Featured Jazz Performances For February

Jazz in Seattle in the month of February is Tula’s/Jazz Alley- centric. Tula’s, in eliminating some of its Sunday big band dates has upped their game to a six night a week calendar of stellar performances. Jazz Alley has taken a respite from their fill-the-seats R&B mindset, and is serving up a heaping serving of live jazz reminiscent of its jazz roots in the community. Don’t stop here- find something new to enjoy each month, and dig the opportunities a jazz fan has in Seattle this month!

Ashlin Parker Quintet with Rex Gregory, Matt Jorgensen, Dan Kramlich, and Greg Feingold- Fri Feb 1, 7:30 PM/ Tula’s

New Orleans trumpeter Ashlin Parker comes to Tula’s and reunites with saxophonist Rex Gregory, himself a New Orleans transplant currently living in Seattle. Parker is a regular with legendary New Orleans musicians Ellis Marsalis, Jason Marsalis and Nicholas Payton. Drummer/composer Matt Jorgensen, pianist Dan Kramlich, and bassist Greg Feingold round out this stellar quintet.  http://tulas.com/generalinfo.html

Sara Gazarek + Horns- Seattle Only New Album Preview- Fri, Sat, Sun Feb 1,2,3- 7:30 PM/ Jazz Alley

Seattle’s own Sara Gazarek returns home to Jazz Alley to perform music from her highly anticipated nwe release, Thirsty Ghost. She will as well feature her arrangements of classics from the Great American Songbook.https://www.jazzalley.com/www-home/artist.jsp?shownum=5012

Bill Anschell Standards Trio with Jeff Johnson & D’Vonne Lewis- Sat Feb 2, 7:30 PM/ Tula’s

Three of Seattle’s top musicians convene for an evening of spontaneous improvisation, led by pianist Bill Anschell. Anschell does not work from a playlist, so the band must listen and interpret on the spot. Jeff Johnson is one of the great trio bassists in the history of the genre, while D’Vonne Lewis is one of the most intuitive and original drummers on the scene today. The intimate listening environment of Tula’s fits this trio perfectly. http://tulas.com/generalinfo.html


Rex Gregory Sextet with Johnaye Kendrick- Wed Feb 6, 7:30 PM/ Tula’s

Saxophonist Rex Gregory has burst on to the scene in Seattle over the past year after relocating from New Orleans. He makes his debut as as leader at Tula’s, convening a top shelf band to do so. Johnaye Kendrick, an acquaintance from her time in New Orleans joins Gregory, reason in itself to attend this debut performance. Trumpeter Jared Hall adds an eclectic element, as does bass stylist Chris Symer. Pianist Gus Carns, and drummer/composer Xavier Lecouturier have been leading a surge of fine young musicians entering the fray here in Seattle over the past few years. This is a can’t miss night at Tula’shttp://tulas.com/generalinfo.html

Overton Berry & Bruce Phares- Thu Feb 7, 7:30 PM/ Tula’s

Pianist Overton Berry has been thrilling jazz fans in Seattle since his time as musical director of the ‘62 World’s Fair. His association with bassist Bruce Phares goes back nearly 40 years. Mr. Berry still plays with style and grace, and is a true entertainer, Reservations recommended as OB’s faithful followers are sure to fill the room. email hidden; JavaScript is required http://tulas.com/generalinfo.html


Manhattan Transfer- Thu Feb 7- Sun Feb 10, 7:30, 9:30 PM/ Jazz Alley

The 10- time Grammy winners come to Jazz Alley for four nights in celebration of their new release, The Junction. It may seem that another MT run at JA is getting a bit worn out, but this iconic group continues to perform at a high level after all these years. https://www.jazzalley.com/www-home/artist.jsp?shownum=4993

Ray Vega & Thomas Marriott- East/West Trumpet Summit- Fri Feb 8- Sat Feb 9, 7:30 PM/ Tula’s

Trumpeter Ray Vega has served as a mentor for Seattle trumpet great Thomas Marriott since Marriott’s time as as young musician testing the waters in New York. Their two releases on Origin Records have been the recipients of critical acclaim. Here, B-3 master Joe Doria and drummer Matt Jorgensen join to create a two trumpet quartet.http://tulas.com/generalinfo.html

Richard Cole Quintet with John Bishop, Marc Seales, Dave Peterson, & Paul Gabrielson- Sun Feb 10, 7:30 PM/ Tula’s

Saxophonist Richard Cole leads a quintet of Seattle’s finest for a can’t miss performance at Tula’s. With Seattle greats Marc Seales (piano), Dave Peterson (guitar), John Bishop (drums), and Paul Gabrielson (bass) in tow, Cole has a perfect canvas to offer his eclectic stylings on tenor, soprano, and bass clarinet.  http://tulas.com/generalinfo.html


Earshot: The Art of Jazz- Kendra Shank with John Stowell- Thu Feb 14, 5:30 PM/ Seattle Art Museum

A Valentine’s homecoming for vocalist Kendra Shank, accompanied by a true master of harmony, guitarist John Stowell. Free admission at this monthly Earshot event. https://www.earshot.org/event/art-of-jazz-kendra-shank/


Valentine’s Day with The Gail Pettis Quintet- Tue Feb 14, 7:30 PM/ Tula’s

What better way to celebrate St. Valentine’s day than in the romantic, intimate setting of Tula’s, serenaded by the elegance of vocalist Gail Pettis? With flugelhorn master Dmitri Matheny offering his jazz noir chops, and the mastery of bassist Jeff Johnson, this promises to be a memorable evening.http://tulas.com/generalinfo.html

Clipper Anderson Quartet- Sun Feb 17, 7:30 PM/ Tula’s

Clipper Anderson is a skilled bass soloist and vocalist, and leads his regular quartet that is often seen backing Anderson’s wife, the great vocalist Greta Matassa. Tasteful pianist Darin Clendenin, drummer Mark Ivester, and uber talented saxophonist Alexey Nikolaev make this a happening event on a Sunday eve. http://tulas.com/generalinfo.html


The Bad Plus- Tue Feb 9- Wed Feb 10, 7:30 PM/ Jazz Alley

By adding pianist Orrin Evans to the trio, The Bad Plus has upped its game, if that is possible. One thing is for sure, Evans’ presence gives jazz fans yet another reason to see this innovative, risk taking trio in action at Jazz Alley. https://www.jazzalley.com/www-home/artist.jsp?shownum=4995

Brian Monroney Quartet- Tue Feb 19, 7:30 PM/ Tula’s

Veteran guitarist Brian Monroney has spent the last two decades backing some of the best in the business, and now unleashes his splendid Seattle quartet for a string of performances at the Belltown jazz spot, Tula’s. Buoyed by the rock solid rhythm section of Dean Schmidt (bass), and Heart drummer Ben Smith, saxophonist Alexey Nikolaev joins Monroney as as soloist in this new and innovative quartet. http://tulas.com/generalinfo.html


Jessica Lurie Ensemble with Andy Coe, Evan Flory-Barnes & Tarik Abouzied- Wed Feb 20, 7:30 PM/ Tula’s

Bi-coastal resident, and native Seattleite Jessica Lurie makes a stop at Tula’s, with an eclectic ensemble featuring guitarist Andy Coe. Drummer Tarik Abouzied, and Living Daylights mate, bassist Evan Flory-Barnes round out this no holds barred quartet. A New York resident for the most part, Lurie doesn’t perform all that often in Seattle. To hear her music in the fine listening room at Tula’s should be a special evening. http://tulas.com/calendar.html

 

Marc Seales Band with Steve Rodby- Fri Feb 22, 7:30 Pm/ Tula’s

Marc Seales welcomes multiple Grammy winning bassist/producer Steve Rodby to Tula’s for this special performance. Drummer Mark Ivester, and mallet magician Tom Collier join to from a quartet with limitless possibilities. Seales’ monthly Tula’s engagements are always a thrill, this month however, has a special element with the addition of long-time Pat Matheny bassist Rodby. http://tulas.com/generalinfo.html



Chuck Deardorf “Perception” CD Release Performance- Sat Feb 23, 8PM/ Poncho Concert Hall- Cornish 

Bassist Chuck Deardorf has long been the first call bassist for touring jazz musicians in Seattle, beginning in the late 70’s at Parnell’s and the old Jazz Alley in the U-district. This show celebrates his second release as a leader on Origin Records, Perception. He is joined by a stellar cast that includes Dawn Clement, Matt Wilson, Hans Teuber, Thomas Marriott, Marc Seales, and Gary Hobbshttps://www.earshot.org/venue/poncho-concert-hall-kerry-hall/

Terence Blanchard E-Collective- Tue Feb 26- Wed Feb 27, 7:30 PM/ Jazz Alley

Master trumpeter Terence Blanchard put this band together with young people in mind. He saw many young musicians not learning theory or the music itself, not having an interest in jazz per se. He aimed to have instrumental music played at its highest level, which in many aficionado’s view would be, well, jazz. Call it what you like, Blanchard is a generational talent, and brings it every night to the bandstand.  https://www.jazzalley.com/www-home/artist.jsp?shownum=5002


David Marriott’s Triskaidekaband- Tue Feb 26, 7:30 Pm/ Tula’s

Trombonist/composer/arranger Marriott brings challenging arrangements for a 13 piece band consisting of some of the finest jazz musicians in the city. The hippest large ensemble in the Pacific Northwest, expect the unexpected from a band that includes Thomas Marriott, Richard Cole, and Matt Jorgensen. http://tulas.com/generalinfo.html


Jared Hall Quintet with Rex Gregory, Matt Jorgensen, John Hansen & Michael Glynn- Thu Feb 28, 7:30 PM/ Tula’s

Trumpeter Jared Hall has burst upon the scene in the past two years, both with his debut release Hallways, and his well received live performances at Tula’s. Hall knows how to put a band together to suit his sound as well. Drummer Matt Jorgensen is himself a well known recording artist and composer. Pianist John Hansen and bassist Michael Glynn define the art of the rhythm section, and saxophonist Rex Gregory brings his roots in New Orleans to the bandstand completing this perfect quintet. http://tulas.com/generalinfo.html

Joey Alexander- Thu Feb 28- Sun Mar 3, 7:30 & 9:30 PM/ Jazz Alley

What else can one possibly say about this 14 year old phenom? He is not just a great 14 year old player- he is bonafide BAD. For this occasion he leads a quartet. If you are not convinced of his ardent virtuosity, a quick check on youtube should convince you! https://www.jazzalley.com/www-home/artist.jsp?shownum=5003


Jim Levitt Photos- Roy McCurdy at Tula’s

This past January 17, Tula’s celebrated the release of the Jim Wilke recording from 1966, Cannonball Adderly- Swingin’ In Seattle. The original drummer from that 1966 engagement at Seattle’s Penthouse Jazz Club was Roy McCurdy. Joined by Vancouver saxophonist Cory Weeds, trumpeter Thomas Marriott, pianist Marc Seales, and bassist Michael Glynn, McCurdy played to a full house with the same splendid snap that he employed in’66. Our friend Jim Levitt captured the vibe of the room that night with his usual expertise, and shares those views with us here at seattlejazzscene. Enjoy!

Drummer Roy McCurdy, who toured extensively with Cannonball Adderley, headlines an all-star quintet at Tula’s Jazz Club in Seattle. Cory Weeds, alto sax; Thomas Marriott, trumpet; Marc Seales, piano; Michael Glynn, bass; Roy McCurdy, drums
Drummer Roy McCurdy, who toured extensively with Cannonball Adderley, headlines an all-star quintet at Tula’s Jazz Club in Seattle. Cory Weeds, alto sax; Thomas Marriott, trumpet; Marc Seales, piano; Michael Glynn, bass; Roy McCurdy, drums
Drummer Roy McCurdy, who toured extensively with Cannonball Adderley, headlines an all-star quintet at Tula’s Jazz Club in Seattle. Cory Weeds, alto sax; Thomas Marriott, trumpet; Marc Seales, piano; Michael Glynn, bass; Roy McCurdy, drums
Drummer Roy McCurdy, who toured extensively with Cannonball Adderley, headlines an all-star quintet at Tula’s Jazz Club in Seattle. Cory Weeds, alto sax; Thomas Marriott, trumpet; Marc Seales, piano; Michael Glynn, bass; Roy McCurdy, drums
Drummer Roy McCurdy, who toured extensively with Cannonball Adderley, headlines an all-star quintet at Tula’s Jazz Club in Seattle. Cory Weeds, alto sax; Thomas Marriott, trumpet; Marc Seales, piano; Michael Glynn, bass; Roy McCurdy, drums
Drummer Roy McCurdy, who toured extensively with Cannonball Adderley, headlines an all-star quintet at Tula’s Jazz Club in Seattle. Cory Weeds, alto sax; Thomas Marriott, trumpet; Marc Seales, piano; Michael Glynn, bass; Roy McCurdy, drums
Drummer Roy McCurdy, who toured extensively with Cannonball Adderley, headlines an all-star quintet at Tula’s Jazz Club in Seattle. Cory Weeds, alto sax; Thomas Marriott, trumpet; Marc Seales, piano; Michael Glynn, bass; Roy McCurdy, drums
Drummer Roy McCurdy, who toured extensively with Cannonball Adderley, headlines an all-star quintet at Tula’s Jazz Club in Seattle. Cory Weeds, alto sax; Thomas Marriott, trumpet; Marc Seales, piano; Michael Glynn, bass; Roy McCurdy, drums
Drummer Roy McCurdy, who toured extensively with Cannonball Adderley, headlines an all-star quintet at Tula’s Jazz Club in Seattle. Radio personality Jim Wilke, who recorded the Cannonball Adderley Quintet, including Roy McCurdy, in 1966-67, talks about the release of the album, just released in 2018. Cory Weeds, alto sax; Thomas Marriott, trumpet; Marc Seales, piano; Michael Glynn, bass; Roy McCurdy, drums
Drummer Roy McCurdy, who toured extensively with Cannonball Adderley, headlines an all-star quintet at Tula’s Jazz Club in Seattle. Cory Weeds, alto sax; Thomas Marriott, trumpet; Marc Seales, piano; Michael Glynn, bass; Roy McCurdy, drums

CD Review: Thomas Marriott- Romance Language

Trumpeter Thomas Marriott has established his jazz credentials over the years through a collection of beautifully inspired and well received albums on the Origin Records label. His formidable chops, extensive vocabulary, respect for tradition and penchant for musical adventurism has put him into the conversation concerning the top practitioners of his instrument in modern times. Marriott has the rare ability to look deeply into the matter at hand, whether it be through interpretation of classic repertoire, or performing his deeply reflective and emotive original compositions. To continue reading, follow this link
https://www.allaboutjazz.com/romance-language-thomas-marriott-origin-records-review-by-paul-rauch.php

CD Review: Jay Thomas with The Oliver Groenewald Newnet- I Always Knew

Jay Thomas has lived the jazz life. He has endured, overcome, and continued to artistically thrive through all the ruminations of a path chosen by few. While much of his life may form a parallel story to those of many, Thomas’ version, his personal adjunct to its litany, is a story of artistic triumph that opened doors seldom walked through. It is a musical legacy in Seattle, unmatched in the colorful history of jazz in his hometown, documented by a number of recordings on several small labels. He as well is among the few musicians in jazz to be featured on both trumpet and saxophone, and in his case, play them both with virtuosity. His skills are as well applied fondly to the flute, and clarinet. To continue reading, follow this linkhttps://www.allaboutjazz.com/i-always-knew-jay-thomas-with-the-oliver-groenewald-newnet-origin-records-review-by-paul-rauch.php

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Randy Halberstadt: Open Heart

Pianist Randy Halberstadt has a new record on Origin, after an eight year hiatus from the studio. It features many of the top names in Seattle jazz, including Mark Taylor, Ben Thomas, Jay Thomas, David Marriott, Jr., and Chuck Deardorf. Read the review and buy the CD!

Seattle based pianist Randy Halberstadt has been a major figure on the jazz scene in the Pacific Northwest for several decades, applying his talents as a pianist, composer, educator, and author. He has four previous releases as a leader, most recently with Flash Point (Origin, 2010). So yes, it has been some time since we last heard from the multidimensional pianist…..to continue reading, follow this link:https://www.allaboutjazz.com/open-heart-randy-halberstadt-origin-records-review-by-paul-rauch.php

Johnaye Kendrick: Flying

Once, maybe twice in a generation, a singer enters the world of jazz and captivates the genre so dominated by jazz instrumentalists. There are qualities in the voice, delivery, the exquisite phrasing, and inexhaustible ability to deliver a narrative in such a way that expresses the jazz and blues tradition in a special and personal way. Johnaye Kendrick is one of those singers. Upon graduating from the Thelonious Monk Institute of Jazz, then sequestered at Loyola University in New Orleans, Kendrick was hired by trumpeter Nicholas Payton, who remarked, “Johnaye has the potential to be a vocalist of the highest order, the likes of which we have seen seldom since the grande dames of the golden era of jazz roamed the earth. She’s got it!”  Continue reading here-

https://www.allaboutjazz.com/flying-johnaye-kendrick-johnygirl-review-by-paul-rauch.php

John Coltrane Birthday Celebration: Charles Owens Interview

The annual John Coltrane Birthday Celebration at Tula’s has become a symbolic jazz new year of sorts. It is performed in a time of transition in the northwest, when we begin to seek a bit more shelter both without and within.

The music of Coltrane is a spiritually unifying force of nature, a gust of wind to push our humanity ever forward to each new day.

Each year, event organizer Matt Jorgensen brings in special guests to offer their interpretations of Coltrane’s art. This year saxophonist Charles Owens is our guest, arriving from Charlottesville, VA. along with New York-based bassist Ben Shapiro. The two will form a quartet with Jorgensen on drums and pianist Marc Seales. In a way, it continues a tradition that began on Jackson St., and continues to this day of welcoming great players from yonder scenes and surrounding them with the best the Seattle jazz scene has to offer.

Owens was so kind as to answer a few questions, and provide some insight as to who he is as an artist, and what we might anticipate at this year’s performances.

You spent 12 years on the scene in New York City and moved to Charlottesville VA. Talk about your reasons for the change, and how that transition has been for you musically.

The year 2002 was a big one for me. I got married, turned 30, and my wife became pregnant with our first child. I was looking for a better life for myself and my family, I was looking for some space and some quiet. I grew up in VA and my mom has some property out in the country. So we moved out there to get our footing and then shortly thereafter moved to Charlottesville. Being in VA as a musician has been beautiful! I am a big part of the scene in Cville but also in Richmond which is a short drive away. I play and record with guys in Butcher Brown like Devonne Harris (DJ Harrison) Corey Fonville, Andrew Randazzo, Morgan Burrs, and Marcus Tenney as well as guys like Kelli Strawbridge on drums Cameron Ralston (Matthew E White) on bass.  Also, there’s a great bunch of cats in Richmond that are in a band called Future Prospect. I love to gig with them. Cleandre Foster, Brandon Lane, Jacob Ungerleider, Trey Sorrels. In Charlottesville, I have the pleasure of playing with guys like Dane Alderson who’s the bass player in the Yellowjackets and John D’earth who is a master trumpeter and improviser. He was really close with many people in the Brecker generation in NY. All of these people and more have indeed changed my playing. Virginia has a laid back, funky, and soulful vibe. Virginia music is greasy and sexy and hot. It’s got its own special sauce that everybody needs to experience. I treasure what its done to my saxophone playing, improvising, writing and arranging.

You are often linked stylistically to John Coltrane, Sonny Rollins, and Wayne Shorter. How do you use those voices to create and impact your own voice as a player?

Well, those men had a huge hand in creating Charles Owens the improvising saxophonist, so the voices have created, and continue to impact my sound. I don’t just study their playing but I also study the spirit in which they bring forth their truth. These men played in a way that spoke to humans through key facets of their humanity. Their music appeals to people on a visceral level because they are accessing the most truthful regions of their muse, and bringing to fruition sublime improvised musical art. I want to create at this level 100% of the time.

You are coming to Seattle to be featured at the annual John Coltrane Birthday Celebration at Tula’s Jazz Club. First off, how did this association with Seattle come to be?

I was lucky enough to attend the New School for Social Research (Jazz performance and composition)  in NYC alongside the amazing Seattle drummer Matt Jorgensen and the great Seattle based bassist Ben Shapiro. Matt and I had been talking for a while about playing together again and when the Coltrane celebration came up, we all thought it would be a perfect fit and opportunity for us to make it happen. I’m so grateful! This will be my first time in Seattle and I’m thrilled.

Coltrane was a primal force that forged so many creative pathways through the music. How will you approach this performance as a saxophonist? Will it be more of a repertory approach, or will you seek more personal insights into the music?

I’ve been playing Coltrane’s music since I was a teenager. These songs are simply part of the Black American Music Canon. We will certainly choose compositions that span his career and make sure that the repertoire is varied in tempo, tone, and timbre. I will approach this music saxophonistically the same way I approach all music. I will be calm, clear and confident. I will gain my inspiration from a mix of spirituality, intellect, and passion. I will treat this and every opportunity to play music for my fellow humans as a sacred and rarified privilege. I will have an open heart and mind and proceed without fear.

With so much material to choose from, how do you go about selecting a set of music from the vast Coltrane library?

For me, it’s the compositions that have meant the most to me personally over the years and also the ones that I enjoy improvising on. But we will also rely on the tried and true method of putting a good set together which is to not have songs with a varied tempos, feels and forms.  We want to produce a different mood and vibration on every song so as to make it a rich and satisfying experience for us and the audience. Luckily we have a wide range of genius material from which to choose. We will also put in a couple of songs from the American songbook that were favorites of Coltrane’s.

You performed “A Love Supreme” in Charlottesville last year at UVA. In preparing for, and performing this music, did it at all impact your personal view of this classic?

It had a huge impact on my personal view of the album. I actually performed the suite in Richmond two years before the Charlottesville performance. I never dreamed I would be in a place where I could convincingly perform the Suite. So when the opportunity arose I made sure to prepare thoroughly. I studied the transcriptions heavily and memorized passages that I thought were classic parts and then improvised other parts. This was his ultimate opus. He is thanking God for his life and acknowledging that to him God is the only thing he is doing anything for forever.

This is going to be your first visit to Seattle. The city is noted for its eclectic music scene.  What have you learned about Seattle, and what do you anticipate encountering on the scene here?

I know little about the music scene in Seattle other than every musician I’ve played with from there has been great. Matt Jorgensen, Shawn Schlogel, and Max Holmberg.

Coltrane transitioned his sound towards the end of his life, employing what he saw as a spiritual approach, a soul cleansing series of cries and vocalized effects. Some in the audience did not receive the music in the same light in which Coltrane created and performed it. What is your personal perception of this period of Coltrane’s sound, and what impact did it have on your approach to playing?

Coltrane always pushed himself forward and never seemed to want to stay in the same place for long. This is one of the normal hallmarks of an artist/creative person. It’s really the same old story. An artist becomes popular by doing their art in a certain way. That art lives in the fans heart as sublime. Then the artist pushes themselves to create something new (again) with the same energy, focus, and attitude that they used in the past. The established fan usually reacts in 1 of 2 ways- they move forward with their artist despite the fact that things are different, or they stop and stick with what they like about the artist and pine away for “the old stuff.” This is what happened with Trane. I don’t listen to as much of his avant-garde as I do Crescent, A Love Supreme, Coltrane’s Sound etc., but I still do listen. The thing that has most influenced me from his later work is how much his tone continued to evolve, Listening to his tone on the Olatunji Concert recordings makes me feel that he had transcended the saxophone and turned it into his interstellar voice of his worship. No one has ever evoked the universal power of love through a saxophone like him. I learned a lot from the vocalized effects as well. One of my first gigs in NYC was with Reggie Workman’s ensemble at the Knitting Factory. We were playing free, free, free as a bird. Many of the things I’d heard Trane doing, I did especially on those gigs.

Jazz education has become largely institutionalized in modern times, much like classical music in the twentieth century. So many giants of the form learned through the oral tradition, with mentorship provided by the experienced players of the day. Talk about your own personal experience learning the saxophone and jazz music, and how that experience has impacted your approach as an educator.

I’ve been quite lucky to have great saxophone teachers. Ralph Lalama, Joe Lovano, Grant Sewart, Eric Alexander, Makanda McIntyre, Arnie Lawrence. I’ve never had a “big break” gig with a master. The people that I learned the most about actual improvisation though were John Coltrane, Sonny Rollins, Thelonious Monk, Bud Powell, and Charlie Parker. I learned a lot about swing from Duke Ellington and Count Basie.  I also came up in NYC in the 90’s at my home club, Smalls. I met, and hung out with, listened to, and learned from just about every great jazz musician you could think of that was still around at the time. Smalls was the place where I really learned what the music should sound like, and more importantly, the attitude and ethos one needs in order to be a successful improviser, performer, bandleader, and composer. My first gig in NYC was running the Sunday jam session at the Village Gate. That’s where I first met people like Brad Mehldau, Dwayne Burno, Ben Wolfe, Leon Parker, Gonna Okegwo, Ari Roland, just to name a VERY few. I also learned a lot during my time at the New School. Some of my teachers there included Jim Hall, Buster Williams, Jimmy Cobb, Bernard Purdie, Peter Bernstein, Reggie Workman… I also was lucky enough to take some advanced jazz harmony classes with Kenny Werner. But I also never stop learning and growing and pushing myself to be better. So I woke up this morning with the same attitude towards music and saxophone that I’ve always had. How can I be better? When I educate people on the tradition of Black American Music, I am very careful to point out that the concepts that we cover are intellectual, but this music needs more than just intellectuality. The other essential ingredients are spirituality and passion.

Environment and lifestyle impacts culture on all levels, including music. New York is like an incubator for new talent, and is unquestionably the living gathering place for jazz, convening sounds from all over the world. The energy and whirlwind of cultural activity drives the music and seems to give it an ardent physicality like nowhere else.  Seattle is a touch more relaxed, reflecting the physical beauty and lifestyle of the Pacific Northwest. Talk about the musical environment in Charlottesville, your current residence, and how it differs from other musical scenes you have encountered.

Charlottesville has a wide variety of bands in different genres. It reminds me a lot of other scenes in other cities, just smaller. The energy is, of course, more relaxed and certainly reflects the terrain of the Blue Ridge Mountains. I love the scene here though. Being in Cville and Richmond has taught me that it’s cool to relax and not go for the “touchdown” solo every time. It’s helped me to let go of my ego and not play solos where I’m “checking boxes” i.e the out part, the fast part, the part, the altissimo part, where I trick the audience into clapping more etc… It’s taught me that it’s ok to groove and be sparse and play longer notes. That VA grease!

What projects are you currently engaged in?

I am of course busy with my trio and quartet but I also play in a wide variety of bands here in VA and NYC.

Jack Kilby and the Front Line. Drummer Jack Kilby is about to release his debut album and it’s gonna be amazing. I wrote a song for the Album titled “Love Is A Song Anyone Can Sing.” Jack liked the tune so much that he named the album after it and has taken the concept and run with it. We have a couple of release shows in October and the album is just fantastic. Allyn Johnson, Kris Monson, John D’earth, and Antonio Hart are playing on it.

I am in a band called The ATM Unit that plays every Monday at a club called Rapture here in Cville. The band is lead by Australian electric bass virtuoso Dane Alderson who is also currently in the Yellowjackets. It’s a fusion sound coming out of bands like Yellowjackets, Weather Report, Steps Ahead, etc. It is such a killer band and it’s been a fun challenge learning all the new music.

Reginald Chapman is a great bass trombonist and composer formerly with No BS Brass Band. He has just released a fantastic album called Prototype, and I will be playing his VA release shows in September.

I also play with a ton of great rock, funk, and should bands. I stay very busy with recording sessions, and I have a full studio of wonderful private saxophone, theory and improvisation students. I’m also a pianist and stay busy with solo piano work and duo work with singers.

What can we expect from Charles Owens in the near future in terms of recordings and live performances?

Well, Jack Kilby’s album is on deck next. I just recorded a live album at Smalls with the great Joel Frahm on tenor saxophone, Ari Hoenig on drums and Alexander Claffy on bass. That was released back in April. The next record I want to do will be a trio record with electric bass, drums, and saxophone. I am currently compiling repertoire and testing it out on gigs. My M.O. for recording is to gig with material/band for a year then go to the studio for one day and record it all. I just got a new horn so I will be playing a lot on it before I decide to go back to the studio again.

 

Bongwool Lee: My Singing Fingers

Seattle based Origin Records has released the debut recording of Korean born pianist Bongwool Lee. A young classical piano prodigy in her native Korea, Lee gravitated to jazz, and offers a unique sound and approach to jazz composition and improvisation.

Much has been written about the different creative processes engaged between classical and jazz musicians, more specifically, as applied to the collective worlds of jazz and classical piano. New York based pianist Bongwool Lee has an intimate relationship with these perceived differences. Born and raised in Seoul, Korea, she was exposed by her parents to a variety of music at a very early age, winning her country’s acclaimed Samik Competition at age seven. Considered a prodigy in the classical world, Lee’s focus shifted to jazz upon hearing Oscar Peterson on the radio. After graduating as a music major from Dongduk Women’s University, she relocated to New York City, where she engaged in jazz studies at the Manhattan School of Music earning a Master’s degree. More importantly, she engaged in and began to flourish on the heralded jazz scene in Gotham. Continue reading here

https://www.allaboutjazz.com/my-singing-fingers-bongwool-lee-origin-records-review-by-paul-rauch.php

CD Review- Chamber 3: Transatlantic

Chamber 3 began as a trio effort started by German guitarist Christian Eckert, and Seattle based drummer Matt Jorgensen, who forged a friendship while studying at the New School in New York in the early nineties. Over the years, they engaged in many projects and tours together, culminating in this project that includes German tenor saxophonist Steffen Weber. The band added a fourth member in the person of Seattle bassist Phil Sparks for their last release, Grassroots (OA2, 2017), and returns the same lineup for the new Origin release, Transatlantic (OA2, 2018).

Continue reading here https://www.allaboutjazz.com/transatlantic-matt-jorgensen-origin-records-review-by-paul-rauch.php

Photos: Hans Teuber & Jeff Johnson- The Art of Jazz, SAM

Lisa Hagen Glynn has been doing some great work out on the music scene in Seattle, photographing performances. These were taken on May 10, during a riveting duo performance by Hans Teuber and Jeff Johnson. The performance was part of the Art of Jazz series at SAM, presented by Earshot Jazz. Thanks to Lisa for the wonderful shots!

CD Review: Bill Anschell- Shifting Standards (Origin)

Seattle based pianist Bill Anschell has created a tremendous body of work over the past 30 years, as a composer, musical director, and pianist. He returned to Seattle in 2002 after 25 years abroad and formed a relationship with Origin Records, releasing more than a dozen records both as a leader and co-leader. Whether composing and performing original pieces, or interpreting standards ranging from Cole Porter to Lennon/McCartney, Anschell has consistently upheld a rare standard of excellence.

Anschell’s musical personality can perhaps be best experienced within the confines of Tula’s Jazz Club, an intimate jazz spot in Seattle’s Belltown neighborhood. He typically performs with two separate combos, a quartet that performs his own works, and a standards trio featuring trailblazing bassist Jeff Johnson, and wonderfully talented drummer D’Vonne Lewis. The trio has been performing on and off since 2007, and have achieved an intuitive, almost telepathic musical relationship that produces moments only attained through the one-mindedness of the piano trio format. They perform in the area of 80 standards, never play from a set list, and are subject to the momentary whims of Anschell’s inventive curiosity. At long last, the trio has released a definitive collection of standards aptly titled Shifting Standards on the Origin label. To continue reading, please follow this link-

https://www.allaboutjazz.com/shifting-standards-bill-anschell-origin-records-review-by-paul-rauch.php

Roxy Coss Interview

Seattle born and bred, New York based saxophonist Roxy Coss has seen her star ascend in recent years. From 2012-2014 she gained international visibility touring with trumpeter Jeremy Pelt. She has been on a torrid recording pace as well, with the objective of releasing an album a year. Her past two releases Restless Idealism (Origin, 2016), and Chasing the Unicorn (Posi-Tone, 2017) have established her place in the upper echelon of saxophonists in jazz today.

Coss has also played a major role in the fight for gender equality in jazz, forming the organization Women In jazz Organization (WIJO). You can check out their website here: http://wearewijo.org/

On March 30, Coss will release a new album on the Posi-Tone label that expresses both her ardent musicality, and activism. Entitled The Future Is Female, the album stands as an important statement in support of modern feminism, and most specifically, to gender equality in jazz. In November 2017, just after she recorded the record, I had the opportunity to interview her while she was in town for the Earshot Jazz Festival. The result was compelling.

All About Jazz: You have recently released a new CD, Chasing the Unicorn (Posi-Tone, 2017), just a year after the release of Restless Idealism (Origin, 2016). Albums are like a snapshot of a timeframe, how has that musical image changed in a year?

Roxy Coss: More back story is it was recorded more than a year apart, even though they were released a year apart, so there was actually more time between recordings, almost two years. When I worked with Jeremy Pelt, he taught me a lot about the industry. His release schedule is every year, and I saw that really work for him, so that’s my goal right now, to continue now that I have the momentum going. From my experience, I’ve seen how important it is to keep getting contact out there, regardless of what it is. The more stuff you put out there, the more chances of someone hearing you.

read the entire interview here at All About Jazz: https://www.allaboutjazz.com/roxy-coss-standing-out-roxy-coss-by-paul-rauch.php

 

Dawn Clement Interview

Dawn Clement is like a primal force of nature. From being the mother of three young children, to her professorship at Cornish College of the Arts, to her performing career as a touring and recording artist, she maintains a musical standard of excellence achieved by very few. Her piano style is strong and versatile, whether she is playing at the most intense tempo, or in more tender and vulnerable moments colored in alluring sincerity.

On February 20th, she officially released her new CD Tandem on Origin Records. The album is a series of duo performances with some of her closest musical collaborators over the past 20 years. The project was celebrated in earnest that evening at Tula’s, with Clement performing in duo, trio, quartet, and full quintet with Dr. Julian Priester, Johnaye Kendrick, Mark Taylor, Michael Glynn and Byron Vannoy. The audience was populated heavily with many of the top jazz musicians in town, a gesture of great respect for the artist Clement has become, and has been throughout this new century. The performance was inspired, memorable, the vibe in the room during the performance and after hang, warm and welcoming.

Dawn Clement is a voice in jazz that needs to be heard.  Read the full interview at All About Jazz here:

https://www.allaboutjazz.com/dawn-clement-here-in-the-moment-dawn-clement-by-paul-rauch.php

 

 

Seattle Jazz Scene Update

Over the course of the next few weeks, I will be in full exploration mode here at seattlejazzscene.com. The aim is to bring the page up to date in terms of jazz calendar, feature articles and reviews chronicling jazz music in Seattle, festival and event previews, and all things relevant to highlighting the music and its performers. Just for fun, I plan to go full on guerilla mode at times, publishing directly from jazz events in the area.

I want the vibe to be welcoming to the entire jazz and improvised music community. The growth and overall health of the scene is dependent on participation and a true sense of community between musicians, fans, writers, promoters, club owners, record companies, radio stations, and all of those who love the music and sees it as a vibrant part of our culture.

Once fully integrated, jazz fans in Seattle will be able to enter the site and learn who is playing around town on a daily basis, and stay up to date on what is happening in and around the scene.

If you are interested in submitting articles, reviews, photographs, calendar entries, etc, contact me per email at email hidden; JavaScript is required. Please no self promotions.

And so the journey begins.

Paul Rauch