will enjoy and appreciate. It is quite evident that these guys are true players, well versed in their craft. Equally obvious is that they have done everything right in demonstrating their diversity in the fusion-laced marketplace...” Gerald H. Beulah, Jr. - Jazz Review.com (Apr 13, 2007)

“BEST LOCAL JAZZ ACT”- Bronze Award - Metro Santa Cruz (Goldies Awards 2007) (Mar 30, 2007)

“Catwalk was well received at the 2006 Monterey Jazz Festival. They performed before an enthuisiastic crowd that was enthralled by the uniquely original compositions of guitarist Joe Menichetti and driven home by the rhythmic power of this first-rate band. Catwalk is the type of group we like to present at Monterey; creative, vibrant and fun”. Tim Jackson - General Manager Monterey Jazz Festival (Dec 7, 2006)

“First impressions: This CD is cooked to perfection by a group of master chefs using all their skill, creativity, and style to transform Joe Menichetti’s stand out recipes into a magnificent feast for your senses. Second impressions: I want more! So, I played it again, and again…

I didn’t know what to expect when I put the CD in my Home Theater system, but once the music started, I couldn’t wipe the smile off my face. As a “hard-core” Fusion fan, it took a moment to realize this more traditional Jazz recording had just blown me away. The compositions are definitely the highlight of the experience, and the band is so “together as one” that listening to this CD makes me wonder why Catwalk isn’t in every record store or on top of the Internet’s Jazz favorite downloads list at iTunes, Msn, and Yahoo. This is one of those CD’s that seems to get better every time you hear it. I should also mention that the production quality is superb and for you Hi-Fi buffs, you’ll really appreciate the mastering.

If Jazz bands were only as good as their financial success, I’d say that Catwalk is playing way beyond their pay grade. The music on WEATHER OR KNOT stands up under the closest scrutiny. There’s something here for every Jazz fan. While it seems today’s music business has painted Jazz , Smooth Jazz, and especially Fusion into a “marketing” corner outside of popular music, that doesn’t mean the music is anything short of spectacular.

Catwalk’s new CD is technically, improvisationally, and spiritually powerful music that’s brimming with joy. The powerful grooves and un-hurried approach gives the music a rich luxurious texture that just makes you feel good. Miles Davis alum Adam Holzman’s credo of “Optimistic Music in the Age of Fear” most appropriately fits the sound of Catwalk’s style.

If you like great instrumental music that sounds good, feels good, with no lack for talent, this is one CD you must own.

If I were a wealthy person, I’d buy it twice, and then one more time, just to be sure I always had a good copy”.

Rick Calic - JAZZ ROCK WORLD (Sep 19, 2006) ”....Monterey upheld its position as one of the world's great jazz festivals, giving those in attendance (numbering over 40,000 this year, the most ever for Monterey) a strong overview of the current jazz scene.........58 separate sets took place on five simultaneously-operating venues, all of which I caught.......CATWALK, a very good quintet, played funky jazz that featured tenor saxophonist Doug Rowan and pianist Jay Jackson.....” Scott Yanow - L.A. JAZZ SCENE (Nov 4, 2006)

“This evening is a celebratory bash for Santa Cruz jazz/funk quintet Catwalk, whose stellar new CD, WEATHER OR KNOT, is packed full of catchy original compositions. Together since 2002, writer/ guitarist Joe Menichetti, pianist Jay Jackson, saxophonist Doug Rowan, bassist Scott Mckenna, and drummer Sid Thompson swing through celtic, funk, blues, latin and jazz, expanding their fan base with every performance. Having scored an appearance at the upcoming Monterey Jazz Festival, Catwalk are clearly poised for big things”. Meribeth Malone - METRO SANTA CRUZ (Aug 30, 2006)

“Got the CD today. Beautifully recorded and produced and everyone's playing is high caliber.....I think people are going to gulp it down like expensive zinfandel at a wine tasting...... I'll be giving Catwalk airplay and will be delving into the tunes more deeply.....” Don Campau - KKUP RADIO (Aug 9, 2006) © 2007 Catwalk

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Featured recording “Weather Or Knot”

Weather Or Knot

(2006)
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