March brings a plethora of performances to choose on the Seattle jazz scene. Monthly Monday night performances featuring resident Seattle musicians are featured at Jazz Alley and Block 41. Bill Frisell, Elsa Nilsson and Kassa Overall return to Seattle on the heels of new recordings. Pacific Room at Alki steps up to the plate with new ownership and a Steinway grand. Jam sessions at the Owl ‘n Thistle, Barca and The Angry Beaver continue to thrive.
Earshot Jazz celebrates with its annual Golden Ear Awards, Samantha Boshnack revives her quintet, and Johnaye Kendrick appears at the Art of Jazz series- there are so many reasons to man the escape hatch of your everyday existence and get out and support live jazz!
Kassa Overall- Sun Mar 1, 7:30 PM/ Triple Door
Seattle’s own Kassa Overall celebrates the release of his new CD, I Think I’m Good, performing at the Triple Door. Overall’s unique blend of modern jazz and contemporary hip hop is in effect, a personal amalgam expressive of his life growing up in Seattle and moving on to New York City. He is joined by Paul Wilson, Julio Rodriguez and Carlos Overall. https://thetripledoor.net/mainstage-calendar
Omar Sosa Aguas Trio- Tue & Wed Mar 3-4, 7:30 PM/ Jazz Alley
Pianist Omar Sosa, and violinist/vocalist Yillian Canizares are joined by percussionist Gustavo Ovalles in the new project, Aguas Trio. The music is an expression of two generations of Cuban musicians living outside their homeland. Musical traditions are interpreted in new and original ways by this trio of master musicians arriving at one point from three different directions. https://www.jazzalley.com/www-home/artist.jsp?shownum=5148
Jonathan Barber & Vision Ahead- Wed Mar 4, 7:30 PM/ Royal Room
Vision Ahead is an on the rise quintet led by drummer Jonathan Barber. The band is based in modern jazz, with a nod towards fusion and the roots of gospel and soul. Barber has the legit goods as a drummer, having performed with the likes of Pat Metheny, Nicholas Payton, Buster Williams, Kenny Barron, Jeremy Pelt, Jimmy Greene, J.D. Allen, Terrace Martin, the Brooklyn Philharmonic, and Erykah Badu.
Barber is joined by pianist Taber Gable, guitarist Andrew Renfroe, and bassist Matt Dwonszyk. Visions Ahead has been described as “cross-generational,” but then again, when has age ever mattered in jazz? https://theroyalroomseattle.com/event/jonathan-barber-pat-metheny-nicholas-payton-christian-sands-vision-ahead/?instance_id=2251
Bill Frisell: Harmony- Thu Mar 5, 7:30 PM/ Moore Theatre
Intrepid guitarist Bill Frisell comes to the hallowed stage at the Moore with a new project that blends jazz, new music and the Great American Songbook. Frisell has a way of making even the most abstract concept seem coherent, and this should be no exception. His vision is always focused on beauty, and an eerily visual sense of tradition. He is joined by long-time collaborators Hank Roberts (cello) and Petra Haden (vocals) as well as more recent partner Luke Bergman (baritone guitar, vocals). https://www.stgpresents.org/calendar/4944/bill-frisell-harmony
Samantha Boshnack Quintet- Fri Mar 6, 7 PM/ Royal Room
After a two year hiatus, Trumpeter/composer Samantha Boshnack returns to the Royal Room with a fresh look to her quintet.
Saxophonist Rex Gregory is new to the band, but has been making waves all over the city as both a leader and a sideman. Pianist Chadsey is the lone Boshnack regular in this edition of the quintet, as bassist Marina Christopher and drummer Greg Campbell join Gregory as newcomers.
Boshnack has been focused on three major projects as a composer since her last quintet album Exploding Syndrome was released. Both in terms of conception and narrative, those efforts have been bold and daring. The quintet setting exposes the vulnerability of her angular melodies, full bodied tonality and melodic approach to improvisation. Her quintet performs infrequently, so catch this while you can.
Musical worlds collide when Barcelona born and raised pianist Marina Albero meets Brazilian vocalist Adriana Giordano open as a duo. Both are typically featured in a quartet or quintet setting. This format affords an intimate setting between two friends to begin a great evening of music in Columbia City. https://theroyalroomseattle.com/event/sam-boshnack-quintet-with-adriana-giordano-marina-albero/?instance_id=2252
Golden Ear Awards Party featuring Marina Albero- Mon Mar 9, 7 PM/ Royal Room
Earshot Jazz presents its annual awards in what amounts to a celebration and solid hang at the Royal Room. Marina Albero performs riding the wave of her new triple CD, A Life Soundtrack. While one might decide that such awards are trivial, they do shed light on the wide variety of creative artists on the scene today, and the evening provides an opportunity for fellowship with the Seattle jazz community in all its incarnations- something that doesn’t happen often enough.
Barcelona born pianist Maria Albero is riding the crest of her 3 CD release, A Life Soundtrack (Self-Produced, 2020). Incorporating the many influences from her life in music, she probes deeply into jazz music which reaches into flamenco, classical and Afro-Cuban forms. Albero is joined by drummer D’Vonne Lewis, percussionist Jeff Busch, and bassist Jeff Johnson.
Earshot Jazz Presents the Art of Jazz: Johnaye Kendrick- Thu Mar 12, 5:30 PM/ Seattle Art Museum
Vocal artist Johnaye Kendrick is a once in a generation talent that by good fortune landed here in Seattle. She is a composer of brilliant, lyrical tunes and a musician of the human voice, a vocalist with great imagination and perfect pitch. The Art of Jazz series gives jazz fans the opportunity to indulge in the arts both visually and audibly, taking place each second Thursday of the month. Band TBA https://www.earshot.org/event/03-12-20-art-of-jazz-johnaye-kendrick/
D’Vonne Lewis’ Limited Edition- Sat Mar 14, 8 PM/ Watershed Pub
Drummer/composer D’Vonne Lewis is a fourth generation Seattle musician with not only extensive chops as a drummer, but a fertile mind for composition as well. Limited Edition, once a side project for Lewis during his tenure with the band, Industrial Revelation, is now a full blown favorite in town. Pianist Eric Verlinde brings a grounding presence in the jazz tradition, while uber-talented electric bassist Farko Dosumov brings the bottom end to the top and back again. Cliff Colon is a menacing presence on tenor saxophone, while quicksilver vibraphonist Jacques Willis contributes both as an instrumentalist and composer of intricate and clever tunes. This band is a blend of instrumental virtuosity and relentless energy. https://www.earshot.org/event/dvonne-lewis-limited-edition/
Bill Anschell Quartet/ Double Bass- Sun Mar 15, 8 PM/ Royal Room
An interesting double bill on a Sunday night in Columbia City. Since the closing of Tula’s, the Seattle jazz scene has seen noticeably less of pianist Bill Anschell, one of the finest players in the city’s jazz history. Anschell is back, returning to the fray with his “Rumbler” quartet, referred to as such from his album of the same name. Guitarist Brian Monroney adds an edge that Anschell seems to have specifically addressed with the tunes he writes for the band. Bassist Chris Symer and drummer Brad Boal both have extensive history with with Anschell and the unique hybrid that this particular band presents.
Double Bass is a trio project that matches two double bassists and a drummer, a concept formed while bandmates performing Nelda Swigget’s Alaska Suite Project. Drummer Adam Kessler is joined by bassists Chris Symer and Michael Glynn, performing thematic improvised music. The trio creates “improvised compositions based on words, themes and images, intertwining them with predetermined compositions and feels.” Symer and Glynn contribute different approaches to the double bass, which presents interesting possibilities through Kessler’s polyrhythms. https://www.facebook.com/events/184445826210227/
Mondays at the Block: Velocity- Mon Mar 16, 7:30/ Block 41
Tacoma based fusion band Velocity plays the monthly Monday night hang at the beautiful Block 41 event space in Belltown. Seattle jazz fans are well familiar with mercurial tenor saxophonist Cliff Colon from D’Vonne Lewis Limited Edition, and Contraband.
The band is generally groove based and features the compositions of keyboardist Peter Adams. If Colon is at all reflective of the band’s temperament, be prepared for aggressive soloing. Colon is known for his Brecker-esque approach to the tenor.
Monday Nights at the Block is a monthly concert series produced by Giordano Productions. It is a non-profit venture generously supported by Block 41 owner Dan Temkin. All of the proceeds go directly to the musicians.
This monthly event, as well as Jazz Alley’s monthly Seattle offering are essential gigs on the Seattle jazz scene to support. Much gratitude to Dan Tempkin, Adriana Giordano and Jazz Alley for their gracious support.
Elsa Nilsson Band- Tue Mar 17, 8 PM/ Seamonster
Elsa Nilsson is a Swedish born, New York based flautist who spent some time in Seattle attending Cornish College of the Arts. She is touring in support of her new release, Hindsight (Bumblebee Collective, 2020), an album of original compositions written in reaction to the results of the 2016 elections here in the US. Narrative themes have become commonplace in jazz in this age, with the socio-political stresses of our times reflected in such records as Roxy Coss’ The Future is Female (Posi-Tone, 2018) and Portland based trumpeter Charlie Porter’s Immigration Nation (Origin, 2019).
Nilsson is one of the finest practitioners of her instrument in modern jazz, something the international jazz community recognized with her duo release with pianist Jon Cowherd, After Us (Self Released, 2018). The elemental force of her playing can result in a whirlwind of energy, or settle down into a soft breeze. Her ability to leap from one musical outpost to another is astounding, as well as her imaginative ability to express an idea with unrivaled facility and full bodied tonality.
Nilsson comes to Seattle with her New York band, featuring drummer Cody Rahm, guitarist Jeff McLaughlin, and bassist Alex Minier. The music from Hindsight will be featured, with compositions that express the feeling of street protest, with jazz improvisation colored with references to rock and classical music. The Seamonster can be a bit noisy, so hopefully the audience fully understands the artist is playing flute, and is one of the true masters of the instrument in plain view for them at the Wallingford hang.
Delvon Lamarr Organ Trio- Tue Mar 24, 7:30 PM/ Jazz Alley
Seattle’s own wandering Hammond B-3 organ virtuoso is almost in constant motion on the road these days, taking repose at Jazz Alley for a hometown performance with his genre defying trio. This trio has always seemed a band made for dancing, not the case for this evening at the venerable jazz spot. Lamarr’s virtuosity is better accessed through his other, more jazz oriented band disORGANized, but DLO3 is a groove band with serious chops and wonderful chemistry. Always a good call to support Seattle musicians hired to play Jazz Alley. https://www.jazzalley.com/www-home/artist.jsp?shownum=5150
Jane Monheit- Tue Mar 24, 7:30 PM/ Jazz Alley
Vocalist Jane Monheit has never strayed the course from what she is- a classic jazz singer in the tradition of Ella, Sarah and the like. She has a cabaret nuance to her style as well, making her live performances intriguing. Monheit is yet another regular at Jazz Alley to jump ship and book the Triple Door. Her broad range, elegant tonality and deep connection to the vibe of whatever tune she sings has made her one of the highest regarded jazz vocalists of her generation. https://www.earshot.org/event/jane-monheit/
DX-Tet featuring Xavier Lecouturier & Dylan Hayes- Wed Mar 25, 10 PM/ Seamonster
DX-Tet is the collaboration between two of the brightest young musicians to come down the pike in Seattle in many years- pianist/composer Dylan Hayes, and drummer/composer Xavier Lecouturier. This particular incarnation of the band includes New Orleans transplant Rex Gregory, bassist Evan Flory-Barnes and vibraphonist Matt Williams.
Both Hayes and Lecouturier write dense, challenging material, while having a penchant for inventive interpretation of standards. Gregory is one of Seattle’s finest players, equally adept on tenor, clarinet, flute and alto flute. The always innovative Flory-Barnes’ brilliance has been witnessed by Seattle jazz aficionados for close to two decades now. His presence is somewhat new to DX-Tet, that alone will make this gig an intrepid destination. Matt Williams has been making his mark as a pianist and educator, but his facility on the vibraphone is substantial, bringing a completely different element into the music of Hayes and Lecouturier.
Lecouturier is a shape shifting jazz drummer with a broad view of just what jazz is. His winding, angular compositions and accompanying playing never disguise the fact that he can flat out swing and is unafraid to push and pull an ensemble into multiple latitudes. He is wise beyond his years due to his time spent performing with top players, including a year in the Thomas Marriott Quintet. https://www.facebook.com/pages/category/Musician-Band/DX-Tet-247174916175931/
Hot Java, Cool Jazz- Fri Mar 27, 7 PM/ Paramount Theatre
The annual meeting of Seattle’s award winning high school jazz programs perform on the city’s greatest stage at the Paramount. Roosevelt, Garfield and Mt. Si will once again be heading to Lincoln Center in New York to compete in the Essentially Ellington competition. Roosevelt is the defending champion. Five of the 18 finalists in New York are Seattle area entrants.
A great chance to see tomorrow’s stars today, but don’t wait to buy your tickets- this show typically sells out. https://www.stgpresents.org/calendar/4948/starbucks-hot-java-cool-jazz
KNKX Presents Northwest Music Mondays with Anton Schwartz featuring Josh Nelson- Mon Mar 30, 7:30 PM/ Jazz Alley
KNKX and Jazz Alley dive into their monthly Monday offering featuring saxophonist/composer Anton Schwartz. Los Angeles based pianist Josh Nelson is a marvelous addition, joining bassist Michael Glynn and drummer Julian MacDonough in a hard swingin’ rhythm section. The previous two editions have drawn well, so let’s keep up the pace Seattle jazz fans! Seeing the best of our vibrant community on its main and most esteemed stage is important stuff, and with a low cover to add to the appeal.
Many kudos to KNKX for presenting this series, and to Jazz Alley for being open to the idea. Let’s hope it continues and becomes a more frequent happening. https://www.jazzalley.com/www-home/artist.jsp?shownum=5168
The Bad Plus- Tue Mar 31, Wed 4/1, 7:30 PM/ Triple Door
The Bad Plus is, and has always been a trio of true originals. Drummer Dave King, bassist Reid Anderson and pianist Ethan Iverson struck that notion mightily from the beginning, and the music evolved as a conversation between three compatible, yet very different and original souls.
When Iverson departed, Philadelphia based pianist Orrin Evans completely and seamlessly pushed that vision even further. With a 25 year history recording and touring as a leader and sideman, he presented an original voice as well, but one that spoke in a different cadence than that of Iverson. The result has been a wave of new energy, and a recording to boot. Active Infinity dovetails Evan’s brilliant sense of harmony and soulful interpretation weaves its way through the familiar, yet somehow liberated tandem of King and Anderson. The band plays with an infectious and playful energy that translates extremely well live. Try to sit keyboard side, watching Evans at work is quite a sight. https://thetripledoor.net/mainstage-calendar