An Evening of Cole Porter-Benefit for the Trevor Project

Seattle vocalist Katy Bourne will be performing “An Evening of Cole Porter- A Benefit for the Trevor Project” this Saturday, October 1 at Egan’s.

The Trevor Project is a national organization that provides crisis intervention, suicide prevention and advocacy for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and questioning youth. The Trevor Project was started in 1998 in conjunction with the airing of “Trevor,” and HBO film about a 13-year-old boy who was ostracized after word gets out at his school that he is gay.  The Trevor Project is not only a lifeline for countless young people but it is also a vital resource for parents, educators, policymakers and anyone else who is concerned about the rights, safety and dignity of LGBTQ youth. The mission of the Trevor Project is “to end suicide among LGBTQ youth by providing life-saving and life-affirming resources including our nationwide, 24/7 crisis intervention lifeline, digital community and advocacy/educational programs that create a safe, supportive and positive environment for everyone.”

For this concert, Bourne will be performing Cole Porter classics such as “Night & Day” and “I Get a Kick Out of You,” as well as more obscure material from this great American composer. Katy’s band features Randy Halberstadt on piano, Clipper Anderson on bass and Steve Korn on drums.

Set time for “An Evening of Cole Porter,” is 7pm. The suggested ticket price is $15.00. To make reservations, please call 206-789-1621 or send an email to reservationsemail hidden; JavaScript is required. For information, visit www.ballardjamhouse.com.  To learn about the Trevor Project, please go to: http://www.thetrevorproject.org/.

 

Jazz Night School presents “Up-Beat Girls Jazz Camp”

The Jazz Night School is offering a special jazz camp for girls in grades 6-12. The “Up-Beat Girls Jazz Camp” is a week-long day camp that gives young musicians an opportunity to sharpen their improvisational skills and also gain experience playing in a jazz combo.

Daily sessions include instruction in ear-training, theory, rhythm and jazz history as well as plenty of hands-on playing time. There will be a daily lunchtime jam with professional female musicians from the Seattle jazz community. The camp will also include a Skype session with renowned jazz drummer Terri Lyne Carrington.

The goal of the camp is to provide a friendly and supportive environment for young female musicians to gain confidence, sharper skills, learn about women in jazz, make friends and have fun.

The camp will take place August 8-12 from 9:30am-4:30pm. The week will culminate with a performance on Friday, August 12.

To register for the camp, call 206-721-6061 or send an email to email hidden; JavaScript is required. For more information, please visit www.jazznightschool.com.

Rising Stars at Bake’s – The Yesberger Band

The Yesberger Band at Bake’s Place
Friday, July 29. 7:45pm

Bake’s Place continues its “Rising Stars” series this weekend with a featured performance from “The Yesberger Band.”

Pianist Devon Yesberger is the prodigy of the Edmonds-Woodway High School jazz program and is presently enrolled in the Berklee School of Music. While performing with Edmonds-Woodway, Devon was a finalist for the Gibson-Baldwin Grammy Jazz Ensemble and was also a participant in the All-Northwest Jazz program. The Yesberger Band includes fellow Berklee classmates Spencer Stewart on bass and Gabriel Smith on drums. Rooted in the jazz tradition, the trio playfully infuses elements of pop into their music and performs original compositions that convey a message of universal love and the “euphoric expression of self.” The Yesberger Band will appear at Bake’s Place this Friday, July 29.

“Rising Stars” showcases up and coming jazz young jazz artists from the Northwest and a features some of the brightest musicians and vocalists entering the national music scene today. Bake’s is dedicated to supporting these new artists and in providing them an opportunity to play. This is the second summer for the series.

For this performance, dinner services starts at 6pm and showtime is 7:45pm. For reservations, call 425-391-3335 or send an email to email hidden; JavaScript is required. For more information, please visit the www.bakesplace.org.

Rising Stars at Bake’s Place: The Mulherkar-Clausen Quintet

FRIDAY, JULY 22 – 7:30PM – BAKE’S PLACE
The Mulherkar-Clausen Quintet

BAKE’S PLACE
4135 Providence Point Dr SE, Issaquah, 425-391-3335, 7:30pm

Bake’s Place recently announced the launch of the “Rising Stars” concert series, which showcases up and coming young musicians from the Pacific Northwest. The region is home to some of the most outstanding high school jazz programs in the nation and has long been the starting point for some of the brightest musicians breaking into the scene today. Although many of these artists are busy with their musical studies and blooming careers, Bake’s offers an open door and an opportunity to play when their travels bring them back to the area. “We are dedicated to supporting these exciting, young musicians,” say club owner Craig Baker.

The series kicks off this Friday with the Mulherkar-Clausen Quintet led by Juilliard classmates Riley Mulherkar and Andy Clausen.

Riley Mulherkar is a prodigy of the prestigious Garfield High School jazz program. Described by the New Yorker as a “brilliant teen-aged trumpeter,” Mulherkar is already making a name for himself. He has been recognized by Downbeat Magazine and also received the “Ella Fitzgerald Outstanding Soloist” award at the 2010 Essentially Ellington Competition in New York City. He has shared the stage with the likes of Wynton Marsalis, Benny Golson, Jimmy Heath, Paquito D’Rivera and Roy Hargrove and has performed nationally and internationally at such festivals as Umbria Jazz Festival, Jazz a Vienne, Lionel Hampton Jazz Festival and the Reno Jazz Festival. In August, Riley will be joining fellow Julliard students for a tour of Brazil as part of Julliard’s Student Outreach program. He will be performing in collaboration with other jazz musicians as well as actors and actresses.

Trombonist/composer Andy Clausen has enjoyed an equally impressive trajectory. He rose through the ranks of the acclaimed Roosevelt High School jazz program. At just 14 years of age, Andy was already writing original compositions and leading his own sextet, which played throughout the Seattle area. In 2009, he was named as the “Emerging Artist of the Year” by Earshot Jazz and in that same year, also won the Gerald Wilson Award for Jazz Composition from the Monterey Jazz Festival. The Andy Clausen Large Ensemble has also garnered high praise; the New York Times hailed the band as “sleek, dynamic large group jazz.”  Andy has performed in across the U.S. as well as in Italy, France, Austria, Slovenia and Croatia. His compositions have been performed by Winton Marsalis and recorded by Cuong Vu.

Riley and Andy recently completed their freshmen year at Juilliard and have joined forces to front their own quintet, which is presently touring throughout the Northwest. Rounding out the band are Gus Carns on piano, Mark Hunter on bass and D’Vonne Lewis on drums.

For this performance, dinner service starts at 6pm. Showtime is 7:45pm.  Reservations can be made by calling 425-391-3335 or by sending an email to email hidden; JavaScript is required. Early reservations are highly recommended.

Shout Out: Jazz Now! Seattle

By Katy Bourne

It is with great enthusiasm that I send a virtual high five and a holler out to Seattle jazz musicians Jason Parker and Dave Marriott for their spanking new podcast Jazz Now! Seattle. Jazz Now! Seattle is a weekly podcast that features music from local artists in the Seattle community. The mission of the podcast is twofold: (1) To put the spotlight on Seattle musicians and their projects and to help publicize their performances. (2) To present the thriving Seattle jazz scene to the rest of the world. Now in its fifth week, Jazz Now! Seattle has already been downloaded 1000 times

Jason and Dave are working jazz musicians and both have backgrounds in broadcasting. Jason is a trumpeter, blogger, bandleader and one half of the production and booking company J & J Music. Jason worked in radio for several years and is the former musical director for KMTT radio in Seattle. He is an occasional guest host on KPLU. Dave is an award-winning trombonist and plays with a variety of groups including the Seattle Repertory Jazz Orchestra, the Emerald City Jazz Orchestra and his own band Septology. Dave was also the force behind the “original” Seattle jazz podcast “Seattle JazzScene.” Jason and Dave combine their experience and knowledge with sheer enthusiasm to create podcasts that offer a unique view of Seattle jazz. They highlight music from “every corner of the jazz spectrum in Seattle.”  So far, the podcasts have included a wide-range of music from artists such as Richard Cole, Wayne Horvitz, Matt Jorgenson, McTuff, Zubatto Syndicate, Gail Pettis, Nelda Swiggett and many, many more. The podcasts are presently focused on artists that are appearing in the Earshot Jazz Festival, which runs until November 7th. In Dave’s words, “We’re both fans of the scene that we’re a part of.”

Jason and Dave record new episodes every Monday and spend the rest of the week editing and also going through music for future podcasts. For two musicians who already have their hands in numerous other ventures, their efforts on behalf of the local scene are amazing. While it would be easier to stay focused solely on their own pursuits, Jason and Dave choose to cheer on other artists and help them get attention for their music. Jason and Dave are true ambassadors for Seattle jazz, and our community is all the better for it. If you haven’t already, I highly recommend checking out Jazz Now! Seattle. While you’re at it, maybe send a message of thanks to Jason and Dave for their time, work and generosity. They deserve it.

“We’ve figured out a way to make something that’s going to be a good contribution.”
– Dave Marriott

For more information, visit: http://jazznowseattle.com/

Weekend of Rising Stars at Bake’s Place

Trumpeter Riley Mulherkar and vocalist Siobhan Brugger are the featured performers for “A Weekend of Rising Stars,” which takes place July 16 & 17 at Bake’s Place.

The Pacific Northwest is home to some of the most outstanding high school jazz programs in the country and has long been the starting point for some of the brightest musicians and vocalists entering the national jazz scene today. In recognition of the wealth of emergent talent in our own backyard, Bake’s is dedicated to supporting these new artists and providing them an opportunity to perform. “We are excited about the talent of these up and coming young people,” says owner Craig Baker. This weekend marks the first of what will be a regular series at Bake’s.

Trumpeter Riley Mulherkar graduated in June from Garfield High School, where he was a member of the prestigious Garfield Jazz band. The band recently took top honors at the Essentially Ellington Competition in New York, and Mulherkar was named the Ella Fitzgerald Outstanding Soloist. Over the past few years, Mulherkar has received numerous awards and accolades, including being recognized as an “outstanding soloist” in DownBeat magazine’s 30th Annual Student Musician Awards. Mulherkar will be attending the Julliard School of Music in the fall. Joining Riley on the bandstand will be Gus Carns on piano, Carmen Rothwell on bass, Zach Para on drums and Carl Majeau on tenor sax. Riley and his band will be performing on July 16.

Siobhan Brugger has been singing jazz standards since she was 12 years old and has appeared at jazz clubs in Edinburgh, Scotland and Kobe, Japan. She has received numerous accolades including:winner of the 2009 Downbeat Magazine Best High School Jazz Vocalist, two –time winner of the “Outstanding Alto Soloist” award at the Lionel Hampton jazz Festival, winner of the student division of the Seattle-Kobe Jazz Vocalist competition, selection for the 2008 All-State Jazz Choir and also a two-time finalist for the Gibson/Baldwin Grammy Jazz Festival. She is a longtime student of Greta Matassa and her performed at such great venues as Dimitriou’s Jazz Alley and Bake’s Place. Siobhan is presently a student at USC, where she is continuing her education in jazz studies. Siobhan’s band features Devon Yesberger on piano, Chris Copland on drums, Colleen Gilligan on bass and Daniel Hipke on guitar. Siobhan will be appearing on July 17.

For both of these performances, dinner service starts at 6pm and the show starts at 7:45pm. For reservations, please call 425-391-3335 or send an email to email hidden; JavaScript is required. For more information, please visit www.bakesplace.org.

Bad Monkey Bistro: Live Jazz in South Lake Union


Situated between the glittering high rises of the downtown core and the busy waters of Lake Union, the South Lake Union neighborhood is Seattle’s new mecca for contemporary urban living. With all the hustle and bustle there, it is the perfect location for a spanking new live music venue; welcome the Bad Monkey Bistro

Last Friday, my teenage son Emmett and I dropped by to check things out. We had just come from the last day performances of the University of Washington jazz workshop and were looking to grab a bite to eat. The room was popping with activity and felt immediately inviting. We landed during happy hour; the bar was full of cheerful, chatting patrons, and a pianist was playing away in the dining room, where we were seated.

The layout of the space allows it to successfully accommodate both sports fans and music lovers; this is certainly not easy to do, and many establishments fail at this particular kind of multi-tasking. As you walk in, there is a sports bar with high tables and stools to the immediate right. Straight on is the dining room with traditional tables and chairs and also the piano. Adjacent to the bar is an enclosed room-the “Socialing Lounge”- with leather chairs and a fireplace. On the other side of the bar is an area with a pool table. Both the bar and the Socialing Lounge have large, flat screen TV’s, which were turned on but with the sound muted. I appreciated the respect shown to Martin Ross, who happened to be the pianist working that set. Although the bar was very busy, it in no way detracted from the music. I felt like the balance was well executed. Hats off to Bad Monkey for that.

The musical setting at the Bad Monkey is a combination of piano bar and jazz joint. The glass top on the table with surrounding stools certainly indicates the former. Martin Ross played a variety of music from “Popsicle Toes” to Tom Wait’s boozy anthem “My Piano Has Been Drinking.” While we were having dinner, a trio of giggling women came in and sat around the piano. Ross engaged them accordingly, mixing song with playful banter. Bad Monkey has live music a few nights a week. They have two sets; a 4-7pm set for happy hour and an 8-11pm set for the dinner service. In addition to solo piano, they present jazz combos from a variety of genres, with or without vocalists, depending on the particular group.

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The owners of the Bad Monkey Bistro are Daniel Poe Gale and Christopher Williams. Even though he was clearly busy taking care of customers, Daniel kindly took a few minutes to chat it up with us. He told us a little bit about the history of the building, which used to be an office for a paper manufacturing company. When they were remodeling the space, they used much of the original wood, especially in the bar area. We talked a little bit about the music; Daniel is clearly a piano aficionado and is very enthusiastic about the potential of the room and about musical things to come. (Sidebar: It came up in the conversation that Emmett plays guitar and performs with his own jazz group. Daniel offered him a gig on the spot. I found his openness surprising yet refreshing.) There is no question that he is committed to creating a welcoming scene for live jazz at the Bad Monkey. You gotta love that.

Our dinner was yummy. I had the smoked salmon pasta, which was creamy and smooth and full of lightly cooked, fresh vegetables. Emmett had the calamari stuffed with artichoke, garlic and crab, which he gobbled up in mere minutes. Our waitress was sweet and laid back. The Bad Monkey experience is probably best done when you’re in the mood to kick back, relax and hang awhile. The vibe seems to lend itself to that, and that’s just fine.

The Bad Monkey Bistro is located at 400 Boren Ave. N., Seattle, WA 98109, on the corner of Boren and Harrison. Please note that it can be slightly tricky to find because there are actually two Boren Avenues that run parallel to each other. Construction in the area can add to the confusion. However, don’t let this dissuade for one minute. There are directions on the website (http://www.badmonkeybistro.com/), and once you arrive, there is plenty of available street parking. The Bad Money Bistro is open daily from 10am to 2am, serving lunch, dinner and late night bites. There is a happy hour menu as well. Phone is 206-467-1111.

By Katy Bourne

A Tribute to Overton Berry- Tonight at at Bake’s Place

Fridays in the Living Room with Greta-A Tribute to Overton Berry

Fridays in the Living Room with Greta-A Tribute to Overton Berry
Friday, January 22, 2010
Bake’s Place at Providence Point

“Fridays in the Living Room With Greta” are fun and spontaneous evenings, based loosely on the old Dean Martin variety show, and with Greta holding court, they will feature musical guests, occasional comedians, friends sitting in and Greta taking audience requests -always a crowd favorite!

For this very special performance, Greta will pay tribute to jazz icon Overton Berry. Overton has held court at the Sorrento Hotel for years, playing piano and singing. Greta and Overton share a long history together, and this tribute performance will feature Greta, Overton and Seattle bassist Clipper Anderson reminiscing about good times and performing favorite songs. Overton is a much-loved and well-respected member of the Seattle music scene, and we are excited to honor both the man and the contributions he’s made throughout the years.

Dinner is at 6:00pm. Show starts at 7:45pm. For reservations, call 425-391-3335 or send an email to email hidden; JavaScript is required. Bake’s Place is the Northwest’s premiere jazz supper club. Nestled into the serene, hillside setting of Providence Point in Issaquah, this elegant establishment is home to several of the regions top jazz performers and is also a frequent stop for national, touring artists. It was named as one of the “top 100 jazz clubs in the world” by Downbeat magazine. Bake’s is located at 4135 Providence Point Dr. SE, Issaquah, WA 98029. Phone is 425-391-3335. For more information, visit www.bakesplace.org

The Jazz Hang: Sandy Cressman & Homage to Brazil

Sandy Cressman

Sandy Cressman is a San Francisco jazz vocalist, who has devoted the majority of her career to the study and performance of Brazilian music. This Saturday, Sandy will be appearing at  along with the Jovino Santos Neto Trio and together they will perform her Homage to Brazil- a “musical journey through the world of Brazilian jazz” at Bake’s Place. Earlier this week, I had the pleasure of interviewing Sandy about her career and about Brazilian music. She was warm and engaging and clearly very passionate about what she does. The following are excerpts from our conversation:

It is clear from your bio that you’ve had a natural affinity for Brazilian music almost your entire life. What about it resonates with you?

In knew the first time I heard it, there was something about the passionate nature of the music that was appealing. Performing it myself really suited my own personal expression. Early on in junior high, I heard a girl sing Sergio Mendes’s hit “Mas Que Nada” and it totally floored me.  I didn’t know how to go out and seek the music at that time. But by the time I was into college and into jazz, I heard it again…..Tania Maria, Flora Purim….and was really excited. One time I was at a Pat Metheny concert, and the music that was playing on the break was so beautiful that I walked to the soundboard to find out who it was. It was Ivan Lins. I went out and bought as much as his music as I could.

Later, I was on touring Japan with a Japanese group. The guitarist for that group gave me recordings of Djavan to listen to. I was overwhelmed. When I got back from Japan, I bought all the Brazilian music I could find. At one point, the pianist Marco Silva sat in as a sub for Pastiche. He brought me cassettes of Brazilian music and fed my addiction further. In 1995, Marco asked me to come and sing Brazilian music with him. It was a little café duo gig. Each week we would bring in new tunes to try out. That was really the start for me.

Why do you think the popularity of Brazilian music is so enduring?

I think the rhythm is infectious. There’s a feeling of passion that’s very Brazilian yet not restricted to Brazil. A lot of people feel that passion. It makes you feel really good. It really takes you somewhere.

Tell me about putting together the music for “Homage to Brazil.”

Well, my first record was “Homenegem Brasileira”. I have known Jovino for fourteen years. We met at California-Brazil summer camp. He’s one of the rare pianists that can play the broad repertoire of Brazilian music that I like to sing with authenticity and freshness. The last time we played at Bake’s, it was Jobim’s 80th birthday. At that time, we decided to do a tribute to Jobim. This time, we decided to mix up composers. We came up with some songs that our quartet can explore and have fun with. Basic arrangements but not everything is planned.

Tell me a little bit about playing with Jovino.

Jovino is just a stellar musician. He knows his craft, knows Brazilian music and knows jazz. He has a certain openness to the unexpected and he’s non-judgmental, which makes it such a comfortable experience to play music together. I’m a guest on his soil. He respects the work that I’ve done to do it as well as I do. It feels like I’m being collaborated with and respected.

How do you think your approach to the music differs from other vocalists and musicians?

I’m not Brazilian but I try to be true to the spirit of the music. The musicians I use, the way I sing and phrase it. I typically sing to a non-Brazilian audience and I am able to give them a background on the tunes and why I like them. They get a history and exposure to things they might not have heard before.

To someone who is new to Brazilian music and wants some ideas as to what recordings to check out, what suggestions would you make?

Joao Guilberto. Also, I have a Brazilian music discography on the teaching page on my website.

What is playing on your i-Pod right now?

Chico Pinheiro. Really cool, modern Brazilian music.

For more information about Sandy, please visit http://www.cressmanmusic.com/.

For information about Bake’s Place, please visit the website at www.bakesplace.org. To make resvervations for the show, please call 425-391-3335 or send an email to email hidden; JavaScript is required.

Greta Matassa: CD Release Party at Bake’s Tonight

Greta Matassa at Bake's Place Tonight

Greta Matassa is a long time fixture on the local music scene and possesses an enduring adoration from jazz fans throughout the Northwest. This admiration is well-deserved. She approaches the music with a musician’s sensibility and a joyful fervor and energy that exhilarate her audiences again and again. Greta is the proverbial “whole package”: Her improvisational chops are spot-on, and she jumps into her solos with a take-no-prisoners style that is nothing short of thrilling. She has an authentic sensitivity to the lyric, and her repertoire of songs is vast, encompassing all the standards as well as multitudes of unique and lesser- known compositions. Throughout the evolution of her craft, Matassa has left no stone unturned. Through painstaking listening, study and hard-worked Greta culled her inspiration and knowledge from the masters of the jazz genre. Now it can easily be said that she is among them.

Greta’s new CD I Wanna Be Loved is her first release on the Resonance record label. I Wanna Be Loved features arrangements by the esteemed pianist Tamir Hendelman, who also plays on the recording. The CD includes songs written by a who’s who list of composers the likes of Stevie Wonder, Herbie Hancock, Cy Coleman, Alan and Marilyn Bergman, Al Jarreau and Henry Mancini. The CD features string arrangements by Kuno Schmidt and also performances by many prominent Los Angeles musicians as well as two of Greta’s longtime bandmates, Darin Clendenin on piano and Clipper Anderson on bass. I Wanna Be Loved debuted at #19 on national jazz charts for radio airplay. The release of this exciting new CD is yet another pinnacle on Greta’s long and distinguished career

The eastside release party for I Wanna Be Loved will be held at Bake’s Place at Providence Point, where Matassa has been a featured artist for many years. Reservations can be made by calling 425-391-3335 or by sending an email to email hidden; JavaScript is required. For more information, please visit www.bakesplace.org.

Jennifer Lee Quartet at Bake’s Place

On Saturday, August 1st, Bake’s Place welcomes San Francisco vocalist and multi-instrumentalist Jennifer Lee to the stage. Lee’s musical roots are in straight-ahead jazz and she got her start as an accompanist for vocalists in her college jazz band. It wasn’t long before Lee discovered her own singing chops and she soon began performing as a vocalist as well. Her years as an pianist and guitarist afforded her with a musician’s sensibility for the harmonic armature of the music, and she was able to successfully put her own signature on interpretations of the standards. Lee has a particular passion for the music of Brazil. She accompanies herself on guitar and songs in near perfect Portuguese. In addition, she is a member of Doce Brazil, which has played at the San Francisco Jazz Summerfest as well as multiple venues and festivals throughout the Bay area. Lee has recorded two solo CD’s: Jaywalkin’ and Quiet Joy, the latter of which was just released in spring of this year. On both of these recordings, Lee collaborated with San Diego guitarist Peter Sprague who served as co-arranger and co-producer. Sprague is the founder of SBE Records, the label for both of Lee’s recordings.

Jennifer’s appearance at Bake’s is part of the ongoing Visiting Songbird series, which features top-tier vocal jazz talent culled from across the United States. For this performances, Lee will be joined by esteemed Northwest musicians John Stowell on guitar, Jeff Johnson on bass and Mark Ivester on drums.

For reservations to this show, call 425-391-3335 or email email hidden; JavaScript is required. For more information, you can check out the Bake’s website: www.bakesplace.org

Jennifer Lee

A Quick Chat with Patti Wicks

By Katy Bourne

Patti Wicks is a highly regarded jazz pianist and vocalist and international recording artist. She spent over three decades playing in jazz clubs in New York City and also working the East Coast jazz circuit. She has several recordings in her discography and her CD “It’s a Good Day” received an Italian jazz award for the best jazz album in 2008.

Patti Wicks

Patti currently resides in Florida and will be appearing at Bake’s Place this weekend with Seattle’s much beloved vocalist Greta Matassa. Patti and I spoke over the phone the other day. Here are a few bits and pieces from that conversation.

You just got back from a trip to New York City. What did you do there?

I played five nights at the Metropolitan Room, on 22nd between 5th and 6th. The room has only been open 2 or 3 years. I have a wonderful bassist I work with when I’m there. Linc Milliman. Great player.

You’re heading up here to the Northwest to play at Bake’s Place with Greta Matassa. Tell me about working with Greta.

I love working with her. She’s a wonderful singer and a great human being. We first worked together last October. We were both aware of each other but never had a chance to work together. Last fall, Nich Anderson had the idea that we should work together. We did one of his house concerts on Camano Island on a Friday night. That was great fun. Then we did Bake’s on that Saturday and Sunday. We had so much fun, we decided to do it again. We just hit it off. She’s a nifty lady and a wonderful singer. We just had a ball. I love to accompany singers. Over the years, I’ve worked with Anita O’Day, Rebecca Parris, Sheila Jordon, Carol Sloane…. Read More

The Jazz Hang: Local Color – Art, Jazz & Big Fun

There is some seriously fun hang happening right in the belly of the Pike Place Market: Local Color Gallery. This spunky spot is a working art studio, coffee shop, wine bar and live jazz venue all rolled into one. Anyone looking for a great place to listen to jazz should definitely check this out.

Local Color sits on the corner of Pike Place and Stewart Street. I recently went down to check out their “Jazz in the Market” series, which happens every Friday and Saturday night. On this particular night, vocalist Rochelle House was, forgive the pun, in the house along with her killer band: Darrius Willrich on keys, Evan-Flory-Barnes on bass and D’Vonne Lewis on drums. The room is long and rectangular, and a stage sits on the far end of the space. Of course, there is art everywhere. Local Color features works by local artists of all mediums: oil, acrylic, watercolor, photograph and contemporary pottery. There are paintings and photographs on all the walls and cases full of original jewelry. The room is colorful and cheerful. They have a full espresso menu, a nice variety of beer and wine and also a selection of light nibbles, including delicious grilled sandwiches, a la pannini-style. I had a wonderful tuna melt and a very tasty vanilla latte, which was served to me by the friendliest of baristas.

When it comes to the music side of things, owners Frank and Sydne Albanese don’t mess around. They are committed to creating a relaxed listening venue for their patrons and also to making this jazz series successful. They have an outstanding sound system, complete with stage monitors, main speakers for the house and a Mackie mixer. The acoustics were pretty impressive. Initially, we couldn’t hear enough of the vocals through the mains, but Frank quickly adjusted, and it was fine for the rest of the evening. There is a house drum kit and an electronic piano. The stage is well lit with professional gel lighting. Comfortable couches and chairs are assembled in front of the stage, and there are high tables, counters and stools situated throughout the room. This is no coffee shop open mic with a singer-songwriter on a stool in the corner. This is a full-on listening venue that has been planned with careful attention to detail.

Perhaps one of the most striking things about Local Color is the warm hospitality and decidedly pro-music vibe. Frank, Sydne and staff treat everyone like friends, and anyone walking through the door is greeted as such. Frank, in particular, is excited about all things jazz and happily engages in conversations about his favorite recordings or about the upcoming performance of a new vocalist that he is excited about. On the particular night I was there, the room was packed, Rochelle and her band were on fire, and the overall scene felt like a party full of happy friends. I thought to myself, “Everyone should know about this place.”

Local Color has live jazz on Friday and Saturday nights, with the exception of the first Saturday night of the month, when they host a regular art opening. Local Color validates parking after 5pm at the Public Market Garage at 1531 Western Ave. This eliminates the pesky task of parking in the market, which can be very daunting, especially on a weekend evening. Again, Frank and Sydne have thought of everything.

Local Color is truly a wonderful establishment, and I can’t say enough about the sheer fun- factor of hanging out there. In a time when many music venues are struggling to stay afloat, the spirited gang at Local Color forges full-speed ahead. This optimism and enthusiasm will no doubt make this one of the most vibrant rooms on the scene. If you haven’t been, check it out. If you’ve already been, well, you know what I’m talking about.

Local Color is located at 1601 Pike Pl., Seattle, WA 98101. Phone is 206-728-1717. Website is http://www.localcolorseattle.com/

Teachers & Thieves: Break-In at the Music Classroom

Sometime between the late night of Saturday, September 20 and the wee morning hours of Monday, September 22, miscreants broke into the music portable at my son’s elementary school. They stole several instruments: guitars, keyboards and ukuleles. They also made off with 2 projectors, a camera and an amplifier with speakers. As if stealing wasn’t enough, these nasty, little pinheads threw in some vandalism as well. They trashed the classroom computer and drew all over the walls and the piano with markers. It seems one crime-spree wasn’t sufficient for this particular band of reprobates, so they returned a few nights later to steal a couple more guitars. The entire school community is sickened by this abhorrent act, and the music teacher Mr. Nelson is understandably distraught. Mr. Nelson is a wonderful teacher. He’s mild-mannered, soft-spoken, enthusiastic and patient. My son adores him and looks forward to the days, when he has music class. I also have a special fondness for Mr. Nelson: He grew up in a household with two deaf parents and ended up becoming a music teacher. This fact has always struck me as poignant, and while nobody should have to endure such an ugly invasion of his or her workspace, it is particularly heartbreaking to me that it happened to Mr. Nelson. He’s an unassuming hero, who shows up every day and gently introduces young souls to new adventures in the great, big world of music.

I grew up in Ponca City, Oklahoma, a small town in the northern part of the state. While there was plenty weird about growing up in Oklahoma, the Okies did get a few things right. When I was in elementary school, I had music class every single day. I also had art, PE and science every day. This was all in addition to the basics: reading, writing and arithmetic. I can still remember my music teacher Miss Crawford. She was tall, skinny and had fierce red hair. She walked to school every day and decorated the class piano in seasonal themes. We would practice drawing treble clefs on staff paper, and some days, she would hand out percussion instruments for us to play as we sang whatever tune we happened to be working on. It was in her classroom, that I first heard Rhapsody in Blue. Of course, this was long ago and far away. Things are very different now. My son has music about once every three days. Music class is in a rotation with PE and computer lab. I’m not entirely sure why this is. I know that teachers are mandated to cover a certain curriculum and also that preparation for standardized tests such as the WASL, takes priority. I also figure that funding is limited. I don’t bemoan teachers in the least, but somewhere along the line, arts, music, and physical education came to be seen as secondary instead of basic and vital. Teachers like Mr. Nelson are forced to be magicians, getting as much done as they can with extremely limited resources of time and funding.

I think that things are hard enough already with Wall Street going haywire, hurricanes relentlessly banging away on the coasts, rampant unemployment and crazy politicians running around all over the place. Damn the snotty punks, who broke into the music portable. They essentially stole from children and made one guy’s hard-enough-already job even harder. The individuals, who committed this crime, have small minds and dark hearts. They are still out there, roaming the streets and undoubtedly, planning their next illegal act. The police may never catch up with them, but hopefully, karma will.

Jazz photographer Ron Hudson once said that the kids learning to play music today would ultimately be the ones to perpetuate the music in the future. I believe that to be true. The readers of SeattleJazzScene.com are a community of musicians, fans and friends who work every day to make sure that live music is a strong and vibrant presence in our culture. In the spirit of perpetuating the music, perhaps we can come together to help the budding, young musicians of Kimball Elementary recoup their losses and resume their musical journey.

The following is a list of what was stolen from the classroom:

5 Yamaha PSR 293 student keyboards
1 Casio student keyboard
1 Yamaha M088 keyboard (brand new)
5 guitars (1/2 size)
2 ukuleles
1 small mixer console
2 projectors
1 document camera
1 small amplifier with speakers

The total dollar amount of the loss is $6200.00. The school is not insured for theft, so money to replace the stolen items must come from outside sources. If you would like to make a contribution to the cause, please send it to:

Attention: PTSA Treasurer-Music School
Kimball Elementary School
3200 23rd Ave. S.
Seattle, WA 98144

Make your checks out to, “Kimball PTSA”. Please write “music room” on the memo line of the check. If you have a used instrument that you would like to donate, please email Jim Nelson at email hidden; JavaScript is required.

Many, many thanks!

The Jazz Hang: Martin’s Off Madison

THE JAZZ HANG by Katy Bourne

It had been awhile since I’d been up to Capitol Hill. However, for some time I’ve been hearing about a happening piano bistro that has live music 7 nights a week, so I decided to pay a visit. Off to the hill I went. Martin’s Off Madison is a bustling neighborhood joint that is located on 14th street just off, well, Madison Avenue. This straight-friendly bar and restaurant is lively and welcoming. It almost feels like the neighborhood living room. Patrons sit in comfortable, red easy chairs that are situated around little, round center tables with votive candles glowing away on top. More tables sit flush against the wall, and all provide a view of a playing area with a small grand piano. Burnt- orange colored drapes and tear-shaped lights hang around the piano and add an elegant touch. Behind the piano is a cheerful print of a chimpanzee swigging from a bottle of liqueur. The bar is separated from the dining and music area by a dividing wall. Busy waiters donned in black polo shirts and Utilikilts buzz around the room. When you walk in the door, you are greeted with smiles and nods from customers and staff alike.
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The Jazz Hang: Jazz and Sushi

THE JAZZ HANG with Katy Bourne

This Friday: Susan Pascal Trio
Susan Pascal, vibes
Chuck Deardorf, bass
Dave Petersen, guitar

Last Friday night, my teenage son, Emmett, and I were looking for something to do. The planets must have been in some kind of quirky alignment. Or maybe there was some residual weirdness from the full moon of a few days before; Emmett doesn’t usually want to hang out with mom, especially on a Friday night. But there we were. The kid likes sushi, so we decided to head over to Hiroshis for the Jazz and Sushi night, which happens every Friday.

If you’ve never been before, Hiroshis is a jumping little sushi joint on Eastlake Avenue. It’s a bright and lively spot with busy waitresses navigating around tightly arranged tables. On past visits, the place has been packed and there has been a lengthy wait for a table. However, this was not the case on Friday. There were plenty of available tables, and we were seated immediately. Jazz happens in the main room, right underneath a giant TV, which was mercifully turned off. The band this particular night consisted of Alexey Nikolaev on sax, Jon Hamar on bass, Randy Halberstadt on piano and of course, Greg Williamson on drums. (Jazz and Sushi is presented by Pony Boy Records, of which Greg is the big cheese.) They started out with “All the Things You Are” and then moved on to original compositions by Greg and Randy. God, what a treat. There was no histrionic manager wringing his hands and asking the band to turn down. This was no pansy-ass background music. This was jazz exactly as it should be: Out there for all to hear and enjoy. Heaven. The band seemed free to do whatever they wanted, and I was particularly taken by the unbound improvisation and the take-no-prisoners solos. It was the first time I’d ever heard Alexey play. Man, that cat can blow! Jon, Randy and Greg also delivered the goods, providing the high-octane performances we’ve happily come to expect from them. Adding to the jovial and laid back vibe was Greg’s between tune banter, which was pretty entertaining all by itself. The teenager was even amused.
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The Jazz Hang: Verrazano’s

By Katy Bourne

VENUE PREVIEW: VERRAZANO’S

For south end jazz fans looking for somewhere to hear live music and enjoy a wonderful dinner, Verrazano’s is the place to be.

Tucked away on a stretch of Pacific Highway South in Federal Way, this Italian restaurant is a hidden gem. Although some might consider the location nondescript, Verrazano’s couldn’t be lovelier with its lush interiors, popping fireplace and wonderful view of Puget Sound.

Every Wednesday night, Verrazano’s has live jazz from 7-10pm. Music is in the lounge, which is large and comfortable. The bands set up on the far end of the room and enjoy a spacious playing area. On Wednesday nights, the bar is fairly busy with diners, friends meeting for drinks and jazz fans there to listen to music. Some purists may be annoyed by the televisions in the bar, which are on throughout the evening and are usually tuned to some kind of sporting event. However, the volume is always muted, and the televisions do not distract from the music at all.

Verrazano’s has an ample wine list, and the food is delicious. The staff couldn’t be friendlier, and the scene is very jazz positive. For south enders with a hankering for some hump day jazz, Verrazano’s is the place to be. For Seattleites, the drive to Federal Way is well worth it.

Verrazano’s is located at 28835 Pacific Highway South, Federal Way, WA 98003. The phone is 253-946-4122. For the live music schedule, visit the website at www.verrazanos.com.

The Jazz Hang: 2008 – What I Want

THE JAZZ HANG with Katy Bourne

It’s January again. It’s the time of year when we take down the Christmas decorations, go on diets and give some thought to our hopes and goals for the year ahead. As a jazz fan and working vocalist, I’m wishing hard and thinking big. What I want for 2008 is nothing short of a complete jazz renaissance in Seattle.

On any given night in any Seattle neighborhood, I want live jazz to be coming out of the windows of every club and restaurant. I want to be able to hear it as I walk down the sidewalk. I want to see droves of jazz fans coming out to hear live music and to support their favorite bands and musicians. If I am playing at one club, I want to be able to walk down the street to the next club or restaurant on my break and listen to other groups playing. I want Seattle jazz fans to be constantly overwhelmed by too many great choices.

I want the scene to be all encompassing and inclusive. I want there to be room and support for all kinds of jazz from original modern and hard bop to Dixieland jazz and vocal standards. For the musicians, I want things to be easier. I want plenty of work for everyone, with fair and livable wages. I want us to hold up and encourage each other in any way we can. I want us to remember that we’re all on the same page.

For the club and restaurant owners who treat musicians well and value live music, I want their businesses to boom. I want them to have long lines out their doors, deep with patrons willing to spend money in their establishments. For the less than enlightened club owner, I want them to gain heart and vision. I want them to see that live music adds not only to the ambiance of their business but that it also gives life and energy to the very fiber of our culture. I want them to understand that live music is more than an expenditure on a ledger sheet and to act accordingly.

I want for local jazz festivals to be even more successful in ’08. I want to see them draw bigger and bigger crowds and to enjoy broader and deeper fiscal support. I would like heavy hitting corporations and small businesses to throw their money behind local music festivals. I want the powers that be to understand how jazz builds community. I want to see the birth of more jazz festivals across the city. I want festivals that give both local favorites and visiting artists a chance to play. I want every single festival to be a wild jazz party.

I want for music education to be available to each and every child in Seattle. I want our outstanding school jazz programs to continue to get the support they need to do the important work that they do: Teaching kids about jazz and providing them with hands-on playing experience. I want for every child who is interested, to have the chance to learn to play the instrument of his or her choice. Call me crazy, but I want every student to be just as familiar with Miles Davis, John Coltrane and Billie Holiday as they are with Nintendo, Britney Spears and 50 Cent.

I want to hear jazz in elevators, at the dentist’s office and anytime I’m “on hold”. I want the knuckleheads at Nordstrom’s to get a clue. I want every piano at every Nordstrom’s throughout the region to have a jazz pianist sitting at it. I want to hear live jazz when I shop for shoes or lingerie.

Finally, I want for all the people who work so hard on behalf of the Seattle jazz scene to be successful in 2008. I want for their dreams to be realized and for their efforts to pay off. I want for all of us to dive in and help. There are so many ways to lend some muscle to the cause: volunteering at a jazz walk, sending emails to neighborhood restaurants that have live jazz to thank them for doing so, buying CD’s from local artists and most of all, going out to see the shows. I want jazz to be everywhere. I want us all to take that giant leap together and to make it happen.

This is what I want for 2008. Nothing less will do.

Editor note: What do you want for 2008? Let’s get a discussion going by posting your ideas and comments in the Comments section.

Jazz Hang: Do It For the Kids

By Katy Bourne

Way back when I was a kid growing up in Ponca City, Oklahoma, I played alto saxophone. I first learned to play in elementary school, where a couple days a week, we would be excused from our regular class to go to the cafeteria where the aged and beloved Mr. Hartman gently worked with us on embouchure, time signatures, scales, etc. (I have a vague recollection of playing “Ave Maria” again and again and again.) Unfortunately, the only way to continue instrumental music education past elementary school was to be in the middle, then high school marching band, which in Ponca City was basically an accessory to the football team more than a focused music program. On top of learning songs, we were required to also master new choreography for each and every football game. We would drag out to the field for early morning practices or sometimes after school, when the September sun was a scorcher. On games days, we had to wear itchy, blue wool suits, which were hot, uncomfortable and looked about as attractive as a female police officer’s uniform. The band director was mean, plain and simple. I don’t remember his name. I do recall that he was short and would snap, snarl and froth at the mouth. He would scream at us if we didn’t get the requisite moves down correctly. I could never remember the choreography and not being a multi-tasker, I found playing and marching at the same time to be almost impossible. I was often the target of the angry band director’s wrath. Being young and at that point, unconscious of a musical world beyond Oklahoma, I drew the erroneous conclusion that if I was going to play the alto saxophone, then this was the best I could hope for. I was miserable and gave up playing. There was no one around spinning John Coltrane or Charlie Parker records. “Jazz” was not in the musical vocabulary in Ponca City, Oklahoma in those days. (Er, and probably still isn’t.) I was unaware that playing the saxophone could be fun and that music could be hip.

Thankfully, things couldn’t be more different for my boys, ages 10 and 14. The Seattle Public Schools offer some of the most outstanding jazz programs in the country, at both the middle and high school level. Two of the most notable are Roosevelt High School, directed by Scott Brown, and Garfield High School, directed by Clarence Acox. (My oldest son is a freshman at Garfield and is a member of the jazz ensemble III there.) Both of these schools offer in-depth jazz education as well as multiple opportunities for students of various skill levels to play in an ensemble and/or big band and to gain valuable performing experience. The level of musicianship of these young players is truly amazing, and both of these programs turn out some of the best jazz bands in the city. There are many opportunities to see these groups perform. Here are few upcoming dates for the Garfield Jazz Bands:

Winterfest-Student Showcase
December 8, 2007 11:30am
Seattle Center House Stage
Garfield Jazz Ensemble II opens their performance season with a free concert of holiday music.

Winterfest-Seattle’s Best Jazz
December 14, 2007 8:00pm
Seattle Center House Stage
This free concert features James Caddell, Lisa Loud and Darren Motamady, backed up by the Garfield Jazz Band I.

Tula’s Jazz Club
December 16, 2007 3:00pm
2214 2nd Ave.
Seattle, WA
Under the tutelage of Jay Thomas, the Garfield Jazz Ensemble III makes their second public performance. The Jay Thomas Big Band follows immediately afterwards.

If you’re not familiar with these groups, do not for a second let the fact that they are students dissuade you. These kids have some serious chops. You will be delighted by solid jazz performances from any of these groups. It is very important to support all of the school jazz programs here in Seattle and attending performances is a great way to do so. My friend, jazz photographer Ron Hudson, said it best, “They’re the ones who will perpetuate the music”. Please consider dropping by one of these performances. Do it for the kids.

Columbia City BeatWalk – Tonight

Columbia City BeatWalk-Tonight
Friday, December 7, 2007 7-10pm
5 bucks! All venues! Kids free!
www.columbiacitybeatwalk.org

The line up:

Awash
Zydeco Local
High energy, traditional Zydeco music from Louisiana..

Columbia City Fitness Center
Lora and Sukutai
Traditional amrimba and dance ensemble from Zimbabwe bring you the music and culture of the Shon people.

Columbia City Gallery
Correo Aereo
Passionate and thoughtful, this duo plays music from Venezuela, Mexico, Argentina and Peru. Lush, smoky vocals with guitar, harp, percussion and always a few surprises.

Lottie’s
Reggie Garrett & The Snake Oil Peddlers
Purveyors of fine urban acoustic folk music.

Verve Wine Bar
Lost Pedro
This guitar trio plays an eclectic mix of Latin, jazz and contemporary.

Columbia City Bakery
Foglite
This acoustic trio plays an exciting mix of traditional and contemporary music in the bluegrass style.

Bookworm Exchange
Katy Bourne Quartet
Fun-loving vocalist and her top-notch band playfully perform the standards.