With the Earshot Jazz Festival kicking in this month, the jazz calendar in October is extensive to say the least. It is like a jazz New Year, as the city submerges into its creative side as winter approaches. Tula’s features a stellar month as well, adding to the many choices one encounters this autumn.
LaVon Hardison CD Release Party with Eric Verlinde- Wed Oct 3, 7:30 PM/ Tula’s
Pianist Eric Verlinde continues his monthly residency at Tula’s with the vibrant presence of LaVon Hardison. A jazz singer of great style, Hardison will be debuting music from her new CD, There Will Be Trouble. With a background in theatre and opera, Hardison brings a multi-dimensional approach to the blues/jazz tradition. Verlinde is a perfectly matched accompanist, with the intimacy of the fine listening room at Tula’s being the preferred destination for this performance.
Susan Pascal Quartet- Fri Oct 5, 7:30 PM/ Tula’s
Vibraphonist Susan Pascal has developed an uncommon chemistry with her longtime quartet, that produces spontaneous outbursts of musical heaven. Pianist Bill Anschell and bassist Chuck Deardorf are themselves two of the major artists in the Seattle jazz lineage, with drummer Mark Ivester gathering the energy and pushing it forward.
Thomas Marriott Quintet- Sat Oct 6. 7:30 PM/ Tula’s
With 10 albums to his credit as a leader and an eleventh on the way, trumpeter Thomas Marriott has impacted the state of jazz in Seattle more than anyone over the past decade. His decision to perform with a regular quintet in 2018 has produced results onstage that has captivated Seattle jazz audiences since their debut in late 2017.
The return from a 14-year hiatus of tenor saxophonist Rick Mandyck has produced a buzz in itself, a story well told in this piece at All About Jazz. https://www.allaboutjazz.com/rick-mandyck-the-return-from-now-rick-mandyck-by-paul-rauch.php
Marriott brings in Mandyck, and teams him with 21-year-old drummer Xavier Lecouturier, defining the music of this rare quintet in three generations. Lecouturier has been causing quite a stir with his DXL Quintet at Tula’s as well.
Pianist Tim Kennedy seems to have exploded creatively in the past two years, with wonderful results as a leader and sideman. He currently has a residency at Tula’s, every first Tuesday. Bassist Geoff Harper plays with a probing intelligence that is a perfect fit for the spontaneous give-and-take that Marriot requires as a bandleader.
If you have yet to see this quintet perform, this is a must see opportunity.
Seattle Repertory Jazz Orchestra- Sat Oct 6, 7:30 PM/ Recital Hall- Benaroya Hall
The Village Vanguard has since 1935, been ground zero for live jazz recordings, and has housed some of the great performances in jazz history. SRJO pays tribute to that heritage, performing the music of Thad Jones, Miles Davis, Cannonball Adderly, Sonny Rollins and more. The Vanguard upholds the big band tradition with weekly Monday night performances from the house band there that evolved from the great Thad Jones/ Mel Lewis Orchestra. For one night, SRJO brings that vibe to the wonderful sounding room at Benaroya.
Regina Carter- Sun Oct 7, 6:00pm/ Triple Door
To say that Regina Carter carries on a great tradition of jazz violinists would be an oversight. The Detroit born violinist was bred in the classical tradition, to the extent of studies with famed practitioners of the instrument such as Yehudi Menuhin, and Itzhak Perlman. While studying at the New England Conservatory, she had a musical revelation and pursued jazz studies.
Carter’s style can more be compared to jazz violin pioneer John Blake than most, but her soulful approach more depicts ties to horn players such as saxophonist Stanley Turrentine and trumpeter Blue Mitchell. She will be joined by longtime collaborators Chris Lightcap (bass), and Alvester Garnett (drums). Pianist Xavier Davis rounds out the quartet.
Racer Sessions- Sundays 8-10 PM/ Cafe Racer
The Racer sessions take place each Sunday evening, curated by a different artist each week. The well-regarded sessions were inspired by the UW program led by trailblazing trumpeter Cuong Vu, and have continued to pursue a wide scope of improvisational forms in that spirit. At publishing time, the October sessions had yet to be announced, but visit the website to see the schedule. A must for any jazz fan looking to expand their musical horizons.
Helen Sung- Mon Oct 8, 7:30 PM/ Chapel Performance Space
Pianist Helen Sung is a bit of a latecomer to the world of jazz piano. She has spent her musical life in two distinct worlds, first as an aspiring classical pianist, followed by a stunning conversion to jazz during undergraduate studies at the University of Texas. This lead to graduation from the Thelonious Monk Institute at the New England Conservatory, an unexpected change of direction rooted in her inspired, newly acquired love of the art of jazz.
An evening spent at Austin’s Bass Concert Hall would change her musical horizons entirely, causing her to question everything she had learned up to that point. A friend had invited her to a Harry Connick Jr. concert in the hall, witnessing his piano style in the New Orleans tradition.
“In the middle of that show, he sat down and played some solo jazz piano, and I remember feeling like I had been hit by lightning,” she said. “I didn’t know you were allowed to play the piano like that.”
She continued to open eyes and ears by winning the prestigious Mary Lou Williams Jazz Piano Competition at Kennedy Center, and settled in New York City to subsequently perform with the likes of Ron Carter, Wayne Shorter and Wynton Marsalis.
Sung has released six highly acclaimed albums since, with Anthem For a New Day (Concord, 2014) topping jazz radio charts, and earning her accolades throughout the jazz community. Her deft touch and ability to direct musical imagery with her melody inspired improvisational approach reflects her bridging of the two distinct musical worlds that has been her musical universe from a very young age.
Solo performance brings out the artistry and imagination of a pianist in a very honest way. It exposes the artist’s vulnerabilities and brings to the forefront the nuances of style and grace. Sung has ascended to the heights of that creative space, to the benefit of her ever-increasing audience.
Amy Denio- Wed Oct 10, 8 PM/ Chapel Performance Space
Saxophonist/vocalist Amy Denio is like a study in musical innovation. She brings her compositions, unique saxophone style and 4-octave voice to the edge of imagination, always finding something original to share with her audience. A prolific composer of over 400 pieces, Denio colors her acoustic output with electronics, creating a rich texture of sounds. For Seattle music fans, Earshot provides the opportunity to discover her profound sense of innovation in a setting that accentuates the experience.
John Scofield’s Combo 66 Ft. with Gerald Clayton, Vincente Archer, Bill Stewart- Thu Oct 11- Sun Oct 14, 7:30 & 9:30 PM/ Jazz Alley
It what may be the premier performances at Jazz Alley this year, modern jazz guitar icon John Scofield leads a band featuring pianist Gerald Clayton, bassist Vincente Archer and drummer Bill Stewart. To commemorate his 66th year, Scofield has written 12 compositions and formed this all-star combo to perform them.
Scofield’s aesthetic covers a large stylistic canvas, and like a musical chameleon, bobs and weaves through a variety of emotive colors. He expresses himself in a vernacular that includes bebop, jazz-funk, soul, and rock. His performance and recording resume is unparalleled in jazz today, including Miles Davis, Dave Holland, Phil Lesh, Tony Williams, and Joe Henderson, to name but a few.
Greta Matassa “Light Out Of Darkness” Ray Charles Tribute- Fri Oct 12, Sat Oct 13, 7:30 PM/ Tula’s
The great Ray Charles developed his unique craft on the Jackson St. jazz scene in Seattle in the 1940’s and 50’s, setting a standard for jazz and blues vocalists here that continued with Ernestine Anderson, and in current times, with Greta Matassa. It seems appropriate then, that a tribute to Charles should include Matassa, a master of jazz vocals both in terms of narrative and improvised form. Matassa has an innate sense of swing and blues derivative stylings, and possesses an instrument that removes many of the limitations other singers encounter. She is unmatched as an entertainer as well, relating to her audience in a very personal and original way.
Samantha Boshnack: Seismic Belt- Fri Oct 12, 7:30 PM/ Royal Room
Trumpeter/composer Samantha Boshnack is a musical visionary in a very real sense. Her writing always leads the listener down a visual storyline projected as a musical narrative. Her previous two projects told the heroic story of Nellie Bly, and united the sounds of five continents in five concertos. Festival-goers will witness her latest project, Seismic Belt, a project that interprets life, culture, and cohabitation around the Ring of Fire.
Boshnack wrote the eight-movement piece while in residency at 18th Street Arts through their annual Make Jazz Fellowship in Los Angeles. This is award is sponsored by the Herb Albert Foundation to support promising, emerging composers. Other recipients have included Marquis Hill and Tomeka Reid.
Boshnack’s travels have led to her fascination with volcanoes and the cultures that surround them. “While in residence there, I composed eight movements of Seismic Belt,
a suite about the Ring of Fire, which is located in the basin of the Pacific Ocean. The area is home to most of the world’s volcanoes and hosts many of its earthquakes. Seismic Belt explores the seismic activity along the Ring of Fire, experimenting with the friction of geographic shifts to create a new harmonic topography. This music examines our relationship with the Earth, including the elements of risk and faith in that uneasy cohabitation. Movements of the work draw on influences from some of the cultures and people living on the Ring, in places such as Chile, Japan, Alaska, Iceland, Western Samoa, and Russia,” she explains.
This performance will be the Seattle debut of Seismic Belt and will feature a collection of Seattle based players. Pianist Alex Chadsey has been a mainstay of Boshnack’s projects, as has drummer Max Wood. Saxophonist Chris Credit will play both tenor and baritone saxophones, creating a striking balance with violinist Begin Scarseth and bassist Troy Shiefelbein. Lauren Elizabeth Baba will make the trip up from Los Angeles and join on both violin and viola.
”I debuted the music in two concerts in LA with an all-star LA band I put together. This Earshot concert will be the Seattle debut of Seismic Belt, with an incredible line-up of Seattle musicians and one special guest from my Los Angeles band- Lauren Elizabeth Baba. In March 2019 the live recording of the final LA concert will be released on Orenda Records,” says Boshnack.
While prolific as a composer, and ever imaginative in conceiving her work, Boshnack doesn’t perform live all that often or rather, as often as the jazz community at large would like. In many ways, this performance represents a high water mark for this project, performed in her chosen home city, in the shadow of Tahoma in repose.
David Sanborn Quintet- Wed Oct 17, 7:00 & 9:30 PM/ Triple Door
It’s good to see David Sanborn getting back to jazz in recent years, after a prolific period centered more on pop forms that borrowed from the jazz language. While this period garnered 6 Grammys, and 9 gold or platinum albums, his forceful, yet subtle approach seemed to be lost to true jazz aficionados. Sanborn brings a top-shelf band to town featuring uber talented trombonist Wycliffe Gordon, bassist Ben Williams, pianist Andy Ezrin, and drummer Billy Kilson.
Frank Catalano Quartet- Fri Oct 19, Sat Oct 20, 7:30 PM/ Tula’s
Tula’s continues a tradition well established in historic Seattle clubs such as the Black & Tan, Parnell’s, The Penthouse, and Jazz Alley (the old club on University Way)- bringing in an international artist and surrounding that artist with top Seattle talent.
Chicago based saxophonist Frank Catalano received an early break in his career, performing with the likes of Miles Davis, Randy Brecker, and Elvin Jones. In Seattle, he will perform with pianist Bill Anschell, bassist Phil Sparks, and drummer D’Vonne Lewis, top-shelf players all. Catalano’s style is a soulful blend leaning towards the blues, and is facilitated by his marvelous technique.
George Colligan Trio with Buster Williams & Lenny White- Sat Oct 20, 7& 9:30 PM/ Royal Room
Portland-based pianist George Colligan plays with many of the greats, and these shows are no exception, performed in the intimate confines of the Royal Room. Bassist Buster Williams was first introduced to Seattle audiences in 1967, standing in for Ron Carter in the Miles Davis Quintet at the Penthouse in Pioneer Square. His career has been an upward ascent since, as has that of drummer Lenny White. Gaining a stellar reputation with Miles Davis, and Chick Corea’s Return to Forever, White is known as one of the founding fathers of fusion jazz.
Colligan’s energetic style features astounding technique, and ardent musicality. The opportunity to see him in a trio of this quality, in a small venue, is something not to be missed.
Tribute to Dave Lewis featuring D’Vonne Lewis and Friends- Sun Oct 21, 8 PM/ Langston Hughes PAC
Drummer/composer/bandleader D’Vonne Lewis is like a whirlwind- seamlessly flowing from project to project, from gig to gig like no other musician in Seattle. While he may be the most in demand player on the Seattle jazz scene, he manages to uphold a standard of artful creativity, as well as a family tradition of musicianship that spans four generations.
Lewis’ grandfather, Dave Lewis, was a transformative figure in the history of music in Seattle, both for his impact as a musician, and as a pioneering force to integrate music in Seattle. On this evening at Langston Hughes Performing Arts Center, his grandson pays tribute to his musical and sociological impact in a very personal way.
The elder Lewis made his mark with an instrumental brand of rock and roll that found its way into west coast dance halls in the 50’s and 60’s. His trademark style on the Hammond B-3 organ produced regional hits such as “Little Green Thing.” and “David’s Mood,” but never received acclaim on a national level. His sound is largely unknown to younger generations. For D’Vonne Lewis, this performance not only aims to bridge that generational gap but provides an avenue for him to express his familial respect and love for his grandfather’s legacy.
While he pays tribute to his grandfather in this setting, Lewis is quick to point out that it was his great grandparents who inspired his grandfather to pursue music. He refers to his great grandfather as “Big Pop.”
“ Big Pop was Dave Lewis. Quincy Jones and Jimi Hendrix would come by the house to take lessons with him,” he says. He continues, “Big Pop is the one that really got it started, gave my grandfather lessons. His mom actually played organ in churches, she was a first call organist, all the churches wanted her to play. He started playing piano and then he heard his mom, and she would give him lessons. He would switch over to organ later.”
Seattle B-3 master Joe Doria will take the elder Lewis’ chair for this performance, joined by guitarist Andy Coe, and Lewis on drums. Special guests are anticipated for this performance set in the very neighborhood that spawned the “Seattle sound” of Dave Lewis. For one evening at Langston Hughes, the musical legacy of the Lewis family takes center stage.
Cuong Vu and Indigo Mist featuring George Garzone- Mon Oct 22, 8 & 9:30 PM/ Royal Room
Pioneering trumpeter Cuong Vu teams with tenor saxophonist George Garzone for an evening of music that will lean towards the experimental side. For this performance, they will be joined by electro/acoustic composer Juan Pampin, trailblazing drummer Ted Poor, and bassist/producer Steve Rodby. Rodby, who recently settled in Seattle, is known for his 30 years alongside Pat Metheny, and has garnished 15 Grammys as a bassist and producer. Blending his talents with Cuong Vu seems like a perfect fit.
David Marriott’s Triskaidekaband- Tue Oct 23, 7:30 PM/ Tula’s
Trombonist/composer/arranger David Marriott continues his residency at Tula’s with this monthly performance of his 13 piece band featuring some of the best talent in Seattle. Band members include Thomas Marriott, Geoff Harper, Rich Cole, and Matt Jorgensen. Marriott, one of the finest practitioners of the trombone in modern jazz, challenges the band with new arrangements each month. This is perhaps the most underappreciated gig in the city, each month delivering a first-rate performance and a must for jazz fans of all persuasions.
Tom Harrell Quartet- Wed Oct 24, 8 PM/ Seattle Art Museum
If seeing legendary trumpeter Tom Harrell at the acoustically brilliant auditorium at SAM doesn’t motivate you to get out of the house, perhaps the inclusion of new wave Cuban pianist David Virelles will. Harrell always seems to have something new to add to his sound, and the presence of Virelles certainly facilitates that notion. Adam Cruz joins on drums with bassist Ugonna Okegwo.
Jared Hall Quintet- Thur Oct 25, 7:30 PM/ Tula’s
Trumpeter Jared Hall has established himself in the past year as one of the most exciting new additions to the scene in quite some time. His monthly residency at Tula’s continues with Hall toting an all-star quintet to the storied Belltown jazz spot. Saxophonist Mark Taylor is featured, along with drummer/composer Phil Parisot, bassist Michael Glynn, and pianist John Hansen. Hall will perform original material, as well as standards.
Fresh from the release of his album Hallways, Hall plays with beautiful tonality, and expert articulation. His solos reflect his original approach to melodic improvisation. As a bandleader, he brings the best of the Seattle scene to this gig monthly.
Matt Jorgensen +451- Fri, Sat Oct 26 & 27, 7:30 PM/ Tula’s
In many ways, drummer/composer Matt Jorgensen personifies the sound of Seattle jazz. As a world-class drummer/composer, as well as being a founding cornerstone of Origin Records and the Ballard Jazz Festival, Jorgensen has left a lasting imprint on jazz culture in the Pacific Northwest.
Over two nights, Jorgensen presents the music of his four Origin releases with his band, +451. The sound is a unique blend of the double bass, drums, saxophone, and electric keyboards, interpreting Jorgensen’s original compositions, as well as jazz and rock standards.
For the Friday show, Jorgensen presents the music of the first two +451 records, The Road Begins Here, and Quiet Silence. Seattle jazz legend Marc Seales joins on electric keyboards, with alto saxophonist Rex Gregory, tenor saxophonist Rob Davis and bassist Phil Sparks.
Sparks, himself one of the true greats in Seattle jazz history, returns Saturday to present the music from the third and fourth editions of +451 recordings- Hope, and Another Morning. As is the case with the actual recordings, the overall sound of the band changes significantly with keyboardist Ryan Burns replacing Seales, and Origin recording artists Thomas Marriott, and Mark Taylor joining on trumpet, and saxophone respectively. The shift in personnel impacts the band to such a degree, that attending both evenings is a viable option, as Jorgensen rarely reunites this band.
The intricate drumming of Jorgensen is reason enough to attend these shows, showing a rare instinct to move a given ensemble in multiple directions as a leader.
Randy Halberstadt Septet Open Heart CD Release Show- Fri Oct 26, 8 PM/ Poncho Concert Hall
Pianist Randy Halberstadt releases his fifth album as a leader, celebrating on his home turf at Cornish, where he recently retired after an amazing 41 year run mentoring young musicians. Halberstadt convenes a septet of the city’s best, presenting a program of original compositions, jazz gems, and as an added interest, his improvisational interpretation of a Chopin nocturne.
Halberstadt’s longtime Cornish associate, bassist Chuck Deardorf is the granite from which this band is built, accentuated by drummer Adam Kessler and vibraphonist Ben Thomas.
Alto saxophonist Mark Taylor, trombonist David Marriott Jr., and trumpeter/saxophonist Jay Thomas constitute as fine a horn section as one could imagine for this special celebration. All three are noted leaders themselves, with multiple recordings between them both as leaders and side musicians. Jay Thomas bears the unusual distinction of being a first-class player on both trumpet, and saxophone.
Circuit Rider: Ron Miles, Bill Frisell, Brian Blade / These Hills of Glory String Quartet featuring Beth Fleenor- Sun Oct 28, 8 PM/ Recital Hall at Benaroya Hall
While guitarist Bill Frisell and drummer Brian Blade have enjoyed longtime international acclaim, the genius of trumpeter Ron Miles has flown largely under the radar. Together, this trio has the potential to explode in a multitude of directions on a nightly basis.
The beautiful Wayne Horvitz concerto These Hills of Glory will as well be performed by string quartet, also featuring improvising clarinet soloist Beth Fleenor. The Recital Hall at Benaroya is the perfect venue for this performance. Tickets are available at the Benaroya box office, offering the best prices as well.
Alex Dugdale Fade Quintet- Tue Oct 30, 7:30 PM/ Langston Hughes PAC
Saxophonist and tap master Alex Dugdale is a unique entity. His blend of talents both as an instrumentalist and tap dancer is unlike anything one might conjure up within the broadest view of the international jazz scene. Though not well known outside of the Pacific Northwest, Dugdale’s energetic, free-flowing style on both tenor and alto saxophones, combined with his artistic interpretation of tap sets him apart as a complete jazz artist.
Dugdale, who has occupied both the second alto, and baritone chairs of the Seattle Repertory Jazz Orchestra, burst onto the scene with his skillful tap interpretation as part of the band’s annual concert featuring Duke Ellington’s Sacred Music. While the Ellington classic is a perfect vehicle for more traditional tap fare, Dugdale has been turning heads applying the art form to hard bop, and post-bop modern rhythms.
Dugdale’s saxophone virtuosity highlights his live performances which engage audiences with his high energy, joyous interpretation of hard bop classics and original compositions.
The core group joining Dugdale for this performance will be the members of Seattle’s 200 Trio. Guitarist Cole Schuster, bassist Greg Feingold, and drummer Max Holmberg bring with them an uncommon, intrinsic chemistry. Schuster has been opening ears on the Seattle scene with his organ trio as well, and delivered a stellar performance as part of the Ballard Jazz Festival’s annual Guitar Summit concert.
Long time piano ace John Hansen adds a refined harmonic and melodic sensibility to the band. A constant on the Seattle jazz scene, Hansen has a great sense of swing, and uncanny ability to unite the variant musical impulses of any performance.
This concert grants Dugdale the opportunity to present his music to the community at large, in a classic setting, with the respect his artistic integrity deserves.