Thomas Marriott CD Release Party Tuesday Night at the Triple Door

Trumpeter Thomas Marriott hits the road this weekend performing for two nights at The Cellar in Vancouver, BC, before returning home for his CD Release Party next Tuesday, May 12, at The Triple Door.

216 Union Street
Seattle, WA 98101
Tickets: 206-838-4333

Thomas Marriott – trumpet
Mark Taylor – saxophone
Bill Anschell – piano
Jeff Johnson – bass
John Bishop – drums

From Freddie Hubbard’s burner “Take it to the Ozone,” to the moody and spare reading of Elvis Costello’s “Almost Blue,” Flexicon‘s unified yet eclectic mix further solidifies Marriott’s standing as one of the finer voices in jazz today both as a trumpeter and producer. Along with his band of saxophonist Mark Taylor, pianist Bill Anschell, bassist Jeff Johnson, drummer Matt Jorgensen and special guest Joe Locke on vibes, Marriott visits jazz classics such as Spring Is Here and Detour Ahead, pop tunes from Costello and John Barry, and a trio of thoughtful originals.

from Marriott’s first solo suggests he should be mentioned in the same breath with Wynton Marsalis and Terence Blanchard in terms of purity of tone and control of his instrument.

Seattle Times: Seattle’s Garfield, Roosevelt take 1-2 at Essentially Ellington festival

from The Seattle Times:

For the second consecutive year, Seattle high schools claimed the top-two spots at this weekend’s Essentially Ellington Festival in New York, the nation’s premier high-school jazz-band contest.

Seattle’s Garfield High School placed first and Roosevelt High School was second. The 1-2 order was reversed last year, with Roosevelt on top.

Garfield’s victory was its third, tying a record that Roosevelt set in 2008 and furthering the Seattle schools’ dominance at Ellington. West Coast schools began going to Ellington in 1999. Roosevelt and Garfield have each won three times since then; no other school has won twice.

“It’s very exciting,” said Clarence Acox, the longtime band director at Garfield. “No matter how many times it happens, it never loses its luster and we are very thrilled to be here.”

Acox was talking about simply being in the top three, which was the extent of what he knew when reached late Sunday in New York. On Sunday afternoon, Essentially Ellington-presenter Jazz at Lincoln Center invited the top-three bands — based on judging of their performances earlier in the weekend — to take the stage with the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra with Wynton Marsalis. Joining Garfield and Roosevelt in the festival-closing concert at Avery Fisher Hall was Eau Claire Memorial High School, from Eau Claire, Wis., which finished third. New World School of the Arts, a prior Ellington champion from Miami, was named honorable mention.

Bellevue’s Newport High School also was among the 15 schools in the Ellington finals. At least three Washington state schools have been invited to the Ellington finals every year since the contest was opened to schools in the West 11 years ago.

Roosevelt High School’s Ellington record is right at the top, with 10 trips to the Ellington finals out of a possible 11, and three wins. Those statistics now are matched by Garfield (or bettered; Garfield’s current finals streak is eight years).

Two-time defending champion Roosevelt was going for the one record that Garfield doesn’t have: three consecutive victories.

But Scott Brown, director at Roosevelt, also reached when he knew only that his band had finished in the top three, said his band wasn’t feeling any pressure. Commenting just before the Sunday-night concert, he noted that the winner already was decided. “Tonight is just playing for the enjoyment of it — as we do all the time.”

With one bonus: “We get to play with Wynton!”

Continue reading at The Seattle Times.

Sunday Jazz

JAZZ ALLEY: Diane Schuur

3pm – Jazz Police Big Band
8pm – Nate Omdal Quintet

6:30pm – Jerry Frank, solo piano

LUCID: Josh Rawlings Trio


DOCKSIDE BISTRO: Gail Pettis Quartet
501 Columbia St NW, Olympia, 11am

HOUSE CONCERT: Chris McNulty w/ Paul Bollenback, Camano Island, 5:30

Seattle Times: Newport’s Ariel Pocock could be next Ellington-tapped star

The Seattle Times’ reporter Hugo Kugiya is covering the Essentially Ellington competition in New York City.

From The Seattle Times:

NEW YORK CITY — Newport High School sophomore Ariel Pocock was just one of about 400 student jazz musicians who filled the Frederick P. Rose Hall Friday afternoon for the official start of the Essentially Ellington High School Jazz Band Competition & Festival.

As a way of saying welcome, Wynton Marsalis, the artistic director of Jazz at Lincoln Center, took questions from two lines of students, who queried him about music, about life, and even about basketball — Garfield’s pianist Ben Hamaji challenged Marsalis to a game of one-on-one; after a jocular exchange, Marsalis committed to a “maybe.”

If this weekend is a lot to take in for most of the young musicians — there are celebrity judges and instructors and a high-stakes performance in perhaps the most heralded jazz venue in the world — it could be overwhelming for Pocock, 16-year-old who until one year ago had sung only in the shower. But come Saturday afternoon, Pocock, who is the band’s piano player, will sing Duke Ellington’s “Don’t Get Around Much Anymore,” as part of Newport’s competition performance.

Continue reading at The Seattle Times.

Saturday Jazz

TULA’S JAZZ CLUB: Stephanie Porter Quartet

JAZZ ALLEY: Diane Schuur

7pm – Percolations, with Charlie Bommarito (keyboards/percussion), Chaz Bommarito (drums), Farko Dosumov (bass), Neil Welch (tenor sax) and Jakael Tristam (guitar)
9pm – Manghis Khan – CD release!

BAKE’S PLACE: Pearl Django

SERAFINA: Jose Gonzales Trio

LUCID: Jason Parker Quartet

ST. CLOUD’S: Sambatuque

GRAZIE: Michael Matthews Trio


HOUSE CONCERT: Chris McNulty w/ Paul Bollenback, Auburn, 7:30

Friday Jazz

TULA’S JAZZ CLUB: Dave Marriott Group

7pm – Lucy’s Large Lovefest, with Elise Kloter, Hans Brehmer (piano), Rick Leppanen (bass), Patty Padden (drums) and backup vocalists Ruby Garnet and Sapphire Sadie!
9pm – Susan Harper Conspiracy
11pm – Old Earth Party


SERAFINA: The Djangomatics

LUCID: New Architects


NORTH CITY WINE BISTRO: Stephanie Porter & Friends
1520 NE 177th, Shoreline 206-365-4447

13 COINS: Al Miller
125 Boren Ave N, 206-382-1313

Seattle Times: 3 Seattle-area schools intend to prove their Essentially Ellington prowess this weekend

from The Seattle Times:

Essentially Ellington, the nation’s premier high-school jazz band competition, begins in New York City today, and once again, Seattle-area schools are there. The 2009 field includes Seattle’s Garfield and Roosevelt high schools, plus Bellevue’s Newport High School.

Roosevelt won the 2008 contest, with Garfield finishing second, showing Seattle’s continued dominance of the competition. Seattle-area schools have been so successful at Essentially Ellington (EE), it’s easy to forget that when the jazz-band competition first convened in 1996, entrance was extended only to schools on the East Coast.

Since schools from West were allowed in starting in 1999, jazz bands from Washington state have been wildly successful, in particular Roosevelt and Garfield, perennial contenders that must be considered the favorites at EE, which starts this afternoon at Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts.

Roosevelt, Garfield and Newport make up one-fifth of the field of 15, which also has three schools from California and Wisconsin, plus two from Massachusetts and one each from New York, Florida, Indiana and Pennsylvania.

Thursday Jazz

TULA’S JAZZ CLUB: Nelda Swiggitt Trio

THAIKU: Jon Alberts, Jeff Johnson and Tad Britton

NEW ORLEANS: Bob Jackson Quintet

LO-FI: The Teaching

LUCID JAZZ LOUNGE: Peter Schmeeckle Quintet w/ Neil Welch & Scott Morning

THE CHAPEL: Seattle Phonographers Union, Jason Kopec, Jason Kopec, Graham Banfield

Eric Alexander at Jazz Alley, May 12-13

The Pacific Jazz Institute at Dimitriou’s Jazz Alley presents tenor saxophonist Eric Alexander for two nights. Band members are Eric Alexander (tenor saxophone), David Hazeltine (piano) and Chuck Deardorf (bass) and Matt Jorgensen (drums).

2033 6th Avenue, Seattle
Reservations: 206-441-9729
7:30pm, $22.50

Boasting a warm, finely burnished tone and a robust melodic and harmonic imagination, tenor saxophonist Eric Alexander has been exploring new musical worlds from the outset. He started out on piano as a six-year-old, took up clarinet at nine, switched to alto sax when he was 12, and converted to tenor when jazz became his obsession during his one year at the University of Indiana, Bloomington (1986-87). At William Paterson College in New Jersey he advanced his studies under the tutelage of Harold Mabern, Joe Lovano, Rufus Reid, and others. “The people I listened to in college are still the cats that are influencing me today,” says Alexander. “Monk, Dizzy, Sonny Stitt, Clifford Brown, Sonny Rollins, Jackie McLean, Joe Henderson–the legacy left by Bird and all the bebop pioneers, that language and that feel, that’s the bread and butter of everything I do. George Coleman remains a big influence because of his very hip harmonic approach, and I’m still listening all the time to Coltrane as I feel that even in the wildest moments of his mid to late 60s solos I can find these kernels of melodic information and find ways to employ them in my own playing.” Read More

Wednesday Jazz

TULA’S JAZZ CLUB: Smith Staelens Big Band

NEW ORLEANS: The Legacy Band w/Clarence Acox

THAIKU: Ron Weinstein Trio

7pm – The Ebenezer Zion AME Praise and Worship Team, featuring vocalists Jenell Mullin, Natacia Vanison, Elizabeth Velasquez and Dana Jackson, with Tim Kennedy (piano), Gerald Turner (bass) and Lenard Jones (drums)
9pm – Vocal Showcase hosted by Penelope Donado, featuring Chip Parker, Rosemary Sweeney and Randall O’Dowd. Accompanied by Darin Clendenin (piano), Jon Hamar (bass) and Robert Rushing (drums)

WHISKEY BAR: Ronnie Pierce

SERAFINA: Passarim

TUTTA BELLA: Djangomatics

Review: Mark Taylor, Spectre

from All About

Saxophonist Mark Taylor was announced Northwest Instrumentalist of the Year at the 2009 Earshot Jazz Awards. Such esteemed recognition may be due to his high profile supporting roles on Origin Records releases by Thomas Marriott and Matt Jorgensen + 451. For Spectre, his first recording as a leader in six years, the Seattle, Washington-based Taylor presents an inventive set of original, progressive jazz. The quartet setting features Taylor on soprano and alto sax, pianist Gary Fukushima, bassist Jeff Johnson, and drummer Byron Vannoy.

Taylor’s cutting soprano tone leads the way for much of the disc, especially on the bright, spirited title track and the loose funk of “Fleeting.” The leader solos with overflowing confidence, allowing a steady stream of edgy, yet swinging ideas. Tunes such as “Maia” and Johnson’s “The Art of Falling” reveal a mature improviser who prefers restrained lyricism over excess.

In between lengthy compositions are shorter improvised interludes that give the disc a continuous flow. Tantalizing spurts of energy such as “Opaque” and “Lucid” deconstruct various elements of one piece while setting up the next. A fine example of this is the rambunctious duet between Taylor and Vannoy, and exposed piano romp by Fukushima, on “Persiflage,” acting as a tense buildup to the rather serene “The Ruse of the Muse.”

Fukushima’s exuberant playing on both piano and Fender Rhodes adds a fresh perspective to this vibrant session full of stand-out performances and unique compositions.

>> Buy Spectre from Origin Records

Tuesday Jazz

TULA’S JAZZ CLUB: Jay Thomas Big Band

NEW ORLEANS: Holotradband

7pm – Gavrielle Salzberg and Tommy Simmons
9pm – Julie Cascioppo with Hans Brehmer (piano)

DEXTER AND HAYES: Tim Kennedy Trio


MIX: Don Mock

LUCID: Cinco de Mayo Celebration w/ Manghis Khan

Review: Thomas Marriott, Flexicon

Note: Thomas Marriott celebrates the release of Flexicon at The Triple Door on Tuesday, May 12.


By Dan McClenaghan

If Seattle, Washington-based Origin Records can be said to have a signature sound, trumpeter Thomas Marriott’s Flexicon could be picked as an example. The music is mainstream, with two horns and a rhythm section, polished up and modernized with a nice edge, some luminous Fender Rhodes, a solid-yet-adventurous bassist, and a top notch, push-the-tradition-forward drummer. And everything small and large that the drummer does can be heard. Additionally, Joe Locke is featured on vibes on a couple of tunes.

Marriott’s excellent Crazy: The Music of Willie Nelson (Origin Records, 2008), expanded the boundaries of the trumpeter’s musical world on a quirky and offbeat offering. The equally fine Flexicon reigns things back toward more standard, straight-ahead fare, with a cast of Northwest/Origin Records All-Stars.

The set blasts off with Freddie Hubbard’s “Take it to the Ozone” on some high octane unison horn blowing and a pedal-to-the-metal ensemble work. Marriott’s first solo suggests he should be mentioned in the same breath with Wynton Marsalis and Terence Blanchard in terms of purity of tone and control of his instrument. He gives way to Locke, who adds a buoyant luminescence to any situation he joins.

Wayne Shorter’s “Masquelero” recalls Miles Davis’ second great quintet work—mysterious, dangerous, and full of dark shadows. Saxophonist Mark Taylor, on soprano here, playing entrancing lines in front of drummer Matt Jorgenson’s waves-on-the-beach percussion. Pianist Bill Anschell, on Fender Rhodes, goes searching the night time streets on his solo.

Rodgers and Hart’s “Spring is Here” lightens the mood, with Marriott and company giving the tune a zingy, modern treatment. “Little Frances,” from Marriott’s pen, sounds like a ’60s jazz standard. The tune showcases Marriott’s clean, hundred-karat tone that leads into an exploratory Jeff Johnson bass solo.

The familiar “Detour Ahead” finds Marriott with mute, on this a sweetly introspective ballad that features a delicately pretty Anschell solo.

Elvis Costello’s “Almost Blue” closes the show on a beautifully melancholic note. In a lonely duet with pianist Anschell, Marriott’s horn talks, telling a sad tale in a rich, warm voice. A perfect ending to a first-rate jazz set.

Click here to buy Flexicon

Monday Jazz

SEATTLE DRUM SCHOOL: Jim Knapp Orchestra

TULA’S JAZZ CLUB: Vocal Jam hosted by Greta Matassa

JAZZ ALLEY: Chuck Loeb’s Between 2 Worlds Trio Tour Featuring Brian Bromberg and Dave Weckl

TRIPLE DOOR MAINSTAGE: Brian Auger’s Oblivion Express

NEW ORLEANS: The New Orleans Quintet

TOST: Michael Shrieve’s Spellbinder

POGGIE TAVERN: Better World w/ Joanne Klein & Marc Smason
4714 California SW, 9:00pm

Sunday Jazz

JAZZ ALLEY: Tower of Power

3pm – Reggie Goings/Hadley Caliman Quintet
8pm – Jim Cutler Big Band

11am – Alex Guilbert duo
6:30pm – Ann Reynolds/Tobi Stone Duo

LUCID: Josh Rawlings Trio


Saturday Jazz

TULA’S JAZZ CLUB: Seattle Girls Choir

7pm – Ginny Snowe and John Miller
9pm – Room for Roots Americana Series! Sara Petite, hosted by Thornton Bowman
11pm – Hans Teuber Trio

JAZZ ALLEY: Tower of Power

PAMPAS ROOM: Brian Nova Quartet

GRAZIE: Andre Thomas and Quiet Fire

EL GAUCHO: Trish Hatley
555 110th Ave NE, Bellevue, 425-455-2734

CONCERT: Dina Blade, The Jangles, Pearl Django
Highline Performing Arts Center, 401 S 152nd St, Burien, 2pm

CONCERT: Andrew Boscardin’s Nickel & Brass Septet
Chapel Performance Space, Good Shepherd Center, 4649 Sunnyside Ave N, 8pm

SERAFINA: Sue Nixon Trio

ST. CLOUD’S: Jose Gonzales Trio

BAKE’S PLACE: David Lanz

LUCID: Aham and Company

GALLERY 1412: Seattle Occultural Music Festival (SOMF):
Robin Holcomb, Amy Denio, Sokai Stilhed, Christopher Greenchild
more info at:

Seattle Times – Andrew Oliver Kora Band: A fresh, old sound breaks new ground

CD Release Party at The Jewelbox Theater (Rendevouz Restaurant & Bar, 2322 Second Ave., Seattle; $12 (206-441-5823 or

from The Seattle Times:

Why are there no new musical instruments? It’s as if the electric guitar was the ultimate innovation, the last nail in the coffin of music’s social supremacy.

If fresh organic sounds are an endangered species, then Kane Mathis is Greenpeace. Mathis plays the kora, a 21-stringed West African harplike instrument made from a gourd wrapped in cow skin — and the titular instrument in the Andrew Oliver Kora Band.

While not new in the world — it originated at least a couple hundred years ago — the kora is new to Western ears (though jazz trumpeter Don Cherry has been known to play one). Its sound is bright like a harp and soulful like a guitar, less a cascade of notes than discreet, silvery drops.

The Seattle-based Andrew Oliver Kora Band sets it amid relaxed but intricate jazz, with Oliver on piano, Jim Knodle on trumpet, Brady Millard-Kish on upright bass, and Mark DiFlorio on drums.

While that quartet is talented enough on its own, Mathis’ kora adds a vivid sonic quality that transports the whole thing to lofty, unexpected realms. The band’s arrangements of original and traditional African tunes — as heard on “Just 4 U,” the just-released CD that they celebrate tonight at the Rendezvous — splice African melodic concepts and Western jazz structure.

Modest but mesmerizing, it’s as novel and agreeable a sound as you’ve never heard.

Friday Jazz

TULA’S JAZZ CLUB: Greta Matassa Quintet featuring Milo Peterson

JEWEL BOX THEATER: Andrew Oliver Kora Band CD Release
Rendevouz Restaurant & Bar, 2322 Second Ave., Seattle; 206-441-5823

7pm – Wonderland Quartet, with Ron Howell (saxes), Gary Barnes (bass), Sheldon White (drums) and Steve Tanimoto (piano)
9pm – Clave Gringa, with Ann-ita Reynolds (piano/vocals), Daniel Barry (cornet/bone/etc), Dan O’Brien (bass), Marty Tuttle (drums), Larry Barrileau (percussion)
11pm – Joey Farr and the Fuggins Wheat Band

5:30pm: Josh Rawlings / Jason Parker
9:00pm: Tor Dietrichson Blues Machine

JAZZ ALLEY: Tower of Power

ART CHURCH: SOMF w/ Stuart Dempster, Soriah, Hanna Benn
2051 NW 61st St, 8:00pm

SOUTHPORT CAFE: Brooks Giles Band
1083 Lake Washington Blvd N, Renton, 7:00pm

THE CHAPEL: Seattle Composers’ Salon

GALLERY 1412: Ben L. Robertson CD release

MONA’S: Michael Stegner, Byron Vannoy & Thione Diop

LATONA PUB: Phil Sparks Trio

PAMPAS ROOM: Brian Nova Quartet