Hector Ward & The Big Time is an original 8 piece band saturated in Rock, Blues, Funk/Ska and Afro-Cuban Roots. The Big Time commands many genres and Ward uniquely infuses his Cuban Heritage into the Bands sound. Based in Austin, Texas members include: Ward on Guitar and Vocals, Mike McGurk on Drums, Scott “Beardmo” Beardsley on Bass and Shane Keenan on Guitar. The horn line, known for enthusiastically leaving the stage and taking the music into the audience, includes Joseph Morrow on trumpet, Colin Houllihan on Tenor Saxophone and Ben Taylor on Trombone.
FLYJACK got its start in 2007 playing a weekly residency at TC’s Lounge on Austin’s deep eastside – a dilapidated but much-loved holdover from Austin’s “chitlin’ circuit” days. In 2008, the band initiated a funk/soul series called “Superfly Soul Party” – featuring other like-minded groups, performing at the Victory Grill and other establishments in and around Austin. In April 2008, FLYJACK moved their residency to Antone’s – Austin’s Home of the Blues – initiating the successful “SuperSoul Mondays.”
In 2008, FLYJACK’s deep-funk single “Black Water Gold” was featured on the tastemaking Craig Charles Funk & Soul Show on the BBC in the UK – gaining the ear of several influential DJs and musicians in the UK deep soul scene, including DJ Snowboy, who introduced the group to Hammondbeat Records. Later that year, the group performed at the ASPEN-SNOWMASS JAZZ FESTIVAL with Widespread Panic and the New Mastersounds. More recently, the group has shared the stage with DJ Numark (of Jurassic 5), Dirty Dozen Brass Band, Stanton Moore, Marc Broussard, The Scabs, Honey Island Swamp Band, New Mastersounds and Brownout.
In 2010, FLYJACK released its second EP “On The One” on Portland, Oregon-based label Hammondbeat Records. The platter features legendary James Brown drummer Jab’o Starks on the tubs; Paolo “Apollo” Negri from Milan, Italy on keyboards; and Austin chanteuse Tameca Jones on vocals.
On March 31, 2017, Flyjack released its third record, “New Day” – a love letter to late 60’s/early 70’s underground soul and funk. The record was painstakingly assembled at guitarist Buck McKinney’s Rocky Coast Studio, and features seven carefully curated underground rare groove classics – including crate digger’s gold “It’s a New Day” – originally recorded by the Skull Snaps and released in 1973 on the tiny GSF label. The remaining five tracks on the album are Flyjack originals, including the propulsive “Motherlode” – featuring the Hellfire Horns, Grupo Fantasma alum Rudy Canales on congas, and a honking, gut-bucket saxophone solo by Topaz McGarrigle (Golden Dawn Arkestra).
In January, 2020, Flyjack released its fourth record “Soul Catcher” to rave reviews, picking up a nomination for best album in the funk/fusion/jam category of the 18th Annual International Music Awards. The album features nine originals and two covers of the rare-groove tracks “Funky to the Bone” by Freddi Henchi and the Soulsetters, and “Damn Right I Am Somebody” by Fred Wesley and James Brown, and may be Flyjack’s most fully-realized funk statement to date.
On September 1, 2021, Flyjack released its latest and most ambitious album to date, “Pan Am,” featuring 8 instrumental originals and a cover of soul jazz classic “Dig On It,” by Jimmy McGriff––all recorded while the band was on hiatus during the Covid pandemic. Pan Am marks the beginning of Flyjack’s label affiliation with Austin/UK independent Big Indie Records.
Flyjack’s founding members – guitarist Buck McKinney and bassist Brad Bradburn – hail from the groundbreaking Austin alternative-jazz group Gnappy, which released 3 well-received albums between 2001 and 2006, and was featured in the 2003 book “Jambands” by Dean Budnick. Flyjack’s current line-up is rounded out by David Hunter Thacker (Keyboards), Jose Guitierrez (Drums), John Voss (Percussion), Paulo Santos (Sax), Mike Shields (Trumpet), Liam Lord (Trumpet) and Will Wright (Trombone).