The Ballard Jazz Festival has an impact on the Seattle jazz scene throughout the year. It creates jazz fans. It introduces many of the top jazz musicians in the city to its patrons, and in turn helps creates a fan base in clubs and concert halls throughout the city. Attending the festival May 16-19 can well shine a light on jazz events happening in our city this very month. Here are some featured performances for the month of May.
Tim Kennedy Band- Tuesday May 1, 7:30pm/ Tula’s
Pianist Tim Kennedy plays Tula’s every first Tuesday, and has a different approach each time. This month, he welcomes saxophonists Kevin Norteness, and Marc Fendel to the fold, as well as bassist Geoff Harper and drummer Eric Eagle. Kennedy has been playing at a very high level as of late, as is witnessed by his performances with the Thomas Marriott Quintet.
Friday Jazz Happy Hour at Latona- Fridays, 5pm/ Latona Pub
Veteran bassist Phil Sparks has played with just about everyone on the Seattle scene for the past 30 years, so he draws from a deep pool of musicians each Friday to join him in trio at this long time Happy Hour hang in the Green Lake neighborhood. It is not a great listening room, as there is a lot of conversation, so come prepared for that. It’s a great hang to unwind, have a meal, a few beers, and celebrate the end of the week. It serves well as a pre gig hang also, departing to other venues around the city. Every jazz fan in Seattle should experience the this at least once!
Alex Dugdale Fade Quintet- Friday May 4, 7:30 pm/ Tula’s
Saxophonist Alex Dugdale has evolved into a major force on both tenor and alto saxophone. Many in Seattle know him from the Seattle Repertory Jazz Orchestra as both an alto saxophonist and tap dancer, but his true musical evolution can more fully be experienced with his gigs at Tula’s, backed by his Fade Quintet. He engages a a soulful approach on both instruments, and incorporates tap into rhythmic patterns not often approached. Guitarist Cole Schuster, bassist Greg Feingold, drummer Max Holmberg, and pianist John Hansen provide powerful support for the mercurial saxophonist.
Joey DeFrancesco Trio- Tuesday May 8, 7:30pm/ Jazz Alley
Organ master Joe DeFrancesco has been touring and making soulful albums for decades now, and frequents the emerald city often. This time around, saxophonist Troy Roberts is in the fold, along with drummer Michael Ode. DeFrancesco will be performing music from his latest release Project Freedom.
Art of Jazz: Hans Teuber & Jeff Johnson, Thursday May 10, 5:30pm/ SAM
The latest incarnation of Earshot’s monthly series at the Seattle Art Museum, includes two distinct voices, those of multi-reedist Hans Teuber, and bassist Jeff Johnson. Celebrating their recent release on Origin Records, Deuce, the two long- time musical collaborators and friends will take listeners to various points in the listening universe seldom traveled. Both musicians have what few artists achieve- a voice that is distinctive, and constantly moving forward in an uncompromising way. The music, and the exhibits at SAM provides a mid week escape into the abyss of creative imagery.
Jared Hall Quintet featuring Vincent Herring- Thursday May 10, 7:30pm/Tula’s
A can’t miss opportunity to see the great alto saxophonist Vincent Herring, in the intimate confines of Tula’s. Herring, who has appeared on stage and in recordings with luminaries such as Art Blakey & the Jazz Messengers, Dizzy Gillespie, Horace Silver, and Larry Coryell, will appear as a member of the Jared Hall Quintet.
Trumpeter Hall, on the heels of his well received CD, Hallways, has assembled an excellent supporting cast with drummer Matt Jorgensen, bassist Michael Glynn, and pianist John Hansen. Hall’s playing has been a welcome addition to the scene in the past year, since his arrival from Miami, where he studied with Brian Lynch. A Spokane native, his full bodied tone, and lyrical approach has been earning him a rapidly rising following in Seattle. With the amazing Mr. Herring in tow, that interest should continue.
Susan Pascal Quartet- Saturday May 12, 7:30pm/ Tula’s
Vibraphonist Susan Pascal has been playing at Tula’s since its inception it seems, always attracting a full house, and an attentive, active listening audience. Her playing is free flowing and melody based, and works well with pianist Bill Anschell, a constant in the Pascal quartet. This month she is joined by trailblazing bassist Jeff Johnson, and drummer John Bishop, which could create a bit of a seismic shift in Pascal’s monthly musical odyssey at the Belltown jazz spot.
Linuep! with Dawn Clement & Mark Taylor- Tuesday May 15, 7:30pm/ Tula’s
Dawn Clement has been receiving nationwide attention as of late. In the fall, she was resident artist of the Earshot Jazz Festival, and a few months after, released a brilliant collection of duos with her closest musical collaborators, Tandem, on the Origin label. She was featured in Downbeat as well.
Clement’s musical association with saxophonist Mark Taylor was represented well on Tandem, as it is on this monthly residency gig at Tula’s The evening attracts the best the Seattle scene has to offer, this month featuring bassist Michael Glynn, and drummer D’Vonne Lewis. Both Clement and Taylor are two of Seattle’s finest both now and historically as well. This gig is always worth the effort.
The Westerlies- Wednesday May 23, 7:30pm/ Royal Room
The Westerlies are a New York based brass quartet comprised of four childhood friends from Seattle, Washington. Trumpeters Riley Mulherkar and Zubin Hensler, trombonists Andy Clausen and Willem de Koch perform with the precision of a string quartet, with an adventurous spirit attached. The band has shared the stage with such diverse acts as Radiolab, Bill Frisell, Vieux Farka Toure, and Juilliard Dance.
Sixth Annual Miles Davis Birthday Celebration with Thomas Marriott- Friday May 25, Saturday May 26, 7:30 & 9:00pm/ Tula’s
Thomas Marriott is back with his Miles Davis birthday celebration, each year approaching the music from a different perspective. This year the material is still a mystery, but the makeup of the band is a clue that the evening will be seen through a much different lens than ever before. Trumpeter Marriott, one of the most important of jazz voices emanating from Seattle in recent history, will incorporate voice into the music this year. Vocal artist Johnaye Kendrick will in essence, be replacing the saxophone in the standard quintet format, supported by pianist Dawn Clement, bassist Jeff Johnson, and New York based drummer, Chris Beck.