Two trumpet quintets in jazz are rare, historically and presently. The alliances most commonly mentioned are the bop era tandem of Fats Navarro and Howard McGhee and their post-bop descendents, Freddie Hubbard and Woody Shaw. The individual players in both these pairings had similar qualities in terms of style and approach.
The pairing of Bronx born trumpeter Ray Vega, and his younger partner, Seattle’s Thomas MarriottT, as well have their musical commonalities. It is where the differences lie between the two that provides the intrigue around their recordings and live performances.The age-old belief that the east coast version of jazz is commonly more intense, and the west coast approach more laid back, has not been completely eradicated by modern travel, and in recent times, social media. Vega’s move from the Bronx and New York City to Burlington, Vermont has certainly redefined the “east” portion of the equation, while Marriott is now suddenly the more urban of the two, residing in the city of Seattle. Musical styles aside, the true story of this historic pairing has much more to do with friendship, with mentorship, and a long time friendship and bond that has seen Vega name his youngest son after Marriott. A little background therefore, is necessary to be able to appreciate the magnitude of this latest meeting in Seattle, performing at the Bellevue Blues and Jazz Festival. To continue reading, click on this link:https://www.allaboutjazz.com/east-west-trumpet-summit-at-meydenbauer-center-theatre-thomas-marriott-and-ray-vega
The third week of September turned out to be quite the week for jazz in Seattle. On Tuesday September 21, Herbie Hancock appeared at the Paramount Theatre, performing a thrilling two hour set with bassist James Genus, flutist Elena Pinderhughes and drummer Justin Tyson. The following night, The Cookers were at Jazz Alley, and I went not only to hear some great jazz music, put to pay homage to a group of jazz elders that are hugely influential in the music I had come to be passionate about. This was personal and I wasn’t alone in that feeling. Pianist George Cables is not only one of the great jazz pianists of our time, he is a man with tremendous humility and humanity. Eddie Henderson is on the list of most underappreciated trumpeters historically, with his brilliant melodic sense and tonal elegance. Drummer Billy Hart is still, at age eight one, a force of nature. Mr. Cecil Mc Bee? The master bassist is on records I have come to treasure that date back to the early sixties. Just seeing the great McBee enjoying a glass of wine after the gig was a bit of a surreal experience in itself for an admittedly over-the-top jazz fan like myself.
I was insistent on attending the performance as a civilian–I wanted to enjoy these master musicians without checking on a set list, without jotting down notes. I was however, accompanied by photographer Lisa Hagen Glynn, who wanted to document the event with her very fine skills as a live performance photographer. She knew the room well, so her plan of attack would no doubt bring excellent results. As you can see from the photgraphs below, that indeed was the case.
A review might simply point out that Billy Harper is still letting it fly on tenor, that Cables is playing as well, or better than he ever has. It would state the obvious that Hart would set the pace with his physical and articulate style. It would cite McBee as the foundational impulse of the band, playing with understated elegance. It would mention that Donald Harrison would bring a bit of New Orleans with him, acting as a tonal counterpoint to Harper’s snarling, biting attack. David Weiss would fill in the gaps, solo madly and be the band’s designated spokesman.
For the audience, there was a prominent feeling of rebirth, that somehow through the fog of now almost two years of social isolation, these jazz apostles are still on the road, still sharing their gifts with us. We felt not only joyous, but fortunate to be sharing space with them.
Our friend, the iconic trombonist Julian Priester, sat at a table right up against stage left. It occured to me that three members of Hancock’s Mwandishi Band would be in the house, after having seen Hancock the night before. Priester was there unbeknowst to his Mwandishi brothers, Hart and Henderson. As the Cookers were being announced and entering the stage, Hart spotted Priester and got down on his knees to lean over the stage and embrace his old friend. The emotion of the moment was only surpassed by its beauty.
The hang is always the thing–an unequivocal fact in the jazz community, that somehow felt even more relevant that evening. To be seated with Priester, Hart and Henderson, or sharing a drink with McBee is an honor. Young musicians, such as saxophonist Jackson Cotugno, were able to meet and briefly chat with these legendary and historic musicians. That generational bridge is always something wonderful to behold.
As for my friend Lisa Hagen Glynn, she captured the energy of the evening perfectly. Many, many thanks to her for sharing this treasure trove of jazz history with us. You can catch and support her fine work covering the music scene in Seattle, both inside jazz and out, at her new blogsite https://hardlyraining.com
Each month, I feature 12-15 jazz performances, releasing them a week or so before the end of the previous month. They are merely suggestions based on forty years of attending gigs in Seattle. I recommend diving even deeper into the amazing wealth of jazz talent we have in our Seattle community. The entire purpose here is to get you out of the house, and support live jazz and the musicians that make the music. Or, as an old friend of mine used to say, to “get off your dupa.” We could all use a little of that after the haze of the past eighteen months or so. Enjoy, and happy gig hopping!
Calluna in Ravenna: An Intimate Jazz Dinner Club Offers Jazz Four Nights a Week, Wednesday-Saturday
Calluna proprietors Jason Moore and Heather Bourne know a thing or two about presenting jazz. After eight years at the helm of Tula’s, the now shuttered iconic jazz spot in Belltown, the couple has settled into an intimate setting on University Way in Ravenna. Following a brief hiatus from presenting music, they invested in a Yamaha C-3 piano, and set out to book top jazz talent in Seattle. The size and setting of the room is several notches more intimate than Tula’s, where everything from trios to big band was presented. At Calluna, duos and trios will be presented, without drums for the most part. Top end talent will be performing in configurations not usually accessible at a club or theatre date. The relationship between performer and patron, between fine cuisine and drink and the music itself, will be very personal.
Moore, who typically ran Tula’s from behind the bar, while serving up some of Seattle’s finest cocktails, will be where his talents are most realized- in the kitchen. His made-from-scratch desserts fortunately traveled with him from Belltown to Calluna.
One glimpse at the schedule for October illustrates the level of talent appearing at the Ravenna eatery. October 1 & 2 for example, will feature ace trumpeter Thomas Marriott, Seattle first call bassist Paul Gabrielson and Ron Perillo, a formidable pianist who relocated here from Chicago at the dawn of the pandemic.
Showtimes are at 7:30 PM, and I recommended that you arrive earlier to dine. Cover charges range from $15- $20.
Pianist Eric Verlinde will perform with multi-reedist Hans Teuber on Friday October 8, with Seattle piano legend Marc Seales completing the weekend fare on October 9. Seales returns to perform on October 30. Trumpeter Jared Hall, on the release of his new Origin Records release, Seen on the Scene, will appear in trio with pianist John Hansen and bassist Michael Glynn on October 15 & 16. Seattle’s iconic vocalist Greta Matassa appears on October 22, while pianist Bill Anschell, who appeared more than any other artist as a headliner at Tula’s, performs on October 29. The venue adds events as the month procedes, so check the music calendar by following this link: https://callunaseattle.com/music-calendar/
East-West Trumpet Summit featuring Orrin Evans, Roy McCurdy and Michael Glynn
October 9, 7:30 PM/ Meydenbauer Center Theatre
When Seattle born and bred Thomas Marriott met fellow trumpeter Ray Vega when he moved to New York as a young musician, and benefited greatly from his mentorship and friendship. The Bronx born trumpeter seemed to straddle two worlds, working straight ahead jazz gigs as well as a wide variety of significant engagements on the Latin jazz scene.
The two trumpet front line creation, East West Trumpet Summit first convened in 2010, with the release of their album of the same name on Origin Records, employing a standard rhythm section with pianist Travis Shook, bassist Jeff Johnson and drummer Matt Jorrgensen. In 2014, Return of the East West Trumpet Summit (Origin, 2014)matched the trumpet duo with George Colligan on Hammond B-3 organ, with Jorgensen once again in tow.
The most recent incarnation brings Grammy nominated pianist Orrin Evans to the stage at Meydenbauer, along with iconic jazz drummer Roy McCurdy, and Seattle first call bassist, Michael Glynn. Evans, fresh from a two year stint with The Bad Plus, is coming off consecutive Grammy nods for his Captain Black Big Band. His friendship with Marriott has been documented not only with CBBB, but on two Marriott releases, with another to come. McCurdy is still swinging hard at age 85. His historic career has seen him be a prominent member of ensembles led by Cannonball Adderly, Bobby Timmons, Betty Carter, Sonny Rollins and the Art Farmer-Benny Golson Jazztet.
A trip to the north end is worth your trouble to become acquainted with, or reacquainted with vocal artist Gail Pettis. Her natural, unforced style delivers a song with grace and style, with a deep connection to the blues.
Pettis’ approach as a bandleader is to let the cats play, always backing up that philosophy with a collection of Seattle’s best on the bandstand with her. Pianist Tony Foster has been a mainstay of her band. A master accompanist, and imaginative soloist, he has developed a chemistry with Pettis that allows the vocalist to take a song where she wills it in the moment. Bassist Chuck Deardorf has been the first call bassist in Seattle since Jazz Alley’s University District incarnation in the late 1970’s. He is a rock on the bottom end for sure, but a prolific practitioner of melodic improvisation as well. Drummer/percussionist Jeff Busch brings with him a literal world of experience–his world travels gathering global rhythms and the instruments that implement them speaks to his approach behind the kit as a jazz drummer. This gig should be compelling instrumentally, with Pettis adding a vocal touch with perfect pitch and genuine soul. https://northcitybistro.com/
Royal Room Monday Night Jam with Thomas Marriott
Mondays at 9 PM
A jam session in the south end, with a legitimate backline at the Royal Room brings with it a myriad of possibilities. Having Thomas Marriott on the gig makes it that much more legit. The jam follows the weekly Monday night performance of the Royal Room Collective Music Ensemble under the baton of Wayne Horvitz.
The jam presents the opportunity for great music and great fellowship. It allows for the natural course of the mentorship cycle to take place. It creates new musical acquaintances, and renews those already made. The only ingredient needed is support, both for the session, and for the Royal Room. With jazz jam sessions largely concentrated downtown and the north end, this session brings the jam back to the south end in Columbia City. A house band will open the session, with an open jam to follow.
Theo Croker is a storyteller, trumpeter and creator of shape shifting music that blends traditional jazz musings with pop and hip-hop inflections of the modern era. He is the grandson of jazz trumpet legend Doc Cheatham. The music of Croker could very well be described as experimental, but in the process, he has developed a trumpet style that is very much in the modern jazz tradition. He hails from a generation of artists who grew up with hip-hop, and incorporates its ideas into jazz music. In his five previous recordings, including his 2019 release, Star People Nation, he utilized sonic textures from hip-hop, but mostly emphasized his improvisational skills as a trumpet player. His sixth release, BLK2LIFE, is a deeper dive into heavily produced hip-hop, and features guests that include Wyclef Jean. Croker diversified his skill set for this music as a spoken word artist and producer. This performance is part of the 2021 Earshot Jazz Festival. Check out the full calendar here. https://www.earshot.org/
Marina Albero Quintet
Fri Oct 15, 7 PM/ Town Hall Forum
Pianist Marina Albero in her first of four performances as the Artist in Residence of the 2021 Earshot Jazz Festival, convenes the all-star quintet that has been with her across the seven years she has resided in Seattle. Drummer D’Vonne Lewis, percussionist Jeff Busch, bassist Jeff Johnson and multi-reedist Hans Teuber have a great understanding of Albero’s music whose musical DNA includes traces of jazz, flamenco, classical and Afro-Cuban jazz.
Albero’s ability to gather musical influences continues to shape her sound, making each reunion with her quintet a new experience for her audience. She will appear on h
ammered dulcimer as well, an instrument she has pioneered in jazz and improvised music. There is always the possibility of vibes working their way into the picture as well.
Albero’s presence in Seattle over the past seven years has given the Seattle jazz scene a unique cross-current of musical culture. Her splendid virtuosity is opne thing, her ability to apply it emotionally is special and original. Her vibe onstage is an infectious positive influence on her bandmates and her audience. A can’t miss date at this year’s festival. https://www.earshot.org/
Meridian Odyssey featuring Xavier Lecouturier, Ben Feldman, Santosh Sharma, Martin Budde, Dylan Hayes & Noah Halpern
Fri Oct 15, 8:30 PM/ Royal Room
A band born out of friendship and isolation during the worldwide pandemic, Meridian Odyssey gathers in celebration of their first album, Second Wave (Origin, 2020), and their new recording in the works. The band gathered in an airplane hangar at the Alaska home of Budde’s father when the pandemic first broke, and recorded a session of original music that transcends genre, drawing elements from jazz, rock, funk and r&b, but in a very forward thinking sense. All members of the band contribute original tunes, to be probed and reimagined by this group of innovative improvisers. Lecouturier has been a force on the scene in Seattle for the past half dozen years or so, with his own highly regarded release, Carrier (Origin, 2019). Seattle natives Feldman, Sharma and Halpern have been making their mark on the scene in New York. Budde is making a name for himself as a shape shifting guitarist and modernist composer, bouncing back and forth between Seattle, and Alaska. Hayes has been sequestered in Oregon during the pandemic, but has made his mark with his Dylan Hayes Electric Band, his various projects with Lecouturier and working with the legacy of composer Jim Knapp. https://theroyalroomseattle.com/
Jamie Baum Septet +
Sun Oct 17, 7 PM/ Town Hall Forum
Renowned flutist Jamie Baum lands in Seattle with her New York septet featuring Seattle reared guitarist, Brad Shepik. Baum, whose artistry and reputation have historic implications in legacy of her instrument, is supported by the splendid ensemble of Jonathan Finlayson (trumpet), Aaron Irwin (also sax/bass clarinets), Chris Komer (French horn), John Escreet (piano), Ricky Rodriguez (bass, singing bowls), and Jeff Hirshfield (drums). A rare and must see concert in an intimate setting for all jazz fans, but especially those with a close relationship with the flute. Baum’s appearance is rare and welcomed. https://www.earshot.org/
Immanuel Wilkins Quartet
Fri Oct 22, 7:30 PM/ Langston Hughes
Long before his premier BlueNote Records release, Omega, in 2020, alto saxophonist Immanuel Wilkens was making an impression in modern jazz that tabbed him as a generational talent. The Philadelphia born and raised Wilkens grew up musically around that city’s historic and vibrant jazz culture that included a place in the “village” of musicians connected to pianist Orrin Evans’ Grammy-nominated Captain Black Big Band. His move to New York to study at the esteemed Julliard School of Music exposed his rare gifts to Gotham artists such as trumpeter Ambrose Akinmusire, who assisted the young saxophonist in navigating the scene in New York. The connections he made at this time enabled him to tour with ground breaking pianist Jason Moran, and impressively record his debut release on BlueNote. He has since worked with Wynton Marsalis, Gerald Clayton, Solange Knowles, Aaron Parks, Joel Ross, and most recently, with pianist Orrin Evans on his release, The Magic of Now, perhaps the most revealing glimpse into his playing as the main soloist in a quartet setting with Bill Stewart and Vincente Archer. While Omega featured Wilkins’ adroit compositional prowess and social awareness, his role in his mentor’s quartet gave the jazz world a strong impression into his improvisers mind in an open setting.
With his focus on the humanity and cultural specificity of jazz, Wilkins sees the music as a means to bring people together through cooperative engagement in his art. The personal humility that accompanies his profound virtuosity allows his music to touch those vital aspects of the art of jazz, and its historically present state of being. Wilkins will be performing with his New York quartet that is featured on Omega. Pianist Micah Thomas, much like Wilkins, is an ascendant generational artist, and a musical associate during their time together at Juilliard. Taking his Omega quartet on the road will provide the opportunity to hear and see the music evolve in front of us, and the rise of the next phase of jazz innovation moving forward. Bassist Daryl Johns and drummer Kweku Sumbry round out this groundbreaking quartet whose sound may portend the directional impulse for jazz music in the decade ahead.- Paul Rauch,Earshot Jazz Festival Previews https://www.earshot.org/
Seattle Jazz Fellowship Wednesdays at Vermillion
Beginning Wed Oct 20, 4 PM, 7PM. 8PM
10/20- featuring Julian Priester, Marc Seales and Xavier Lecouturier
The new jazz non-profit, the Seattle Jazz Fellowship, takes off with a weekly slate of events each Wednesday at Vermillion on Capitol Hill. The activities commence at 4 PM with an album listening session, followed by a hang at 7 PM, and two sets from two Seattle jazz artists to follow, starting at 8 PM.
To get the ball rolling, the Fellowship has named iconic trombonist Julian Priester as its Artist-In-Residence. Mr. Priester will host the 4 PM listening sessions, playing and discussing classic albums he has played on, including John Coltrane’s Africa Brass, Herbie Hancock’s Mwandishi, and We Insist with Max Roach and Abbey Lincoln. Of course, Mr. Priester will introduce his own recordings that include such jazz icons as Booker Little, Mal Waldron and Eric Dolphy to mention but a few.
The cover charge is $20 for the full slate, first come, first serve. This is an important event to support, to launch the Seattle Jazz Fellowship on its journey to find a permanent home. The October 20 opener will feature separate sets from Xavier Lecouturier and Marc Seales. https://seattlejazzfellowship.org/
Alex Dugdale CD Release- The Dugout
Tue Oct 28, 7& 9 PM/ Egan’s Ballard Jam House
At long last, Seattle jazz fans have an Alex Dugdale album to celebrate! Featuring his formidable Fade Quintet, Dugdale is featured on saxophones and as a tap artist. At times, he may drift over to the brass side of things and play trumpet. But have no doubt, Dugdale’s artistry is best expressed on tenor saxophone with alto running a close second. He holds down the baritone saxophone chair in the Seattle Repertory Jazz Orchestra as well.
Dugdale’s long time mates, bassist Greg Feingold and drummer Max Holmberg are on board for this one in the intimate confines of Egan’s Ballard Jam House. Pianist John Hansen has been a frequent contributor as well, while trumpeter Jun Iida is new to the band, having arrived in town from Los Angeles just before the Covid-19 shutdown. Dugdale will incorporate his substantial chops on tap just as he would as an instrumental soloist, a unique and original quality to his performances. https://www.earshot.org/2021-festival/
Scenes with John Stowell, John Bishop, Jeff Johnson & Rick Mandyck
10/29, 7:00 PM/ Town Hall Forum
A band that took root at a weekly gig in Ballard in the early 1990’s, Scenes has seven releases to their credit on the highly regarded Origin Records label, and has toured off and on since that inaugural gig on Ballard Ave. some thirty years ago.
The band began as a trio, with eclectic saxophonist Rick Mandyck, bassist Jeff Johnson and drummer John Bishop. Shortly after their first release in 2001, Scenes, Mandyck went on a fourteen year hiatus from the saxophone due to an injury. Scenes then went on to gain a reputation as a trio, featuring Stowell’s vignette style compositions, and his guitar style that featured an advanced conception of harmony. By then, Johnson and Bishop were gaining a worldwide reputation as an expert tandem in the trio format. Aside from Stowell, the duo has been part of trios led by pianists Jessica Williams, Hal Galper and Chano Dominguez. Stowell’s spacious style allows both to play freely with a liberal sense of time and space.
For their latest release, Trapeze (Origin, 2020), Mandyck returns, after a re-engagement with the tenor saxophone. He contributes as a composer as well, with compositions based on simple melodies that provice ample space for improvisation. His rich and powerful sound adds a completely different texture, and provides a steely edge to the ethereal leanings of the band. The quartet is four of the finest players to emerge on the jazz front in the Pacific Northwest over the past forty years, playing at a very high level. https://www.earshot.org/2021-festival/
The stage at the esteemed Seattle jazz club, Dimitriou’s Jazz Alley, holds special meaning for local musicians who are brought up through the traditions of the city’s historically vibrant jazz scene. The majority of the performers who grace the Belltown nightspot’s hallowed podium are national and international touring artists, who over the years have included Dexter Gordon, Art Blakey and the Jazz Messengers, Chick Corea, Branford Marsalis, Betty Carter and Cecile McLorin Salvant to mention but a few. On occasion, the club has set aside nights for its resident jazz elite, including the great Ernestine Anderson.
Before the worldwide pandemic brought the live performance world to a screeching halt, Jazz Alley began featuring resident artists on Monday nights (the reference to ‘resident’ artists as opposed to ‘local’ was inspired by Seattle jazz great Julian Priester, who explained that the term local could be interpreted as pedestrian). With live music at the club re-igniting in the summer of 2021, the club decided to take a chance on Seattle’s best, booking Thomas Marriott, Greta Matassa, Marc Seales and Ari Joshua with positive results both in terms of performance and attendance. It was quite striking to see a full club in on every note for Seattle veteran pianist Seales for example, with a band that featured Seattleites Marriott and Jeff Johnson.
The Seattle based Delvon Lamarr Organ Trio took to the Jazz Alley stage to begin a two night, sold out engagement on August 24th, a Tuesday evening with a full house on hand. Many in the audience were about to experience live music for the first time since the pandemic induced shutdown. There was a sense of rejuvenation, of celebration in the room, as Lamarr escorted his mother, brother and sister in law to their table suspended over the stage in the front of the balcony. The soulful R&B and blues guitarist Jimmy James was his usual sharp witted and comical self. “Do you know how to tell if someone is not from Seattle,” he quipped. “When they ask how to get on THE five!” James is all south end Seattle, just as Lamarr’s roots run deep in the Emerald City. New drummer Dan Weiss, who hails from Reno, was getting a full dose of the immensity of the moment, of his Seattle bandmates about to take stage on the city’s most prestigious jazz precipice. The trio had enjoyed a degree of commercial success prior to the shutdown, and had drawn well in their previous visit to the club.
Seattle’s reputation of being a remote and unique cultural outpost is perhaps a bit outdated in its modern incarnation, but nonetheless steeped in historical accuracy. When Jazz Alley opened, it would often feature a national touring artist accompanied by Seattle musicians. In the seventies and eighties, it was common to see such Seattle stalwarts as Chuck Deardorf and Dean Hodges manning the rhythm section for notables like Kenny Burrell or Mose Allison. The resident artists could be found full time at clubs like The New Orleans, or Tula’s beginning in the nineties. But headliners at the old Jazz Alley on University Way, or the current Belltown location, were clearly the exception, not the rule.
Lamarr is what some might refer to as a “natural” musician, one that has an innate understanding of music as a base point for his personal musical progression. In middle school, he came to play in the band by chance, by clearly showing his teacher and mentor Sam Chambliss his ability.
“One day I saw a horn on the floor, and didn’t even know what it was. I told Mr. Chambliss, ‘I can play that.’ He said, ‘Good, I’ll put you in band.’ It was a baritone horn. I picked it up and played it naturally right away. I couldn’t read music, so I would just copy the person next to me. Whatever they played, I played,” he recalls.
Lamarr settled on B-3 after playing drums in the band of Seattle B-3 master, Joe Doria. A year of simply observing his bandleader from behind the kit, allowed him to casually sit down and play the complex instrument.
“I had been watching Joe play it for a year, and literally sat down and played it like I had been playing it my whole life,” says Lamarr.
Lamarr was, and is, a jazz first musician no matter what musical tradition he employs. There is an intuitive eclecticism about his art that transcends form. The influences of his first love, R&B and soul, speaks through his music as well. Taking those elements of his musical personality, and creating a concept that not only would be sufficiently expressive for a genius musician like Lamarr, and as well supply ample opportunity to make a living, eventually became the domain of Amy Novo, Lamarr’s wife, life partner and manager.
“She literally owns DLO3,” exclaimed Lamarr from the Jazz Alley stage that night. “She came up with the idea, and made it happen in every way. I just have to play music.”
Novo worked tirelessly, while her husband created music that would land them with the esteemed Kurland Agency. They found an audience that, like the music, transcended genre. The potent recipe of jazz, rhythm and blues and rock pulled in a sizable crowd that enabled the band to play venues like the Blue Note in New York, worldwide festivals and of course, Seattle’s Jazz Alley. Guitarist James provided the punch that incorporated that which encompasses all of Lamarr’s stylistic indulgences- the blues. The band’s sound has been represented well on the studio albums Close But No Cigar (Colemine, 2018) and I Told You So (Colemine,2021) for Colemine Records, and the live offering Live at KEXP (Colemine, 2018).
That “sound” has a historical lineage, perhaps unknown to Lamarr at the beginning stages of the band’s development. In the fifties and sixties, Seattle Hammond B-3 artist Dave Lewis had a multitude of hit records with what was being referred to at the time as the “Seattle Sound.” It was instrumental, organ based music, that had markings of jazz, rhythm and blues and the hybrid form taking hold of the airwaves in those days– rock and roll. Lewis’ band would eventually have a huge impact sociologically by playing north end gigs that were the exclusive domain of white bands. This would put an end to musical segregation in the city, which included separate unions for white and black musicians. The unity exhibited by late night jam sessions on Jackson St., now had legal and ethical legitimacy by practice among venue owners. The “sound” would have an impact on Seattle jazz, as well as artists in all blues based styles, including Jimi Hendrix. DLO3 has received a large degree of popularity and commercial success with their own unique organ based sound, that much like Lewis’ combo, is an open door for guest artists to enter and leave their mark. It is a style that is constantly in motion and inviting new musical notions. Whether performing for a sit down audience at Jazz Alley, or accommodating a dance crowd, the band has the unique ability to satisfy multiple audiences, a luxury seldom afforded by jazz artists.
Lamarr’s solo work, and his minimalist comping style, are unmistakingly tied to his roots as a jazz musician. His dual persona in a way, is like an artistic aperture allowing the entire blues tradition into the mix. So much is the same, so much is different. “When I play DLO3 music versus swinging jazz, the approach is completely different. I intertwine the soul with jazz and make sense of it,” he explains. It is not, however, groove dance music, no matter how thick and comfortable drummer Weiss makes that pocket seem. Lamarr’s thought processes arrive musically from the jazz lexicon, smothered in blues based soul and funk. “It’s undeniable that music is better when it speaks to somebody’s soul instead of just hearing a beat,” he points out.
The trio’s open door welcomed in India Arie bassist Khari Simmons, and Polyrhythmic’s guitarist Ben Bloom on this Tuesday evening engagement in Seattle. Relieved of bass line duties, Lamarr is able to ascend as a soloist to new heights, and for two tunes, as a vocalist. Until this opening night in Seattle, Lamarr had never dared to sing in public. He soulfully rendered two new compositions to accommodate this new, very personal revelation. “No Walk in the Park,” and “Can’t Win For Losing,” unmasked the organist’s inner creative sanctum, leaving himself completely vulnerable to an audience that included family, long time friends and some of the city’s top music scribes. That comfortable vibe, that which one feels when surrounded by loved ones, by being home, gathered all the loose ends of the evening into one, enlightened space. The jovial nonchalance of Lamarr’s outward personality, and his deep, soul searching inner musical self came to a singular state of being. This wasn’t another ordinary stop on a long tour–it was Seattle, it was Jazz Alley, this was about neighborhood and being home.
The afternoon preceding DLO3’s opener at Jazz Alley, Lamar and Novo set up a B-3 at the Owl ‘n Thistle, an Irish dive bar in Seattle’s Pioneer Square, with intentions of returning after the Jazz Alley hit to attend a weekly jam session that has taken place at the Owl for more than two decades. The jam is the social focal point of the Seattle jazz scene, and where Lamarr would come to match his chops with the best players in town. In those days, the young Lamarr would play trumpet and drums at the session. Two weeks prior, he had dropped in at the Owl after a gig at Woodland Park, with Novo and Simmons in tow. He played drums a bit, but mostly just enjoyed the hang tremendously. He realized how shut in socially he could be, between touring and ultimately, due to Covid-19. Knowing that he would be playing the house B-3 at Jazz Alley, he set up his own equipment at the Owl, and arrived around 10 PM, just as the house band led by pianist Eric Verlinde was finishing up its set. The trio played a few tunes for the jam packed (pun intended) audience in the small, brick lined room. Soon, Lamarr was at the organ with a rapidly changing cast of musicians at the open session, clearly enjoying himself. While Lamarr is an affable sort, his normal positive self seemed to play into a state of heightened joy and repose. Novo as well sported a look of knowing she was in the right place at the right time. Normally a whirlwind during a gig, dealing with the business portion of the band, she as well could just revel in the sense of normalcy, of fellowship and community, that was so clearly at hand.
Of course, the evening would end with Lamarr and Novo once again loading one hulk of a musical instrument into their van. There was another night at Jazz Alley to traverse, and whatever else comes literally down the road as things slowly return to normal. There is the uncertainty of the Delta variant, of course, yet over two nights at their city’s most esteemed club, every seat is full, every audience member engaged and content. There is hope in the air, that we will rise above a two year pandemic hiatus, and find our stride musically, and inevitably, socially.
A single evening saw the Delvon Lamarr Organ Trio in front of a full house, and then immersed in the hang, that which in the end really matters. A return to normalcy means so much more than audience being reunited with artist. Rising above the fray of a worldwide pandemic, that place where none of us had ever resided, is more about being reunited with each other. Of feeling that embrace. On one Tuesday evening in Seattle, the Delvon Lamarr Organ Trio and family felt the embrace that only home can bring. —Paul Rauch
There’s a new spot in North Seattle for an intimate evening of jazz. Calluna restaurant, a casual European American restaurant at 5628 University Way NE in the Ravenna neighborhood, will offer live jazz Wednesday-Sunday beginning in September.
Calluna was opened by familiar faces on the jazz scene in Seattle in former Tula’s manager Jason Moore and his partner, Heather Bourne. With Tula’s ending its 26 year run in October of 2019, they were looking to open a restaurant outside of the music business. The restaurant opened in December of 2019, just three months before the world shut down due to Covid-19. After close to two years in their new digs, they realized how much they missed the music. They knew post-pandemic, they had to breathe some life into the intimate, homespun room.
“I missed the music, I missed the culture and the musicians themselves” says Moore. Very much like they did at Tula’s, Moore and Bourne took on the task of renovating their new space, from painting and cleaning, to the huge step of committing finances to a piano and acoustic revisions to the room. Experience told them that a room in Ravenna was going to have to draw people in with something special and welcoming. This isn’t Belltown, and lack of foot traffic in the north end neighborhood makes Calluna a destination venue, needing top end talent and superior ambience to attract a crowd.
Knowing the room was not suitable for more volumnus bands, they decided on a duo/trio format, with solo acts a possibility as well. The recently shuttered New York club, Bradley’s, was cited as an example to follow. While Calluna doesn’t plan on being the late night hang that the iconic Bradley’s was known for, it will offer top tier Seattle jazz musicians performing in duos and trios without drums, just right for the cozy living room vibe that best describes the Ravenna eatery. Moore brought in a Yamaha C-3 piano, and invited the best players in town to join in on the fun.
September will bring in a large strand of Seattle’s top jazz musicians, including Bill Anschell, Jeff Johnson, Greta Matassa, Stephanie Porter, Kelley Johnson, Rick Mandyck, and a special John Coltrane birthday celebration with Alex Dugdale. Anschell will square off in a duo with bassist Jeff Johnson, a fine example of the programming at Calluna. The marvelous jazz vocalist Matassa will perform with Clipper Anderson on bass and Alexey Nikolaev on saxophones. The demands the room places on the musicians in terms of intimacy will create an environment unlike what one might experience at a larger venue. The fine food and drink and Moore’s standard and understanding of live jazz performance will be a big plus.
Calluna adds to nightly opportunities for Seattle jazz fans. From the Royal Room in Columbia City and Egan’s in Ballard, to Jazz Alley and the arrival of the new Seattle Jazz Fellowship, the landscape for live jazz, post-pandemic, is beginning to take shape. For more information on Calluna, and a full music calendar, follow the link below.
One of the recent positive marks on the Seattle jazz scene is that Jazz Alley, the city’s premier spot for touring acts, has been featuring some resident artists. The shows have been well attended, featuring iconic Seattle artists such as Greta Matassa, Marc Seales, Thomas Marriott and Delvon Lamarr.
The Seattle jazz community has been well documented in recent years photographically, thanks in large part to veteran jazz photog, Jim Levitt. Long known for his work for the Ballard Jazz Festival, Seattle Repertory Jazz Orchestra and Jazz Port Townsend, Levitt can often be found at a gig near you. He may be hiding behind a curtain, or slithering along the ground like a shutterbug snake. He may find the empty chair at your table, taking a few shots before disappearing again, toting his stuffed to the gills bag of camera equipment.
Levitt has mentored the next gen photog on the scene, Lisa Hagen Glynn, who as well can often be found working around stages and audiences in several genres of the city music scene, most notably the jazz world where she typically resides. Her initial interest in photographing jazz performances came by attending gigs played by her husband, Seattle first call bassist, Michael Glynn. She has a unique, perhaps innate sense of the moment, often catching musicians at the height of their emotional arc. Her remarkable ability to seem almost invisible, yet find superior angles to shoot, makes her work stand out much in the way of her mentor. Many thanks to Jim and Lisa for bringing the music to life in pictures.
Since her appearance at the inauguration of President Barak Obama at age 16, alto saxophonist Grace Kelly has been turning heads in the jazz world. Starting out more in the bebop tradition in the musical lineage of alto predecessors Charlie Parker and Cannonball Adderly, Kelly has added electronics, vocals and dance moves to her resume, amping up her pop image within the jazz genre. Kelly is still an impressive technician of her instrument, whether or not you admire the new aspect to her performance will determine whether or not this gig is for you. https://www.jazzalley.com/www-home/artist.jsp?shownum=5245
Tuesday Night Jams at the Owl
Tuesday Nights- 9:30 PM/ Owl ‘n Thistle
26 years in, the Owl jam has evolved into the social center of the jazz scene in Seattle. Coming out of the Covid-19 shutdown, the importance of the late Tuesday night session became that much more important. This summer has seen the session feature such Seattle jazz luminaries as Thomas Marriott, Hans Teuber, Eric Verlinde, Jared Hall, Matt Jorgensen, John Bishop, Marina Albero and Rick Mandyck to scratch the surface. An absolute must to feel the pulse of jazz in Seattle. Once touring bands begin to frequent the city, drop ins may again be the norm, having seen Wynton Marsalis, Roy Hargrove and Nicholas Payton among others who have spontaneously sat in with the host band. Pianist Eric Verlinde, who has hosted the session since 2005, keeps the vibe celebratory and upbeat. https://www.facebook.com/search/top?q=tuesday%20night%20jams%20at%20the%20owl.
The Beaver Sessions
Sunday Nights- 9 PM/ The Angry Beaver
There is no overestimating the importance of the neighborhood jam session in the jazz lineage. This is true, even when that session is held in a hockey bar that is otherwise unattached to live music in the north end Greenwood neighborhood.
The session has long been the domain of the 200 Trio, featuring guitarist Cole Schuster, bassist Greg Feingold and drummer Max Holmberg. The evening begins with a host band of rotating musicians that include Jean Chamont, Kareem Kandi, Reuel Lubag Brian Kirk and the aforementioned members of the 200 Trio. The turnout is not quite as massive as the Tuesday night session at the Owl, but that contributes to the comfortable and fun vibe. The session is attended well, and the music beginning with the hosts is very good. A bit out of the way for south enders, but the #5 metro bus does take you practically to the doorstep of the classic hockey bar. This is one yours truly is going to pay more attention to going forward, after all–Seattle is now part of the NHL family! https://beaversessions.com/
Royal Room Opening Night: Piano Starts Here
Wed 9/15, 7:30 PM/ Royal Room
Columbia City will come just a little bit more to life this particular evening, as The Royal Room swings into action with perhaps its most noble undertaking– “Piano Starts Here.” The interpretive program features area pianists engaging with historic jazz pianists, in many ways defining the mission statement of the club on this, its opening night celebration. For this installment, KNKX and Abe Beeson will present the music of Earl Hines, Teddy Wilson, Duke Ellington, Carla Bley and Cole Porter, interpreted by Jose Gonzales, Alex Guilbert, Darrius Willrich, Ann Reynolds and Ray Skjelbred.
“I think ‘Piano Starts Here’ represents the best of the Royal Room. It’s local, it’s great music, and it’s also curatorial,” says Wayne Horvitz. He will play his own compositions and essentially interpret himself, an idea hatched by Guilbert, the event’s host.
Seeing guitar great Pat Metheny in the intimate confines of Jazz Alley is a rare chance to witness genius close up. The eclectic guitarist/composer is more commonly seen around town at venues like The Paramount, The Moore and McCaw Hall. This time around, Metheny features a trio featuring two of the most exciting young stars in jazz- keyboardist/pianist James Francies and New Orleans drummer, Joe Dyson.
Side-Eye is a project matching Metheny up with an array of young, intrepid voices that have included Anwar Marshall, Eric Harland and Marcus Gilmore. Francies and Dyson continue this progression. Metheny has always been unpredictable in terms of his recording history and his ambitious touring adventures. For more than forty years we have seen the iconic Pat Metheny Group, a number of trios and the Unity Band with Antonio Sanchez and Chris Potter. Seeing him work from the intimate sight lines of Jazz Alley is a special opportunity in a special time.
“I wanted to create an ongoing platform to host a rotating cast of the newer generations of musicians who have particularly caught my interest along the way. From my earliest days in Kansas City onward, I was the beneficiary of so many older musicians hiring me, which gave me a chance to develop through the prism of their experiences and the particular demands of what their music implied.”- Pat Metheny https://www.jazzalley.com/www-home/artist.jsp?shownum=5206
Blending Brazilian and traditional jazz forms, vocalist Adriana Giordano and pianist Eric Verlinde lead Entremundos into NCB for a dinner performance. Seattle’s go-to electric bassist Dean Schmidt, and all-world drummer/percussionist Jeff Busch complete this quartet that now has an extensive history together. Whether accompanying Giordano, or playing as a trio, this rhythm section that performs together in Verlinde’s projects as well, has marvelous chemistry and musical intuition. The diversity of musical styles that cross during an Entremundos performance are a reflection of the band members and their divergent separate paths. Their performances at the north end bistro have helped establish the tradition of live music at NCB. https://northcitybistro.com/
9/21- 7:30 PM/ Paramount Theatre
To claim that pianist/keyboardist/composer Herbie Hancock is an icon of American music is a safe assumption. From his early days with Miles Davis’ second great quintet, to his fusion persona via Mwandishi and The Headhunters, Hancock has viewed innovation as an elemental aspect of his music. Now 80 years old, his prowess as a musician and composer is undiminished in terms of imagination, execution and innovation. This tour celebrates a performing career that has now touched seven decades. Though the band to this point has not been announced, it is generally assumed that he will be accompanied by drummer Vinnie Colaiuta, bassist James Genus, guitarist Lionel Loueke and keyboardist/saxophonist Terrace Martin.
Aside from his historic impact on jazz piano and composition, Hancock has had great success in such divergent activities as film scoring, but most importantly, his embrace of generational musicians who have followed in his footsteps have received the benefit of his wisdom and grace. He, along with Wayne Shorter, represent the very best of humanity, casting a guiding light for generations of musicians and fans alike. His performances are generally a highlight reel of his entire career, with the compositions that fall into line performed in new and innovative fashion. This is one not to be missed. Watch out for the ticket sharks, and purchase your tickets through STG/Ticketmaster from the link below. https://www.stgpresents.org/calendar/6798/herbie-hancock
9/21-22, 7:30 PM/ Jazz Alley
The hard hitting septet returns to Seattle featuring some of the all time great figures in modern jazz history. Pianist George Cables is one of the great pianists as well as one of the truly transcendent people in jazz. Bassist Cecil McBee and drummer Billy Hart hold down the backline as they have since their younger days paying their dues in the bands of Miles Davis, Wes Montgomery, Alice Coltrane, McCoy Tyner, Jimmy Smith, Herbie Hancock and Joanne Brackeen to name a few.
Trumpeters David Weiss and Eddie Henderson have emerged from a similar pedigree, and along with burning tenor giant Billy Harper and New Orleans born and bred altoist Donald Harrison, form a historic front line unmatched in jazz today.
Assembling an all-star cast does not guarantee a grandiose result. In the case of The Cookers, the assemblage is one of music, friendship and love. That much is obvious at any one of their performances. It is rare to witness a working band of this quality in any genre, much less in jazz, a musical world often embraced by genius. An absolute can’t miss two nights at the Alley. https://www.jazzalley.com/www-home/artist.jsp?shownum=5241
Tue 9/21, 7:30 PM/ Neumo’s
Julian Lage comes to Seattle in celebration of his new album, Squint. The guitarist has been playing with the legendary Charles Lloyd from his early days as a Northern California guitar prodigy, and that aesthetic is clearly expressed in his work. The trio features bassist Jorge Roeder and drummer Eric Doob in a format that finds three musicians revolving around a common center, allowing the sparks to fly as they may.
Squint is Lage’s first recording as a leader on the prestigious BlueNote label. He is clearly humbled by that designation and attachment to a legendary history of recordings.
“I felt like this was an opportunity to present new music born out of the Blue Note tradition as I’ve interpreted it,” explains Lage, who previously recorded for the label with The Nels Cline 4’s Currents, Constellations and Charles Lloyd’s celebratory 8: Kindred Spirits.
A master class is being planned as well, so keep an eye out for that. This performance will be at Neumo’s, which holds the possibility of listening being more difficult outside of the traditional trappings of a jazz audience. The dynamics of the trio tend to be soft, precise and ethereal, requiring an audience that can take to that vibe. https://www.stgpresents.org/calendar/event/3968
Jovino Santos Neto Quinteto
9/24, 8PM/ North City Bistro
Creeping just over the city line, the north end venue continues its support of jazz, in this case, Brazilian Jazz, by bringing in the Brazilian piano legend Jovino Santos Neto and his longtime, sure-fire quintet. The band features Seattle bass legend Chuck Deardorf, drummer Mark Ivester, percussionist Jeff Busch and vibraphonist Ben Thomas.
The quinteto is as close to a sure thing as there is on the Seattle music scene. The music incorporates the jazz tradition into Jovino’s music that grew from the pianist’s many years playing in the band of Brazilian music icon, Hermeto Pascoal. The music is a pure release of joy and celebration, enhanced by the pure artistry of this top shelf band. This is a sit down dinner club, so come prepared for good food, fine wine and a grand performance. If you enjoy dancing to Brazilian music, this is not the venue. As a concert performance, the quinteto will make you dance inside! https://northcitybistro.com/
Monday Night Jam at The Royal Room with Thomas Marriott
Mondays beginning 9/20- 9PM
Monday nights will find two jam sessions bookending the weekly performance of The Royal Room Collective Music Ensemble at the Columbia City nightspot. Saxophonist Stuart MacDonald will host a late afternoon jam session for younger players, featuring musicians from the area’s celebrated school music programs. Trumpeter Thomas Marriott will follow RRCME with an open jam session that will begin with a short set from host musicians at 9 PM.
The addition of the south end jam is now the third weekly session in Seattle, following the Beaver Sessions on Sundays in Greenwood, and the iconic Owl Jam in Pioneer Square. All three are in the hands of musicians that will no doubt skillfully curate these community sessions. More opportunities for music and fellowship is always a positive. There is a huge backline advantage for this session, especially with the club’s resident Steinway B. https://theroyalroomseattle.com/
9/28-29, 7:30 PM/ Jazz Alley
Cuban born alto saxophonist, clarinetist and composer Paquito D’Rivera is a historic presence in the world of Latin jazz. A frequent visitor to Seattle, D’Rivera always plays with focused joy and virtuosity. He is joined by pianist Alex Brown, bassist Oscar Stagnaro, trumpeter Diego Urcola, and drummer Mark Walker.
D’Rivera’s music is a reflection of his wide ranging musical interests that can often move towards the eclectic side. This is especially true in his work as a composer. The artist and his current lineup have the chops to explore all of the aspects of the leader’s musical persona. https://www.jazzalley.com/www-home/artist.jsp?shownum=5247
Seattle Trumpeter Jared Hall Drops New Album Seen on the Scene on Origin Records
The title Seen on the Scene in many ways encapsulates trumpeter Jared Hall’s story leading up to the studio session in 2018 that resulted in this, his sophomore release. The Spokane, Washington native arrived in Seattle in 2015 after completing studies with mercurial trumpet ace Brian Lynch, almost immediately scoring a residency at Tula’s, the city’s legendary jazz spot. Sporting new compositions and a new recording on Lynch’s Hollistic MusicWorks label, Hall went about establishing himself on the vibrant Seattle scene, establishing working and social relationships with such Emerald City stalwarts as pianist John Hansen, bassist Michael Glynn and drummer Matt Jorgensen. Jorgensen is, as well, a principal of the highly regarded Origin Records label. Hall in the process began to shake off the sediment of jazz education and chance upon his own original sound by playing and interacting socially with his new community via jam sessions and gigs as a sideman for a variety of resident artists in his new city. Becoming a new father in the process necessitated he be employed in education extensively, all the while grinding and performing his way towards the top of Seattle’s impressive roster of jazz elite. Continue reading at All About Jazz https://www.allaboutjazz.com/seen-on-the-scene-jared-hall-origin-records__16108
If you were a young and talented jazz musician in Portland, Oregon, you would make yourself highly visible on the local scene to gain invaluable experience playing with the best the city had to offer. In addition to your more formal studies, you would extend your musical outreach from post-bop modernism to the avant-garde. Most importantly, you would constantly be rubbing musical shoulders with the elders who have mentored you to the point of having professional aspirations.
This is precisely what Portland-based alto saxophonist Nicole McCabe accomplished before her 2020 move to Los Angeles. Along the way she benefited from performing with the great pianist George Colligan, trumpeter Charlie Porter, bassist Jon Lakey, and veteran drummer/producer Alan Jones. For her debut recording Introducing Nicole McCabe (Minaret, 2020), she gathers all four to perform a collection of original tunes, along with two covers. To continue reading, click here https://www.allaboutjazz.com/introducing-nicole-mccabe-nicole-mccabe-minaret
Seattle-based musician Jay Thomas may be considered the oddest of ducks in the jazz universe. By that, I am referring to his fierce musicality expressed both on trumpet and saxophone, as well as most members of the brass and woodwind families. Inspired early in his career by the like minded veteran Ira Sullivan, Thomas in a single night will drift from trumpet to tenor, from flugelhorn to alto, and then double back on flute and soprano. He may as well play a melody in elegant style on tenor, and solo on trumpet and flute within the context of a single tune. While the demands of embouchure for each of these instruments makes Thomas’ methodology remarkable in itself, the fact that he performs with equal world-class virtuosity on each makes him, well, the oddest of ducks in the jazz universe. To continue reading, click this linkhttps://www.allaboutjazz.com/upside-jay-thomas-quartet-mcvouty-records
The jazz life in the twenty-first century requires a diverse and multi-skilled portfolio, requiring a resume previous generations of jazz musicians never fathomed having to deal with. Seattle’s Matt Jorgensen has spent the entirety of his career figuring out what this skill set entailed, and has navigated those waters, well, skillfully.
Jorgensen is a jazz drummer by trade, and has throughout his career composed original tunes. His entrepreneurial skills have manifested in the creation of the highly regarded indie-jazz label, Origin Records, in partnership with fellow drummer John Bishop. The label has now released close to seven hundred albums. A second label, OA2 came soon after, and Origin Classical next. The label in turn spawned the Ballard Jazz Festival, a Seattle jazz scene annual rite of spring each May since 2002. To continue reading, click this linkhttps://www.allaboutjazz.com/20-seattle-jazz-musicians-you-should-know-matt-jorgensen-matt-jorgensen
In venturing into writing this series of twenty notable Seattle jazz musicians, I had developed a criteria of sorts in terms of paring the notables down to a mere twenty musicians. I wanted to feature musicians living and working in Seattle in current times. In light of the international reach of All About Jazz, I was to choose artists with an international profile, who had paid dues playing with the best players, or had written and released notable recordings that AAJ readers could access worldwide. In that sense, many fine, largely local players, were not included. On the other hand, I wanted to feature players that have impacted jazz music in Seattle significantly, historically. To continue reading, click this link. https://www.allaboutjazz.com/20-seattle-jazz-musicians-you-should-know-rick-mandyck-rick-mandyck
A jazz fan born and raised in New York City sat in the Village Vanguard one evening, taking in a set from pianist Gerald Clayton and his quintet. He had moved to Seattle half a lifetime ago, and loved to return to his hometown to take in the jazz scene across the city. An old friend approaches, asking why he had not seen him much, for years. “I moved to Seattle, almost 40 years ago,” the gentleman replied. The old friend nodded and remarked, “Seattle, Thomas Marriott, bad dude.” True story.
The storyline for the Pacific Northwest-based band Scenes began in 1983, when drummer John Bishop and guitarist John Stowell began playing together in Portland and Seattle. When bassist Jeff Johnson arrived in Seattle in 1989, he began playing a weekly trio gig with Bishop and tenor saxophonist Rick Mandyck. Stowell, already frequently traveling abroad to play and teach, would drop by every so often to play.
The quartet wouldn’t get around to record until 2001, releasing Scenes on the Origin Records label Bishop had created with drummer Matt Jorgensen in 1997. Shortly thereafter, Mandyck exited the music scene, unable to play due to illness and injury. Scenes would continue to perform over two decades as a trio, releasing five more albums on Origin. On occasion, they would be joined by multi-reedist Hans Teuber, but generally the trio evolved outside of what would commonly be associated with a guitar trio. They developed an intuitive, free sound that in many ways encapsulates the Origin sound, steeped in the remoteness of the Pacific Northwest, embellished by connections in Chicago, New York and Europe. The trio developed as an equal partnership, with Johnson and Bishop having as much to say as Stowell. They largely performed Stowell’s vignette style pieces, and Johnson’s wide-open comps, designed for more free form conversation.
For their seventh release, Scenes once again becomes a quartet, with Mandyck returning to form after a long hiatus. He contributes five original compositions, all much like Johnson’s, enabling his mates to recreate at their whim. Mandyck’s distinct sound, very much lifted from the John Coltrane tradition, has a clarity and dynamic sense very much his own. With the addition of two of Johnson’s pieces, and the title track penned by Claudine Francois, Trapeze (Origin, 2020) reaches out towards the edge and defines itself within the risks and rewards the free spirit indulges.
Two of Mandycks’s pieces, “House of Ra, ” and the angular “The Reckoning,” produce the most open-ended playing on the album, particularly from guitarist Stowell. Long known for his colorfully melodic voicings, and precision playing, he spools out his solos to great melodic, spatial lengths. Johnson’s soloing incorporates fleet single note passages with exploding chordal clusters, all refined by his elegant vibrato. One of the true originals of the double bass, Johnson, in tandem with Bishop, possesses the unique ability to interpret time in the moment, and obliterate linear expectations. Intertwined with Stowell’s sparse comping, the harmonic and rhythmic firmament is fertile ground for Mandyck to play strong, rich, melodic passages in the open space.
Johnson’s “Highwaymen” swings ever so gently, while his “Pause” elicits a gorgeous interpretation of the tender melody from Mandyck. Both tunes draw strong reference to Johnson’s resume as a composer, with melody fragments that seem to be suspended in time. Every note Mandyck plays on “Pause” could be referred to as “the melody.” Much like Coltrane’s “Naima,” the melody itself is so spiritually bound, that any interpretation must in itself possess an essence of beauty that can rival that of the source. Mandyck’s playing fits that description perfectly.
The tandem of Johnson and Bishop has been well established in the groundbreaking trios of Hal Galper, Jessica Williams and Chano Dominguez, to name but a few. Both have a performance resume that includes dozens of tours and hundreds of albums. That special connection is truly “the enabler” on Trapeze.
Over the course of 30 years of friendship and of playing music together, much is revealed. Scenes, always seems to find a new and unique destination every time in the studio. It as well translates night to night on the bandstand. The addition of Mandyck is in fact, no addition at all. That sound has always been in the air.
“That was the sound that we always envisioned ourselves being. We just went through 20 years of wandering off in some other directions, doing different things. I think that connection with Rick just feels like home,” says Bishop. – Paul Rauch
Over the course of forty weeks, All About Jazz has given front page treatment to twenty of Seattle’s bright lights in the jazz universe. This unprecedented coverage highlights artists making a splash on the national and international scene. As we begin to rise from the scorched earth created by the worldwide pandemic, we attempt to keep the home fires burning here in Seattle, by celebrating a host of our outstanding artists. This time around the block, we feature drummer/record company owner/graphic artist/ festival promoter John Bishop, and pianist/composer Marina Albero.
To say that John Bishop has had a profound impact on the life of jazz music in the Pacific Northwest, and more specifically, the city of Seattle, would be a sizable understatement. His influence has cast a spotlight on the vibrant Seattle scene on an international scale. As a musician, record label owner, festival presenter, graphic designer and educator, he has contributed mightily to the profound sense of community that exists presently and historically in his home city and abroad. Photo Credit: Lisa Hagen Glynn Follow this link to continue reading.https://www.allaboutjazz.com/20-seattle-jazz-musicians-you-should-know-john-bishop-john-bishop
A lot can happen in life over six long years. The past six years in the life of Marina Albero have been eventful to the point of being a revelation. She arrived here with her then partner, flamenco jazz pianist Chano Dominguez, and their two children, aged 12 and 15. It was a fresh start, with the hope of finding more work in America than was being afforded them in Europe. The children were to start school in a new country, speaking their third language, behind Catalan and Spanish. Marina would play in the house band at Teatro Zinzanni and tend to the everyday needs of their children, while Chano continued to tour internationally, as he had for a quarter century. Photo credit: Lisa Hagen Glynn Follow this link to continue readinghttps://www.allaboutjazz.com/20-seattle-jazz-musicians-you-should-know-marina-albero-marina-albero
The Covid-19 pandemic has been a unilateral blow to the norms of all segments of our culture. For those of us dependent on the gathering of people in clubs, theatres, arenas and the like to make a living, that blow seems especially thunderous. Through the sociological haze of the state wide stay at home order, many musicians have taken to streaming performances, bringing a much needed sense of solace and hope. Music, just as love, can remind us of what it is like to not have it, the vacuity it engenders when it is suddenly taken from us. It is something in our lives that communicates through all perceived boundaries. Kudos locally to Earshot Jazz for their Saturday night series, to the Marina Albero led Quarrantine Sessions, and all musicians worldwide for sharing their music within the quarantine from their very living rooms.
As you can see, this is the first time I have written a word here since April 1. This site has been largely about live performances in recent times, about presenting a means to research what is happening nightly around the city. My agenda today is to bring to your attention, some things that have been brought to my attention. As well, I am providing links to a profile series I am writing for allaboutjazz.com, “20 Seattle Jazz Musicians You Should Know.” This series gives Seattle musicians an internaional spotlight at the much acclaimed site, and is linked to local websites via the musician’s member page at AAJ. I highly recommend to all who do not have such a page, to create one. That way, any CD review, feature article, interview, or profile that mentions your name will be hyperlinked to your page, and from there, anywhere you need it to go. Here is the link to get that started https://news.allaboutjazz.com/download-the-all-about-jazz-musician-starter-guide.php
As we slowly return to normal life over the next months, years, we look forward for hope. We hope to have an Earshot Jazz Festival in October, the rescheduled Ballard Jazz Festival in November. We hope that the venues that generously support the music are there when we are ready to move forward. Most of all, we hope that we are all well, and ready to HANG. The fellowship our community provides to all who care to participate, is what is missed most of all. Here are a few things to ponder……..
As I mentioned, I am in the midst of writing 20 musician profiles for AAJ. So far we have featured Jeff Johnson, Jovino Santos Neto, Brittany Anjou, Xavier Lecouturier, Rex Gregory, Gail Pettis, Christopher Icasiano, Chuck Deardorf, Jay Thomas and Samantha Boshnack. Ten down, ten to go! Here is the link to my articles at AAJ, the overwhelming majority of which cover jazz in Seattle. https://www.allaboutjazz.com/php/contributor_articles.php?id=163817
Roosevelt High School grad Chris McCarthy has been making quite a name for himself in New York. He recently released a new album on Ropeadope Records, and pre-covid, was often seen performing with several noteables, including Jerry Bergonzi and Sasha Berliner. Here is an in depth look at the album……..
CD Review: Chris McCarthy- Still Time to Quit
From 2017 to 2020, composer and pianist Chris McCarthy charted a path as a noted sideman for such notables as Jerry Bergonzi and Jason Palmer. He was often seen performing with vibraphonist Sasha Berliner and in duet with vocalist Clotilde Rullaud. In short, he has gained a reputation for imaginative and supportive playing.
McCarthy’s path has been blazed from a renowned high school program in Seattle, to the cloistered realm of the New England Conservatory, finally landing in the pressure cooker that is the New York jazz scene. His first recording, Sonder (Red Piano, 2017), could easily have categorized him as a project artist, as the music was an amalgam of forms, including spoken word and vocal parts. The music was well written and performed, but in no way did it set a trajectory for what was to come next. To continue reading, click here https://www.allaboutjazz.com/still-time-to-quit-chris-mccarthy-ropeadope
Swedish born flutist/composer Elsa Nilsson spent some years here in Seattle, studying at Cornish College of the Arts. She has become a major force on the New York scene as a musician, activist and organizer. 2020 has seen her release a new solo album, Hindsight, and a new collective recording with her trio SXNE, For Human Beings. The album is a fully improvised suite of five movements. Read the review here:
SXNE: For Human Beings
Flutist Elsa Nilsson voice performing on an instrument that has historically received secondary status in jazz music. Often the second or third instrument for saxophonists such as Eric Dolphy, Charles Lloyd, and Tia Fuller, it would seem even the most passionate fans of the genre have relegated the flute as such. Modern times in jazz have however, cast that notion aside. Flutists covering a wide musical swath through the annals of modern jazz include the eclectic sounds of Nicole Mitchell, the post-bop works of jamie Baum, and the diverse, fearless approach to the instrument by Nilsson, a Swedish born, New York based whirlwind. Continue reading here- https://www.allaboutjazz.com/for-human-beings-sxne-bumblebee-collective
In a day and age when social and personal narratives pervade the jazz recording medium, it is a welcoming feeling to experience a recording of superb jazz musicians playing music in the moment the way it’s supposed to be played—for the people.
For his spring 2020 quartet release Trumpet Ship (Origin, 2020), Seattle-based trumpeter Thomas Marriott has summoned a powerhouse quartet that hits hard from the outset and never lets up. He has convened a band that shares his ferocity of approach, stretching the boundaries, while respecting tradition of modern jazz music. While many recent releases have been attached to some sort of conception, Marriott focuses the music on the fellowship that accompanies friendship and community. To continue reading click this linkhttps://www.allaboutjazz.com/trumpet-ship-thomas-marriott-origin-records__30386.php
KNKX has teamed up with Dimitriou’s Jazz Alley to present Northwest Music Mondays, a nod to the vibrant Seattle jazz scene. This is a welcome addition to the monthly Seattle jazz calendar post-Tula’s. Jazz photographer extraordinaire, Jim Levitt, was there on the scene to capture the Marc Seales Band playing before a full house at the city’s most esteemed jazz stage. Seales was joined by trumpeter Thomas Marriott, bassist Chuck Deardorf, drummer Moyes Lucas, Jr., and guitarist Jesse Seales. Many thanks to Mr. Levitt for documenting Seattle jazz in such fine and vivid detail!
Jazz music continually renews itself generationally with young and inspired talent, presenting an evolving and original approach to the art. The vibrant jazz scene in and around the city of Seattle is a recipient of that renewal at an accelerated pace. The city’s nationally acclaimed high school and university programs continue to churn out accomplished practitioners of the art, in some cases revealing game-changing talent that either remains in the area, or journeys to jazz meccas such as New York. Certainly, drummer/composer Xavier Lecouturier, and trumpeter/composer Noah Halpern fall into that category.
On a crisp Tuesday evening on January 7, the eclectic pair appeared in Columbia City at the Royal Room for two sets featuring their original compositions. Lecouturier’s quintet, and Halpern’s trio as well featured young trailblazing bassist/composer Ben Feldman, pianist/composer Dylan Hayes, saxophonist Rex Gregory and guitarist Ari Joshua.
To be fair, the time to refer to Lecouturier, Halpern, Feldman and Hayes as “young talent” has run its course. While Halpern would be the senior contributor of the bunch at age 23, the accomplishments of these four young men both on stage and in the studio more alludes to veteran accomplishment. Lecouturier released an album of original compositions on the respected Origin label this year titled Carrier (Origin, 2019). As well, he spent a year behind the kit for the Thomas Marriott Quintet while still a student at Cornish. All six musicians have been wise beyond their years in terms of getting real life education on the bandstand, outside of the clutches of academia.
The first set featured Lecouturier’s quintet with Halpern being the lone non-participant. The opening salvo was Lecouturier’s composition “Aube,” a piece that well personifies his work as a composer. Each movement featured a melody built through a thick harmonic structure traversed by each soloist. Gregory’s work was especially insightful, with angular lines gaining ground through the dense ground laid before him by his bandmates. For those who have witnessed this music being performed live over the past year, it became immediately evident that the musicians were freer within the flow, Gregory’s solo personifying this new found comfort zone. Lecouturier’s polyrhythmic work behind the kit clearly pushed the music forward, acting as a de facto conductor.
The band’s interpretation of Lecouturier’s “Tempest” definitively stated that this music is finding a true identity as it is played, and played again by a contingent of players now familiar with the nuances of the work. As the piece began to swing, a deeper connection with the blues and jazz tradition evolved, creating space for off the rails solos by Gregory, Feldman, and Hayes.
Set two featured Halpern in trio with Feldman and Lecouturier. The Seattle born trumpeter is now a New York resident, as is Feldman. Halpern performed seated, playing Wurlitzer electric piano along with his horn. Aside from a brief electronic repose, and an even briefer vocal daliance, the three long time friends demonstrated a warmth and familiarity throughout the set that spoke well to a sizeable crowd at the Columbia City nightspot.
While Halpern offered finely tuned compositions, a three tune swing through brilliantly interpreted standards stood out above the fray, providing the audience with their most energetic support of the evening. Dizzy Gillespie’s “Dizzy Atmosphere” became a vehicle for Halpern to express his deep, rich voice, spoken freely with a vivid imagination, at one point referencing classic Gillespie. Feldman as well chimed in with a solo that included tonal clusters interspersed with agile melodic runs. He once again made the impression on the audience that they were witnessing something special from this young bassist not yet of legal age.
An interpretation of “Body and Soul” followed, with Halpern offering in ballad mode, weaving in and around the melody. If you are of the school that believes a jazz musician truly shows their worth when interpreting a ballad- and I am- Halpern’s stark tonality, and Lecouturier’s deft brushwork spoke volumes to you.
The highlight of the evening was Duke Pearson’s classic, “Gaslight,” adding another Seattle born musician currently making his residence in Gotham- tenor saxophonist Santosh Sharma. Sharma came out of the gate unhinged, playing an unrelenting solo in this chordless quartet format. Feldman and Lecouturier managed to lay down the foundation for the piece, while at the same time dodging in and out of Lecouturier’s polyrhythms. In all, it was a fine example of modern, forward thinking playing within the hard bop tradition. Hayes, whose reputation is more centered around his brilliant composing and arranging skills, comped and soloed on this piece sounding like a young McCoy Tyner. His star in Seattle continues to rise as a pianist aside from his compositional prowess.
It is an ongoing story in the history of Seattle jazz, that our young musicians take residence in New York City, the center of international jazz. We can look back generations, then moving forward and see that nothing in this fashion has changed. Many, or most, return. This evening represented a homecoming for these fine young players, performing on a respected stage in front of an engaged audience. As I stated earlier, the time to refer to Halpern, Lecouturier, Feldman, Santosh and Hayes as “generation next,” or “young guns” has past. Give these cats their due.
Jim Levitt is at it again, this time at Marina Albero’s CD Release at the Royal Room on December 17. Albero was celebrating the release of her 3 CD set, A Life Soundtrack before a full house, surrounded by friends, fans and family.
Jim’s work is art in itself, with the vibrant Seattle jazz scene as a canvas. We are deeply appreciative for his work here at seattlejazzscene.com
Attempts to characterize the music of Barcelona-born pianist Marina Albero seem to get lost in the details. She is not an artist who found herself within a passion for a particular form. That her music is the sum of her life experiences would be a factual description that would nonetheless fall short, given the far reaching, culturally diverse, and wildly meandering path that has occupied her first forty years. To continue reading, click this linkhttps://www.allaboutjazz.com/a-life-soundtrack-marina-albero-self-produced