CD Review: Thomas Marriott- Romance Language

Trumpeter Thomas Marriott has established his jazz credentials over the years through a collection of beautifully inspired and well received albums on the Origin Records label. His formidable chops, extensive vocabulary, respect for tradition and penchant for musical adventurism has put him into the conversation concerning the top practitioners of his instrument in modern times. Marriott has the rare ability to look deeply into the matter at hand, whether it be through interpretation of classic repertoire, or performing his deeply reflective and emotive original compositions. To continue reading, follow this link

CD Review: Jay Thomas with The Oliver Groenewald Newnet- I Always Knew

Jay Thomas has lived the jazz life. He has endured, overcome, and continued to artistically thrive through all the ruminations of a path chosen by few. While much of his life may form a parallel story to those of many, Thomas’ version, his personal adjunct to its litany, is a story of artistic triumph that opened doors seldom walked through. It is a musical legacy in Seattle, unmatched in the colorful history of jazz in his hometown, documented by a number of recordings on several small labels. He as well is among the few musicians in jazz to be featured on both trumpet and saxophone, and in his case, play them both with virtuosity. His skills are as well applied fondly to the flute, and clarinet. To continue reading, follow this link


Featured Jazz Performances For January 2019

With the New Year, hope springs eternal. 2018 was a remarkable year for jazz in Seattle. The year brought us new releases from Thomas Marriott, Jay Thomas, Bill Anschell, Johnaye Kendrick, and Dawn Clement to mention but a few. There was an amazing amount of choices to witness great live performances virtually every day of the calendar year. 2019 promises much of the same. At SJS, we encourage you to seek out something new this year- new music, new venues, new interpretations of the jazz language. Here are a few suggestions to get you started.

Pearl Django- Celebrating 25 Years- Wed, Thu Jan 2,3, 7:30 PM/ Jazz Alley

Seattle’s celebrated gypsy jazz band, Pearl Django celebrates a quarter century of their unique take on the music of Django Reinhardt, and so much more. The band performs a variety of material in the spirit of Django’s original interpretation of the jazz tradition.

Clipper Anderson Quartet- Thu Jan 3, 7:30 PM/ Tula’s

Known for his work playing behind his wife, the great jazz singer Greta Matassa, Anderson is a virtuoso of the double bass. At Tula’s, he performs with long-time mates Darin Clendenin (piano), Mark Ivester (drums), and Alexey Nikolaev (saxophone).

Jovino Santos Neto Quinteto- Fri Jan 4, 7:30 Pm/ Tula’s

Music fans in Seattle should rejoice that master Brazilian pianist/composer chose the city of Seattle to settle down with his family. His association with his current quintet goes back to the year of his arrival here some 25 years ago. Vibraphonist Ben Thomas is a perfect match for Jovino, playing freely within the rhythmic framework provided by percussionists Mark Ivester and Jeff Busch, and bassist Chuck Deardorf. Deardorf as well is an adept soloist, and is the conduit through which the many rhythmic currents of this band flow.

Bill Anschell Standards Trio with Chris Symer & Byron Vannoy- Sat Jan 5, 7:30 PM

Three of the transcendent musical personalities on the scene in Seattle cross paths under the guidance of pianist Bill Anschell. If you think you’ve heard everything you can hear from a standards gig, think again. Anschell and bassist Chris Symer have a unique chemistry that can only be achieved with time. Drummer Byron Vannoy is engaged in another profession, and does not play out all that often these days. Vannoy plays without fear, and is unrepentant about changing the musical direction of a tune at will. His drive, Anschell’s imagination, and Symer’s sheer artistry is a pleasure to witness.

Brian Monroney Quartet With Alexey Nikolaev, Dean Schmidt & Ben Smith- Sun Jan 6, 7:30 PM/ Tula’s

At last Sunday nights at Tula’s are a happening thing. With many years of big band gigs on Sundays in the rear view mirror, eclectic Brian Monroney leads an energetic quartet in his debut as a leader at the Belltown jazz spot. Monroney is a unique player, expressing his years of experience in jazz, blues, and rock.

Racer Sessions- Sundays, 8 PM/ Cafe Racer

This is nearly impossible gig to preview a month ahead of time, as the website tends to post the curators of this legendary weekly session a week ahead of time. That being said, a quick trip to the website will provide you with all the information you will need. While there is a wide variance to the performances, the Racer Sessions always provide a journey into the unknown and unexpected, and have launched many new voices onto the scene in Seattle and beyond. A must gig for all jazz fans in Seattle at least once, to truly understand and embrace jazz culture in our city.

Art of Jazz- Kate Olson Quartet- Thu Jan 10 5:30 PM/ Seattle Art Museum

It seems as though we have had the opportunity to literally witness the artistic growth of Kate Olson through the ups and downs of her wide ranging musical vision since her arrival here. Her quartet with pianist Alex Guilbert, bassist Chris Symer, and drummer Brad Gibson seems to have found a balance in her approach that expresses all of the variant pieces of her musical personality in one place.

KNKX Presents: The Alex Monfort Trio with Matt Jorgensen & Michael Glynn- Thu Jan 10, 7:30 PM/ Tula’s

This gig seems to have fallen out of the sky to us, via Monfort’s brief association with KNKX, and Abe Beeson. KNKX presents Monfort’s inaugural performance in Seattle, in trio with drummer Matt Jorgensen and bassist Michael Glynn. Monfort has elements of classic trio pianists Bill Evans and Ahmad Jamal in his playing, with a modern sensibility that should be embellished creatively by the presence of Jorgensen and Glynn. Abe Beeson hosts.

Tarik Abouzied Trio with Andy Coe & Damian Erskine- Sat Jan 12, 7:30 PM/ Tula’s

Drummer/composer Tarik Abouzied has been one of the most active performers in Seattle with his Happy Orchestra, as well as his association with the organ trio, McTuff. Here he teams with guitarist Andy Coe, and bassist Damian Erskine in a power trio of sorts. These are not only three musicians who have played together in plenty- they have a chemistry of personality that promises great things for the audience. Seeing this trio in a listening room like Tula’s, where the music is first, is a great opportunity for area fans accustomed to seeing Abouzied in noisier environs such as Nectar and the Seamonster.

Carrie Wicks Quintet with Bill Anschell, Jeff Johnson, Brent Jensen, & D’Vonne Lewis- Tue Jan 15, 7:30 PM/ Tula’s

Vocalist Carrie Wicks has a unique take on the jazz ballad, delivering in an almost narrative style where the lyrics actually mean something. She knows how to put a band together as well, with trailblazing bassist Jeff Johnson leading the charge. Pianist Bill Anschell is superb with vocalists, drummer D’Vonne Lewis is artistry in motion, while saxophonist Brent Jensen provides the perfect counterbalance as soloist.

Martin Taylor & Laurence Juber- Tue Jan 15, 7:30 Pm/ Jazz Alley

A perfect gig for guitar aficionados, with two Grammy winners gracing the stage of Jazz Alley. Taylor is a renowned finger stylist, as is Juber who as well has gained notoriety as electric guitarist in Paul McCartney’s Wings.

Tribute To Cannonball Adderly with Roy McCurdy- Thu Jan 17, 7:30 PM/ Tula’s

Alto giant Cannonball Adderly is celebrated in a band led by McCurdy, who played extensively with Cannonball. Continuing a great Seattle and Tula’s tradition, McCurdy is surrounded by historic Seattle musicians. Pianist Marc Seales, trumpeter Thomas Marriott, and bassist Michael Glynn are joined by Vancouver altoist Cory Weeds in this evening of tribute.

Marc Seales Band- Fri Jan 18, 7:30 PM/ Tula’s

One of the true greats in the history of jazz in Seattle and abroad, pianist Seales always delivers in performance. This monthly engagement at Tula’s has a storied history, and this evening should be no exception.

Happy Orchestra Trio- Fri Jan 18, 7:30 PM/ Triple Door Musicquarium

The Musiquarium is not a first choice venue by any means. It sounds weird, the audience is generally otherwise distracted and talking, and the service is not, well, very good. Enter any configuration of Tarik Abouzied’s Happy Orchestra, and this schlep of a jazz room becomes a fortress of musical ebullience and virtuosity.

Greta Matassa Quintet- Sat Jan 19, 7:30 PM/ Tula’s

What can one say about Greta Matassa? Her pure musicality, perfect pitch, and ardent jazz expressionism is unmatched. There is no other way to express her excellence. If you have never seen her perform, do so at Tula’s, her home stage for 25 years. Simply the best jazz vocalist to come out of Seattle since Ernestine Anderson was in her prime, Matassa is a true musician as a vocalist.

Jay Thomas Organic Quartet- Sun Jan 20, 7:30 PM/ Tula’s

On the heals of his brilliant new release, I Always Knew, Jay Thomas teams with saxophonist Steve Griggs, drummer/guitarist Milo Petersen, and organist Scott Lytle for a Sunday evening throwdown at Tula’s. Thomas is one of the few to master both brass and woodwind instruments, and has a half century of performance and recording credits with many a jazz icon. His legacy in the music, and in this city, is unmatched by anyone currently on the scene.

Alex Dugdale Fade Quintet- Fri Jan 25, 7:30 PM/ Tula’s

Saxophonist Alex Dugdale brings his energetic hard bop style to Tula’s. Dugdale is fluent on both tenor and alto, and is a premier tap artist. His tap work with this band is not standard fair, used as a solo instrument within a hardbop/post bop context. His ferocious style on tenor easily holds down a room for two sets.

Susan Pascal Quartet- Sat Jan 26, 7:30 PM/ Tula’s

Vibraphonist Susan Pascal continues her monthly gig at Tula’s with the usual excellent suspects. Pianist Bill Anschell and bassist Chuck Deardorf are iconic parts of Seattle jazz history, with drummer Mark Ivester tying it all together.

DXL Octet with Xavier Lecouturier- Sun Jan 27, 7:30 PM/ Tula’s

Okay, so can we please be done with all this “jazz is dead,” or “jazz is decaying abhorently” jive? Pay attention!  This would be a good place to start when this octet led by 21 year old drummer/composer Lecouturier takes the stage in Belltown. Dylan Hayes, Lecouturier’s co-conspirator in much of this plays piano, with bassist Michael Glynn rounding out the rhythm section. Jared Hall (trumpet), Mark Taylor (saxophone ), Rex Gregory (saxophone ), and David Marriott, Jr. (trombone ) are a formidable front line. Age has never mattered in jazz- this band draws that conclusion at a very high and creative level.

Larry Goldings/ Peter Bernstein/ Bill Stewart Trio- Tue, Wed Jan 29, 30, 7:30 PM

One of the great organ trios in jazz history comes to Jazz Alley. Larry Goldings plays with a unique harmonic grace, embellished perfectly by guitarist Peter Bernstein. Bill Stewart is, well, Bill Stewart, one of the true greats. Their almost telepathic connection is the result of over 25 years on the bandstand together.  A can’t miss gig this month.

Cole Schuster Organ Trio with Joe Doria & Jose Martinez- Wed Jan 30, 10 PM/ Seamonster

Cole Schuster may be the most complete jazz guitarist in town these days, and most importantly,  he’s out on the loose it seems almost nightly. At the Seamonster he is joined by B-3 ace Joe Doria, and drummer Jose Martinez for a late night hang at the Seamonster. 

Sara Schoenbeck & Wayne Horvitz Duo- Thu Jan 31, 8 PM/ Chapel Performance Space

Bassoonist Sara Schoenbeck has been a trailblazer in expanding the sound and role of the bassoon in the worlds of classical, contemporary notated and improvised music. In union with the explorative mind of pianist Wayne Horvitz, this promises to be a special performance in the perfect location at the Chapel. The second set promises special guests.