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Performing Art
Arts and Entertainment Wednesday, Sep. 2, 2009 8 years ago

Folk singer performs satire at sunset

by: Heidi Kurpiela Contributing Writer

Katz, the 60-year-old frontman of the popular blues-influenced ragtime act The Jigsaw Jug Band, was joined by several friends and local musicians for his first performance in three years under Sarasota Sailing Squadron’s idyllic open-air pavilion.

Singer Carolyn Dunn lent her deep vocal harmonies. Dave Buescher played the fiddle, and Susan Gaar, Katz’s girlfriend, played the crowd-pleasing kazoo and washboard.

“The squadron is a beautiful venue with a wonderful stage,” says Katz, who debuted several new songs — in addition to a freshly shorn beard — following performances by Joe Virga, Dennis Brock, Daina Shukis and folk duo Carl Wade and Barbara Shaffer. “I’m very appreciative for the opportunity to play here. The audience that turns out every month for these concerts is very loyal.”

A guitar instructor at Sarasota Military Academy, Katz recently released the album, “K Street,” a parody-laden tribute to the country’s recent infatuations with everything from health food to President Barack Obama.

“My music runs the gamut from folk to ragtime, to blues and ballads,” says Katz, who, despite his semi-autobiographical song, “I Have a Life Outside of Facebook,” has 108 friends on the social networking site.

A musician for 35 years, Katz grew up in New Bedford, Mass., a New England town made famous by Herman Melville’s mythical white whale. It is no coincidence that Katz shares his first name with the novel’s protagonist. He legally changed it to Ishmael more than 20 years ago.

“I’ve been playing for a loooong time,” says Katz. “I have a couple of incarnations. Sometimes I play solo. Sometimes I play with a jug band, and sometimes I just invite my friends to jam with me.”

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