The tale of Jake’s rise to infamy has been told and re-told to the point of becoming mythic. The story goes that, some 20 years ago, Jake was drawn to the Jazz tradition for its passion and sensuality and lamented the rise of the stuffy “jazz intellectual.” He dreamed up a plan to bring Jazz back to its street-wise and rough-hewn roots. Part of this process would require him to develop a stage persona that was evocative of strident passion and longing. In the first few years of his career, he actually avoided playing in jazz venues altogether. Instead, he performed his own jazz and swing compositions in rock venues and blues bars across Canada, where he hoped to find kindred spirits who could appreciate his dream of a “Bawdy House Jazz” revival.
Originally billed as “alternative music,” Jake’s vision caught the attention of media and critics across the country. His independent recordings were sold in the “rock,” “punk” and “alternative” sections in music stores, and he proved that Jazz and Swing, with the right attitude, could have as much street credibility as any rock, soul or hip-hop act in the country.