Harry James Angus, the firebrand trumpet-playing vocalist from The Cat Empire, is known both for his thrilling live performances and for his constant musical re-invention.
Stories, little and large, have played a crucial role in musician Harry James Angus’s life. The born-and-bred Melburnian has been telling them, listening to them and reading them his entire life. And when he performs solo, just him and his guitar, he likes to weave his own tales for his audience.
“These little stories have provided me with hours of entertainment, just me in the lounge room. Sometimes my long-suffering wife will patiently listen as I stumble through an idea. But usually it’s just me – laughing at my own jokes, lip trembling at my own tragedies, watching the characters come alive – and the whole story just unfurls, eventually, like a patchwork sail,” Harry said.
For Harry James Angus, music has always been a constant – from his early years as a member of the National Boys’ Choir and forced piano practice as a child, to the day he picked up a trumpet as a young schoolboy (because all of the saxophones were taken) and entered the intoxicating world of jazz.
After immersing himself in performing in various school jazz troupes and sneaking into Melbourne’s best live venues, the era of playing in a café attached to a furniture store for $70-and-free-focaccias in his late teens was swiftly exchanged for rapid success in 2001. It was during that year, some 15 years ago, Harry joined forces with five other jazz mates to create the multi-platinum international touring sensation - The Cat Empire.
A decade on, this sometimes clippered, always-hairy musician is now a husband and father, juggling multiple musical projects.
“This is just a thing that I do every now and then, when the moment is right.” Harry says.
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