On the Scene: Live Jazz Previews for January

Seattle Jazz Fellowship: Fellowship Wednesdays at Vermillion

The Seattle Jazz Fellowship hits the New Year running with a slate of Wednesday activities at Vermillion on Capitol Hill. Each Wednesday begins with a record listening session with Artist-In-Residence Julian Priester. This free event features historic recordings that feature Dr. Priester. The audience is able to share the experience in conversation with the artist, who offers his historic and cultural footnotes to the music. At 7 PM, the bar is open to hang a bit before music at 7:30 PM. Each evening features two bands, each performing one set. 

This month’s offerings include pianist Bill Anchell and his longtime quartet featuring saxophoinist Brent Jensen. Bassist Chris Symer and drummer Brad Boal round out a perfectly matched quartet. Pianist Darrius Wilrich makes his Fellowship debut with a soul driven interpretation of the jazz tradition. Vocalist Gail Pettis graces the Vermillion stage in a quintet featuring pianist Tony Foster, joining an evening that also features Wayne Horvitz, James Falzone, Beth Fleenor and Abbey Blackwell performing the music of the Gravitas Quartet. Pianist Ann Reynolds appears with a bold new trio with bassist Kelsey Mines and Chris Icasiano, performing original music and the compositions of Geri Allen and Mary Lou Williams. Veteran bassist Phil Sparks appears with his innovative Nu Trio, vocalist Elnah Jordan and pianist Eric Verlinde square off, and Eric Eagle’s Zozo band with Ray Larsen, Cole Schuster, Jacob Zimmerman and Matt Weiner finish off a grand month. Check out the schedule below. 


Jan 19  Ari Joshua Quartet featuring D’Vonne Lewis

Ari Joshua
D’Vonne Lewis
Photo Credit: Jim Levitt
Kelsey Mines
                  photo credit: Daniel Sheehan
John Hansen
Photo Credit: Lisa Hagen Glynn

Jan 26  Elnah Jordan & Eric Verlinde

Eric Verlinde photo by Daniel Sheehan and Elnah Jordan photo by Steve Parent.

Zozo Band with Eric Eagle, Ray Larson, Cole Schuster, Jacob Zimmerman & Matt Weiner


Jeff Busch Quintet

Fri Jan 21, 8 PM/ North City Bistro

Jeff Busch

Drummer/percussionist Jeff Busch has gained a reputation for excellence in the art of jazz and world percussion mostly as a sideman, now playing out more as a bandleader. This is good news for Seattle music fans, as Busch employs an element of joy in his artistry that is stand-alone original. For this date on the north end, he is joined by pianist Julio Jauregui, bassist Dean Schmidt and a grand horn section with tenor giant Alexey Nikolaev and trombonist Jerome Smith. This is a dinner club, so be prepared to wine and dine. https://northcitybistro.com/

Jenny Davis Quartet with Jovino Santos Neto

Sat Jan 22/ North City Bistro

Vocalist Jenny Davis focuses on her own original compositions and on her recordings, in keeping good company among the Seattle jazz elite. That being said, she carries a low profile on the live Seattle jazz scene, so I shall not suppose to recommend her as a vocal artist. As a bandleader, she certainly knows how to assemble a band, as she is joined by pianist Jovino Santos Neto, bassist Chuck Deardorf, saxophonist Mark Taylor, trumpeter Dmitri Matheny and drummer Robert Rushing. Should be an interesting set to enjoy with a good merlot. https://northcitybistro.com/

Ben Thomas Tango Project- Postponed

Thu Jan 27, 8 PM/ Royal Room

Ben Thomas
Photo Credit: Nina Johnson

Ben Thomas is a uber talented vibraphonist in jazz and Brazilian forms, and for the past fifteen years as a master of the bandoneon. Those talents combine with his imaginative compositional prowess for his Tango Project that is celebrating their new release Eternal Aporia on Origin Records. Teaming with clarinetist Eric Likkel and bassist Steve Schermer, Thomas introduces traditional form with modern innovation. https://theroyalroomseattle.com/

Jovino Santos Neto Quinteto

Fri Jan 28, 8 PM/ North City Bistro

Well, if you can’t catch him at the Royal Room the evening before with his Tango Project, you can witness the wizardry of Ben Thomas and his intuitive musical bond with bandleader and Brazilian piano legend, Jovino Santos Neto. This band is commonly referred to as a “sure thing” for good reason. With Seattle icon Chuck Deardorf (bass), drummer Mark Ivester and percussionist Jeff Busch in tow, this gig is always a jumpstart of joy and an evening of true artistry. https://northcitybistro.com/

Celebration of Jim Knapp- Postponed

Mon Jan 31, 7:30 PM/ Jazz Alley

Jim Knapp’s passing in November was visited the same week by a new release of his choosing, It’s Not Business, It’s Personal. Knapp’s loving message of farewell will be performed by the Jim Knapp Orchestra, led by Seattle jazz legend and close Knapp associate, Jay Thomas. The band is swinging, with membership that includes Mark Taylor, Brad Allison, John Hansen, Xavier Lecouturier, Dylan Hayes and others. This evening is our way of saying thank you to James Knapp for all that he gifted us. https://www.jazzalley.com/www-home/artist.jsp?shownum=5290

Monday Nights at the Royal Room:

The Royal Room Collective Music Ensemble- 7:30 PM

Jam Session with Thomas Marriott- 9 PM

The Royal Room Collectige Music Ensemble
Photo Credit: Daniel Sheehan

Monday nights have become a bit of a thing in recent times. beginning with the 7:30 appearance of the Royal Room Collective Music Ensemble under the direction of Wayne Horvitz, followed by the 9 PM jam session curated by Thomas Marriott

The RRCME (yes I know, another acronym) performs the music of Horvitz and Thelonious Monk, with the latter having a huge influence on the compositions of the former. It’s a zany, swingin’ ninety minute ride, and this writer’s favorite Horvitz endeavor. The band includes Hans Teuber, Kate Olsen, Ray Larsen, Eric Eagle, Geoff Harper, Haley Freedlund, James Falzone and David Marriott, Jr. among others. 

Thomas Marriott
Photo Credit: Jim Levitt

The jam session features Marriott in a quartet setting for a twenty minute set before it opens up into a jam session. The session has been well attended by both established and newer players on the scene, enabling fellowship both on the stage and off. The session is all ages, with a lot of opportunity for younger players to gain on stage experience with masters of the art. The Royal Room for its part has provided an excellent back line, and a welcoming, inclusive vibe. 

Calluna Dinner Club

Another busy month at Calluna, where the intimate venue on the north end of University Way presents jazz Wednesday- Sunday. The club only seats 30-40 people, so reservations are always recommended. The venue blends fine food and drink with music, offering artistry of the highest caliber in Seattle. Follow the link to look at the full schedule, and make reservations.

Bill Anschell

January is a veritable celebration of the art of the trio, as personified by the historic trio of Rick Mandyck, Jeff Johnson and John Bishop, or the stellar piano trio of Bill Anschell with Johnson and Stefan Schatz. Brilliant Brazilian pianist Jovino Santos Neto plays trio with Chuck Deardorf and Jeff Busch, and saxophonist Brent Jensen lands with his Blueprint Trio. Pianist Dan Kramlich pays a visit with his Grunge Jazz Trio, performing jazz interpretations of grunge classics. 

Jovino Santos neto

Vocal jazz fans have a selection of Seattle’s best, with Greta Matassa, Gail Pettis, Stephanie Porter and Kelley Johnson all performing. Pianist Ann Reynolds performs in trio with saxophonist Tobi Stone and bassist Marina Christopher. https://callunaseattle.com/music-calendar/

Ann Reynolds
Stephanie Porter

The Racer Sessions- every other Sunday at 7 PM/ Cafe Racer

The legendary Racer Sessions continue at the new location for Cafe Racer on 11th Avenue, between Pike and Pine. It is the same location once occupied by Barca, next door to Vermillion. The sessions are all about free improvisation, offering imaginative approaches to free musical expessionism. The new digs are roomier, and certainly residing in a more vibrant neighborhood. With the Seattle Jazz Fellowship housed weekley next door at Vermillion, there is a bit of a “thing” beginning to emerge on south Capitol Hill, with Capitol Cider chipping in on the other side of Broadway. There are two dates in January to take in.

Sun Jan 2, 7 PM- Neil Welch Extra Large Ensemble   CANCELED

Neil Welch

Sun Jan 16, 7 PM- James Falzone Solo

James Falzone