Mike Sasena began playing trumpet 20 years ago and hasn't looked back since. During his 4 years at Notre Dame he played with the Band of the Fighting Irish, but let's not fault him for that. He has also played in orchestral groups, including L'Harmonie Municipale d'Angers, in France. Thanks to Mike's love of swing music and the Ann Arbor swing dance scene, he helped form The J-Cats in 1998. In addition to his slick trumpet playing skills, Mike writes and arranges original music for the group and can also be cajoled into showing off his vocal talents from time to time.
Ivan Navedo is a recent transplant to Ann Arbor having lived in Japan, New York, and most recently, Massachusetts. The eldest of three saxophone playing children, it's fair to say Ivan's been playing with a horn section for most of his life. While in High School he played Baritone in the Massachusetts All State Jazz Band, was chosen as most outstanding soloist at the 2003 Festivals of Music in VA and was part of the Foxborough Jazz band, awarded second place in Lincoln Center's ninth annual Essentially Ellington HS Jazz Band Competition, giving Ivan the unique opportunity to play alongside the legendary Wynton Marsalis. Ivan also plays Tenor sax and clarinet. He has taught privately for two years, has had all of his vaccinations, and is currently studying music education at the University of Michigan.
Rob Felty's love for the drums started at a very early age. He began studying percussion formally at 12 under the tutelage of Larry Fratangelo. At age 14 he began teaching private lessons himself, and performing with various groups. In 1995 he played tenors in the Division II World Champion Drum & Bugle Corps, Pioneer. He was the recipient of a Hill Music Scholarship from Grinnell College in 1997, where he studied with Mark Dorr. While at Grinnell he performed regularly with the Jazz Band, Percussion Ensemble, and several independent groups, including Orpheus, a jazz combo, and Urban Love Child, a funk group. He joined The J-Cats in January 2003.
Mark Newman played his first professional jazz gigs as a teenager and joined his first swing band in 1989. He has worked extensively with Diana Leigh's Crazy Rhythm, for two years with alto player John Slate of the Ray Charles band, and briefly with Stacey Kent. He also held a part-time position as musician/beach-bum on the Caribbean island of Aruba for four years in the nineties. He moved to Ann Arbor in 2002 and has been playing with the J-Cats since 2004. As well as playing guitar he has been known to sit in on piano and sing occasionally.
William van Kampen, "The Sweet Potato" The bassist is often tha backbone of a band, n he is no exception. Wizzle manages ta hold everyth'n togetha wit his unusually dexterous style of Perpetratin' bass, while simultaneously sing'n back'n vocals an hittin that booty. In his past musical lives, Wizzle has played tha electric bass in several groups steppin' up wit The Dopes n tha legendary Aluminum Canfreaks.
Carrie Ferrario has always loved singing and has performed with a wide variety of ensembles from an early age. As an undergrad at Indiana University she performed with several orchestral and chamber ensembles as well as the band Y.O.U, but most enjoyed the time she spent singing Gospel music with the IU Chorale Ensemble. More recently, she has made guest appearances in Ann Arbor with Laith Al Saadi. Carrie joined the Cats in the summer of 2002 and moonlights as a graduate student at The University of Michigan.
Jeff Balcerski is also a founding member of this fine organization. Besides playing with the Cats, he also played with the University of Michigan Marching band from 1993-1997, the U-M Men's Basketball Band from 1993-1998, the U-M Hockey Band from 1997-1998, and the U-M Campus Band from 1994-1996. He also helped found the Michigan Pops Orchestra in 1996. His other interests include computers, Physics, Geology and working as a paramedic
Paul Forti, trumpet: 1998 - 1999
Hyatt Ford, vocals: 1998 - 2000
Markus Nee, bass: 1998 - 2000
Scott Iekel-Johnson, tenor saxophone: 1998 - 2001
Jeremy Welland, drums: 1998 - 2003
Mark Stock, guitar: 1998 - 2003
Joe Mancuso, vocals: 1998 - 2003
David Greene, piano and trumpet: 1998 - 2003
Dylan Clyne, vocals: 1998 - 2004
Chris Milas, vocals: 1998 - 2004
Pete Klimecky, bass: 2000 - 2003
Debbie Schooler, vocals: 2000 - 2004
Brody DeYoung, tenor and alto saxophone: 2001 - 2005
Eric Lofstrom, piano: 2003 - 2005
Josh Bueller, vocals: 2003 - 2005