There are few originals in the arts as the art form almost always supersedes the individual. I’m music, the early influences that shape a performer are themselves an amalgamation of the ethos personified in the ones who went before. Jake Heibert was and is one of those special cases where the ear worms and status quo of his formative years were a sonic jambalaya of punk, ska, blues, rock and new wave music that challenged the status-quo of the day in the most frenetic manner.
Determined to make a passion into a calling, Jake set about learning the lessons and climbing the steps necessary to turn the melodies in his head and the stories he was writing into something unique but familiar, something personal yet universal. Dedicated and focused, Jake sought out the music teacher who could teach him to play in the style and with the aplomb he required, nothing less would do.
Digging deep into the mystic musical history book, his love of early New Orleans Jazz and the children it fostered became his personal roadmap. Kansas City Jazz Blues, Texas Jump Blues and the slick swing sound so favoured by the greatest generation were mixed with the skank and punk and Detroit muscle and incubated within the smart, restless kid from Southern Ontario to make something pretty great.
Riding crest on the scene in the 90’s, Jake and a whole crew of devotees caught a worldwide rage for all things swing. Form of jazz and blues were lumped in under the umbrella, the new converts unconcerned as long as there was the energy, fashion, passion and verve of sharp dressed men and women showing up and showing off. Big Rude Jake was front and centre in that time, his reach impressive in an era before YouTube and Twitter. People liked what he hid because it was real and it was good.
Times change and music fads come and go. Those who threw themselves at the train in an attempt to ride for free were soon cast aside and forgotten as the last carriages faded into the distance – but not Jake. Because this was who he was, and this was HIS music, the authenticity remained intact and his fans continued to show the love he earned.
You can still catch Big Rude Jake fronting a big splashy band these days but just as often you’ll find him playing solo, stripped down to the parts that are truly important. Yup, these days you can find him at peace with the world, playing what he loves and now living here, the place he needs to be, Hamilton.
Bully for us. HIP HIP HOORAY.