On the Scene: Featured Jazz Performances in October

With the 26 year legacy of Tula’s now in the rear mirror, the scene turns to the annual Earshot Jazz Festival for an October displaying the diverse forces and communities that contribute to the modern jazz universe.

The 2019 edition of the festival puts a spotlight on the resident jazz scene in Seattle with two jazz showcases at Town Hall. It as well celebrates the worldwide upswing in jazz culture by bringing to town current jazz stars such as Cecile McLorin Salvant, Orrin Evans, Jeff “Tain Watts,” Chick Corea, and Chucho Valdes. Thomas Marriott creates a bridge with the jazz community in Philadelphia, Kiki Valera shares the sound of Son Cubano, Jay Thomas extends a hand across the Pacific to Japan, and Aaron Parks returns home to Seattle with his Little Big project. In all, it acts as a large embrace between Seattle and the jazz world at large. Here are some suggestions along the way. The Seattle jazz scene is a living, breathing community that requires all of us to participate. See you on the scene!

Tuesday Night Jam at the Owl- Tuesday Oct 1,8,15,22,29, 9:30 PM/ Owl ‘n Thistle Pub

Alive and well since the mid 90’s the weekly session at the Owl is a place of music and fellowship. It is a constant in the ever-changing face of this city. Beginning at 10 PM, the weekly host plays a set followed by an open jam session. A must visit for all Seattle jazz fans and musicians alike, and an opportunity to support an establishment in the Owl ‘n Thistle that supports the jazz community at large.  http://www.owlnthistle.com/

Amy Denio: Truth Is Up For Grabs- Sat Oct 12, 8 PM/ Chapel Performance Space

Seattle Composers Alliance presents  Amy Denio’s new iteration of her chamber suite Truth Is Up For Grabs”, an ambitious work for 21 instruments. Denio’s suite  is inspired by current events, the political economy of war, and the poetry of Chilean poet, Pablo Neruda. 

Denio employs an orchestral setting with strings, woodwinds, and three percussionists from three cultures. Video artist James Drage provides moving images for each section. The ensemble will perform under the baton of Mike Jauregui.https://www.earshot.org/event/amy-denio-truth-is-up-for-grabs-2/

East-West Septet featuring Jay Thomas- Wed Oct 16, 7 PM/ WJMAC-Sylvia Center for the Arts

Seattle jazz legend Jay Thomas met Japanese saxophonists Yasuhiro Kohama and Atsushi Ikeda while touring Japan, “looking for a good flute.” His relationship and subsequent recordings on the Japanese CUG label have established Thomas as an elder and mentor to some notable young musicians who will appear on this special evening.

Vocalist Maya Hatch emerged from the storied Roosevelt HS program to time in New York City, to her current digs in Tokyo. She provides an interesting musical bridge between the vibrant jazz scene in Seattle, and jazz enthusiasts in Japan.

Young pianist Yuki Hirate joined Thomas in Seattle once before at Tula’s. His playing combines great facility with vibrant, youthful enthusiasm. He as well, is a skilled trumpeter.

Seattle bassist Phil Sparks, like Thomas, is a giant in the history of jazz in the city of Seattle. His interaction with Hirate, and drummer Daisuke Kurata will be as a fusion of two jazz scenes thriving across the Pacific rim from each other. 

Lineup: Yasuhiro Kohama (tenor and soprano sax), Atsushi Ikeda (alto sax), Jay Thomas (trumpet, sax), Maya Hatch (vocals), Yuki Hirate (piano, trumpet), Phil Sparks (bass), and Daisuke Kurata (drums) https://www.earshot.org/event/east-west-septet-feat-jay-thomas/

Christian Sands Trio- Wed Oct 16, 7:30 PM/ Jazz Alley

Pianist Christian Sands began playing at age four, and composing at age five. Evolving from prodigy to one of the leading pianists of his generation was influenced greatly by his association with Dr. Billy Taylor. The Grammy nominated artist made his recording debut as a leader at age 12 with his 2002 release, Footprints. 

Sands is widely known for his work in bassist Christian McBride’s Inside Straight Band, and his current trio. In Seattle he will perform with bassist Yasuchi Nakamura, and drummer Jonathan Barber.

Chucho Valdes- Thu Oct 17, 8 PM/ Town Hall

Chucho Valdes is a true champion of la musica cubana, but much more, a direct link from Afro-Cuban music to the world of jazz. The son of legendary Cuban pianist Bebo Valdes, Chucho has defined an original approach to jazz, as exemplified over the years in his quartet. Utilizing drums and percussion as half of the equation, his piano style speaks to the culture of the island of Cuba, and its transformative sound that found its way to New Orleans, and jet-streamed into the jazz idiom. In a true sense, Valdes authored a whole school of modern jazz. His appearances in Seattle are few and far between, so take advantage of this one. https://www.earshot.org/event/chucho-valdes-jazz-bata/

Cecile McLorin Salvant with The Aaron Diehl Trio- Fri Oct 18, 8 PM/ Town Hall

Cecile McLorin Salvant is a once in a generation talent, and a once in every two generations artist. The 3-time Grammy winner appears at Town Hall with the Aaron Diehl Trio, with whom she recorded two albums. She has a very personal way of engaging an audience live, apart from her prodigious talents. Her way of approaching a song’s narrative, of indeed changing or modernizing its intent without changing a word is transcendent in itself. 

This concert is certainly a flagship event on this year’s Earshot calendar. Salvant’s wide ranging audience will be all in after her last appearance in Seattle was for a single sold out date at Jazz Alley. https://www.earshot.org/event/cecile-mclorin-salvant-w-aaron-diehl-trio/

Larry Grenadier Solo Performance/ Kelsey Mines & Carlos Snaider- Wed Oct 23, 7:30 PM/ Chapel Performance Space

An evening steeped in intuition and fluid melodic improvisation, bass master Larry Grenadier performs solo, and Seattle based bassist Kelsey Mines performs in duo with guitarist Carlos Snaider

Grenadier, who has graced the bands of Joe Henderson, Pat Metheny, Brad Meldau, Stam Getz, and Jack DeJohnette, will provide a rare, direct glimpse into his musical soul. The Chapel is perhaps the perfect room for his resonant tonality, and harmonic complexity. 

Mines’ interests stylistically are wide ranging, from Latin bands, to post-bop jazz, to exploring more rhythmic possibilities in a constant flow with Snaider. Mines is a listener, with a great sense of where a conversation is heading, always musical even in the most abstract spaces. 

Seattle is a virtual hotbed of great bassists. This show should act as a celebration of that, and a special opportunity to see one of the greats up close and personal.  https://www.earshot.org/event/larry-grenadier-kelsey-mines-carlos-snaider/

Thomas Marriott with Friends From Philly- Thu Oct 26, 7 & 9:30 PM/ Royal Room

Trumpeter Thomas Marriott has always had a great respect for the traditional values of jazz mentorship from which this music has risen, and flourished. While academia has changed that culture in a major shift, the oral tradition of elders acting as mentors for the next generation of players continues to some degree in all jazz communities, but thrives in a very strong way in the city of Philadelphia.

Marriott has become integrated into that vibe, by becoming a member of Orrin Evans’ Philly based Captain Black Big Band. His friendship with Evans has allowed him to experience the Philly jazz scene first hand. While jazz pilgrims from around the world converge on New York City, Philadelphia is a more insular scene. Not many players are arriving from other parts of the country to play jazz there. It is therefore, more a culture of one generation mentoring the next, of community and fellowship. Most remarkably, you can hear it in the music, in both a physical and spiritual way. 

Marriott brings a piece of Philadelphia jazz culture to Seattle in the person of veteran bassist Mike Boone, a stalwart mentor there, and father of brilliant young drummer Mekhi Boone, all of 13 years old. Philly tenor saxophonist Victor North joins Marriott on the front line, filling out this chord-less quartet. The younger Boone is a force to behold at any age. Check out this video from Small’s in New York, when he was just 12 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7UubaUrXpNw

Egberto Gismonti- Mon Oct 30, 7:30 PM/ Town Hall

An ECM recording artist since the mid-seventies, Egberto Gismonti blends the world of Brazilian music, with classical and jazz idioms to form a unique cultural crossroads. Performing solo on guitar and piano, Gismonti’s improvisational style is highlighted by quicksilver technique, and a deep global awareness.  https://www.earshot.org/event/egberto-gismonti/

Photos: Thomas Marriott Quintet- last date at Tula’s

As the final week of Tula’s remarkable 26 year run approaches, we as jazz fans are witness to the final performances of the club’s foundational talent, of those artists who made live, resident based jazz thrive in Belltown. Artists such as vocalist Greta Matassa,pianists Marc Seales and Bill Anschell, vibraphonist Susan Pascal, and trumpeter Thomas Marriott have all left their mark on the city’s jazz legacy from the stage at Tula’s.

Photographer Jim Levitt has been as integral as anybody in terms of documenting the inspired jazz scene in Seattle over the last quarter century. While photographic documentation of historic Seattle jazz rooms such as the Black & Tan, Parnell’s, and Jazz Alley’s former home on University Way is scant at best, enthusiastic photographers such as Levitt, Daniel Sheehan, and Lisa Hagen Glynn have provided in depth imagery of Tula’s storied run.

Mr. Levitt recently shared some photographs of Thomas Marriott’s last gig as a leader at Tula’s on September 14. Marriott has been playing at Tula’s since he was a teenager in a band with his brother, trombonist David Marriott, Jr.. Taking quality photographs in the dimly lit confines of the club is no easy task. These were too exceptional  not to share- many thanks to our brother and noted jazz foot soldier, Jim Levitt!

Thomas Marriott leads his Quintet in a final show, two weeks before Tula’s Jazz Club in Seattle closes after 26 years. Thomas Marriott, trumpet; Rick Mandyck, saxophone; Tim Kennedy, piano; Jeff Johnson, bass; John Bishop, drums
Pianist Tim Kennedy at Tula’s with the Thomas Marriott Quintet. 9/14/2019

Tim Kennedy, Thomas Marriott, and Rick Mandyck perform one last time at Tula’s.

Tenor saxophonist Rick Mandyck, and drummer John Bishop with the Thomas Marriott Quintet at Tula’s 9/14/2019

A most dynamic duo- drummer John Bishop and bassist Jeff Johnson at Tula’s, 9/14/2019.

Thomas Marriott leads his Quintet in a final show, two weeks before Tula’s Jazz Club in Seattle closes after 26 years.Thomas Marriott, trumpet;Rick Mandyck, saxophone;Tim Kennedy, piano;Jeff Johnson, bass;John Bishop, drums 9/14/2019

Thomas Marriott leads his Quintet in a final show, two weeks before Tula’s Jazz Club in Seattle closes after 26 years.Thomas Marriott, trumpet;Rick Mandyck, saxophone;Tim Kennedy, piano;Jeff Johnson, bass;John Bishop, drums 9/14/2019

Trumpeter Thomas Marriott, and saxophonist Rick Mandyck at Tula’s, 9/14/2019.

Iconic jazz radio voice Jim Wilke, recording the Thomas Marriott Quintet at their final Tula’s performance on 9/14/2019. 

SIFF Presents New Miles Davis Documentary, “Birth of the Cool”

SIFF will present Stanley Nelson’s new Miles Davis documentary, Birth of the Cool beginning September 20, running through October 3 at the SIFF Cinema Eqyptian. 

The film features never-before-seen archival footage, rare photos and studio clips. Master documentarian Stanley Nelson offers a well researched characature of the mercurial Davis, in the same light as his recent work Black Panthers: Vanguard of the Revolution, and Tell Them We Are Rising: The Story of Black Colleges and Universities. He takes on the story of a truly original talent in a constant state of transition. 

Nelson dives into Miles’ disregard for tradition, his relentless movement forward, and constant search for new experiences that made him one of the true innovators of 20th century music. More so, he sheds light on Miles the man, and the life that shaped him and his music. Here is a link for the trailer, and tickets


Win a Pair of Tickets for Miles Davis: Birth of the Cool

Congratulations to our three winners, Cherrie Adams, Matt Shannon, and Carolena Matus! Many thanks to SIFF for for the tickets, and for bringing this intriguing jazz documentary to our community. Hope to see many of you there!