He started by forming a band that combined his interest in traditional jazz, jump blues, rockabilly and punk. The lyrical style was inspired by his love for powerhouse songwriters like Tom Waits, Jacques Brel and Berthold Brecht.
A history buff as well as a music lover, Jake was drawn to the jazz tradition for its passion and sensuality. He lamented the rise of the stuffy ‘jazz intellectual’ and dreamed up a plan to bring jazz back to its streetwise, rough hewn roots. His stage persona evoked strident passion and longing.
- In Jake’s mind, Traditional Jazz, the music once played in whorehouses and opium dens, was the original punk rock. And he was sure that, with the right band, he could inject his music with a strong dose of that gritty, lusty whorehouse jazz, and that anyone with an open mind would surely come to love it. And so it was. In 90’s the Whorehouse Jazz sound of Big Rude Jake and His Gentlemen Players was captured…
- Swing-revivalist impresario Big Rude Jake is a big man, but far from rude.
On Butane Fumes and Bad Cologne, he and his Gentleman Players serve up a smoky and sassy set of neo-swing tunes they proudly claim were recorded “live off the floor, just like the old cats did.” The band’s considerable chops and Jake’s charisma show in the seamless live sound, easily transporting listeners to a dark and swanky after hours club in some big, rude city.
Drawing on several traditions, including jump blues, Dixieland, and Tin Pan Alley, the music dips and dives through 12 lively tracks. Always energetic, and sometimes downright infectious, the musicianship should satisfy any fan of traditional music.
Featuring an overarching, lazy feel with tiptoeing basslines and sliding acoustic guitar, the tunes echo Leon Redbone and lazy Southern afternoons. But the band can definitely swing, as demonstrated on the lively “Blue Jake Jump.”
As the hammy frontman, Big Rude Jake creates larger-than-life tales of woe, seamy streets, and loud characters. Sometimes flexing his brassy baritone, sometimes speaking with a spoken-word drone, he usually operates in contrast to the loose vibes of the music, though he can ease back into that lazy groove, as evidenced by “Summer Haze” and “Three Wishes.” Giving a nod to old-school blues characters, he writes more in the vein of Tom Waits or Nick Cave, creating world-weary, witty characters who can’t resist commenting on the irony of their situations.
Like the best of the neo-swing outfits, Big Rude Jake takes the fine musical traditions of America’s best art form and expands the genre with contemporary lyrics and colorful stories.
- Hilarious, punchy, raw, authentic and sassy. When listening to BRJ you sometimes feel that he should have been born in the 50’s… Great album, great Artist.
- Their most traditional album and a lot of fun… It is produced in a traditional way so the musicians sound like MUSICIANS and no goofy studio tricks or overpowering mixes to drown out the heart and soul of this album. My personal favorite is the infectious “Blue Jake Jump”, a traditional swing song we played at our wedding. They also have a great sense of humor with songs like “Filthy Bastard Cabaret” or “Front Street Belvedere”. And of course the classic all time favorite… “7th Avenue”. If you like neo-swing, rockabilly, this is a must-have album.