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/