Jazz singer Roger Cairns has enjoyed success over the years by incorporating influences from all over the musical map into his own unique vocal style. You can get a taste of it tonight when the Roger Cairns Combo plays at Café 322 in Sierra Madre.
Cairns hails from Scotland, where he began singing at a very early age. His first gig came at the age of 3, singing at his aunt’s wedding. By the time he was 9, he loved music so much that he’d already decided to make singing his vocation. When he was 12 years old, he won the Robert Burns Prize for excellence in singing Scottish songs.
In his teens, he developed a fascination with the technical aspects of singing and an appreciation of a wide range of artists.
Initially pushed into the coal-mining trade by his family, Cairns rebelled and instead played and recorded in Europe with a variety of bands starting in the 1960s, performing blues, jazz-rock, swing, ballads, R&B and fusion. With each passing year, the accolades kept coming. He took influences from an eclectic array of performers, including Ray Charles, Mel Tormé, David Clayton-Thomas, Steve Winwood and Vic Damone.
After moving to the United States in the early ’90s, he landed a gig with the 20-piece Dirk Fischer Big Band, with whom he’s worked ever since. In 2004, he launched his own, five-piece combo, which he’ll perform with tonight. Their repertoire includes lesser-known material from the likes of Duke Ellington, Shirley Horn, Leonard Bernstein and Peggy Lee.
Cairns is backed by pianist/arranger Gary Fukushima, Javier Vergara on tenor sax, J.P. Maramba on upright bass and Ryan Doyle on drums. His latest CD, “A Scot in LA,” is available on cdbaby.com. To learn more about Cairns, visit www.rogercairns.com.