2019 Ballard Jazz Festival Announces Headliners

“Not all events improve with age, but the Ballard Jazz Festival is an exception…a distinct and essential event.” -The Stranger

Origin Music Productions announces the headliners and schedule for the 17th Annual Ballard Jazz Festival, coming up May 29-June 1st. 

Ernie Watts

May 31: Returning again to the spectacular Nordic Museum for the mainstage concert on Friday, May 31st, they’ll feature a double-bill with saxophone icon ERNIE WATTS performing with NEW STORIES. In honor of the Nordic Museum, the New York-based Norwegian guitar virtuoso Lage Lund will be performing with his trio. 

June 1st: Saturday evening’s BALLARD JAZZ WALK moves it’s headquarters into The Cathedral, an exciting new venue that’s positioned right in the heart of Ballard. Featured are: DAWN CLEMENT, JOHNAYE KENDRICK, JAY THOMAS, GAIL PETTIS, XAVIER LECOUTURIER/DYLAN HAYES, OVERTON BERRY, JACQUELINE TABOR, 200 TRIO, RICK MANDYCK, NATHAN BREEDLOVE, and many more…

 

May 29-30: The festival opens with two themed nights at Conor Byrne Pub – Celebration of the Drum & Guitar Summit, which will feature LAGE LUND, KATHY MOORE and JOHN STOWELL. A relaxed, low-key start to the festival every year, but a quintessential Seattle jazz hang!
Tickets on sale starting April 1st- more complete information will be available at www.ballardjazzfestival.com or call 206-219-3649.

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

Featured Jazz Performances for March

Live jazz in Seattle continues on an upward spiral in March, as the best of the city’s resident players are out on the town, and we welcome jazz royalty. Saxophone legend Pharoah Sanders comes to town in a band led by Joey DeFrancesco, and assisted aptly by legendary drunmnmer Billy Hart. Thomas Marriott on the heels of his new album Romance Language, leads a quintet with Seattle jazz notables Rick Mandyck, John Bishop, Jeff Johnson, and Tim Kennedy. Master Cuban percussionist Calixto Oviedo brings an element of excitement to the scene at Tula’s, and the kids take over the Paramount, with the annual Hot Java, Cool Jazz performance. It makes a jazz fan feel downright neglectful to stay home a single night this month! Here’s a sampler of what is to come…….

Frank Catalano Quartet- Fri & Sat Mar 1&2, 7:30 PM/ Tula’s

Chicago- based tenor man Frank Catalano has become a friend of Tula’s over the years, always teaming up with Seattle players for a night of standards. This time around he is joined by what amounts to the Bill Anschell Standards Trio. Pianist Anschell convenes this trio almost monthly at Tula’s with bassist Jeff Johnson and drummer D’Vonne Lewis. The intuitive relationship between those three presents a unique challenge for Catalano, who has a tendency to grab the reins and drive straight forward.http://tulas.com/generalinfo.html

Delvon Lamarr Organ Trio- Mon Mar 4, 7:30 PM/ Jazz Alley

Seattle native son Delvon Lamarr returns home for a one nighter at Jazz Alley. The trio has been on quite a roll, and this gig represents his triumphant return so to speak. Lamarr and wife/manager Amy Novo pulled up stakes and moved to Austin, TX in January to pursue an international profile. One of the most talented musicians to spring from the Seattle fold in some time, Lamarr is as well one of its most beloved people. This promises to be a celebratory hang. https://www.jazzalley.com/www-home/artist.jsp?shownum=5034

Chris Potter Circuits Trio featuring James Francies and Eric Harland- Tue Mar 5- Wed Mar 6, 7:30 PM/ Jazz Alley

Eclectic saxophonist/ composer Chris Potter swings into town with his new bass- less Circuits Trio in support of their new upcoming release. Potter’s considerable facility is always utilized in service to the music itself, intertwining his compositions and technique into a intercommunicative force. Drummer Eric Harland is always a pleasure to encounter. Painting his rhythmic nuances between Potter and pianist James Francies should be worth the price of the cover alone. https://www.jazzalley.com/www-home/artist.jsp?shownum=5008



Tim Kennedy Quartet- Tue Mar 5, 7:30 PM/ Tula’s

We have seen the best of pianist Tim Kennedy in the past year and a half, both at his monthly residency at Tula’s, and his participation in trumpeter Thomas Marriott’s quintet. Marriott  will join him on this gig, along with bassist David Dawda and drummer Brad Gibson. Kennedy always conjures up something different for this monthly throwdown, and the results are consistently intriguing. As well, this Tuesday repose is one of the better musician hangs of the monthly calendar. http://tulas.com/generalinfo.html


D’Vonne Lewis Organ Trio with Cole Schuster and Joe Doria- Sun Mar 10, 7:30 PM/ Tula’s

Fourth generation Seattle musician D’Vonne Lewis has branched out creatively since the breakup of his long time band, Industrial Revelation. In this incarnation, he teams up with long time musical partner, organist Joe Doria. Guitarist Cole Schuster has as well experienced a bit of a renaissance, performing in last year’s Guitar Summit at the Ballard Jazz Festival, and forming an organ trio of his own. Driven by the creative polyrhythms and driving energy of Lewis on drums, this promises to be a soulful take on the jazz tradition.  http://tulas.com/generalinfo.html


Golden Ear Awards Party- Mon Mar 11, 7 PM/ Royal Room

Earshot Jazz presents their annual awards show featuring the Alex Dugdale Fade Quintet. While these voter driven awards are perhaps uneven and arbitrary, the vibe of the evening is always fun and entertaining. Better yet, it gives musicians a chance to catch up on an otherwise quiet evening, and fans an opportunity to mingle with them. It as well serves as an annual reset for Earshot pointing forward for another year of fresh, innovative programing. https://www.earshot.org/project/2018-golden-ear-awards-ballot/



Marina Albero & Jeff Johnson- Thu Mar 14, 5:30 PM/ Seattle Art Museum

Earshot’s monthly collision with the art world convenes with spectacular Barcelona born pianist Albero, and trailblazing bassist Johnson. Over Albero’s five years as a Seattle resident, she has formed a special bond with the veteran bassist. Her style draws influences from jazz, flamenco, and classical music. Amazingly, she continues to add influences while playing with a distinctive style that is her own. We in Seattle have been fortunate to have her here, as she is a largely underappreciated artist deserving of worldwide recognition. Johnson’s elegant musicality is a perfect match, creating a duo capable of spontaneous beauty at any moment. https://www.earshot.org/event/art-of-jazz-marina-albero-and-jeff-johnson/


Hot Java Cool Jazz- Fri Mar 15, 7 PM/ Paramount Theatre

Where else can a concert featuring four high school jazz bands sell out a 2800 seat house like the Paramount? Seattle’s without peer high school jazz scene celebrates three bands on their way to Lincoln Center for the esteemed Essentially Ellington competition. Garfield, Roosevelt, and Mount Si high schools are featured in celebration of the culture largely founded by Clarence Acox, and Scott Brown. A one time, must see event for all Seattle residents, as well as jazz fans. https://www.stgpresents.org/tickets/eventdetail/4165/-/starbucks-hot-java-cool-jazz

Antonio Sanchez & Migration- Tue Mar 19- Wed Mar 20, 7:30 PM/ Jazz Alley

Drummer Antonio Sanchez has been on a meteoric rise since his Oscar nominated soundtrack for the film “Birdman” and his now long standing relationship with guitarist Pat Metheny. As a composer and bandleader, Sanchez is now a major force in his own right.

His new record Lines In the Sand (Camm Jazz, 2018) expresses his concern as a recently naturalized American citizen from Mexico, for the policies along the southern border being employed by the Trump administration.

“I feel so blessed and so thankful for what I’ve achieved in the United States,” says Sanchez. “But at the same time, I feel completely repulsed by what the United States is doing to immigrants — especially to people coming from the south. So whenever and wherever I’m performing, I’m speaking out, trying to make sense of what is going on.”

Joining Sanchez are saxophonist Chase Baird, pianist John Escreet, bassist Matt Brewer, and vocalist Thana Alexa. https://www.jazzalley.com/www-home/artist.jsp?shownum=5009

Rex Gregory Quartet- Wed Mar 20, 7:30 PM/ Tula’s

Rex Gregory moved to Seattle from New Orleans about a year ago, and has been making quite an impression of the jazz scene as a sideman, and more recently, as a leader. In his second stint at Tula’s, Gregory has made new musical friends with the likes of pianist Bill Anschell, bassist Paul Gabrielson, both Seattle jazz heavyweights. Young drummer/composer Xavier Lecouturier completes this top shelf quartet. 

Gregory not only has superior chops on both saxophone and flute, he has a tenor sound that is original and distinct. This gig comes highly recommended in terms of quality, and as a jazz fan, of discovering something new and original on the scene. 

Greta Matassa Quintet- Sat Mar 16, 7:30 PM/ Tula’s

Greta Matassa continues to define the art of jazz vocals in Seattle. With her place in the city’s jazz history firmly in place, Matassa is never in one static creative place. She continues to push the envelope with her world class instrument, both as an interpreter of classic tunes, and improviser of the highest caliber. Matassa’s skills are enhanced with the presence of pianist Darin Clendenin, bassist Clipper Anderson, drummer Mark Ivester and saxophonist Alexey Nikolaev. http://tulas.com/generalinfo.html

Thomas Marriott Quintet- Fri Mar 22, 7:30 PM/ Tula’s

Thomas Marriott is coming off a landmark year, astounding jazz audiences with his quintet performances, and releasing his unique album Romance Language (Origin, 2018) in collaboration with Joe Locke and Ryan Cohan.

For this date, he teams up with old friends Jeff Johnson (bass) and John Bishop (drums) in a quintet setting that includes saxophonist Rick Mandyck and pianist Tim Kennedy. Marriott’s live performances were the highlight of the Seattle jazz scene in 2018, that trend continuing into the new year. http://tulas.com/generalinfo.html

David Marriott’s Triskaidekaband- Tue Mar 26, 7:30 PM/ Tula’s

David Marriott’s juggernaut of a 13 piece band features some of the top players in Seattle. Each month he challenges the band with wonderfully crafted arrangements of a broad range of tunes. Marriott himself is a first-class trombone soloist. This is a gig that needs some support on a wintry Tuesday night. Great compositions and arrangements performed by a top tier band, followed by a great weeknight hang. http://tulas.com/generalinfo.html


Joey DeFrancesco with special guest Pharoah Sanders- Thu Mar 28- Sun Mar 31,7:30 & 9:30 PM/ Jazz Alley

Celebrating the release of their new album, In the Key of Life, soulful B-3 master Joey DeFrancesco is in heavy company with legendary saxophonist Pharoah Sanders. Sanders isn’t the only historic heavyweight on the bandstand, with drummer Billy Hart joining on drums. Australian tenor phenom Troy Roberts completes this unique combination of musical personalities. DeFrancesco contributes on trumpet as well, creating a myriad of tonal possibilities within this trio plus one. https://www.jazzalley.com/www-home/artist.jsp?shownum=5037

Jared Hall Quartet with Tal Cohen- Thu Mar 28, 7:30 PM/ Tula’s

Trumpeter Jared Hall has established himself as a major force on the scene in Seattle, performing his challenging original compositions, and fearless interpretations of standards. The past year has seen Hall loosen the reins a bit on his playing, in the process discovering his voice in his quintet that perfectly compliments his playing. For this quartet edition of his monthly residency, Hall welcomes Miami based pianist/composer Tal Cohen to the fold. A formidable backline of drummer John Bishop, and bassist Michael Glynn completes this stellar quartet. Reservation recommended.  http://tulas.com/generalinfo.html


Randy Halberstadt Sextet with Jay Thomas, Chuck Deardorf, David Marriott, Mark Taylor, D’Vonne Lewis- Sun Mar 31, 7:30 PM/ Tula’s

Since his retirement from Cornish, Randy Halberstadt has been performing more frequently and released a fine new record (Open Heart, Origin, 2018). On this date at Tula’s, he appears with a dynamic sextet featuring some of the finest players in town. Seattle jazz icon Jay Thomas heads a front line as one of the rare cats that play both trumpet and saxophone on a high level. Mark Taylor is as fine as they come on alto, tenor and soprano, and David Marriott is an original voice on trombone. Bassist Chuck Deardorf has been the first call bassist in Seattle since the late 70’s, and D’Vonne Lewis is a force of nature behind the drum kit. Every member of this superb sextet is a leader in their own right, with performance and recording credits to back it up. Sunday nights are getting to be a bit of a happening at Tula’s and this night will express just that. http://tulas.com/generalinfo.html




Jim Levitt Photos- Roy McCurdy at Tula’s

This past January 17, Tula’s celebrated the release of the Jim Wilke recording from 1966, Cannonball Adderly- Swingin’ In Seattle. The original drummer from that 1966 engagement at Seattle’s Penthouse Jazz Club was Roy McCurdy. Joined by Vancouver saxophonist Cory Weeds, trumpeter Thomas Marriott, pianist Marc Seales, and bassist Michael Glynn, McCurdy played to a full house with the same splendid snap that he employed in’66. Our friend Jim Levitt captured the vibe of the room that night with his usual expertise, and shares those views with us here at seattlejazzscene. Enjoy!

Drummer Roy McCurdy, who toured extensively with Cannonball Adderley, headlines an all-star quintet at Tula’s Jazz Club in Seattle. Cory Weeds, alto sax; Thomas Marriott, trumpet; Marc Seales, piano; Michael Glynn, bass; Roy McCurdy, drums
Drummer Roy McCurdy, who toured extensively with Cannonball Adderley, headlines an all-star quintet at Tula’s Jazz Club in Seattle. Cory Weeds, alto sax; Thomas Marriott, trumpet; Marc Seales, piano; Michael Glynn, bass; Roy McCurdy, drums
Drummer Roy McCurdy, who toured extensively with Cannonball Adderley, headlines an all-star quintet at Tula’s Jazz Club in Seattle. Cory Weeds, alto sax; Thomas Marriott, trumpet; Marc Seales, piano; Michael Glynn, bass; Roy McCurdy, drums
Drummer Roy McCurdy, who toured extensively with Cannonball Adderley, headlines an all-star quintet at Tula’s Jazz Club in Seattle. Cory Weeds, alto sax; Thomas Marriott, trumpet; Marc Seales, piano; Michael Glynn, bass; Roy McCurdy, drums
Drummer Roy McCurdy, who toured extensively with Cannonball Adderley, headlines an all-star quintet at Tula’s Jazz Club in Seattle. Cory Weeds, alto sax; Thomas Marriott, trumpet; Marc Seales, piano; Michael Glynn, bass; Roy McCurdy, drums
Drummer Roy McCurdy, who toured extensively with Cannonball Adderley, headlines an all-star quintet at Tula’s Jazz Club in Seattle. Cory Weeds, alto sax; Thomas Marriott, trumpet; Marc Seales, piano; Michael Glynn, bass; Roy McCurdy, drums
Drummer Roy McCurdy, who toured extensively with Cannonball Adderley, headlines an all-star quintet at Tula’s Jazz Club in Seattle. Cory Weeds, alto sax; Thomas Marriott, trumpet; Marc Seales, piano; Michael Glynn, bass; Roy McCurdy, drums
Drummer Roy McCurdy, who toured extensively with Cannonball Adderley, headlines an all-star quintet at Tula’s Jazz Club in Seattle. Cory Weeds, alto sax; Thomas Marriott, trumpet; Marc Seales, piano; Michael Glynn, bass; Roy McCurdy, drums
Drummer Roy McCurdy, who toured extensively with Cannonball Adderley, headlines an all-star quintet at Tula’s Jazz Club in Seattle. Radio personality Jim Wilke, who recorded the Cannonball Adderley Quintet, including Roy McCurdy, in 1966-67, talks about the release of the album, just released in 2018. Cory Weeds, alto sax; Thomas Marriott, trumpet; Marc Seales, piano; Michael Glynn, bass; Roy McCurdy, drums
Drummer Roy McCurdy, who toured extensively with Cannonball Adderley, headlines an all-star quintet at Tula’s Jazz Club in Seattle. Cory Weeds, alto sax; Thomas Marriott, trumpet; Marc Seales, piano; Michael Glynn, bass; Roy McCurdy, drums

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.

Seattle-German collective group Chamber 3 performs in the Northwest

Chamber 3, the group co-led by Seattle drummer Matt Jorgensen and German musicians Christian Eckert and Steffen Weber, will be performing around the Seattle area July 29 – August 6.

Chamber 3’s latest CD on OA2 Records is entitled Grassroots. They will be recording a new CD while in Seattle too.

Thursday, July 28: Triple Door Musicquarium, 9:00pm
216 Union Street, Seattle, 206-838-4333

Friday, July 29: Bellevue 6th Street Fair, 10:30am – Noon
NE 6th Street and 106th Avenue NE, Downtown Bellevue

Friday, July 29: The Latona Pub, 5:00pm
6423 Latona Ave NE, Seattle

Saturday, July 30: Scotch and Vine, 8:00pm
Chamber 3 performing with Jose Gonzales
22341 Marine View Dr S, Des Moines, WA

Wednesday, August 3: Ted Brown Music, 6:00pm
6228 Tacoma Mall Blvd, Tacoma, WA 98409

Thursday, August 4: Piccola Cellars, 7:30pm
112 West 2nd Street, North Bend, WA 98045

Friday, August 5: Edison City Ale House, 8:00pm
Chamber 3 performing with Kareem Kandi
5602 S Lawrence St, Tacoma, WA

Saturday, August 6: Tula’s Jazz Club, 7:30pm
2214 Second Avenue, Seattle, WA

KPLU adds Jazz Night In America to its Friday Night Programming

KPLU is excited to announce a new addition to its Friday night lineup beginning February 26.

(From 7:30 to 8 p.m., Abe Beeson hosts KPLU’s Evening Jazz as per usual.) Then from 8 to 9 p.m., KPLU will air NPR’s Jazz Night in America. The show features storytelling with concert performances, connecting jazz enthusiasts and potential new fans with artists and venues—and each other—through radio broadcasts, an array of live signature videocasts, and on-demand video of jazz events from today’s great artists and venues, hosted by jazz bassist Christian McBride. Over the last year, KPLU partnered with Jazz Night on bringing two Northwest performances to the fore: trumpeter Ingrid Jensen and saxophonist Steve Treseler’s tribute to jazz composer Kenny Wheeler at the Royal Room in March 2015; and pianist/composer Wayne Horvitz’s paean to poet Richard Hugo during the 2015 Earshot Jazz Festival.

“I’ve been listening to and watching NPR’s Jazz Night in America for many months now,” said KPLU Director of Content Matt Martinez,”and I think it’s the perfect show to put on our schedule: a mix of live jazz performances and rich storytelling.”

February 26’s show puts the spotlight on jazz-fusion stars and Grammy Award winners Snarky Puppy. The show teams up with the band’s bassist and bandleader Michael League for an exclusive conversation about his compositional process, and features a live hometown concert at The Prophet Bar in Dallas.

KPLU’s Evening Jazz will continue from 9 p.m. to midnight.