The month of September is incredibly exciting for Seattle area jazz fans. Considering that it is the ramp up month to the Earshot Jazz Festival, it is ample evidence of the vitality of the Seattle jazz scene. The selections are numerous this month, so happy wading!

Tim Kennedy: The Music of Wayne Shorter- Tue Sept 4, 7:30 PM/ Tula’s

Pianist Tim Kennedy convenes four of the top players in town to pay homage to the compositions of the great Wayne Shorter. The band will focus on the music from two classic Shorter albums, Speak No Evil, and Adam’s Apple. Eclectic bass talent Evan Flory-Barnes, and drummer Tarik Abouzied join Kennedy, along with trumpeter Thomas Marriott. The quartet will perform the music of perhaps the greatest small ensemble composer in the history of jazz, in a not-to-be-missed leadoff to an amazing month of jazz in Seattle.

Larry Fuller Trio- Tue Sept 4- Wed Sept 5, 7:30 PM/ Jazz Alley

Seattle jazz fans got to know Larry Fuller through his tenure with SRJO, and as pianist for the great Ernestine Anderson. This performance is celebratory not only for the return of Fuller to Seattle, but for the fact that Jazz Alley is actually presenting jazz music! Fuller brings his New York-based trio to the alley with bassist George DeLancey, and drummer Jason Tiemann.

Eric Verlinde Trio with Special Guest Hans Teuber- Wed Sept 5, 7:30pm/ Tula’s

Pianist Eric Verlinde continues his monthly residency at Tula’s with his trio featuring bassist Dean Schmidt, and drummer Jeff Busch. Verlinde welcomes multi-reedist Hans Teuber to the fold for this performance, giving area fans a chance to see Teuber before he begins his next run at Teatro Zinzanni. There is no musician in Seattle that can turn a good night to a special evening like Teuber. Add the intimate ambience of Tula’s and you have the best of reasons to attend.

Reunion Quartet with Jay Thomas, John Bishop, John Stowell & Bruce Phares- Thu Sept 6, 7:30 PM/ Tula’s

35 years in the making, four of Seattle’s finest reunite for an evening of jazz at Tula’s. Guitarist John Stowell is an international phenomenon. Drummer John Bishop has recorded and toured with dozens of international voices in jazz, including the groundbreaking Hal Galper Trio. Jay Thomas is a Seattle jazz legend, featured on both trumpet and saxophone. Bruce Phares has as well performed with a variety of jazz legends, among them James Moody, Larry Coryell, George Cables, and Ernestine Anderson.

Over this period of time each has made a prominent imprint on the music, and its culture here in Seattle. Their contributions have as well put a worldwide spotlight on the vibrant jazz scene here, and throughout the Pacific Northwest. 

Jovino Santos Neto Quarteto- Fri Sept 7, 7:30 pm/ Tula’s

Jovino has played with the same band since his arrival in Seattle 25 years ago, creating a comfort zone for eclectic creativity like no other band in the city. He applies the musical wisdom he was gifted by Brazilian legend Hermeto Pascoal to this band that includes bassist Chuck Deardorf, a Seattle jazz institution himself. Drummer Mark Ivester, and percussionist Jeff Busch create the rhythmic undertow as one mind. Jovino will be the resident artist at the 2018 Earshot Jazz Festival.

Greta Matassa Quintet- Sat Sept 8, 7:30 pm/ Tula’s

Greta Matassa has been thrilling Seattle jazz audiences for more than 25 years, and in the process has through recording and live performances established herself as the most important jazz singer to come out of Seattle since the great Ernestine Anderson. In terms of the pure instrument that is her voice, and  her advanced technique, there is none better. She as well has an intuitive relationship with her long time band that includes bassist Clipper Anderson, pianist Darin Clendenin, and drummer Mark Ivester. Uber talented saxophonist Alexey Nikolaev joins for this special performance.

Tim Fitzgerald Quartet featuring Anton Schwartz- Tue Sept 11, 7:30pm/ Tula’s

Continuing an amazing month, Tula’s brings in Chicago based guitarist Tim Fitzgerald to team up with saxophonist/composer Anton Schwartz for an evening featuring the music of the late great Wes Montgomery.

Cecile McLorin Salvant Duo- Tue Sept 11- Wed Sept 12, 7:30 pm/ Jazz Alley

Winner of the 2018 Grammy for Best Jazz Vocal Album, Cecile McLorin Salvant teams up with pianist Sullivan Fortner for two intimate performances at Jazz Alley. Her debut album WomanChild on Mack Avenue Records won her a bevy of honors aside from the Grammy. She now tours supporting her sophomore release, For One To Love, a more intimate and confessional effort that she describes as being, “ Almost like a diary entry.” Fortner, who Seattle jazz fans have come to know through his Jazz Alley performances with Roy Hargrove, would seem the perfect pairing on piano.

Photo: Carolyn Bick

Nu Trio- The Art of Jazz- Thu Sept 13, 5:30 PM/ Seattle Art Museum

Earshot Jazz presents the monthly Art of Jazz series, this month featuring Nu Trio, an ensemble of longtime musical collaborators  Nathan Breedlove, Phil Sparks, and Brian Kirk. Trumpeter Breedlove disappeared off the scene for 15 years before his recent comeback, and has gradually regained the form that made him a dues paid musician in the truest sense within many different communities in the jazz and ska worlds. Bassist Sparks has played with a plethora of local and international artists during his 30 years on the scene in Seattle and is the longtime bassist with the Seattle Repertory Jazz Orchestra. Kirk has been integral in Seattle jazz education at Seattle Central College and came up playing with the likes of stars such as Joe Henderson. This trio plays on the cutting edge of the jazz tradition while dipping into the entirety of that musical heritage. As Breedlove would say, “The spirits are willing.”

DXL Quintet with Xavier Lecouturier- Thu Sept 13, 7:30 PM/ Tula’s

Young drummer/composer Xavier Lecouturier at 20 years of age has earned his stripes on the Seattle scene as drummer for the renowned Thomas Marriott Quintet. His musical maturity and prowess belie his age. Young lions Lucas Winter (guitar), and Gus Carns (piano), are joined by veteran bassist Michael Glynn. Saxophonist Rex Gregory, a recent transplant from New Orleans makes his official Tula’s debut rounding out this superb quintet.

Marc Seales Band- Fri Sept 14, 7:30 PM/ Tula’s

Marc Seales has a performance and recording resume that includes stints with Ernie Watts, Joe Henderson, and Art Pepper. As a leader, his work as a solo artist, and with the trio, New Stories has established him as one of the true pivotal figures in the history of jazz in Seattle. His monthly residency at Tula’s has produced top-tier performances at the storied Belltown club for 25 years. No matter the configuration of the band on a given evening, Seales always delivers.

Christian McBride New Jawn Quartet- Mon Sept 17- Wed Sept 19, 7:30 PM/ Jazz Alley

Six-time Grammy winner Christian McBride returns to Seattle with yet another incarnation for the ever-evolving bassist. His New Jawn Quartet features saxophonist Marcus Strickland, trumpeter Joshua Evans, and drummer Nasheet Waits.

McBride’s passion for swing and his energetic approach to music is like a bridge between a variety of musical communities. Seattle is fortunate to have him in town on a fairly regular basis.

Madeleine Peyroux- Mon Sept 17- Tue Sept 18, 7:30 pm/ Triple Door

A continuing trend, as the Triple Door continues to book acts we are accustomed to seeing perform at Jazz Alley. While it is difficult to define the genre in which Madeleine Peyroux resides, jazz audiences seem to be very comfortable claiming her as one of their own. This is a judgment arising from her typically sold out shows, and rising sales of her recordings. Her sound draws from early jazz, blues, and folk, and expresses clearly her life between American and French cultures. Her performances are intimate affairs reflecting that very unusual personal journey in life.

Thomas Marriott Quintet- Thu Sept 20, 7:30 PM/ Tula’s

When trumpeter Thomas Marriott announced that he would perform with one quintet for 2018, it created quite a buzz around the Seattle jazz scene, knowing it would enable his ability to rehearse and perform his brilliant original compositions. Indeed, it has been fascinating to watch performance by performance, as the band evolves and breathes life into many compositions heard previously only on Marriott’s 10 solo releases on Origin Records. Joined on the front line by Rick Mandyck on tenor saxophone, and backed by the fine-tuned rhythm section of pianist Tim Kennedy, bassist Geoff Harper, and drummer Xavier Lecouturier, this quintet embodies the essence of Marriott’s unique sense of intimacy and intensity.

John Coltrane Birthday Celebration- Fri Sept 21- Sat Sept 22, 7:30 PM/ Tula’s


One of the highlights of the jazz year in Seattle, Matt Jorgensen’s annual autumnal salute to John Coltrane features tenor saxophonist Charles Owens (see the interview with Owens at Jorgensen features different music each year, highlighting the music and career of the legendary saxophonist whose impact reaches spiritual proportions for many in the jazz world.

Owens, currently a resident of Charlottesville, VA, has gained long time prominence on the New York scene, and brings New York bassist Ben Shapiro with him to join Seattle stalwarts, drummer Jorgensen, and pianist, Marc Seales. This is a prepay event that sells out fast.  Call 206-443-4221 for reservations.

Tarik Abouzied: Happy Orchestra Trio- Sat Sept 22, 9 PM/ TD Musicquarium

Tarik Abouzied’s Happy Orchestra can take on many different configurations, but always delivers funk-tinged jazz music presented in an air of positivity unique to the drummer/bassist/composer’s personality. Featuring many of the area’s top improvisers, this trio version features drummer Evan Woodle, keyboardist Joe Doria, and Abouzied on bass. A great opportunity for a late night hang with some of the best players in town.

Clipper Anderson Quartet- Sun Sept 23, 7:30 PM/ Tula’s

Sunday evenings have been a big band night at Tula’s for many years, nice to see a bit of a change up featuring more intimate musical inclinations. Master bassist Clipper Anderson is often seen with the band led by his wife, the great singer Greta Matassa. Here Anderson ventures into his own musical world, filled with original compositions and skillful renditions of jazz classics. Longtime mates Mark Ivester (drums), and Darin Clendenin (piano), join him, along with uber-talented saxophonist, Alexey Nikolaev.

Donny McCaslin/Kneebody- Mon Sept 24, 7 PM/ Triple Door

When two grand adventurers of the tenor saxophone convene in one place, for one special performance, one is left with little choice but to be there in the middle of the creative flow. This performance is an exercise in musical innovation, and anticipatory elation. One of the highlights of the jazz calendar in Seattle for September.

Delvon Lamarr Organ Trio- Tue Sept 25- Wed Sept 26, 7:30 PM/ Jazz Alley

Returning home after extensive touring, DLO3 arrives at Jazz Alley in triumphant fashion. Lamarr’s distinctive organ style is a blend of the jazz sensibilities of the historic greats of the Hammond B-3, filtered through his extensive experience playing multiple instruments in the jazz realm. DLO3 however, is not exactly a jazz gig, but then again, how many performances at Jazz Alley are? This is a great opportunity to welcome home one of the hardest working musicians, and great humans on the scene in Seattle.

James Falzone, clarinet

Gordon Grdina Trio with Matt Shipp and Mark Helias / James Falzone Trio with Wayne Horvitz and Abbey Blackwell / The Nathan Breedlove Quintet- Thu Sept 27, 8 PM/ Royal Room

Gordon Grdina, innovative practitioner of the guitar and oud, leads a triple bill that features three very distinctive bands, heading in original directions. Grdina brings in Matt Shipp, and Mark Helias to form a unique and adventurous trio.

Classical and avant-garde clarinetist James Falzone has been shaking up the musical universe here in Seattle since his arrival as Chair of Music at Cornish College of the Arts. His virtuosity and curiosity are unquestioned. Add the ardent eclecticism of pianist Wayne Horvitz, and that of bassist Abbey Blackwell, and we are set for a few orbits around the outer reaches of the musical universe.

Trumpeter Nathan Breedlove is a dues paid musician in the truest sense, having returned to the scene after a 15 year hiatus. His history with ska revolutionaries, The Skatalites, the Greenwich Village loft scene, and jazz greats Mulgrew Miller, Hadley Caliman, Donald Brown, and Jemeel Moondoc speaks to his post bop/avant-garde sensibilities that make him a unique quantity in the jazz world. Breedlove teams with Seattle saxophone legends Gary Hammon and Booker T. Williams on this evening, along with longtime mates Phil Sparks on bass, and Jamael Nance on drums.

Be sure to make a dinner reservation after purchasing your tickets, as the Royal Room does not guarantee a seat with your ticket purchase.

Jared Hall Quintet- Thu Sept 27, 7:30 PM/ Tula’s

Since his arrival in Seattle, trumpeter Jared Hall has consistently staged fine performances with a variety of the best players in town. His significant chops were well enhanced under the tutelage of trumpet legend Brian Lynch in Miami prior to his arrival, but his voice as a player and composer can only be described as original.

Hall welcomes another newcomer to the scene, saxophonist Rex Gregory on this gig. Add drummer/composer Matt Jorgensen, pianist John Hansen (who is playing out of his mind these days), and bassist Michael Glynn, and you have a quintet that will keep you glued to your seat for two sets. The intimate confines of Tula’s adds to the allure of this Thursday evening getaway.


Seattle Jazz