Live jazz in Seattle continues on an upward spiral in March, as the best of the city’s resident players are out on the town, and we welcome jazz royalty. Saxophone legend Pharoah Sanders comes to town in a band led by Joey DeFrancesco, and assisted aptly by legendary drunmnmer Billy Hart. Thomas Marriott on the heels of his new album Romance Language, leads a quintet with Seattle jazz notables Rick Mandyck, John Bishop, Jeff Johnson, and Tim Kennedy. Master Cuban percussionist Calixto Oviedo brings an element of excitement to the scene at Tula’s, and the kids take over the Paramount, with the annual Hot Java, Cool Jazz performance. It makes a jazz fan feel downright neglectful to stay home a single night this month! Here’s a sampler of what is to come…….

Frank Catalano Quartet- Fri & Sat Mar 1&2, 7:30 PM/ Tula’s

Chicago- based tenor man Frank Catalano has become a friend of Tula’s over the years, always teaming up with Seattle players for a night of standards. This time around he is joined by what amounts to the Bill Anschell Standards Trio. Pianist Anschell convenes this trio almost monthly at Tula’s with bassist Jeff Johnson and drummer D’Vonne Lewis. The intuitive relationship between those three presents a unique challenge for Catalano, who has a tendency to grab the reins and drive straight forward.

Delvon Lamarr Organ Trio- Mon Mar 4, 7:30 PM/ Jazz Alley

Seattle native son Delvon Lamarr returns home for a one nighter at Jazz Alley. The trio has been on quite a roll, and this gig represents his triumphant return so to speak. Lamarr and wife/manager Amy Novo pulled up stakes and moved to Austin, TX in January to pursue an international profile. One of the most talented musicians to spring from the Seattle fold in some time, Lamarr is as well one of its most beloved people. This promises to be a celebratory hang.

Chris Potter Circuits Trio featuring James Francies and Eric Harland- Tue Mar 5- Wed Mar 6, 7:30 PM/ Jazz Alley

Eclectic saxophonist/ composer Chris Potter swings into town with his new bass- less Circuits Trio in support of their new upcoming release. Potter’s considerable facility is always utilized in service to the music itself, intertwining his compositions and technique into a intercommunicative force. Drummer Eric Harland is always a pleasure to encounter. Painting his rhythmic nuances between Potter and pianist James Francies should be worth the price of the cover alone.

Tim Kennedy Quartet- Tue Mar 5, 7:30 PM/ Tula’s

We have seen the best of pianist Tim Kennedy in the past year and a half, both at his monthly residency at Tula’s, and his participation in trumpeter Thomas Marriott’s quintet. Marriott  will join him on this gig, along with bassist David Dawda and drummer Brad Gibson. Kennedy always conjures up something different for this monthly throwdown, and the results are consistently intriguing. As well, this Tuesday repose is one of the better musician hangs of the monthly calendar.

D’Vonne Lewis Organ Trio with Cole Schuster and Joe Doria- Sun Mar 10, 7:30 PM/ Tula’s

Fourth generation Seattle musician D’Vonne Lewis has branched out creatively since the breakup of his long time band, Industrial Revelation. In this incarnation, he teams up with long time musical partner, organist Joe Doria. Guitarist Cole Schuster has as well experienced a bit of a renaissance, performing in last year’s Guitar Summit at the Ballard Jazz Festival, and forming an organ trio of his own. Driven by the creative polyrhythms and driving energy of Lewis on drums, this promises to be a soulful take on the jazz tradition.

Golden Ear Awards Party- Mon Mar 11, 7 PM/ Royal Room

Earshot Jazz presents their annual awards show featuring the Alex Dugdale Fade Quintet. While these voter driven awards are perhaps uneven and arbitrary, the vibe of the evening is always fun and entertaining. Better yet, it gives musicians a chance to catch up on an otherwise quiet evening, and fans an opportunity to mingle with them. It as well serves as an annual reset for Earshot pointing forward for another year of fresh, innovative programing.

Marina Albero & Jeff Johnson- Thu Mar 14, 5:30 PM/ Seattle Art Museum

Earshot’s monthly collision with the art world convenes with spectacular Barcelona born pianist Albero, and trailblazing bassist Johnson. Over Albero’s five years as a Seattle resident, she has formed a special bond with the veteran bassist. Her style draws influences from jazz, flamenco, and classical music. Amazingly, she continues to add influences while playing with a distinctive style that is her own. We in Seattle have been fortunate to have her here, as she is a largely underappreciated artist deserving of worldwide recognition. Johnson’s elegant musicality is a perfect match, creating a duo capable of spontaneous beauty at any moment.

Hot Java Cool Jazz- Fri Mar 15, 7 PM/ Paramount Theatre

Where else can a concert featuring four high school jazz bands sell out a 2800 seat house like the Paramount? Seattle’s without peer high school jazz scene celebrates three bands on their way to Lincoln Center for the esteemed Essentially Ellington competition. Garfield, Roosevelt, and Mount Si high schools are featured in celebration of the culture largely founded by Clarence Acox, and Scott Brown. A one time, must see event for all Seattle residents, as well as jazz fans.

Antonio Sanchez & Migration- Tue Mar 19- Wed Mar 20, 7:30 PM/ Jazz Alley

Drummer Antonio Sanchez has been on a meteoric rise since his Oscar nominated soundtrack for the film “Birdman” and his now long standing relationship with guitarist Pat Metheny. As a composer and bandleader, Sanchez is now a major force in his own right.

His new record Lines In the Sand (Camm Jazz, 2018) expresses his concern as a recently naturalized American citizen from Mexico, for the policies along the southern border being employed by the Trump administration.

“I feel so blessed and so thankful for what I’ve achieved in the United States,” says Sanchez. “But at the same time, I feel completely repulsed by what the United States is doing to immigrants — especially to people coming from the south. So whenever and wherever I’m performing, I’m speaking out, trying to make sense of what is going on.”

Joining Sanchez are saxophonist Chase Baird, pianist John Escreet, bassist Matt Brewer, and vocalist Thana Alexa.

Rex Gregory Quartet- Wed Mar 20, 7:30 PM/ Tula’s

Rex Gregory moved to Seattle from New Orleans about a year ago, and has been making quite an impression of the jazz scene as a sideman, and more recently, as a leader. In his second stint at Tula’s, Gregory has made new musical friends with the likes of pianist Bill Anschell, bassist Paul Gabrielson, both Seattle jazz heavyweights. Young drummer/composer Xavier Lecouturier completes this top shelf quartet. 

Gregory not only has superior chops on both saxophone and flute, he has a tenor sound that is original and distinct. This gig comes highly recommended in terms of quality, and as a jazz fan, of discovering something new and original on the scene. 

Greta Matassa Quintet- Sat Mar 16, 7:30 PM/ Tula’s

Greta Matassa continues to define the art of jazz vocals in Seattle. With her place in the city’s jazz history firmly in place, Matassa is never in one static creative place. She continues to push the envelope with her world class instrument, both as an interpreter of classic tunes, and improviser of the highest caliber. Matassa’s skills are enhanced with the presence of pianist Darin Clendenin, bassist Clipper Anderson, drummer Mark Ivester and saxophonist Alexey Nikolaev.

Thomas Marriott Quintet- Fri Mar 22, 7:30 PM/ Tula’s

Thomas Marriott is coming off a landmark year, astounding jazz audiences with his quintet performances, and releasing his unique album Romance Language (Origin, 2018) in collaboration with Joe Locke and Ryan Cohan.

For this date, he teams up with old friends Jeff Johnson (bass) and John Bishop (drums) in a quintet setting that includes saxophonist Rick Mandyck and pianist Tim Kennedy. Marriott’s live performances were the highlight of the Seattle jazz scene in 2018, that trend continuing into the new year.

David Marriott’s Triskaidekaband- Tue Mar 26, 7:30 PM/ Tula’s

David Marriott’s juggernaut of a 13 piece band features some of the top players in Seattle. Each month he challenges the band with wonderfully crafted arrangements of a broad range of tunes. Marriott himself is a first-class trombone soloist. This is a gig that needs some support on a wintry Tuesday night. Great compositions and arrangements performed by a top tier band, followed by a great weeknight hang.

Joey DeFrancesco with special guest Pharoah Sanders- Thu Mar 28- Sun Mar 31,7:30 & 9:30 PM/ Jazz Alley

Celebrating the release of their new album, In the Key of Life, soulful B-3 master Joey DeFrancesco is in heavy company with legendary saxophonist Pharoah Sanders. Sanders isn’t the only historic heavyweight on the bandstand, with drummer Billy Hart joining on drums. Australian tenor phenom Troy Roberts completes this unique combination of musical personalities. DeFrancesco contributes on trumpet as well, creating a myriad of tonal possibilities within this trio plus one.

Jared Hall Quartet with Tal Cohen- Thu Mar 28, 7:30 PM/ Tula’s

Trumpeter Jared Hall has established himself as a major force on the scene in Seattle, performing his challenging original compositions, and fearless interpretations of standards. The past year has seen Hall loosen the reins a bit on his playing, in the process discovering his voice in his quintet that perfectly compliments his playing. For this quartet edition of his monthly residency, Hall welcomes Miami based pianist/composer Tal Cohen to the fold. A formidable backline of drummer John Bishop, and bassist Michael Glynn completes this stellar quartet. Reservation recommended.

Randy Halberstadt Sextet with Jay Thomas, Chuck Deardorf, David Marriott, Mark Taylor, D’Vonne Lewis- Sun Mar 31, 7:30 PM/ Tula’s

Since his retirement from Cornish, Randy Halberstadt has been performing more frequently and released a fine new record (Open Heart, Origin, 2018). On this date at Tula’s, he appears with a dynamic sextet featuring some of the finest players in town. Seattle jazz icon Jay Thomas heads a front line as one of the rare cats that play both trumpet and saxophone on a high level. Mark Taylor is as fine as they come on alto, tenor and soprano, and David Marriott is an original voice on trombone. Bassist Chuck Deardorf has been the first call bassist in Seattle since the late 70’s, and D’Vonne Lewis is a force of nature behind the drum kit. Every member of this superb sextet is a leader in their own right, with performance and recording credits to back it up. Sunday nights are getting to be a bit of a happening at Tula’s and this night will express just that.

Seattle Jazz