from The Seattle Times ArtsPage Blog

Saxophonist Gary Bartz, drummer Allison Miller, pianist Cyrus Chestnut and vibraphonist Stefon Harris (pictured here) are all headed this way, as the Seattle area’s two spring jazz festivals gear up for action.

In Ballard the excitement takes place over four nights (April 17-20) in 15 venues in its namesake neighborhood. A popular highlight is the Ballard Jazz Walk, Friday, April 19, when 12 clubs provide non-stop entertainment and the sidewalks overflow with fans, Mardi Gras style. The Ballard Festival also features a Swedish pancake jazz brunch Saturday, April 20, with David Marriott’s Triskadekaband.

Visiting headliners at Ballard this year include Bartz, Miller, trumpeter Lew Soloff, pianist George Colligan, guitarist John Stowell, drummer Sylvia Cuenca and saxophonist Vinny Golia. The festival also showcases the cream of the Seattle jazz scene, among them festival co-producer and drummer Matt Jorgensen, guitarist Dave Peterson, pianist Jovino Santos Neto, trombonist Andy Clausen and vocalist Gail Pettis.

Tickets and information: 206-219-3649 or

Over in Bellevue, the 2013 festival kicks off at Bake’s Place Thursday, May 30, with Seattle’s hot Latin jazz band, Cascante, led by Costa Rican vocalist Carlos Cascante. Visting headlineers include drummer Kendrick Scott and Oracle, with guest bassist Evan Flory-Barnes, Friday, May 31, at the Meydenbauer Theatre, and Chesnut and Harris Saturday, June 1, also at the Meydenbauer.

As in Ballard, downtown Bellevue comes alive during the fest, with 40 performances taking place at various bars and restaurants downtown.

Tickets and information:

Seattle Jazz