Our Story

 

 

Our Story 

Kitty and The Katz have been delighting audiences with their signature swingingbluesyjazz for the past several years. They have produced a video of their original song, "Where's That Cat?”; performed at the 2016, 2018, and 2019 Halifax Jazz Festivals and were featured performers at the HJF 2017 and 2018 “Swing Into the Holidays Concerts”; recorded a live video performance that you can find on our YouTube channel; and continue to perform at various venues and events in and around Halifax. 

Joyously versatile lead singer Kitty Farmer; bandleader and accomplished pianist Gordon Fader; well known and uber-talented drummer/ vocalist Dave Skinner; Sax King George Ewanick: and multi-talented bass man Mike Lee, combine their talent, comradery, and love of music to perform their signature “SwinginBluesyJazz” stylings of songs you know and love. 

Their first full-length CD, Kitty and The Katz Swinging The Songbook, recorded live at Media Works/Studio East, is available now! Send us an email at kittyandthekatz@gmail.com and we’ll make sure you find your own copy. 

Thelma “Kitty” Farmer- Lead Vocalist 

Born in Cape Breton and singing ever since, Kitty is thrilled to be playing with The Katz as they develop and expand upon the Swinging Jazz musical stylings of the group from which Kitty and The Katz evolved; Jack’s Cats. Trained at Dalhousie and The National Theater School, Kitty has extensive performance experience in Toronto, Montreal and Ottawa, ranging from musical theatre, to voicing principal roles in animated television series and national and international radio and television advertising campaigns; as well as being a singer/songwriter, jingle singer and studio session singer. Her Soundcloud profile can be found here: https://soundcloud.com/thelma-farmer 
Since returning to Halifax, in addition to performing with The Katz; Kitty has performed in radio and television ads, developed and delivered voice-over workshops for Actra Maritimes and is producing a CD of original songs for children. Kitty considers the opportunity to interpret and perform the wonderful classic Jazz repertoire with this extraordinary group of musicians as the highlight of her singing career and is eagerly looking forward to recording, performing, and bringing joyous jazzy music to audiences of all ages. 

Gordon Fader - Band Leader/Pianist 

Gordon Fader has had a long and varied musical career in Halifax. Classically trained, he has enjoyed a busy musical life playing regularly with Davy Wells and the Four Winds that led to CBC productions, backing Ann Murray, the house band at the Forces Fleet Club Atlantic, and the production of an album. This was followed by a period of playing with some of Halifax’s big bands at many venues such as the Noon and Night Watch atop Chateau Halifax, the Eddie Richards Orchestra, The Continentals with Erno Reti, John Alphonse big band, Dave Woods Orchestra, to name a few. Gigs got more serious with a long-term engagement at the Privateers Middle Deck with Bucky Adams and Basin Street in the mid-70s and the production of a successful album. 
 In the late 1970s, he became the organist for the Halifax Metro Centre playing for the American Hockey League. He also played with a variety of bands in most clubs and dance halls in Halifax. In 2004 Gordon joined the band “The New Basin Street” playing many engagements including the Halifax Jazz Festival. In addition to performing with Kitty and the Katz, Gordon who is also a professional Marine Geologist, has recently co-authored “The Oak Island Mystery Solved”, a fascinating exploration of the Oak Island mystery, published by Nimbus. 
  
Mike Lee – Bass 

Mike Lee grew up in Fredericton where he cut his teeth playing rock and country music while studying mathematics. He spent the next 20 years in Ontario, becoming a biophysicist and professor at the University of Toronto while building deep experience in musical theatre, big band jazz, and music arranging with a special interest in vocal jazz. Mike came to Halifax in 1995 where he founded the School of Biomedical Engineering at Dalhousie University. As he approaches 50 years as a performing bassist, Mike's busier than ever in music. He can be heard with many ensembles around Halifax and appears regularly with the Chalmers Doane Trio, the Chebucto Big Band, blues/jazz harpist Andrew Gillis, his rock cover band Event Horizon, the pit band at the Halifax Grammar School--and of course with Kitty and The Katz. 

Dave Skinner - Percussion and Vocals 

Dave skinner was born and raised in Halifax and was nurtured by his father's 78 collection of Harry James and Tommy Dorsey. He started in soul groups and variety groups playing everything from the Monkeys to James brown. Blues and Swing’s siren call brought Dave to make music with the Mason-Chapman Band, Charlie A’ Court and the Tritones. Dave was also a featured member of Ced, Marty, and Dave, an ECMA winning blues group much-loved all-over Nova Scotia, and is a founding performer with Moja Makani, specializing in African and Caribbean music, the group aims to promote cultural diversity through a mix of original compositions inspired by these cultures as well as music from other regions. Dave is the driving force behind the band with his uncanny timing and great sense of swing. And don’t forget his fabulous voice and harmony skills that he employs on a regular basis. 

George Ewanick – Tenor Sax 

George is one of Halifax’s best-kept secrets. Born into a musical family; his dad played with Moxie Whitney and Frank Bogart in Toronto for a total of 60 years; George was 14 when he started on the Tenor sax and moved to playing Jewish and Ukrainian weddings at the age of 17 in Toronto. He then moved to Nova Scotia and played with many top 40 bands but was drawn to the lush life of the ballads. Listening to George and his jazz phrasing brings back many memories of sax greats and one can often hear some of those wonderful lines of the “Halifax Sound” made famous by Bucky Adams. George’s virtuosity is at home with Kitty and the Katz and he is looking forward to many years of swinging gigs.