True Whistler house music 

Downtown Jay Brown & the White Guy born in a Whistler-Blackcomb warehouse

Who: Downtown Jay Brown & the White Guy

When: Thursdays through the ski season

Where: The Shack

Every week through the ski season there’s a venue where you can hear the Bee Gee’s covers – with jazz.

The Shack is bringing Whistler the jazzy-disco set from Downtown Jay Brown & the White Guy every Thursday evening.

"Firstly, being the macho older brother I had to stay one step ahead of my siblings so I learned to play guitar," says Jay Romany, one-third of the band. "Then I ventured from Ontario to Whistler to play music, pure and simple."

A little ingenuity helped get the music started. Using the Whistler-Blackcomb warehouse to jam in his off time, Romany found a bit of an audience. What began as a solo act in the warehouse grew to include Mike Lavoie on guitar. When Romany convinced Lavoie of the powers of audience energy, the White Guy was born.

"As much fun as we were having, I wanted to perform for an audience and show Lavoie (the transformation) he was about to take on," says Romany. "Now Lavoie’s at the confidence level where he assists on vocals.

They began by playing Club Shred events and doing covers at Merlin’s.

Stuck with covers "until we felt we could get away without having a drummer or a bass player," the duo added a third member, Raj Das. Known as The Fresh Rassan Johnny, Das plays double bass for Downtown Jay Brown. He studied at Douglas College and with The Colin Lovell Sextet performed at the Maple Ridge Jazz Festival in 1988, 2000, and 2001.

Now Downtown Jay Brown & the White Guy sing originals, including Charlie Handsome Cat, with some jazz traditions woven through their musical forays.

Discussing the band’s gradual musical evolution, Romany says they "are going to play the most unexpected set lists we can to entertain the people, while we utilize each of our talents to bring us further down the trail."

He says it with a mischievous twinkle you can feel in the text of an extensive band biography Romany has put together, titled Catshop Shuffles.

"Our overall taste in music varies, but that makes for some very interesting creations," says Romany.


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