Tula’s Jazz Club: Soliloquy to a Seattle Jazz Institution

photo of Tula’s by Daniel Sheehan

It was the tail end of a long weekend. Temperatures had risen to 80 degrees under a sunny only-in-Seattle blue sky, the waterways and markets humming with a sea of humanity. It was not a night one would expect many to venture into the quiet, dark solitude of Tula’s Jazz Club, where for nearly 26 years the best of Seattle’s vibrant jazz scene had come to roost. The scene up and down Second Avenue in Belltown was its usual interesting mosaic of bars, restaurants, and music clubs. With no outdoor access, or air conditioning, Tula’s manager Jason Moore was not expecting a big turnout. This was Seattle, and when the weather turns warm and sunny, Seattleites tend to shake off a little rust and soak in the sun while they can. To continue reading, click here

Featured Jazz Performances For September

September marks a month of change on the Seattle jazz scene. Traditionally, aside from the annual Coltrane Birthday Celebration at Tula’s, the month lies in waiting, anticipating the barrage of activity October seems to bring with the Earshot jazz Festival in full warp speed. 

This year, indeed the Coltrane celebration is back, with Matt Jorgensen curating the event in an all Seattle format. Mark Taylor and Rex Gregory will pay homage on saxophones, with Thomas Marriott, Marc Seales, Michael Glynn and Jorgensen on the bandstand as well.

The difference maker here is that Tula’s will close its doors after the September 29 performance, leaving a cavernous absence of more than 300 jazz dates a year on the local scene. Music and culture takes one more hit from the corporate siege taking place in Seattle and around the country, all in favor of expensive high rise housing nestled atop corporate retail space. This month’s highlights therefore reside at Tula’s, with a few noted exceptions. 

John Coltrane Birthday Celebration- Fri Sept 20, & Sat Sept 21, 7:30 PM/ Tula’s

Matt Jorgensen presents his annual homage to the legendary John Coltrane with two nights in honor of his birthday. With Tula’s closing at the end of the month, he decided to curate the event to include local saxophonists celebrating Coltrane’s life and music. In many ways, this event marks the jazz new year in Seattle, with the Earshot Jazz Festival right around the corner. 

Jorgensen will lead the proceeding from behind the drum kit, joined by iconic Seattle pianist Marc Seales and in demand bassist Michael Glynn on the back line. Mark Taylor and Rex Gregory will play saxophones, each with a very different yet applicable styles. Taylor is largely known as an alto player, but ventures often into tenor, and has held down the first tenor chair with the Seattle Repertory Jazz Orchestra for some years now. Gregory has played mainly tenor since his arrival from New Orleans a year and change ago. Trumpeter Thomas Marriott adds a completely different dimension to the band, giving Jorgensen some interesting choices from Coltrane’s discography.


David Marriott’s Triskaidekaband- Tue Sept 24, 7:30 PM/ Tula’s 

David Marriott’s stellar  large ensemble has held down a monthly residency at Tula’s for more than seven years. Sadly, this performance marks the end of that run, though no doubt going down in celebratory fashion less than a week before the club closes its doors for good.

Marriott’s razor sharp arrangements feature tunes from both band members and classic jazz composers. Some of Seattle’s finest are in the band, including trumpeter Thomas Marriott, drummer Matt Jorgensen, and David Marriott himself on trombone. 

Marriott is composing a special homage to the culture around Tula’s for this show. It’s hard to know what is to become of this fine 13 piece ensemble after Tula’s is gone, so don’t miss this chance to see the band’s finale in Belltown. https://tulas.com/generalinfo.html

Jared Hall Quintet- Thurs Sept 26, 7:30 PM/ Tula’s 

Trumpeter Jared Hall’s presence on the Seattle jazz scene has been greatly facilitated by a residency at Tula’s that has gained an enthusiastic and dedicated following. Hall performs his original compositions, along with selected standards, always employing a top tier band.

Pianist John Hansen, bassist Michael Glynn and drummer Matt Jorgensen have been constants in the quintet, with saxophonist Rex Gregory frequenting on tenor saxophone and flute since his arrival from New Orleans. https://tulas.com/generalinfo.html

Marc Seales Band featuring Thomas Marriott, Jeff Johnson, Greta Matassa, D’Vonne Lewis & Susan Pascal- Sat Sept 28, 7:30 PM/ Tula’s 

The final Saturday night at Tula’s features an assortment of artists who helped establish the club as the mainstage of the Seattle jazz scene. 

Pianist Marc Seales welcomes trumpeter Thomas Marriott, uber talented drummer D’Vonne Lewis, icon singer Greta Matassa, trailblazing bassist Jeff Johnson, and vibraphone master Susan Pascal for an all-star blow out at Tula’s.

This will be a historic evening of Seattle jazz, with reservations highly recommended.  https://tulas.com/generalinfo.html

Closing Party with the Bill Anschell Trio- Sun Sept 29, 7:30 PM/ Tula’s 

Tula’s owner Mac Waldron had no question whom he wanted on the bandstand the final night of his club’s 26 year run. Pianist Bill Anschell has performed as often as anybody at the storied jazz spot, early on being touted by Waldron as a special artist.

After thousands of sets performed by hundreds of musicians over the course of 26 years, Tula’s closes its doors after this night. Part of the club will be reserved for musicians and family, the remainder of seats available to the public. 

Anschell will perform with bassist Michael Glynn and drummer D’Vonne Lewis. If Tula’s has been an integral part of your musical life, this is an evening to attend. https://tulas.com/generalinfo.html