All performances at: The Chapel Performance Space
(4639 Sunnyside Avenue North, Seattle – SW corner of 50th and Sunnyside in Wallingford).

Festival Website:

Friday, January 22 – Sunship and Sun Ra Tribute Band

Sunship reunites Brian Heaney, one of Seattle’s most creative guitarists, with the amazing New York saxophonist Michael Monhart, both formerly of the band Stinkhorn. Add in a fantastic rhythm section – David Revelli on drums and Andrew Luthringer on bass – and top it all off with the inimitable Stuart Dempster (trombone, didjeridu, conch, etc.) and this swinging “intergalectric” ensemble is ready for lift-off.

SUN RA TRIBUTE BAND This all-star dectet reunites to pay tribute to the
inspirational iconoclast Sun Ra by playing many of his compositions from the late 1950s and early 1960s. Expect sparkly robes, processions, group vocals, flying objects and planetary alignment. The cast of characters includes Stuart Dempster: trombone, Bill Smith: clarinet, Tom Baker: guitar, Greg Sinibaldi: saxophone, Michael Monhart: saxophone, Jim Knodle: trumpet, Lynette Westendorf: piano, Greg Campbell: percussion, horn, Dan O’Brien: bass, Bill Moyer: percussion.

Saturday January 23 – Bill SmithTrio and Threat of Beauty

BILL SMITH TRIO Master composer and clarinetist Bill Smith leads this impressive jazz trio (with Brian Cobb on bass and Greg Campbell on drums) through his original compositions and improvisations. Don’t miss this rare opportunity to hear a musical legend in this profoundly intimate setting.

THREAT OF BEAUTY Seattle’s most prolific young jazz lion, Evan Flory-Barnes, takes the stage with his big band, Threat of Beauty, for a set of astonishingly beautiful and modern compositions. Featuring voices, braensemble reunites for this special festival performance.

Friday, January 29 – Jesse Canterbury’s Vertigo and Bad Luck

ESSE CANTERBURY’S VERTIGO Seattle clarinetist Jesse Canterbury leads an all-acoustic ensemble in a strikingly original mix of chamber music, improvisation, and tune-oriented melodic material informed and inspired by the music of clarinetists Louis Sclavis and Michael Moore. The group includes guitarist Tom Baker, cellist Joanne DeMars, and trombonist Chris Stover.

BAD LUCK Co-led by drummer Chris Icasiano and saxophonist Neil Welch, Bad Luck is about sound art, slowly developed loops and pedals used to propel the music into new aural fields. Tight-knit original compositions meet sonic mosaics in a musical relationship cultivated by years on the bandstand.

Saturday January 30 – Tom Baker Quartet and Cuong Vu Trio

CUONG VU TRIO The brilliantly creative Cuong Vu brings his trio mates (Stomu Takeishi and Ted Poor) from New York to headline and close out the 2010 Is That Jazz? Festival. If you haven’t heard this scorching ensemble, do not miss this opportunity. In the words of one critic: “It’s pure art. There’s dark-darkenss, joyful lament… and everything about anguish and despair in flat, naked beauty… it will shake you.”

TOM BAKER QUARTET Led by Seattle guitarist and composer Tom Baker, this quartet (with clarinetist Jesse Canterbury, bassist Brian Cobb, and drummer Greg Campbell) weaves modern avant-jazz tunes with beautiful and haunting improvisations. Their music blurs the boundaries between notated music and free improvisation; the unique soundscapes that result are grounded in history, while pushing at the boundaries of jazz.

Seattle Jazz