Gavin plays trumpet and cornet, writes songs and creates arrangements for the band. Brought up in Portland, Oregon, he studied music from old-school horn players who showed him how American music was made in the first part of last century. They had worked in live radio orchestras and in the bands of people like Glenn Miller and Tex Beneke. It became Gavin’s task to reconcile this early training with the newer sounds he enjoyed elsewhere. Along the way, he discovered beauty in many of the musical elements others had discarded in the name of progress. So, he chose the earlier music of the 1920’s when, in 1999, he began work in ernest on the material for the Shanghai Woolies.
The vocalist and songwriter, Mel (Melanie) Kubik, is the centerpiece of every performance. Her early training in music (classical piano at age 3, saxophone at 9) and her experience in traditional jazz (Timbuktu + 5) and pop rock (Quarterflash) combined with her Bohemian lineage and down-home Kansas upbringing has resulted in a voice and style that has won the singer/songwriter rave reviews from critics throughout the US and Canada. (The Oregonian, Victory Review, Willamette Week, Two Louis Magazine, The Review, OMGuide… )
On April 17, 2004, the band released their debut CD, Jungle Nights, to an enthusiastic house at the Aladdin Theater in Portland, Oregon. National Public Radio later put the third track, Concerto for Trumpet, on their Open Mic web site where the public voted and gave it one of the very highest ratings ever.
The band has performed at festivals and in venues of all types and sizes throughout the Pacific Northwest, including Cycle Oregon, The Crystal Ballroom, Dante’s and The Viscount Ballroom. Their recordings have appeared on OPB Radio and they’ve performed live on KMHD Radio’s “Homegrown Jazz.”