On the Scene- Featured Jazz Performances for November

Welcome to November jazz fans, and with the changing tide weather wise, comes major changes for the Seattle jazz scene. With Tula’s and the 2019 Earshot Jazz Festival now in the rear view mirror, the jazz waters become murky, with new possibilities arising. Here’s a sampler of what is to come.


Joshua Redman Quartet- Wed Nov 20, 7:30 PM/ Triple Door

Joshua Redman is always an artist worth taking a risk with. He has been through town in recent years in both trio and quartet formats, as well as with the band James Farm and as a special guest with The Bad Plus. 

While his efforts have been successful both artistically and in terms of popularity, it seems he has always been chased by the shadow of expectation to perform more on the edge, as did his late father, the great Dewey Redman. This despite playing with adventurous spirits in Aaron Parks, Eric Harland, Matt Penman, and Ethan Iverson. 

Truth be told, the uber talented Redman has the ability to play with relentless freedom while still expressing the forms of the blues tradition. His performances are always enthusiastically performed, with great empathy for his fellow band members, and the audience alike. 

Redman is well supported, with pianist Aaron Goldberg, bassist Ruben Rogers, and drummer Greg Hutchinson in tow, all from the post-bop side of the jazz tradition. This is a band with exemplary collaborative chemistry. 

Blue Note Records 80th Anniversary Tour- Thu Nov 21, 7:30 PM/ Moore Theatre

Every once in a while, STG actually lives up to their calling as an arts organization. The non-profit has made a historically monumental contribution in preserving and upgrading the marvelous trio of theatres they manage in the Paramount, Moore and Neptune. The majority of dates in these historic venues however, are mostly dominated by popular music, and musicals via Broadway Across America. They as well are tremendous supporters of the local dance scene, and with the comedic arts in general.

When it comes to certain musical worlds, such as classical music, or America’s quintessential art form, jazz, the organization has fallen woefully short. They do latch on to some tours that tip the horizon, such as neo-classical innovators, The Kronos Quartet. Such is the case with the Blue Note Records 80th Anniversary Tour. 

Most notably, the triple bill at the venerable Moore Theatre features the long time organ trio of Detroit saxophonist James Carter. The trio sways from funk to romantic ballads, and can swing like mad as well. Now in its 17th year, Carter is joined by rising B-3 star Gerard Gibbs, and drummer Alex White

Vocalist/pianist Kandace Springs plays trio, with a vocal style inspired by Sarah, Ella and the like, with no attachment to emulating them. She garners a lot of attention for praise she has received from Prince, as well as several collaborations in the pop realm. Seems like fertile ground for STG, who has a historic fear of presenting the true vanguard of modern jazz. 

22 year old pianist James Francies completes the roster of Blue Note artists, performing in trio. At the time of this publication, trio members aside from Francies have not been announced. https://www.stgpresents.org/calendar/4907/blue-note-records-80th-anniversary-tour

Roxy Coss NYC Quintet- Tue Nov 26, 7:30 PM/ Royal Room

New York based saxophonist Roxy Coss returns to her home neighborhood of Columbia City, to perform at the Royal Room with her New York City Quintet. In the past few years, Coss has released several albums, including her most recent, Quintet. She has as well had major impact on gender equity in jazz by establishing the Women In Jazz Organization (WIJO), and in her 2018 release, The Future Is Female. 

Coss has returned home over the 12 years or so she has been back east, to perform with Seattle musicians. She has at last returned with her steady New York based quintet, featuring guitarist Alex Goodman. Pianist Miki Yamanaka, bassist Dave Baron, and rising star drummer Jimmy Macbride complete the quintet.

Coss uses guitar as a front line instrument, much like trumpet in a standard quintet. It creates a distinctive tonal quality for the band. Coss herself continues to evolve, both as a composer, and saxophonist. Her relentless energy as a bandleader and social activist makes her one of the most intriguing figures in jazz today. https://www.facebook.com/events/the-royal-room/roxy-coss-nyc-quintet-at-the-royal-room/2420378948068929/

Pacific Room Alki Emerges as a Jazz Supper Club

What in the blue blazes is going on at the Pacific Room Alki? The West Seattle supper club is taking on some of the biggest names in Seattle jazz, as well as some up and comers. Many of the resident artists from the now shuttered Tula’s Jazz Club are taking a chance on the club, as well as a variety of the other usual suspects- namely the Royal Room in Columbia City, and Egan’s in Ballard. 

While one couldn’t imagine the room replacing the clubhouse vibe of Tula’s for the musicians themselves, jazz fans will be receiving about the same- a jazz supper club with a moderate cover charge, featuring high end cuisine and cocktails. In other words, this is not a hang spot, at least not yet, but a comfortable dinner club with spectacular views. It may not quell the main complaint about Tula’s- the pricetag after cover, dinner and drinks. Much is yet to be seen, but it is encouraging to see management at the club understanding the value of the music in their room. One would expect in time that they will figure out where the talent lies, and book accordingly. 

Pacific Room Alki will feature a top tier Saturday night schedule, in November featuring Greta Matassa on November 2, Thomas Marriott Quintet on the 9th, Anton Schwartz Quintet on the 16th, Rex Gregory Quintet on the 23rd, and Jacqueline Tabor on November 30. In between, pianist Jonas Myers, vocalist Emma Caroline Baker, and blues shredder Rafael Tranquilino appear among others. Please see the link below to check out the full schedule through the end of the year, and plan accordingly. 

There will be more to come once a few shows are attended, and the jazz public can experience the vibe of the room. More to come on the Pacific Room Alki, and other new jazz spots in Seattle here at seattlejazzscene. https://www.eventbrite.com/o/pacific-room-alki-26994130395




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CD Review- Kiki Valera: Vivencias en Clave Cubana

Son Cubano is a genre of music and dance originating from the hill country of eastern Cuba during the 19th century. Its origins are a blend of African and Spanish influences. Son vocal style and meter are of Spanish tradition, while its identifiable clave rhythm, call and response, and percussive elements are of Bantu origin.

Over the past century, the form has evolved, spreading its influence as the music was performed internationally by touring musicians. It manifested itself in the jazz world in New York in the 1960’s with the advent of salsa music. Son became the main form utilized in jam sessions known as descargas, incorporating tres, cuatro, trumpets, percussion, and piano. Buena Vista Social Club (World Circuit, 1996), a brilliant documentary film and album release from American musician Ry Cooder, helped popularize this form of pre-revolution Cuban music to audiences in the United States and Europe.

Kiki Valera is a Cuban cuatro master, formerly the director of one of the most influential bands in the history of Son Cubano-La Familia Valera Miranda. He currently resides in Seattle, and has released an album of twelve original compositions by Francisco Jose Freeman and Valera, Vivencias en Clave Cubana (Origin, 2019) on the highly regarded Origin Records label. To continue reading, click this link-https://www.allaboutjazz.com/vivencias-en-clave-cubana-kiki-valera-origin-records

Tula’s: The Final Weekend- Photographs From Lisa Hagen Glynn

Tula’s Jazz Club ended it’s vaunted 26 year run with two nights of music with old friends, and a late night hang not seen at the club in many years. It was a bittersweet time, in the end joyous in the form of the music that took place on the stage. 

Photographer Lisa Hagen Glynn was there, not just as a photographer, but on the hang as she often is at Tula’s. She captured some poignant moments, that will serve as portraits of this place that the Seattle jazz scene called home for  a quarter century. In that time, the best of the best in the Northwest played Tula’s, and as seen through the lens of Lisa, that standard was upheld to the end. 

Pianist Bill Anschell leads a trio on the final night at Tula’s- 9/29/2019


Bill Anschell- piano; D’Vonne Lewis- drums

Bassist Michael Glynn, last night at Tula’s, 9/29/2019

Jam at the last night of Tula’s- Michael Brockman- tenor; Mark Taylor- alto; Anton Schwartz- tenor; Michael Glynn- bass


And then we sing- Kelley Johnson, Gail Pettis, Stephanie Porter, adnd Jacqueline Tabor, last night at Tula’s 9/29/2019
Mack Waldron, last night at Tula’s, 9/29/2019

The club, and the couple that created it- Mack and Tula Waldron

The gang on Saturday night, 9/28/2019

Marc Seales- piano; Thomas Marriott- trumpet; Susan Pascal- vibes; Jeff Johnson- bass; D’Vonne Lewis- drums


Greta Matassa and Thomas Marriott, last weekend at Tula’s, 9/28/2019

Marc Seales, last weekend at Tula’s, 9/28/2019

Thomas Marriott performs at Tula’s on the last weekend.

Thomas Marriott

Mack, Tula, Jason, and Heather, last night at Tula’s

Seattle jazz royalty- Mack and Tula Waldron, last night at Tula’s, 9/29/2019

On the Scene: Featured Jazz Performances in October

With the 26 year legacy of Tula’s now in the rear mirror, the scene turns to the annual Earshot Jazz Festival for an October displaying the diverse forces and communities that contribute to the modern jazz universe.

The 2019 edition of the festival puts a spotlight on the resident jazz scene in Seattle with two jazz showcases at Town Hall. It as well celebrates the worldwide upswing in jazz culture by bringing to town current jazz stars such as Cecile McLorin Salvant, Orrin Evans, Jeff “Tain Watts,” Chick Corea, and Chucho Valdes. Thomas Marriott creates a bridge with the jazz community in Philadelphia, Kiki Valera shares the sound of Son Cubano, Jay Thomas extends a hand across the Pacific to Japan, and Aaron Parks returns home to Seattle with his Little Big project. In all, it acts as a large embrace between Seattle and the jazz world at large. Here are some suggestions along the way. The Seattle jazz scene is a living, breathing community that requires all of us to participate. See you on the scene!

Tuesday Night Jam at the Owl- Tuesday Oct 1,8,15,22,29, 9:30 PM/ Owl ‘n Thistle Pub

Alive and well since the mid 90’s the weekly session at the Owl is a place of music and fellowship. It is a constant in the ever-changing face of this city. Beginning at 10 PM, the weekly host plays a set followed by an open jam session. A must visit for all Seattle jazz fans and musicians alike, and an opportunity to support an establishment in the Owl ‘n Thistle that supports the jazz community at large.  http://www.owlnthistle.com/


Egberto Gismonti- Mon Oct 30, 7:30 PM/ Town Hall

An ECM recording artist since the mid-seventies, Egberto Gismonti blends the world of Brazilian music, with classical and jazz idioms to form a unique cultural crossroads. Performing solo on guitar and piano, Gismonti’s improvisational style is highlighted by quicksilver technique, and a deep global awareness.  https://www.earshot.org/event/egberto-gismonti/







Photos: Thomas Marriott Quintet- last date at Tula’s

As the final week of Tula’s remarkable 26 year run approaches, we as jazz fans are witness to the final performances of the club’s foundational talent, of those artists who made live, resident based jazz thrive in Belltown. Artists such as vocalist Greta Matassa,pianists Marc Seales and Bill Anschell, vibraphonist Susan Pascal, and trumpeter Thomas Marriott have all left their mark on the city’s jazz legacy from the stage at Tula’s.

Photographer Jim Levitt has been as integral as anybody in terms of documenting the inspired jazz scene in Seattle over the last quarter century. While photographic documentation of historic Seattle jazz rooms such as the Black & Tan, Parnell’s, and Jazz Alley’s former home on University Way is scant at best, enthusiastic photographers such as Levitt, Daniel Sheehan, and Lisa Hagen Glynn have provided in depth imagery of Tula’s storied run.

Mr. Levitt recently shared some photographs of Thomas Marriott’s last gig as a leader at Tula’s on September 14. Marriott has been playing at Tula’s since he was a teenager in a band with his brother, trombonist David Marriott, Jr.. Taking quality photographs in the dimly lit confines of the club is no easy task. These were too exceptional  not to share- many thanks to our brother and noted jazz foot soldier, Jim Levitt!

Thomas Marriott leads his Quintet in a final show, two weeks before Tula’s Jazz Club in Seattle closes after 26 years. Thomas Marriott, trumpet; Rick Mandyck, saxophone; Tim Kennedy, piano; Jeff Johnson, bass; John Bishop, drums
Pianist Tim Kennedy at Tula’s with the Thomas Marriott Quintet. 9/14/2019

Tim Kennedy, Thomas Marriott, and Rick Mandyck perform one last time at Tula’s.

Tenor saxophonist Rick Mandyck, and drummer John Bishop with the Thomas Marriott Quintet at Tula’s 9/14/2019

A most dynamic duo- drummer John Bishop and bassist Jeff Johnson at Tula’s, 9/14/2019.

Thomas Marriott leads his Quintet in a final show, two weeks before Tula’s Jazz Club in Seattle closes after 26 years.Thomas Marriott, trumpet;Rick Mandyck, saxophone;Tim Kennedy, piano;Jeff Johnson, bass;John Bishop, drums 9/14/2019

Thomas Marriott leads his Quintet in a final show, two weeks before Tula’s Jazz Club in Seattle closes after 26 years.Thomas Marriott, trumpet;Rick Mandyck, saxophone;Tim Kennedy, piano;Jeff Johnson, bass;John Bishop, drums 9/14/2019

Trumpeter Thomas Marriott, and saxophonist Rick Mandyck at Tula’s, 9/14/2019.

Iconic jazz radio voice Jim Wilke, recording the Thomas Marriott Quintet at their final Tula’s performance on 9/14/2019. 

Tula’s Jazz Club: Soliloquy to a Seattle Jazz Institution

photo of Tula’s by Daniel Sheehan

It was the tail end of a long weekend. Temperatures had risen to 80 degrees under a sunny only-in-Seattle blue sky, the waterways and markets humming with a sea of humanity. It was not a night one would expect many to venture into the quiet, dark solitude of Tula’s Jazz Club, where for nearly 26 years the best of Seattle’s vibrant jazz scene had come to roost. The scene up and down Second Avenue in Belltown was its usual interesting mosaic of bars, restaurants, and music clubs. With no outdoor access, or air conditioning, Tula’s manager Jason Moore was not expecting a big turnout. This was Seattle, and when the weather turns warm and sunny, Seattleites tend to shake off a little rust and soak in the sun while they can. To continue reading, click here
https://www.allaboutjazz.com/tulas-jazz-club-soliloquy-to-a-seattle-jazz-institution-by-paul-rauch.php

25 Images From The 2019 Ballard Jazz Festival

The Ballard Jazz Festival spreads out over 4 days in 11 different locations, making it a logistical challenge in many ways. Traversing and documenting  the festival’s four events as a photographer begins in the tight, brick lined confines of Conor Byrne Pub, moves to the spacious Nordic Museum Auditorium, and ends with a ten venue jazz walk that covers a fair patch of ground in itself.

The festival has been extremely fortunate over the years to have jazz photographer Jim Levitt on the scene, and the 17th edition was no exception. For the second year running, he was joined by Lisa Hagen Glynn who has been doing great work around the Seattle music scene, in and out of jazz. Levitt’s knack for finding special moments in time seems to have passed on to Hagen Glynn, with both contributing images that define the soul of the festival. 

The Steve Korn Quartet at Celebration of the Drum, opening the 2019 Ballard Jazz Festival, featuring three groups led by drummers.Steve Korn, drums;Dawn Clement, keyboard;Mark Taylor, saxophone;Paul Gabrielson, bass

The Steve Korn Quartet at Celebration of the Drum, opening the 2019 Ballard Jazz Festival, featuring three groups led by drummers.Steve Korn, drums;Dawn Clement, keyboard;Mark Taylor, saxophone;Paul Gabrielson, bass
“Guitar Summit” at the 2019 Ballard Jazz Festival, featuring three guitarist-led groups. John Stowell and friends open the show.John Stowell, guitar;Rick Mandyke, saxophone;Jeff Johnson, bass;John Bishop, drums
Lage Lund leads a trio at the 2019 Ballard Jazz Festival “Guitar Summit.”Lage Lund, guitar;Michael Glynn, bass;Matt Jorgensen, drums
Kathy Moore leads a sizzling trio at the 2019 Ballard Jazz Festival “Guitar Summit.”Kathy Moore, guitar and vocals;Jeremy Lightfoot, bass and vocals;Ruby Dunphy, drums
Ernie Watts with New Stories, at the 2019 Ballard Jazz Festival Mainstage Concert.Ernie Watts, saxophone;Marc Seales, piano;Doug Miller, bass;John Bishop, drums
Ernie Watts with New Stories, at the 2019 Ballard Jazz Festival Mainstage Concert.Ernie Watts, saxophone;Marc Seales, piano;Doug Miller, bass;John Bishop, drums
Jazz radio legend JIm Wilke MC’s the 2019 Ballard Jazz Festival

Robin Lloyd from Knkx and the JJA, presents JJA Jazz Hero Award to John Bishop, and Matt Jorgensen

The 2019 Ballard Jazz Walk presents 17 groups, in 10 venues, in the historic old Ballard neighborhood of Seattle. Thomas Marriott, and Rick Mandyck at Kula Movement. 

The 2019 Ballard Jazz Walk presents 17 groups, in 10 venues, in the historic old Ballard neighborhood of Seattle. Thomas Marriott, Rick Mandyck, Jeff Johnson, and John Bishop perform at Kula Movement

The 2019 Ballard Jazz Walk presents 17 groups, in 10 venues, in the historic old Ballard neighborhood of Seattle. Brittany Anjou Trio with Evan Flory-Barnes, and Todd Bishop. 

The 2019 Ballard Jazz Walk presents 17 groups, in 10 venues, in the historic old Ballard neighborhood of Seattle. Brittany Anjou and Overton Berry

The 2019 Ballard Jazz Walk presents 17 groups, in 10 venues, in the historic old Ballard neighborhood of Seattle. Xavier Lecouturier
The 2019 Ballard Jazz Walk presents 17 groups, in 10 venues, in the historic old Ballard neighborhood of Seattle. Ben Feldman

Matt Jorgensen at the Ballard Jazz Walk

John Bishop performs at the Ballard Jazz Walk

Jacqueline Tabor performing at Bad Albert’s, on the Ballard Jazz Walk 2019

Jacqueline Tabor Quartet with Cole Schuster, Geoff Harper, and Max Holmberg- 2019 Ballard Jazz Walk

Johnaye Kendrick at the Cathedral, 2019 Ballard Jazz Walk

Johnaye Kendrick with Chris Synmer, 2019 Ballard Jazz Walk

Nathan Breedlove at the Cathedral, 2019 Ballard Jazz Walk
Dylan Hayes performing at Conor Byrne, 2019 Ballard Jazz Walk

Cymbal and Gong raffle winner Rebecca Wade with Matt Jorgensen

Conor Byrne Pub, Celebration of the Drum, 2019 Ballard Jazz Festival

CD Review- Chuck Deardorf: Perception

Before the tech revolution that has ushered in an era of unprecedented growth and global recognition, the city of Seattle was a bit of an outpost in the world of jazz. Since the 1920s, the city has enjoyed a vibrant and innovative jazz scene, often resulting in local musicians backing major international touring artists. The emerald city has spawned such renowned jazz icons as Quincy Jones, Ray Charles, Larry Coryell and Ernestine Anderson as well. 

In the 1970s and early 1980s, bassist Chuck Deardorf was often on call to perform with touring artists at the city’s vaunted jazz spots, Parnell’s and Jazz Alley. Major artists such as Kenny Burrell, Chet Baker, Larry Coryell, and Eddie “Cleanhead” Vinson would be the fortunate recipients of his solid sense of time, marvelous articulation, and innovative solo work. To continue reading, follow this link:
https://www.allaboutjazz.com/perception-chuck-deardorf-origin-records-review-by-paul-rauch.php

CD Review: Thomas Marriott- Romance Language

Trumpeter Thomas Marriott has established his jazz credentials over the years through a collection of beautifully inspired and well received albums on the Origin Records label. His formidable chops, extensive vocabulary, respect for tradition and penchant for musical adventurism has put him into the conversation concerning the top practitioners of his instrument in modern times. Marriott has the rare ability to look deeply into the matter at hand, whether it be through interpretation of classic repertoire, or performing his deeply reflective and emotive original compositions. To continue reading, follow this link
https://www.allaboutjazz.com/romance-language-thomas-marriott-origin-records-review-by-paul-rauch.php

CD Review: Jay Thomas with The Oliver Groenewald Newnet- I Always Knew

Jay Thomas has lived the jazz life. He has endured, overcome, and continued to artistically thrive through all the ruminations of a path chosen by few. While much of his life may form a parallel story to those of many, Thomas’ version, his personal adjunct to its litany, is a story of artistic triumph that opened doors seldom walked through. It is a musical legacy in Seattle, unmatched in the colorful history of jazz in his hometown, documented by a number of recordings on several small labels. He as well is among the few musicians in jazz to be featured on both trumpet and saxophone, and in his case, play them both with virtuosity. His skills are as well applied fondly to the flute, and clarinet. To continue reading, follow this linkhttps://www.allaboutjazz.com/i-always-knew-jay-thomas-with-the-oliver-groenewald-newnet-origin-records-review-by-paul-rauch.php

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Randy Halberstadt: Open Heart

Pianist Randy Halberstadt has a new record on Origin, after an eight year hiatus from the studio. It features many of the top names in Seattle jazz, including Mark Taylor, Ben Thomas, Jay Thomas, David Marriott, Jr., and Chuck Deardorf. Read the review and buy the CD!

Seattle based pianist Randy Halberstadt has been a major figure on the jazz scene in the Pacific Northwest for several decades, applying his talents as a pianist, composer, educator, and author. He has four previous releases as a leader, most recently with Flash Point (Origin, 2010). So yes, it has been some time since we last heard from the multidimensional pianist…..to continue reading, follow this link:https://www.allaboutjazz.com/open-heart-randy-halberstadt-origin-records-review-by-paul-rauch.php

Johnaye Kendrick: Flying

Once, maybe twice in a generation, a singer enters the world of jazz and captivates the genre so dominated by jazz instrumentalists. There are qualities in the voice, delivery, the exquisite phrasing, and inexhaustible ability to deliver a narrative in such a way that expresses the jazz and blues tradition in a special and personal way. Johnaye Kendrick is one of those singers. Upon graduating from the Thelonious Monk Institute of Jazz, then sequestered at Loyola University in New Orleans, Kendrick was hired by trumpeter Nicholas Payton, who remarked, “Johnaye has the potential to be a vocalist of the highest order, the likes of which we have seen seldom since the grande dames of the golden era of jazz roamed the earth. She’s got it!”  Continue reading here-

https://www.allaboutjazz.com/flying-johnaye-kendrick-johnygirl-review-by-paul-rauch.php

John Coltrane Birthday Celebration: Charles Owens Interview

The annual John Coltrane Birthday Celebration at Tula’s has become a symbolic jazz new year of sorts. It is performed in a time of transition in the northwest, when we begin to seek a bit more shelter both without and within.

The music of Coltrane is a spiritually unifying force of nature, a gust of wind to push our humanity ever forward to each new day.

Each year, event organizer Matt Jorgensen brings in special guests to offer their interpretations of Coltrane’s art. This year saxophonist Charles Owens is our guest, arriving from Charlottesville, VA. along with New York-based bassist Ben Shapiro. The two will form a quartet with Jorgensen on drums and pianist Marc Seales. In a way, it continues a tradition that began on Jackson St., and continues to this day of welcoming great players from yonder scenes and surrounding them with the best the Seattle jazz scene has to offer.

Owens was so kind as to answer a few questions, and provide some insight as to who he is as an artist, and what we might anticipate at this year’s performances.

You spent 12 years on the scene in New York City and moved to Charlottesville VA. Talk about your reasons for the change, and how that transition has been for you musically.

The year 2002 was a big one for me. I got married, turned 30, and my wife became pregnant with our first child. I was looking for a better life for myself and my family, I was looking for some space and some quiet. I grew up in VA and my mom has some property out in the country. So we moved out there to get our footing and then shortly thereafter moved to Charlottesville. Being in VA as a musician has been beautiful! I am a big part of the scene in Cville but also in Richmond which is a short drive away. I play and record with guys in Butcher Brown like Devonne Harris (DJ Harrison) Corey Fonville, Andrew Randazzo, Morgan Burrs, and Marcus Tenney as well as guys like Kelli Strawbridge on drums Cameron Ralston (Matthew E White) on bass.  Also, there’s a great bunch of cats in Richmond that are in a band called Future Prospect. I love to gig with them. Cleandre Foster, Brandon Lane, Jacob Ungerleider, Trey Sorrels. In Charlottesville, I have the pleasure of playing with guys like Dane Alderson who’s the bass player in the Yellowjackets and John D’earth who is a master trumpeter and improviser. He was really close with many people in the Brecker generation in NY. All of these people and more have indeed changed my playing. Virginia has a laid back, funky, and soulful vibe. Virginia music is greasy and sexy and hot. It’s got its own special sauce that everybody needs to experience. I treasure what its done to my saxophone playing, improvising, writing and arranging.

You are often linked stylistically to John Coltrane, Sonny Rollins, and Wayne Shorter. How do you use those voices to create and impact your own voice as a player?

Well, those men had a huge hand in creating Charles Owens the improvising saxophonist, so the voices have created, and continue to impact my sound. I don’t just study their playing but I also study the spirit in which they bring forth their truth. These men played in a way that spoke to humans through key facets of their humanity. Their music appeals to people on a visceral level because they are accessing the most truthful regions of their muse, and bringing to fruition sublime improvised musical art. I want to create at this level 100% of the time.

You are coming to Seattle to be featured at the annual John Coltrane Birthday Celebration at Tula’s Jazz Club. First off, how did this association with Seattle come to be?

I was lucky enough to attend the New School for Social Research (Jazz performance and composition)  in NYC alongside the amazing Seattle drummer Matt Jorgensen and the great Seattle based bassist Ben Shapiro. Matt and I had been talking for a while about playing together again and when the Coltrane celebration came up, we all thought it would be a perfect fit and opportunity for us to make it happen. I’m so grateful! This will be my first time in Seattle and I’m thrilled.

Coltrane was a primal force that forged so many creative pathways through the music. How will you approach this performance as a saxophonist? Will it be more of a repertory approach, or will you seek more personal insights into the music?

I’ve been playing Coltrane’s music since I was a teenager. These songs are simply part of the Black American Music Canon. We will certainly choose compositions that span his career and make sure that the repertoire is varied in tempo, tone, and timbre. I will approach this music saxophonistically the same way I approach all music. I will be calm, clear and confident. I will gain my inspiration from a mix of spirituality, intellect, and passion. I will treat this and every opportunity to play music for my fellow humans as a sacred and rarified privilege. I will have an open heart and mind and proceed without fear.

With so much material to choose from, how do you go about selecting a set of music from the vast Coltrane library?

For me, it’s the compositions that have meant the most to me personally over the years and also the ones that I enjoy improvising on. But we will also rely on the tried and true method of putting a good set together which is to not have songs with a varied tempos, feels and forms.  We want to produce a different mood and vibration on every song so as to make it a rich and satisfying experience for us and the audience. Luckily we have a wide range of genius material from which to choose. We will also put in a couple of songs from the American songbook that were favorites of Coltrane’s.

You performed “A Love Supreme” in Charlottesville last year at UVA. In preparing for, and performing this music, did it at all impact your personal view of this classic?

It had a huge impact on my personal view of the album. I actually performed the suite in Richmond two years before the Charlottesville performance. I never dreamed I would be in a place where I could convincingly perform the Suite. So when the opportunity arose I made sure to prepare thoroughly. I studied the transcriptions heavily and memorized passages that I thought were classic parts and then improvised other parts. This was his ultimate opus. He is thanking God for his life and acknowledging that to him God is the only thing he is doing anything for forever.

This is going to be your first visit to Seattle. The city is noted for its eclectic music scene.  What have you learned about Seattle, and what do you anticipate encountering on the scene here?

I know little about the music scene in Seattle other than every musician I’ve played with from there has been great. Matt Jorgensen, Shawn Schlogel, and Max Holmberg.

Coltrane transitioned his sound towards the end of his life, employing what he saw as a spiritual approach, a soul cleansing series of cries and vocalized effects. Some in the audience did not receive the music in the same light in which Coltrane created and performed it. What is your personal perception of this period of Coltrane’s sound, and what impact did it have on your approach to playing?

Coltrane always pushed himself forward and never seemed to want to stay in the same place for long. This is one of the normal hallmarks of an artist/creative person. It’s really the same old story. An artist becomes popular by doing their art in a certain way. That art lives in the fans heart as sublime. Then the artist pushes themselves to create something new (again) with the same energy, focus, and attitude that they used in the past. The established fan usually reacts in 1 of 2 ways- they move forward with their artist despite the fact that things are different, or they stop and stick with what they like about the artist and pine away for “the old stuff.” This is what happened with Trane. I don’t listen to as much of his avant-garde as I do Crescent, A Love Supreme, Coltrane’s Sound etc., but I still do listen. The thing that has most influenced me from his later work is how much his tone continued to evolve, Listening to his tone on the Olatunji Concert recordings makes me feel that he had transcended the saxophone and turned it into his interstellar voice of his worship. No one has ever evoked the universal power of love through a saxophone like him. I learned a lot from the vocalized effects as well. One of my first gigs in NYC was with Reggie Workman’s ensemble at the Knitting Factory. We were playing free, free, free as a bird. Many of the things I’d heard Trane doing, I did especially on those gigs.

Jazz education has become largely institutionalized in modern times, much like classical music in the twentieth century. So many giants of the form learned through the oral tradition, with mentorship provided by the experienced players of the day. Talk about your own personal experience learning the saxophone and jazz music, and how that experience has impacted your approach as an educator.

I’ve been quite lucky to have great saxophone teachers. Ralph Lalama, Joe Lovano, Grant Sewart, Eric Alexander, Makanda McIntyre, Arnie Lawrence. I’ve never had a “big break” gig with a master. The people that I learned the most about actual improvisation though were John Coltrane, Sonny Rollins, Thelonious Monk, Bud Powell, and Charlie Parker. I learned a lot about swing from Duke Ellington and Count Basie.  I also came up in NYC in the 90’s at my home club, Smalls. I met, and hung out with, listened to, and learned from just about every great jazz musician you could think of that was still around at the time. Smalls was the place where I really learned what the music should sound like, and more importantly, the attitude and ethos one needs in order to be a successful improviser, performer, bandleader, and composer. My first gig in NYC was running the Sunday jam session at the Village Gate. That’s where I first met people like Brad Mehldau, Dwayne Burno, Ben Wolfe, Leon Parker, Gonna Okegwo, Ari Roland, just to name a VERY few. I also learned a lot during my time at the New School. Some of my teachers there included Jim Hall, Buster Williams, Jimmy Cobb, Bernard Purdie, Peter Bernstein, Reggie Workman… I also was lucky enough to take some advanced jazz harmony classes with Kenny Werner. But I also never stop learning and growing and pushing myself to be better. So I woke up this morning with the same attitude towards music and saxophone that I’ve always had. How can I be better? When I educate people on the tradition of Black American Music, I am very careful to point out that the concepts that we cover are intellectual, but this music needs more than just intellectuality. The other essential ingredients are spirituality and passion.

Environment and lifestyle impacts culture on all levels, including music. New York is like an incubator for new talent, and is unquestionably the living gathering place for jazz, convening sounds from all over the world. The energy and whirlwind of cultural activity drives the music and seems to give it an ardent physicality like nowhere else.  Seattle is a touch more relaxed, reflecting the physical beauty and lifestyle of the Pacific Northwest. Talk about the musical environment in Charlottesville, your current residence, and how it differs from other musical scenes you have encountered.

Charlottesville has a wide variety of bands in different genres. It reminds me a lot of other scenes in other cities, just smaller. The energy is, of course, more relaxed and certainly reflects the terrain of the Blue Ridge Mountains. I love the scene here though. Being in Cville and Richmond has taught me that it’s cool to relax and not go for the “touchdown” solo every time. It’s helped me to let go of my ego and not play solos where I’m “checking boxes” i.e the out part, the fast part, the part, the altissimo part, where I trick the audience into clapping more etc… It’s taught me that it’s ok to groove and be sparse and play longer notes. That VA grease!

What projects are you currently engaged in?

I am of course busy with my trio and quartet but I also play in a wide variety of bands here in VA and NYC.

Jack Kilby and the Front Line. Drummer Jack Kilby is about to release his debut album and it’s gonna be amazing. I wrote a song for the Album titled “Love Is A Song Anyone Can Sing.” Jack liked the tune so much that he named the album after it and has taken the concept and run with it. We have a couple of release shows in October and the album is just fantastic. Allyn Johnson, Kris Monson, John D’earth, and Antonio Hart are playing on it.

I am in a band called The ATM Unit that plays every Monday at a club called Rapture here in Cville. The band is lead by Australian electric bass virtuoso Dane Alderson who is also currently in the Yellowjackets. It’s a fusion sound coming out of bands like Yellowjackets, Weather Report, Steps Ahead, etc. It is such a killer band and it’s been a fun challenge learning all the new music.

Reginald Chapman is a great bass trombonist and composer formerly with No BS Brass Band. He has just released a fantastic album called Prototype, and I will be playing his VA release shows in September.

I also play with a ton of great rock, funk, and should bands. I stay very busy with recording sessions, and I have a full studio of wonderful private saxophone, theory and improvisation students. I’m also a pianist and stay busy with solo piano work and duo work with singers.

What can we expect from Charles Owens in the near future in terms of recordings and live performances?

Well, Jack Kilby’s album is on deck next. I just recorded a live album at Smalls with the great Joel Frahm on tenor saxophone, Ari Hoenig on drums and Alexander Claffy on bass. That was released back in April. The next record I want to do will be a trio record with electric bass, drums, and saxophone. I am currently compiling repertoire and testing it out on gigs. My M.O. for recording is to gig with material/band for a year then go to the studio for one day and record it all. I just got a new horn so I will be playing a lot on it before I decide to go back to the studio again.

 

Bongwool Lee: My Singing Fingers

Seattle based Origin Records has released the debut recording of Korean born pianist Bongwool Lee. A young classical piano prodigy in her native Korea, Lee gravitated to jazz, and offers a unique sound and approach to jazz composition and improvisation.

Much has been written about the different creative processes engaged between classical and jazz musicians, more specifically, as applied to the collective worlds of jazz and classical piano. New York based pianist Bongwool Lee has an intimate relationship with these perceived differences. Born and raised in Seoul, Korea, she was exposed by her parents to a variety of music at a very early age, winning her country’s acclaimed Samik Competition at age seven. Considered a prodigy in the classical world, Lee’s focus shifted to jazz upon hearing Oscar Peterson on the radio. After graduating as a music major from Dongduk Women’s University, she relocated to New York City, where she engaged in jazz studies at the Manhattan School of Music earning a Master’s degree. More importantly, she engaged in and began to flourish on the heralded jazz scene in Gotham. Continue reading here

https://www.allaboutjazz.com/my-singing-fingers-bongwool-lee-origin-records-review-by-paul-rauch.php

CD Review- Chamber 3: Transatlantic

Chamber 3 began as a trio effort started by German guitarist Christian Eckert, and Seattle based drummer Matt Jorgensen, who forged a friendship while studying at the New School in New York in the early nineties. Over the years, they engaged in many projects and tours together, culminating in this project that includes German tenor saxophonist Steffen Weber. The band added a fourth member in the person of Seattle bassist Phil Sparks for their last release, Grassroots (OA2, 2017), and returns the same lineup for the new Origin release, Transatlantic (OA2, 2018).

Continue reading here https://www.allaboutjazz.com/transatlantic-matt-jorgensen-origin-records-review-by-paul-rauch.php

Photos: Hans Teuber & Jeff Johnson- The Art of Jazz, SAM

Lisa Hagen Glynn has been doing some great work out on the music scene in Seattle, photographing performances. These were taken on May 10, during a riveting duo performance by Hans Teuber and Jeff Johnson. The performance was part of the Art of Jazz series at SAM, presented by Earshot Jazz. Thanks to Lisa for the wonderful shots!

CD Review: Bill Anschell- Shifting Standards (Origin)

Seattle based pianist Bill Anschell has created a tremendous body of work over the past 30 years, as a composer, musical director, and pianist. He returned to Seattle in 2002 after 25 years abroad and formed a relationship with Origin Records, releasing more than a dozen records both as a leader and co-leader. Whether composing and performing original pieces, or interpreting standards ranging from Cole Porter to Lennon/McCartney, Anschell has consistently upheld a rare standard of excellence.

Anschell’s musical personality can perhaps be best experienced within the confines of Tula’s Jazz Club, an intimate jazz spot in Seattle’s Belltown neighborhood. He typically performs with two separate combos, a quartet that performs his own works, and a standards trio featuring trailblazing bassist Jeff Johnson, and wonderfully talented drummer D’Vonne Lewis. The trio has been performing on and off since 2007, and have achieved an intuitive, almost telepathic musical relationship that produces moments only attained through the one-mindedness of the piano trio format. They perform in the area of 80 standards, never play from a set list, and are subject to the momentary whims of Anschell’s inventive curiosity. At long last, the trio has released a definitive collection of standards aptly titled Shifting Standards on the Origin label. To continue reading, please follow this link-

https://www.allaboutjazz.com/shifting-standards-bill-anschell-origin-records-review-by-paul-rauch.php

Roxy Coss Interview

Seattle born and bred, New York based saxophonist Roxy Coss has seen her star ascend in recent years. From 2012-2014 she gained international visibility touring with trumpeter Jeremy Pelt. She has been on a torrid recording pace as well, with the objective of releasing an album a year. Her past two releases Restless Idealism (Origin, 2016), and Chasing the Unicorn (Posi-Tone, 2017) have established her place in the upper echelon of saxophonists in jazz today.

Coss has also played a major role in the fight for gender equality in jazz, forming the organization Women In jazz Organization (WIJO). You can check out their website here: http://wearewijo.org/

On March 30, Coss will release a new album on the Posi-Tone label that expresses both her ardent musicality, and activism. Entitled The Future Is Female, the album stands as an important statement in support of modern feminism, and most specifically, to gender equality in jazz. In November 2017, just after she recorded the record, I had the opportunity to interview her while she was in town for the Earshot Jazz Festival. The result was compelling.

All About Jazz: You have recently released a new CD, Chasing the Unicorn (Posi-Tone, 2017), just a year after the release of Restless Idealism (Origin, 2016). Albums are like a snapshot of a timeframe, how has that musical image changed in a year?

Roxy Coss: More back story is it was recorded more than a year apart, even though they were released a year apart, so there was actually more time between recordings, almost two years. When I worked with Jeremy Pelt, he taught me a lot about the industry. His release schedule is every year, and I saw that really work for him, so that’s my goal right now, to continue now that I have the momentum going. From my experience, I’ve seen how important it is to keep getting contact out there, regardless of what it is. The more stuff you put out there, the more chances of someone hearing you.

read the entire interview here at All About Jazz: https://www.allaboutjazz.com/roxy-coss-standing-out-roxy-coss-by-paul-rauch.php

 

Dawn Clement Interview

Dawn Clement is like a primal force of nature. From being the mother of three young children, to her professorship at Cornish College of the Arts, to her performing career as a touring and recording artist, she maintains a musical standard of excellence achieved by very few. Her piano style is strong and versatile, whether she is playing at the most intense tempo, or in more tender and vulnerable moments colored in alluring sincerity.

On February 20th, she officially released her new CD Tandem on Origin Records. The album is a series of duo performances with some of her closest musical collaborators over the past 20 years. The project was celebrated in earnest that evening at Tula’s, with Clement performing in duo, trio, quartet, and full quintet with Dr. Julian Priester, Johnaye Kendrick, Mark Taylor, Michael Glynn and Byron Vannoy. The audience was populated heavily with many of the top jazz musicians in town, a gesture of great respect for the artist Clement has become, and has been throughout this new century. The performance was inspired, memorable, the vibe in the room during the performance and after hang, warm and welcoming.

Dawn Clement is a voice in jazz that needs to be heard.  Read the full interview at All About Jazz here:

https://www.allaboutjazz.com/dawn-clement-here-in-the-moment-dawn-clement-by-paul-rauch.php

 

 

Seattle Jazz Scene Update

Over the course of the next few weeks, I will be in full exploration mode here at seattlejazzscene.com. The aim is to bring the page up to date in terms of jazz calendar, feature articles and reviews chronicling jazz music in Seattle, festival and event previews, and all things relevant to highlighting the music and its performers. Just for fun, I plan to go full on guerilla mode at times, publishing directly from jazz events in the area.

I want the vibe to be welcoming to the entire jazz and improvised music community. The growth and overall health of the scene is dependent on participation and a true sense of community between musicians, fans, writers, promoters, club owners, record companies, radio stations, and all of those who love the music and sees it as a vibrant part of our culture.

Once fully integrated, jazz fans in Seattle will be able to enter the site and learn who is playing around town on a daily basis, and stay up to date on what is happening in and around the scene.

If you are interested in submitting articles, reviews, photographs, calendar entries, etc, contact me per email at email hidden; JavaScript is required. Please no self promotions.

And so the journey begins.

Paul Rauch

 

 

 

Sonarchy Radio schedule for September on KEXP

Sonarchy is recorded live in the studios at Jack Straw Cultural Center in Seattle. This hour long broadcast features new music and sound art made in the pacific northwest. Sonarchy is now into it’s 21st year of airing on KEXP, Seattle (90.3 fm). Listen for the broadcast every Sunday evening at midnight (PST). The show can be heard live at KEXP.org and furthermore is available in its entirety for two weeks following the broadcast in several streaming audio formats. This months shows will also be available as podcasts shortly after they air. Go to kexp.org/podcasting/podcasting.asp for a vast permanent archive to choose from.

Doug Haire is the producer and mixes these live shows. Sonarchy would not be possible without the efforts and funding provided by Jack Straw Cultural Center. For more about this non-profit organization with a mission to support the sonic arts go to jackstraw.org Thanks for your interest and good music to you!

Sept 4: John Butcher – saxophones, Torsten Muller – bass and Dylan van der Schyff – drums. a spectacular hour of free improvisation. This show recorded in 2008

Sept 11: Swindler
A funk, jazz and groove fusion band. Mike Saskor – guitar, Willow Goodine – keys, Rob Cochran – bass and Chris Martin – drums.

Sept 18: Martin Bland’s Randomized Controlled Trials
Original recordings edited, processed and put onto cdr’s then performed by 6 cd players in shuffle mode. The results are highly entertaining and unique to each performance.

Sept 25: Stuart McLeod and Braintrust
Music for guitar orchestra featuring 4 guitars, 2 basses and Stuart on drums, brainwave sensors and compositions. A massive sound for radio.