Gwen Hughes has made a huge impression on Atlanta's jazz scene, so much so that she has been written about in This Joint Is Jumpin', a non-fiction book about swing, as well as in a work of fiction, the mystery novel Dancing Made Easy by Phillip DePoy, part of his Flap Tucker series. Her Touch of Life album was singled out for merit by the Grammy Awards for Best Jazz Performance and Best Jazz Female Recording. Not too shabby for someone who started out not as a jazz vocalist, but as a singer in a rock & roll band. She even put in time delivering show tunes and acting. But when she discovered the complexities of jazz, she was hooked. Hughes molded herself into a song stylist and followed in the footsteps of such artists as Peggy Lee and Frank Sinatra and one of her inspirations is Ella Fitzgerald. She fronts a band named the Retro Jazz Kats. Members are drummer Forrest Robinson; bassist Neal Starkey; guitarist Steve Cunningham; saxophonists Sam Skelton, John Freeman, and Nick Longo; trombonists Adam Mewherter and Bob Lewis; trumpeters Joe Gransden and Ken Gregory; and pianists Bill Anschell, Arthur Turner, Bob Cardone, and Bill Wilson.
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