Big Rude Jake
About Big Rude Jake
Like most neo-swing bands who gained a greater measure of commercial popularity in the late 1990s, Ontario's Big Rude Jake and his band had been living the style long before Swingers and Gap commercials. Like the Brian Setzer Orchestra, Cherry Poppin' Daddies, and Big Bad Voodoo Daddy, Jake had been playing small clubs and bars for years, shaking up the swing with jazz, Cajun, rockabilly, and poetry.
Big Rude Jake (frontman, founder, and soul of the band) was a self-styled hepcat and a boisterous and entertaining live performer who espoused the cool cat aura of a true swing man. Hoping to ride the wave of rising Canadian bands in the 1990s, the group cut their first CD, Butane Fumes and Bad Cologne, in 1993 and toured all over Canada on the strength of their live shows. Despite their loyal following and regional notice in the American Midwest with the single "Swing Baby," the band quit the Canadian music business in 1997 and moved to New York, where the band quit on Jake.
With a new set of bandmates and a new record deal, Big Jake continued to tour with neo-swing headliners like Brian Setzer, and released a self-titled album in 1999. Mixing a variety of jazz-influenced styles from jump blues to swing to ragtime, the band boasted a crackerjack set of musicians, including Jake on acoustic guitar. Truly a student of jazz and its related folk and literary traditions, Jake infused his musical creations with vivid stories of imperfect cats and kittens tinged with dark irony, humor, and contemporary heartache. Big Rude Jake (aka Andrew Jacob Hiebert) died on June 16, 2022 from cancer of the bladder. He was 59 years old. ~ Theresa E. LaVeck