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They have the whole band in his hands and her voice

When Tuck and Patti step out on stage at the Clearwater Jazz Festival, those who don't know them might wonder: "Where's the band?"

Don't worry. Tuck is holding it in his hands, or at least it might seem that way after a while.

When Tuck Andress plays his hollow-body electric guitar, he creates the sounds of jazz musicians playing chords, a base line and the rhythm all at the same time.

Patti Cathcart's contralto voice joins the music with phrasings as diverse as Tuck's abilities on the guitar. At times she'll remind you of Ella Fitzgerald or Sarah Vaughan.

The husband-and-wife duo, married for 11 years, perform their own jazzy interpretations of such tunes as Time After Time by Cyndi Lauper, Castles Made of Sand by Jimi Hendrix and Honey Pie by John Lennon and Paul McCartney.

They've been playing together 13 years. They came together looking to form a band, but discarded the idea of the group when they discovered their own chemistry worked. They began building a career playing nightclubs in the San Francisco bay area over a decade. In recent years, after the release of several albums, the duo have gone on national and international tours.

The couple have played the Clearwater Jazz Festival before and performed at the Tampa Bay Performing Arts Center.

The last time they played the Tampa Bay area in April, they were met by a warm and appreciative audience at the State Theater in St. Petersburg.

They are as engaging as they are skillful.

In a solo performance of Stevie Wonder's, I Wish, Tuck had the audience chuckling over a tale about how hard he had been trying for 10 years to arrange the parts of the song so he could play it. Patti, he said, grew tired of waiting and made him prepare it for their tour, so he did. But he wanted to show the audience how he did it.

He played each part of the song separately _ the melody, harmony, a base line and the rhythm. Then to demonstrate his quandary, he jokingly mashed the parts together and began to play what sounded like a clumsy mixture.

Then it dawned on the audience that Tuck was playing the gag tune with incredible agility and precision. Once the crowd was captivated, he broke out of the caper and began playing a finely tuned version of Wonder's hit song to resounding cheers.

Patti wasn't to be outdone. She sang High Heeled Blues, a song about shopping for shoes that had them laughing so loud you could hardly catch all the lyrics.

When it was over, the crowd rewarded them with a standing ovation.


Tuck and Patti

at 8:45 p.m.