He pre-dates Elvis in the music world but Big Jay McNeely still has what it takes to draw a crowd.

The 85-year-old saxophonist and his band promise to live up to their reputation tonight at Fremantle Arts Centre.

They have performed sellout shows across Australia and last weekend wowed the crowd at the Meredith music festival in Victoria, which is renowned for youth-based, guitar-driven acts.

"My first hit record was 1949 . . . but it works because I don't have a playlist," he said. "I play a card to the audience and that's the most important thing, that you get the audience involved."

Into his 70th year of playing saxophone, the Los Angeles musician - who has performed alongside the likes of BB King and Little Richard - is on his second Australian tour in as many years.

Perth-born performer Adam Hall and his band the Velvet Playboys accompany McNeely.

Hall is hoping for better luck during their Perth stint. Last year, his $16,000 custom-made trumpet was stolen from his car in South Perth.

"I got an opportunity to tour with Big Jay in Europe and had to play with my student trumpet because my custom-made horn took nine months to replace," he said.

The West Australian

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