Preview: The 2018 Ballard Jazz Festival

Clarence Penn.

The Ballard Jazz Festival returns with its 16th edition, May 16-19, in Seattle’s historic Ballard neighborhood. Clarence Penn & Penn Station will headline the festival’s Mainstage Concert, a New York ensemble that includes pianist Geoffrey Keezer, saxophonist Chad Lefkowitz-Brown, and bassist Yasushi Nakamura. Swedish trumpeter Oskar Stenmark will open the concert, which in turn celebrates the Grand Opening of the brand new Nordic Museum Auditorium.

Penn in many ways typifies the approach of artistic directors John Bishop and Matt Jorgensen, bringing in an artist highly regarded in the jazz community, ready for discovery by the Seattle jazz audience. Penn has established himself as both a leader and sideman, paying his dues performing with iconic artists such as Betty Carter, Jimmy Smith, Dave Douglas, and Stanley Clark. Penn Station explores the eclectic world of the compositions of the great Thelonious Monk, with a very contemporary twist. Stenmark approaches jazz through the lens of traditional Swedish melodies, tempered by New York style post bop sensibility.

Taking place over four days in historic Ballard, this year’s event has taken on a few notable changes. The Mainstage Concert, normally the closing event on Saturday evening moves to Friday, while the ever popular Ballard Jazz Walk will be held on Saturday. This enables the expansion of the walk to the afternoon hours, beginning with the Saturday Jazz Picnic at Peddler Brewery, an all ages event that welcomes families, and under 21 jazz fans. Vibraphonist Susan Pascal with perform with a quintet that includes legendary tenor saxophonist, Pete Christlieb.

Promoted by Seattle based Origin Records, the event has maintained a true Seattle feel, presenting Seattle jazz fans with the opportunity to take in the best of the Seattle jazz scene, mixed with national and international artists. “I want to make sure it’s a local festival, so it sounds like Seattle,” Bishop has maintained throughout the festival’s remarkable 16 year run. The Seattle jazz scene’s annual rite of spring connects the city’s historic and colorful jazz past, with the modern progressive mindset of its vibrant present.

The festival commences on Wednesday, May 16 and Thursday, May 17 with two individual concerts at Conor Byrne Pub, formerly the historic Owl Cafe. Wednesday’s event dubbed “Celebration of the Drum,” features three bands led by drummers, including legendary drummer/drum tech Gregg Keplinger. Also featured are veteran drummer and educator Brian Kirk, 20 year old wunderkind, Xavier Lecouturier, and New York drummer Stefan Schatz. Kirk will feature his Nu Trio with legendary performers Phil Sparks (bass), and Nathan Breedlove (trumpet). Lecouturier enlists young bass phenom Ben Feldman, along with two rising young stars in guitarist Lucas Winter, and pianist Gus Cairns. Schatz, who recently relocated to Seattle, will in a true sense introduce himself to his new city, and its jazz audience.

Thursday brings the “Guitar Summit” to Conor Byrne, featuring bands led by guitarists Milo Petersen, John Stowell, Christian Eckert and Andy Coe, each bringing their unique tie into the jazz tradition. Stowell has a long history in live performance and recordings, most notably with bassist David Friesen and the trio Scenes, with Jeff Johnson and John Bishop. 7 string guitar ace Petersen has long been Seattle’s first call guitarist, honing his chops with luminaries Cedar Walton, Ernestine Anderson, and Elvin Jones to name but a few. Andy Coe has taken his progressive approach to guitar into the jazz genre, as well as the established jam band scene in the Pacific Northwest. He is known in Seattle for his work with Skerik’s Bandalabra, McTuff, and the jam ensemble, The Andy Coe Band.

The Mainstage Concert on Friday evening, May 18, features the aforementioned Penn, and Stenmark, housed in the brand new Nordic Museum facility at 2655 NW Market St. in Ballard. The facility will open on May 5, so this performance will be literally “groundbreaking.”  The new digs also provide a larger capacity, enabling more seats for this perennially sold out show.

The Ballard Jazz Walk on Saturday, May 19, features 21 bands in 10 venues strewn from the Ballard Bridge, down old Ballard Avenue, and up onto Market St. The event creates a Bourbon St. like atmosphere for one celebratory evening in old Ballard. It gives area jazz fans the opportunity to sample the amazing depth and quality of the Seattle jazz scene in one location, on one night. The walk upholds the long held Seattle tradition of pairing the best of the Seattle scene, with visiting jazz dignitaries. It is how the festival began in year one, and remains the one day of the festival that is an absolute “can’t miss” event on the Seattle music calendar.

The uncertainty of the completion date of the new museum, coupled with the loss of a few venues on Ballard Avenue raised some concern about the viability of the event going forward this year.  Bishop and Jorgensen had to come up with an alternative plan. “The biggest challenge was out of fear, just the fear of not being able to come up with something,” says Bishop. In the end, the facility became available, and provided the means to create an even more viable future for the festival. “This is a huge step up. We thought we were lost, but now we’re found. There’s lots of room to grow if we’re smart about it,” remarks Bishop, alluding to the myriad of possibilities the new facility presents.

The Ballard Jazz Festival is a mirror that reflects the current state of affairs out on the jazz scene in Seattle throughout the year. In many ways, it upholds the tradition one can experience year- round in clubs and concert halls throughout the city. It is four days that jazz aficionados, and those new to the genre, can witness  jazz played at the highest level in a way that tells our story here in Seattle.

-Paul Rauch

For a full schedule, see the festival website below.

Visit Website | Purchase Tickets


Featured Performances April 16-22

Lineup! with Dawn Clement & Mark Taylor- Tuesday April 17, 7:30pm/ Tula’s

Dawn Clement and Mark Taylor collaborate each month at Tula’s, bringing a cross section of the Seattle jazz scene with them. Clement is receiving well deserved recognition for her recent Origin release, Tandem, and was recently featured in Downbeat. Blending a physical piano style, and a pitch perfect vocal style that is both lyrical and melodic, Clement has been a force on the Seattle scene for some time now. She is currently touring with Jane Ira Bloom, and teaches at Cornish College of the Arts.

Mark Taylor has been deeply involved in providing mentorship for the prodigious wave of great young musicians emanating from the high school band culture in Seattle that has gained national prominence. He has released two albums as a leader, and appreared on dozens of others as a sideman. Taylor is truly one of the titans of jazz saxophone in Seattle jazz history, beside Don Lanphere, Jabo Ward, Rick Mandyck, and Hans Teuber.

This month, they are joined by two gems in local jazz history in Seattle. Bassist Chuck Deardorf has been a first call bassist in this town going back to Jazz Alley in the U District. His impact begins with the plethora of touring stars he accompanied through the years, and extends to mentoring young musicians through his association with Cornish College of the Arts. Multi-reedist Hans Teuber has forged an innovative approach to improvisation on a variety of instruments, most prominently on tenor and alto saxophone. His presence on the scene for thirty years in Seattle has firmly established a musical identity that transcends genre, and is distinguished by its elegance. Young drummer Xavier Lecouturier has fast been gaining recognition as the drummer with the Thomas Marriott Quintet, and at 20 years old is a rising star on the scene. He will be appearing at the Ballard Jazz Festival during the annual “Celebration of the Drum” concert. Here, he helps create a cross generational ensemble, that in itself illustrates the passage of time in jazz culture.


Roberto Fonseca- Monday April 16, Tuesday April 17, 7:30pm/ Jazz Alley

Cuban pianist Roberto Fonseca comes from a rich tradition of Cuban forms that has manifested in his appearances with Buena Vista Social Club, and in performance with classic Cuban singers, Ibrahim Ferrer, and Omara Portuondo.

In 2009 Fonseca brought together Cuban and African musicians for his highly praised  recording and GRAMMY nominated Yo (in the category of Best Latin Jazz Album), a mix of acoustic and electric sounds the Times called “by turns folkloric and turbocharged.”

Fonseca comes to Jazz Alley with his trio featuring  Michel Castellanos on drums and Yandy Martínez on bass. The music comes with an ardent physicality, and pulsating Cuban rhythms.


Lionel Loueke Trio- Thursday April 19, 7& 9:30pm/Royal Room

Loueke’s music reflects his musical and life journey from West Africa to Europe and the Americas, personifying in many ways the globalization that jazz music has experienced for some 70 years now. While he may be described as adaptable, or versatile, those terms do not serve his prodigious talent accurately. Whether playing with Hancock, Wayne Shorter, Charlie Haden, or with his own trio, Loueke has an identifiable style only a journey such as his can claim. This gig is a great opportunity to see him in an intimate setting, and support a great jazz non-profit .


Greta Matassa Quintet with Alexey Nikolaev- Friday April 20, 7:30pm/ Tula’s

Greta Matassa is the most important jazz singer in Seattle since the days of the great Ernestine Anderson, and is as talented as any jazz vocalist, anytime, anywhere. She has consistently performed at a high level for decades, and has graced the stage at Tula’s Jazz Club before it was Tula’s! Matassa has taken on a lot of new material in recent times, including her brilliant arranging of the music of Pat Metheny. Bassist Clipper Anderson, pianist Darin Clendenin, and drummer Mark Ivester have been her musical collaborators for some time now, with saxophone ace Alexey Nikolaev a welcome more recent addition. Matassa’s approach is that of an instrumentalist, whether she is handling lyrics like nobody else, or improvising in scat form. Her gig at Tula’s is a Seattle classic and not to be missed.


Seattle Repertory Jazz Orchestra presents Duke Ellington’s “Such Sweet Thunder” – Saturday April 21, 7:30pm /Nordstrom Recital Hall at Benaroya Hall

Duke loved Shakespeare, and composed “Such Sweet Thunder Suite” as his homage to the Bard. Each movement will include local thespians, evoking favorite characters, quotes, and selections from the sonnets that inspired Ellington’s work. SRJO, and especially Clarence Acox, has always had a healthy attachment to the Ellington legacy, this being no exception.

With the Ellington Band in town last week at Benaroya, and now this inspired presentation, local jazz fans have had an opportunity to dive deeply into the Ellington legacy. Performances also in Kirkland on April 22 at 2pm, and in Edmonds April 23 at 7:30pm


Featured Performances April 9-15

Branford Marsalis Quartet- Tuesday, Wednesday April 10, 11, 7:30pm/ Triple Door

The Branford Marsalis Quartet may be the best working band of the 21st century. Heady claim, I know, but the iconic saxophonist has been teamed with pianist Joey Calderazzo, and bassist Eric Revis since the 90’s, developing an intuitive chemistry unmatched in modern jazz circles. Drummer Justin Faulkner took over for Jeff “Tain” Watts in 2009, without the quartet skipping a beat. Marsalis’ resume speaks for itself, from his early beginnings with Art Blakey’s Jazz Messengers, to the historic quintet led by brother Wynton, to 30 years of the Branford Marsalis Quartet. This will be a true highlight of the jazz year in Seattle.

The Art of Jazz: Gail Pettis- Thursday April 12, 5:30pm/ SAM

Earshot presents the Art of Jazz series at the Seattle Art Museum, this month featuring jazz vocal stylist Gail Pettis. Pettis, an Origin recording artist, possesses a cadence and style that is very identifiable and unique. Steeped in the jazz and blues tradition, this performance coupled with the opportunity to explore the exhibits at SAM is a late week opportunity to settle in and nourish one’s soul with fine art.


Stafford Hunter and Continuum- Thursday April 12, 7:30pm/ Tula’s

How often can we say that the Ellington band is in town, and a few members are dropping in at Tula’s to perform? Trombonist Stafford Hunter has made his mark playing with Orrin Evans, Lester Bowie, McCoy Tyner as well as the Ellington band, and comes to town on the heels of his new album Continuum. Grammy winning saxophonist Mark Gross joins him, backed by the Seattle rhythm section of pianist Eric Verlinde, bassist Phil Sparks, and drummer Matt Jorgensen.


Susan Pascal’s Soul Sauce- The Music of Cal Tjader- Saturday April 14, 7:30pm/ Tula’s

Vibraphone master Susan Pascal in an homage to the latin jazz works of Cal Tjader, brings her Soul Sauce band to Tula’s. The band features Seattle jazz icons Jay Thomas, and Chuck Deardorf, along with Fred Hoadley, Mark Ivester and Tom Bergersen. Pascal has an intuitive sense about Tjader’s body of work, and judging by her past forays into the music, this should be a can’t miss opportunity for latin jazz fans. The presence of Thomas, a true Seattle jazz icon is a huge plus.


Duke Ellington Orchestra- Friday April 13, 8pm; Saturday April 14, 8pm; Sunday April 15, 2pm/ Benaroya Hall

The music of the master never grows old, ranging from classic works such as Mood Indigo and Take the The legendary Duke Ellington Orchestra directed by Duke’s grandson, Paul Ellington, play Benaroya Hall as part of the Seattle Symphony Pops Series. The music of Ellington  from “Take The A Train,” and “Caravan,” to his orchestral works, encapsulates the American musical experience.

Featured Performances April 2-8


Each Sunday we introduce a listing of featured jazz performances for the upcoming week. The intent is to inspire Seattle jazz fans to experience the music at its spontaneous best, live. Here at, we encourage you to support the art of jazz by participating as an active listener. By supporting venues that present live jazz, you are enabling the art form to continue to blossom in our new century. We hope to see you out there!

Tim Kennedy Band with Hans Teuber, Evan Flory-Barnes & Brad Gibson- Tuesday April 3, 7:30pm/ Tula’s

Tim Kennedy has been experiencing a bit of a personal renaissance in recent times. While he has always been a fine jazz pianist, many music fans around Seattle have come to know him through his pop and fusion adventures with bands such as Richie Aldente (his musical alter ego), and Happy Orchestra. 2018 has seen him settle in as the pianist for the Thomas Marriott Quintet, and establish a residency at Tula’s every first Tuesday of the month. Each month he changes things up a bit, playing trio with the likes of Jeff Johnson and Eric Eagle last month for example, and going quartet this month. In April he is joined by multi instrumentalist Hans Teuber, uber bassist Evan Flory-Barnes, and drummer Brad Gibson. Teuber is a Seattle treasure, with a one of a kind approach to saxophone, flute, clarinet, and who knows what. Flory-Barnes, known for his work with the Seattle super band Industrial Revelation, is at his best in pure jazz situations with top tier musicians. His performance at Ballard Jazz Festival with saxophone icon Chico Freeman in 2017 introduced us to his ability to creatively enter any fray in the elite upper echelon of jazz, and perform inspirationally. Add the steady hand of drummer Brad Gibson, and you have a great evening of jazz in Seattle’s most intimate and iconic jazz setting, Tula’s.


Omara Portuondo- Wednesday April 4, 8pm/ Neptune Theatre

Not what you might specifically call jazz, but 87 year old Omara Portuondo gained notoriety in the jazz community as a member of the famed Cuban ensemble, Buena Vista Social Club. As both a singer and dancer, she blends Cuban son and bolero forms into a unique style that is all her own. Portuondo is the last surviving vocalist from Buena Vista, so the window is closing quickly in terms of opportunity to see the original members of this historic troupe.


Eric Verlinde Trio with special guest Thomas Marriott- Wednesday April 4, 7:30pm/ Tula’s

Pianist Eric Verlinde has made his mark on the Seattle jazz scene over the years, playing with the legendary Hadley Caliman, and manning the piano chair for just about every important jazz musician in the city. While he is entrenched as the house pianist at El Gaucho, Verlinde’s residency at Tula’s every first Wednesday of the month is quickly becoming the pianist’s creative outlet, as he welcomes the best players in town to join him and his trio with bassist Dean Schmidt, and drummer Jeff Busch. This month trumpeter Thomas Marriott, perhaps the most important and visible jazz musician in Seattle, appears as Verlinde’s special guest.


Alex Dugdale Fade Quartet- Friday April 6, 7:30pm/ Tula’s

Saxophonist and tap dancer extraordinaire Alex Dugdale is on somewhat of an upward ascent these days. His playing on tenor in recent times has established him as one of the top players in the city, worthy of a weekend slot at Tula’s. On top of that, he can utilize his tap skills to solo in rhythmic variations drenched in post bop modernism. New York pianist Dave Meder guests along with the 200 Trio with Cole Schuster, Greg Feingold, and Max Holmberg. 


Kavita Shah & Francois Moutin Duo- Friday April 6, 7pm/ Royal Room

Earshot presents vocalist Kavita Shah and bassist Francois Moutin in a unique improvisational duo format at the Royal Room. The duo performs lyric driven and worldless pieces alike, coming to town following their new release on Dot Time Records, Interplay.


Bill Anschell Quartet- Saturday April 7, 7:30pm/ Tula’s

When Mac Waldron opened Tula’s some 25 years ago, he sang many praises of pianist Bill Anschell, who had returned to his native Seattle from years touring, and living in Atlanta. He has been a mainstay at the Belltown jazz spot ever since, playing before a sold out house virtually every month. Whether it is with his Standards Trio, or his quartet, his performances are equally satisfying, blending sublime technique with pure musicality. His current quartet features guitarist Brian Monroney, whose approach to jazz guitar adds a sonic element to the quartet . Add bassist Chris Symer, perhaps the most underappreciated jazz musician in Seattle, and drummer Brad Boal, and the results are electrifying. Reservations recommended.





Featured Performances March 26- April 1

Hot Java, Cool Jazz- Friday March 30, 7pm/ Paramount Theatre

Seattle Theatre Group and Starbucks stages this one night performance at the fabulous Paramount Theatre. A true celebration of the first rate area high school jazz programs, 100% of the proceeds from this event goes to performing high school jazz ensembles. Featuring performances from the award winning programs at Ballard, Roosevelt, Garfield, Mt. Si, and Mountlake Terrace High Schools, this will be one swingin’ evening for a great cause. You can’t beat the price at $22, or the grandeur of the classic Paramount Theatre.


David Marriott Jr.’s Triskaidekaband- Tuesday March 27, 7:30pm/ Tula’s

Trombonist/composer/arranger David Marriott Jr. leads this monthly residency at Tula’s, challenging some of the best musicians in town with his skillful arrangements. The 13 piece ensemble has been appearing at the Belltown jazz spot for 5 years now, and is inhabited by such resident luminaries as trumpeter Thomas Marriott, saxophonists Richard Cole and Travis Ranney, and drummer Matt Jorgensen. Remarkably, the hard working trombonist has kept the gig alive with fresh compositions and arrangements. Hippest big band in the city!


Brittany Anjou Trio with Evan Flory-Barnes & D’Vonne Lewis- Tuesday March 27, 7pm/ Royal Room

Brittany Anjou explores original compositions inspired by Bartok, Stravinsky, Red Garland and McCoy Tyner, joined by the dynamic duo of bassist Evan Flory-Barnes and drummer D’Vonne Lewis. A graduate of Seattle’s storied Roosevelt HS jazz program, Anjou is currently based in New York, leading several bands, and working as a sideman. With her trio, she combines the tradition of the acoustic jazz trio with modern electronic techniques, reminiscent to the early 1960s work of exotica composer Martin Denn.


Taylor Zickafoose- Wednesday March 28, 7:30pm/ Royal Room

Up and coming jazz vocalist Taylor Zickefoose is the only singer to date to have won both divisions of the Seattle-Kobe Vocal Jazz Competition. She has as well been a multiple recipient of the Downbeat Student Music Award. For this gig, she has surrounded herself with top notch resident talent. Cole Schuster is featured on guitar, along with bassist Ryan Donnelly and drummer Max Homberg.

Singer -songwriter Megan Moreau opens.


Spike Wilner Quartet with Joe Magnarelli- Thursday March 29, 7:30pm/ Tula’s

New York based pianist and club proprietor Spike Wilner breezes through Tula’s with a NYC based quartet, featuring mercurial trumpeter Joe Magnarelli. New York heavyweights Paul Gill, and Anthony Pinciotti join on bass and drums respectively.

This is a great opportunity to take in the sounds of Greenwich Village within the intimate confines of Tula’s, the Seattle club that most closely resembles a venue in that New York neighborhood. Reservations recommended.

Latona Jazz Happy Hour with Phil Sparks- Fridays 5-7pm/ Latona Pub

This long time weekly session is hosted by iconic bassist Phil Sparks. A very pleasant way to start your jazz weekend, this charming pub in the Green Lake neighborhood is a great spot to have a brew, and witness the veteran Sparks joined by a variety of players.

This is not a traditional jazz setting. There is a lot of talking and noise in general, so intent active listening is a challenge. The vibe is pure, the mood festive, providing the jazz fan with a proper launching pad for what is to come later in the evening and weekend.


Kareem Kandi Band- Saturday March 31, 7:30pm/ Tula’s

Tacoma based sax man Kareem Kandi may be the hardest working musician on the scene in the Pacific Northwest. Between gigs, teaching, and raising his young family, Kandi is like a whirlwind of energy. His gigs are always highly satisfying, featuring crisp renditions of standards, along with original compositions.

Kandi fronts a quartet on this evening featuring on the rise guitarist Cole Schuster, bassist Greg Feingold, and drummer Matt Jorgensen. Jorgensen alone is grounds to attend this gig, having established himself internationally as a fine drummer, composer, and recording artist with Origin Records.


Ancient to Future- Saturday March 31, 8pm/ Royal Room

These performances are day 3 of a 3 day festival that begins March 29 at the Royal Room, continues at the Chapel Performance Space March 30, and ends with this date, returning to the Royal Room.

Ancient to Future was conceived in 2017 to celebrate the jazz and improvised music of the 1960’s, and the associated innovations that continue to this day. Day 3 presents a broad view of this period with four distinctly different performances.

Drummer/percussionist Greg Campbell is joined by drummer Alex Cline in a two drummer lineup featuring the music of Henry Threadgill.

Cline joins pianist Wayne Horvitz, Peter Kuhn, and Dave Sewelson in a salute to the music of the 80’s with these four long time collaborators.

Kate Olson appears solo celebrating the music of soprano sax pioneer, Steve Lacy. Lacy explored early jazz, bebop, post bop, and modern innovations in his brilliant career, leaving Olson a rich body of material from which to draw.

Beth Fleenor’s avant jazz, rock and noise band is the final act for Ancient to Future, certainly with an emphasis on the future. Fleenor’s sound is loud, primal, and energetic, displaying virtuosic instrumental prowess, and a unique vocal approach. Traditional boundaries of harmony beware! Lighting by Dave Verkade.






Volunteer for the 2018 Ballard Jazz Festival

The Ballard Jazz Festival returns to downtown Ballard May 16-19, and will feature headliner Clarence Penn & Penn Station. This year brings some added excitement as the Mainstage concert will be held in the brand new Nordic Museum on Market St. The new facility features a brand new auditorium that will double the capacity for the event. In addition, the Mainstage event takes place on Friday evening, the ever popular Jazz Walk on Saturday afternoon and evening.

Volunteerism is the glue that binds this community event together, now entering its 16th year. Participants are needed for the Mainstage Concert and the Jazz Walk. Volunteers experience the music, the people, the true sense of community that is the Seattle jazz scene. We welcome new jazz fans into the community as well, many of them young people new to the music and the experience. If you would like to volunteer, follow the link below. Previews, and feature articles about the festival will appear here in the weeks to follow.

Featured Performances March 19-25

Each weekend, we put together a selection of recommended jazz performances in Seattle, We encourage you to explore! Jazz and improvised music is best experienced live. Your support enables artists and the venues that support them to continue creating great music, and enhance the culture of our city. See you out there!

Lineup! with Dawn Clement and Mark Taylor- Tuesday March 20, 7:30pm/ Tula’s

This is a gig that should be on your calendar every third Tuesday of each month. On the heels of her new album Tandem (Origin, 2018), pianist Dawn Clement and saxophonist Mark Taylor have a working chemistry that is unique and special. They welcome the best of the Seattle jazz scene each month to the stage of Belltown’s Tula’s Jazz Club. This evening, they will welcome multi instrumentalist Hans Teuber, young bass phenom, Ben Feldman, and drummer extraordinaire, Byron Vannoy.

Fred Hersch/ Anat Cohen Duo- Tuesday March 20- Wednesday March 21, 7:30pm/ Jazz Alley

Fred Hersch is certainly one of the most influential pianists in jazz over the past decade, performing in solo, duo and trio configurations. His innovative approach to improvisation, combined with the fluidity and tonal elegance of clarinetist/saxophonist Anat Cohen, is a unique pairing not to be missed!

KNKX presents: Piano Starts Here: In Memoriam (Two generations of the avant-garde) – The Music of Geri Allen/Muhal Richard Abrams- Wednesday March 21, 7:30 pm/ Royal Room

The music world lost two giants of the piano in 2017. Muhal Richard Adams mentored trailblazing artists such as the Art Ensemble of Chicago, and Anthony Braxton. He is known as the grandfather of the AACM. The music of Geri Allen is wide reaching, and though pushing the boundaries of the music, steeped in the blues. Her elegant piano style was identifiably her own, her work a true inspiration to a generation of women in jazz. Featured will be Wayne Horvitz, Nelda Swiggett, Victor Noriega, and Jillian Lebeck Noriega. Hang in the lounge after for a 10pm performance of the Wayne Horvitz Trio featuring Geoff Harper.

Black Diamond with special guest Jared Hall- Thursday March 22, 7:30pm/ Tula’s

Trumpeter and Spokane native Jared Hall arrived in Seattle after mentoring with ace trumpeter Brian Lynch in Miami. Hall now is in residency at Tula’s, following his fine release, Hallways (Hollistic Music Works, 2017). Hall is joined by Chicago’s Black Diamond, featuring tenor saxophonists Hunter Diamond, and Artie Black. They will be performing music from Hallways, and the new release from the tenor duo, Mandala (Shifting Paradigm, 2018).

Sarah Elizabeth Charles & Scope- Friday March 23, 8pm/ Poncho Concert Hall

Boundary pushing vocalist/composer Sarah Elizabeth Charles brings her Scope project to Poncho, presented by Earshot Jazz. This concert represents in many ways what Earshot does best- bringing to Seattle artists that push the boundaries of jazz music to its perimeter. Charles’ soulful articulation is a perfect instrument to express her contemplative lyrical approach. She speaks to the many sociological challenges we currently face with a powerful narrative, and ambient explorations. She is joined by trumpeter/co-producer Christian Scott, bassist Earl Travis II, keyboardist Jesse Elder, and drummer John Davis.

Richard Cole Quintet- Friday March 23, 7:30pm/ Tula’s

Origin recording artist Richard Cole brings an all-star quintet to the bandstand at Tula’s, featuring Portland based drummer Gary Hobbs, saxophonist Pete Gallio, and two absolute icons in Seattle jazz history- pianist Marc Seales, and first call bassist, Chuck Deardorf. Cole has long been one of the true innovators of jazz in the northwest, and doesn’t get out and gig all that often. All of this firepower within the intimate confines of Tula’s should generate some serious heat!

Marc Seales Band- Saturday March 24, 7:30pm/ Tula’s

Marc Seales may be the finest jazz pianist to ever grace our city in residence. Heady statement, I know, but Seales has provided us ample evidence over 30 plus years of performing in Seattle. Seales performs in different configurations each month at Tula’s, consistently providing world class performances on piano and electric keyboards. He brings the top tier of Seattle resident musicians to join him.

Erik Deutsch Band featuring Skerik, Alwyn Robinson , Greg Garrison , and special guest Victoria Reed- Sunday March 25, 10pm/ Royal Room

Need a nightcap to your weekend? New York based pianist Erik Deutsch has made his mark as a solo artist, and as a sideman with Charlie Hunter, Norah Jones, and Steven Bernstein among others. He is a full fledged member of the legendary jam-grass band, Leftover Salmon. He is joined by saxophonist Skerik, bassist Greg Garrison, drummer Alwyn Robinson, and vocalist Victoria Reed.








Preview: Spike Wilner Quartet at Tula’s

Spike Wilner has impacted the Greenwich Village jazz scene in New York city, both as a pianist and as the proprietor of two village jazz venues. Few jazz spots offer what Small’s, and Mezzrow jazz clubs do. The jazz fan experiences an intimacy at both venues that accentuates the jazz experience exponentially. There is direct participation between musicians and audience, a give and take that creates a warm and comfortable vibe.

There is a sense of jazz tradition and history, something one can hear in Wilner’s unique piano style as well. He can be just as comfortable playing stride piano as he is fronting a quartet that is steeped in post bop modernism.

This performance is a rare opportunity to experience a piece of the village scene in NewYork, as Wilner will have his NY quartet in tow, featuring mercurial hard bop trumpeter Joe Magnarelli. While he is well known for his work as a sideman with Jack McDuff, Lionel Hampton, Gary Smulyan, and Harry Connick, Jr. to mention a few, Magnarelli has released seven albums as a leader on the Criss-Cross and Posi-Tone labels.

Bassist Paul Gill, and drummer Anthony Pinciotti, two heavyweights on the New York scene, round out this world class quartet.

Tula’s, essentially the only true jazz club in Seattle, provides the intimacy that emulates many of the historic jazz venues in New York. For this performance, the room is a perfect match. In a day when many jazz clubs stray from the genre generously, Tula’s remains true to jazz in all its forms. The calendar reveals a stunning array of the top resident players in Seattle, as well as visiting players often surrounded by Seattle’s best.



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:

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:


Featured Performances March 12-18


Darius Jones in Solo Performance- Tuesday March 13 8pm/ Chapel Performance Space

Since his arrival in New York in 2005, alto saxophonist Darius Jones has established himself as an expressive voice residing on the edge of multiple aspects of the jazz tradition. Though Jones doesn’t see himself as a “free” jazz musician along the lines of Albert Ayler, or as a traditionalist such as Johnny Hodges, he cites both as sources of inspiration. In solo performance, Jones leaves us a musical trail blazed by perceived diametric opposites that in reality, represent reflective images of the same.

KO Ensemble- Tuesday March 13, 5pm/ Musicquarium

Saxophonist Kate Olson performs in duo with bassist Tim Carey, performing original compositions by Olson, Tim Kennedy, Birch Pereira, and more.

200 Trio- Thursday March 15, 9pm/ Musicquarium

Guitarist Cole Schuster, bassist Greg Feingold, and drummer Max Holmberg have a rare chemistry that began at the Berkeley School of Music in Boston. Since that time, all three have developed into top tier players on the Seattle scene.

Greta Matassa Sextet with special guests- Friday March 16, 7:30pm/ Tula’s

Over the past 25 years, Matassa has established herself as the most important jazz vocalist to come out of Seattle since the great Ernestine Anderson. She still commands the most dynamic instrument in town, and as of late, is presenting new music, including vocal interpretations of the music of Pat Metheny. Along with her long time quartet of pianist  Darin Clendenin, uber bassist Clipper Anderson, and drummer Mark Ivester, Matassa welcomes vibraphonist Susan Pascal and saxophonist Alexey Nikolaev to the fold.


Susan Pascal Quartet- Saturday March 17, 7:30pm/ Tula’s

Master vibraphonist Susan Pascal has established a rapport with her long time quartet that resembles an intimate conversation among friends. Bassist Chuck Deardorf and pianist Bill Anschell are Seattle jazz icons, and drummer Mark Ivester is a versatile and finely tuned addition to the band.

Electric Circus- Saturday March 17, 7pm/ Royal Room

Electric Circus remixes classic R&B, soul and rock for the with sampled grooves, improvised exploration, light projections and interpretations of 20th century psychedelia. This large ensemble features Wayne Horvitz, Ray Larsen, Beth Fleenor, Greg Sinibaldi, Geoff Harper, and many more




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:



Featured Jazz Performances- March 5-11

Jazz is best experienced live! At SJS, we encourage you to support the art form, and the artists themselves by getting out to the many venues that present the music live. Each weekend, we list some featured performances for the week going forward. On the front page, we provide links to jazz venues in the Seattle area. We encourage you to explore!

Tue March 6, Wed March 7- Veronica Swift with the Benny Green Trio/ Jazz Alley

Upcoming 23 year old swing and bebop vocalist Veronica Swift is accompanied by hard bop piano master, Benny Green


Thu March 8- Sun March 11- Billy Cobham Crosswinds Project/ Jazz Alley


The absolute standard for jazz fusion drumming


Tue March 6 Tim Kennedy Trio with Jeff Johnson & Eric Eagle/ Tula’s


Pianist Tim Kennedy continues his monthly residency at Tula’s welcoming trailblazing bassist Jeff Johnson, and drummer Eric Eagle. Tim has been playing extremely well, and in this case choosing his company well, with Jeff Johnson, an absolute master of the piano trio on bass. This is a can’t miss gig.


Thu March 8 Delvon Lamarr’s disORGANized/ Tula’s


Delvon dives into jazz standards with Cole Schuster on guitar, and Tacoma based drummer Alek Geyton in tow. This is a monthly residency gig that needs your support. The trio has found a groove that is very special, and very different from Lamarr’s DLO3 band.


Thu March 8 Art of Jazz: Stuart MacDonald: Trace Generations/ Seattle Art Museum


The Saxophonist/educator Stuart MacDonald hosts an inter-generational evening, pairing jazz veterans with up-and-coming talent.


Sat March 10 Thomas Marriott Quintet/ Tula’s


Trumpeter Thomas Marriott may be the most important jazz musician in Seattle right now. After 11 albums as a leader, and hundreds of live performances, Marriott has settled on a quintet to play the length of 2018. Watching this band evolve, and create their own sound has been a fascinating work in progress. The band consists of three generations of notable players, including iconic tenor saxophonist Rick Mandyck. Tim Kennedy, who has been experiencing a bit of a renaissance himself, fills the piano chair. The vastly underappreciated Geoff Harper is on bass, with up and coming drummer Xavier LeCouturier on drums.


Tue Mar 6, Wed March 7  Dee Dee Bridgewater/ Triple Door


To see a historic vocalist like Bridgewater in the intimate confines of the Triple Door is a pleasure. A three time grammy winner, as well as a Tony recipient, she brings a rare blend of jazz elegance, and blues drenched tonality.


Sun Mar 11,  Birch Pereira & the Gin Joints/ Sundae & Mr. Goessl Double Album Release/ Triple Door


The Triple Door goes Prohibition style for an evening, as the city’s two finest exponents of vintage jazz team up for a double CD release. See a great show, buy a few CD’s, support our resident artists by supporting and purchasing their latest releases!


Mon March 5, Royal Room Collective Music Ensemble; Salute Sessions/ Royal Room


The Royal Room Collective Music Ensemble is a 15 piece band featuring Wayne Horvitz’s compositions in a loosely constructed format which uses a combination of on-the-spot (re)arranging and various other techniques, some of which have come to be known as “conduction”.


Featuring: James Falzone, Jerome Smith, Kate Olson, Ivan Arteaga, Levi Gillis, Greg Sinibaldi, Al Keith, Sam Boshnack, Ray Larsen, David Marriott, Haley Freedlund, Ryan Burns, Geoff Harper, Eric Eagle, Christian Pincock, Wayne Horvitz and more!


Sun March 11 Racer Sessions/ rotating venues


Fans of the avante need not fear! The Racer sessions live every Sunday from 8pm- 10pm at rotating venues. As of this date, the March 11 date has not been announced. Keep up with the Racer Sessions here.


Sun Mar 11 Overton Berry- Bruce Phares Duo/ Bakes


Truly the last playing connection to Seattle’s Jackson St. days, pianist Overton Berry has developed an amazing and loyal fan base over 7 different decades. His rapport with bassist Bruce Phares is a work in progress over 35 years.


Seattle Jazz Scene Update

Over the course of the next few weeks, I will be in full exploration mode here at 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




Performances from the Ballard Jazz Festival’s Guitar Summit featured on KNKX

Listen to a preview:

Three guitar led trios were featured at the Guitar Summit at the 15th Annual Ballard Jazz Festival. Cole Schuster, Brad Shepik and Dan Balmer each led a set including their own original music as well as jazz standards. Representing Seattle, New York and Portland respectively, the three guitarists led three different ensembles that represented their own unique approaches to the guitar trio. The evening was recorded for radio and highlights will air on Jazz Northwest on 88.5 KNKX on Sunday, June 4 at 2 PM Pacific, also streaming at

The Guitar Summit took place at the Conor Byrne Pub on May 18, 2017 and was recorded, edited and produced for KNKX by Jim Wilke. Jazz Northwest airs Sundays at 2 PM Pacific and is archived after broadcast and available on demand at

Earshot’s Golden Ear Awards preview on Jazz Northwest, Sunday March 12 on 88.5 KNKX

The annual Golden Ear Awards for outstanding achievement in Seattle Jazz will be presented on March 13 at The Royal Room. There are five nominees in each of eight categories for individual and groups, including the Seattle Jazz Hall of Fame. Jazz Northwest will preview some of the nominees this Sunday at 2 PM Pacific on KNKX, including Bill Anschell, The B’shnorkestra, The Westerlies, and Anton Schwartz.

The program also includes music by the New York-based Ryan Keberle and Catharsis which will play at The Royal Room following the Golden Ear Awards. Also on this week’s show is an unpublished recording of the late Larry Coryell with the Gary Burton Quartet at The Penthouse in 1967.

Jazz Northwest is heard every Sunday at 2 PM Pacific on 88.5 KNKX and After broadcast, previous programs may be streamed at Jazz Northwest is produced by Jim Wilke for KNKX.

Human Spirit at Tula’s: Friday, September 16


Human Spirit (Thomas Marriott – trumpet, Mark Taylor – saxophone and Matt Jorgensen – drums) are joined by Marc Seales (piano) and Greg Feingold (bass) for two sets of music at Tula’s Jazz Club on Friday, September 16.

With a combined 16 albums as leaders, and appearing on dozens more as sidemen, Thomas Marriott, Mark Taylor and Matt Jorgensen have defined the sound of modern jazz that has come out of Seattle and Origin Records over the last decade.

2214 Second Ave, Seattle

Reservations: 206-443-4221

Music starts at 7:30pm

Eastside Jazz Extravaganza: Saturday, Sept 17

The Eastside Jazz Club will present their Annual Jazz Extravaganza concert Number 12. A Night of Superstars A double-billed evening, the first set features Trish, Hans and Phil with a refreshing approach that showcases three voices, lush harmonies, and great jazz interpretations of popular song.

After intermission, join us for a second set with a true Seattle gem, the Full Circle Jazz Ensemble, a thirteen piece band, noted for presenting innovative and fresh, groove-driven “small big band” arrangements and featuring Vocalists Janette West and Bernie Jacobs. Come and hear all these magnificent Musicians perform in the wonderful new RESONANCE Theatre.

Resonance and The Eastside Jazz Club are proud to present in formal partnership the first of our 2016-2017 series concerts.

Click here to buy tickets


Jazz across the generations this week on Jazz Northwest, Sunday August 21, 2 PM on 88.5

LanphereWe like examining the continuum of jazz (thank you, John Gilbreath!) on Jazz Northwest. The students become the rising stars, and the rising stars become the teachers of the next generation and so it goes. Don Lanphere and Larry Coryell were major figures in Seattle jazz, and Roxy Coss was one of Don’s students and played in the Garfield Jazz Band under Clarence Acox. Today, Roxy is active on the New York Jazz Scene. We’ll sample her newest CD and also one by pianist Ariel Pocock who was a product of Newport High School and has also gone on to national prominence.

Also on this week’s show are recent releases from The Jim Cutler Jazz Orchestra, Victoria-based singer Miranda Sage, Seattle singer Dina Blade’s new CD recorded in Brazil, and a bi-coastal meet-up with Seattle’s Jay Thomas and New York-based Gary Smulyan and more.

Jazz Northwest airs every Sunday afternoon at 2 PM Pacific on 88.5 and streams at The program is recorded and produced by Jim Wilke and is available for streaming after broadcast at Next week’s show will feature The Jazz Port Townsend all-star big band playing a Tribute To Woody Herman, co-led by Jeff Hamilton and Joe La Barbera, both of whom played in the Woody Herman band. (8/28)

“Piano Ends Here” tonight at the Royal Room

Monday, August 15th 8 p.m.

The Royal Room
5000 Rainier Ave South
Seattle, WA 98118

In celebration of the major overhaul of the Royal Room Steinway B, and its tentative absence while its is undergoing repairs, The Royal Room presents “Piano Ends Here” on Monday, August 15th. Using a bizarre and very out of tune piano, the evening will be a preview of composer Wayne Horvitz “21 Pianos”, which will mostly take place in the state of Minnesota during the months of September-November. In this incarnation, local Seattle pianists, past luminaries of the Piano Starts Here series, will each perform a piece of standard repertoire, of their choosing, and an improvisation.

The evening’s pianists will include: Ryan Burns, Robin Holcomb, Alex Guilbert, Dawn Clement, Tim Kennedy, Wayne Horvitz and Josh Rawlings

For more information about the project “21 Pianos”, please visit:

The newly refurbished Steinway B will return in late August and in plenty of time for “Piano Starts Here: Alice Coltrane and Lil’ Hardin” on Wednesday, September 21st.

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 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 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 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.