Featured Jazz Performances for August

With summer fully engaged, August offers a wide selection of jazz offerings to take in. It as well marks the final 2 months of Tula’s, which for 26 years has offered the best of the best of Seattle jazz. The closing of the club is the end of an era. Having lost the New Orleans in Pioneer Square, and now Tula’s, resident jazz musicians will be searching for a venue where they can not only perform, but be compensated fairly. This is our next challenge. Look for an upcoming feature on the club in the weeks ahead, and by all means, support live jazz in Seattle!

Max Holmberg Student Jam- Thu Aug 1, 7 PM/ Egan’s Ballard Jam House

Drummer Max Holmberg is addressing a great need in the Seattle jazz community by hosting this jam session for younger players. It offers jazz students real life opportunity to find their voice and interact with other like-minded musicians when most sessions in town are in 21+ establishments. http://ballardjamhouse.com/schedule.html

Randy Halberstadt Open Heart Band- Thu Aug 1, 7:30 PM/ Tula’s

Pianist Randy Halberstadt convenes the Open Heart Band for an evening of original compositions, and bold interpretations of classic material. The band is replete with talent, featuring Seattle jazz stalwarts Jay Thomas, Chuck Deardorf, David Marriott and Ben Thomas. Drummer Adam Kessler and young alto saxophonist Sidney Hauser round out this top shelf septet. http://tulas.com/generalinfo.html

Greta Matassa Quintet- Fri Aug 2, 7:30 PM/ Tula’s

Anybody even remotely connected to the Seattle jazz scene is familiar with vocalist Greta Matassa, one of the true greats in the vibrant jazz legacy of the city. Still, if you think you have seen it all from the veteran vocal artist, think again. While this performance will likely feature her familiar approach to vocal improvisation and splendid renditions of standards, Matassa has been venturing into previously untrodden territory, covering lyrical interpretations of prog-jazz heroes such as Pat Metheny. She hits the stage of Tula’s upon the release of her new, well received album on Origin Records, Portrait. The record features her long-time quintet featuring quicksilver bassist Clipper Anderson, elegant pianist Darin Clendenin, versatile drummer Mark Ivester, and uber talented tenor saxophonist Alexey Nikolaev. This crew will as well grace the stage for this performance at Matassa’s home turf, Tula’s. http://tulas.com/generalinfo.html

Bill Anschell Standards Trio- Sat Aug 3, 7:30 PM/ Tula’s

Bill Anschell has contributed mightily to the vibrance of the jazz community in Seattle for many years, both as a leader and sideman. His prowess as a pianist, composer, bandleader, and musical director is well established. But it is in the trio format where his intuitive sensibility as an improviser rises to the surface. Anschell could not have chosen better mates to share the conversation with. Bassist Jeff Johnson is a true original, and a legendary presence in the groundbreaking rubato trio of pianist Hal Galper. His unique vibrato and unparalleled use of harmonics and chords has graced the trio of Jessica Williams, and in recent times, that of Spanish flamenco jazz pianist Chano Dominguez. Drummer D’Vonne Lewis, while a spectacular practitioner, is as well a great listener, making him the perfect musical personality for this trio. A lesson in spontaneous, reactionary musical prose, Anschell begins each tune without a set list, and without informing the band of his intentions. The result is pure magic. http://tulas.com/generalinfo.html



Jessica Lurie & Yoshi Fruchter Quartet- Wed Aug 7, 7:30 PM/ Royal Room

Bi-coastal saxophonist Jessica Lurie can seemingly be a musical chameleon, adapting to the moment and the situation. Whether it be the intensity of the trio Living Daylights, the sheer fun of The Tiptons, or the more ethereal fabric of her latest release, The Long Haul, Lurie continues to probe, adapt, embellish, and explore new territory. On this date, she collaborates with experimental guitarist Yoshi Fruchter, her bandmate in the Jon Madof’s afrobeat band Zion 80. Fruchter’s music combines elements of jazz, klezmer, rock, and heavy metal, while exploring spiritual  themes. His albums have been released on John Zorn’s’ Tzadik records. The commonality they share in adventurism, and the familiarity they have established in past endeavors should make this a great evening to venture to Columbia City. https://www.strangertickets.com/events/97183324/jessica-lurie-yoshie-fruchter-quartet

Overton Berry & Bruce Phares- Thu Aug 8, 7:30 PM/ Tula’s

A duo with a forty year history, the relationship both on and off the stage between bassist Bruce Phares and Seattle jazz legend Overton Berry is steeped in love, respect and musical playfulness. The vibe is intimate, with Tula’s being the perfect venue for Berry’s performances that play to a devoted fan base. Berry is one of those performers that you don’t want to miss as a Seattle jazz fan. His music brings an understanding of what jazz has meant to this city, and its people. http://tulas.com/generalinfo.html

Thomas Marriott Quintet- Fri & Sat Aug 9 & 10, 7:30 PM/ Tula’s

Thomas Marriott’s performances at Tula’s are as close to a sure thing as there is on the Seattle jazz scene. The internationally acclaimed trumpeter, composer and bandleader delivers no matter what players he decides to bring along for the ride. On this evening, he convenes a veritable who’s who of Seattle post-bop players for 2 nights of original compositions and modern interpretations of standards. Tenor saxophonist Rick Mandyck is a long time friend and mentor playing out of the tradition of Coltrane and Shorter. Pianist Marc Seales is a west coast jazz icon. Trailblazing bassist Jeff Johnson has a jazz pedigree that includes stints with Philly Joe Jones, Hal Galper, and Jessica Williams to name but a few. Drummer Matt Jorgensen is a long time associate of Marriott, and the author of 4 albums on the Origin Records label. For fans of modern post-bop, straight ahead jazz, this two night run at Tula’s is not to be missed. http://tulas.com/generalinfo.html


Jane Monheit- Thu Aug 8- Sun Aug 11, 7:30 PM/ Jazz Alley

Vocalist Jane Monheit has had her share of career highlights along the way to becoming one of the most in demand performers in jazz. Her new independent release The Songbook Sessions: Ella Fitzgerald is the Long Island native’s homage to the late great singer, something very personal for her. This show will feature tunes featured on the recording, backed by a superb band featuring pianist Michael Kanan. https://www.jazzalley.com/www-home/artist.jsp?shownum=5076

Brian Monroney Quartet- Sun Aug 11, 7:30 PM/ Tula’s

Versatile guitarist Brian Monroney has spent his career largely as a top shelf sideman, including a 20 year run with show biz legend Tom Jones. Since his move to Seattle, jazz fans have witnessed his incarnation as a bandleader. In a quartet featuring saxophonist Alexey Nikolaev, bassist Dean Schmidt, and drummer Brad Boal, Monroney dips into his large bag of tricks to produce a fusion that draws from jazz and the many influences that have forged his musical personality over three decades in the business.http://tulas.com/generalinfo.html

Rex Gregory Quintet- Tue Aug 13, 7:30 PM/ Tula’s

Since his arrival from New Orleans nearly two years ago, multi-reedist Rex Gregory has turned heads on the scene with not only with his virtuosity on several instruments, but with his overall sound. His deep, resonant sound on tenor is especially original, an interesting fact given his reputation as largely an alto player in the Crescent City. Gregory as well plays clarinet in a post-bop setting with a strong, forceful sound so unusual in jazz today. Gregory has as well surrounded himself with some of the best on the Seattle scene since he touched down here, on this occasion tapping into the talents of young guns Xavier Lecouturier (drums), Ben Feldman (bass), and Gus Carns (piano). Trumpeter Jared Hall completes this fine quintet. http://tulas.com/generalinfo.html


Marquis Hill Blacktet- Wed Aug 14, 7:30 PM/ Jazz Alley

Chicago based trumpeter Marquis Hill is all about blending styles, or better said, playing from a place that embraces the entire African-American creative heritage. “It all comes from the same tree,” he says. “They simply blossomed from different branches.” Hill brings along another pioneer of this approach in drummer Makaya McCraven, as well as bassist John Ramos, vibraphonist Justin Thomas, and alto saxophonist Christopher McBride. The band will delve into jazz influenced by hip hop, blues, and r&b, with HIll’s style reflecting the pensive space of Miles, the phrasing of Lee Morgan, and the rapid fire attack of Freddie Hubbard. At just 32 years of age, Hill appears to be at the precipice of something new and exciting in jazz. https://www.jazzalley.com/www-home/artist.jsp?shownum=5079

Gail Pettis Quartet- Fri Aug 16, 7:30 PM/ Tula’s

Vocal stylist Gail Pettis always leaves her audiences with a warm feeling, with a delivery that seems very personal to every member of the audience. Her prodigious natural talent allows her to access standards from a place deeply embedded in the blues. Pianist Darin Clendenin, bassist Clipper Anderson, and drummer Mark Ivester are the rhythm section of choice for NW singers, adding a perfect harmonic base for Pettis’ melodic interpretations. Fans of vocal jazz in Seattle are well acquainted with Pettis’ now renowned appearances at Tula’s, so make your reservation in advance for this one. http://tulas.com/generalinfo.html

Roxy Coss Quintet Album Release Party- Wed Aug 21, 7:30 PM/ Royal Room

Saxophonist/composer Roxy Coss left Seattle a dozen years ago on a jazz odyssey to New York. In that time, she has established herself as a rising star in the genre, as well as an activist for gender equity in jazz. She founded the Women In Jazz Organization (WIJO) to further opportunity and community for women jazz musicians worldwide. Her most recent release The Future Is Female (Posi-Tone, 2018) expresses her feminism, while as well displaying her deep, resonant tone on tenor and soprano. The Royal Room will welcome her home for a performance in the Columbia City neighborhood of her youth. Coss will be celebrating her new release, Quintet, with an all Seattle band, featuring long-time mentor Randy Halberstadt. guitarist Milo Peterson, drummer D’Vonne Lewis and bassist Michael Glynn. https://www.strangertickets.com/events/96060970/roxy-coss-quintet-album-release

Keiko Matsui- Thu Aug 22- Sun Aug 25, 7:30 & 9:30 PM/ Jazz Alley

Veteran pianist and composer Keiko Matsui comes to Jazz Alley for a four night run. Matsui’s new album Echo is a call for oneness in a world divided by innumerable factors. Her music has always had a spiritual quality about it, warmly expressed by her haunting melodies and marvelous articulation. Joining her will be JP Mourao (guitar), Edwin Livingston (bass) and Jimmy Branly (drums). https://www.jazzalley.com/www-home/artist.jsp?shownum=5080

Marc Seales Band- Sat Aug 24, 7:30 PM/ Tula’s

Mark Seales has long been an iconic presence on the jazz scene here, and a noted artist and sideman on an international scale. What continues to keep his live performances fresh at Tula’s is his penchant for bringing different musicians with different sounds to the stage each month of his residency. The results are always inspiring, as Seales’ tenure attracts the best talent in the NW. Seales has represented the best Seattle jazz has to offer for some time now, with each monthly gig at Tula’s adding to that legacy.http://tulas.com/generalinfo.html

Francesco Crosara Trio- Thu Aug 29, 7:30 PM/ Tula’s

Pianist Francesco Crosara makes his Tula’s debut, leading a trio with bassist Osama Afifi, and drummer Jeff Busch.  Crosara will be joined by bassist Osama Afifi and drummer Jeff Busch. The program will feature Crosara’s original compositions in a blend of Jazz, Latin, and World music, plus select jazz standards. Born in Milan, Italy, and residing in the Pacific Northwest since 2017, Francesco Crosara is a pianist, composer and educator. He has performed with Lionel Hampton, Freddie Hubbard, Roy Hargrove, Richie Cole, Bobby Shew, Ira Sullivan and more. Crosara has authored six albums over the course of over two decades, featuring guest artists such as Von Freeman and Lilian Terry. His album Colors received 4 stars from Downbeat magazine.http://tulas.com/generalinfo.html

Jovino Santos Neto Quinteto- Sat Aug 31, 7:30 PM/ Tula’s

To say that we are fortunate that Brazilian pianist Jovino Santos Neto landed in Seattle is an understatement to say the least. A brilliant pianist and educator, Jovino is as well the keeper of the flame for the music of the legendary Hermeto Pascoal. His long-time quinteto is a study in synchronicity, chemistry, precision, and joy. Featuring bassist Chuck Deardorf, vibraphonist Ben Thomas, drummer Mark Ivester, and the amazing Jeff Busch on percussion, the quinteto leaves its audiences feeling the love, emotion, and ardent positivity the music expresses. This may be the finest latin jazz band on the west coast. http://tulas.com/generalinfo.html


25 Images From The 2019 Ballard Jazz Festival

The Ballard Jazz Festival spreads out over 4 days in 11 different locations, making it a logistical challenge in many ways. Traversing and documenting  the festival’s four events as a photographer begins in the tight, brick lined confines of Conor Byrne Pub, moves to the spacious Nordic Museum Auditorium, and ends with a ten venue jazz walk that covers a fair patch of ground in itself.

The festival has been extremely fortunate over the years to have jazz photographer Jim Levitt on the scene, and the 17th edition was no exception. For the second year running, he was joined by Lisa Hagen Glynn who has been doing great work around the Seattle music scene, in and out of jazz. Levitt’s knack for finding special moments in time seems to have passed on to Hagen Glynn, with both contributing images that define the soul of the festival. 

The Steve Korn Quartet at Celebration of the Drum, opening the 2019 Ballard Jazz Festival, featuring three groups led by drummers.Steve Korn, drums;Dawn Clement, keyboard;Mark Taylor, saxophone;Paul Gabrielson, bass

The Steve Korn Quartet at Celebration of the Drum, opening the 2019 Ballard Jazz Festival, featuring three groups led by drummers.Steve Korn, drums;Dawn Clement, keyboard;Mark Taylor, saxophone;Paul Gabrielson, bass
“Guitar Summit” at the 2019 Ballard Jazz Festival, featuring three guitarist-led groups. John Stowell and friends open the show.John Stowell, guitar;Rick Mandyke, saxophone;Jeff Johnson, bass;John Bishop, drums
Lage Lund leads a trio at the 2019 Ballard Jazz Festival “Guitar Summit.”Lage Lund, guitar;Michael Glynn, bass;Matt Jorgensen, drums
Kathy Moore leads a sizzling trio at the 2019 Ballard Jazz Festival “Guitar Summit.”Kathy Moore, guitar and vocals;Jeremy Lightfoot, bass and vocals;Ruby Dunphy, drums
Ernie Watts with New Stories, at the 2019 Ballard Jazz Festival Mainstage Concert.Ernie Watts, saxophone;Marc Seales, piano;Doug Miller, bass;John Bishop, drums
Ernie Watts with New Stories, at the 2019 Ballard Jazz Festival Mainstage Concert.Ernie Watts, saxophone;Marc Seales, piano;Doug Miller, bass;John Bishop, drums
Jazz radio legend JIm Wilke MC’s the 2019 Ballard Jazz Festival

Robin Lloyd from Knkx and the JJA, presents JJA Jazz Hero Award to John Bishop, and Matt Jorgensen

The 2019 Ballard Jazz Walk presents 17 groups, in 10 venues, in the historic old Ballard neighborhood of Seattle. Thomas Marriott, and Rick Mandyck at Kula Movement. 

The 2019 Ballard Jazz Walk presents 17 groups, in 10 venues, in the historic old Ballard neighborhood of Seattle. Thomas Marriott, Rick Mandyck, Jeff Johnson, and John Bishop perform at Kula Movement

The 2019 Ballard Jazz Walk presents 17 groups, in 10 venues, in the historic old Ballard neighborhood of Seattle. Brittany Anjou Trio with Evan Flory-Barnes, and Todd Bishop. 

The 2019 Ballard Jazz Walk presents 17 groups, in 10 venues, in the historic old Ballard neighborhood of Seattle. Brittany Anjou and Overton Berry

The 2019 Ballard Jazz Walk presents 17 groups, in 10 venues, in the historic old Ballard neighborhood of Seattle. Xavier Lecouturier
The 2019 Ballard Jazz Walk presents 17 groups, in 10 venues, in the historic old Ballard neighborhood of Seattle. Ben Feldman

Matt Jorgensen at the Ballard Jazz Walk

John Bishop performs at the Ballard Jazz Walk

Jacqueline Tabor performing at Bad Albert’s, on the Ballard Jazz Walk 2019

Jacqueline Tabor Quartet with Cole Schuster, Geoff Harper, and Max Holmberg- 2019 Ballard Jazz Walk

Johnaye Kendrick at the Cathedral, 2019 Ballard Jazz Walk

Johnaye Kendrick with Chris Synmer, 2019 Ballard Jazz Walk

Nathan Breedlove at the Cathedral, 2019 Ballard Jazz Walk
Dylan Hayes performing at Conor Byrne, 2019 Ballard Jazz Walk

Cymbal and Gong raffle winner Rebecca Wade with Matt Jorgensen

Conor Byrne Pub, Celebration of the Drum, 2019 Ballard Jazz Festival

CD Review- Chuck Deardorf: Perception

Before the tech revolution that has ushered in an era of unprecedented growth and global recognition, the city of Seattle was a bit of an outpost in the world of jazz. Since the 1920s, the city has enjoyed a vibrant and innovative jazz scene, often resulting in local musicians backing major international touring artists. The emerald city has spawned such renowned jazz icons as Quincy Jones, Ray Charles, Larry Coryell and Ernestine Anderson as well. 

In the 1970s and early 1980s, bassist Chuck Deardorf was often on call to perform with touring artists at the city’s vaunted jazz spots, Parnell’s and Jazz Alley. Major artists such as Kenny Burrell, Chet Baker, Larry Coryell, and Eddie “Cleanhead” Vinson would be the fortunate recipients of his solid sense of time, marvelous articulation, and innovative solo work. To continue reading, follow this link:
https://www.allaboutjazz.com/perception-chuck-deardorf-origin-records-review-by-paul-rauch.php

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