All shows at The Royal Room except where noted.

The Royal Room Collective Music Ensemble – Jan 21, 2013
Eric Eagle – drums
Geoff Harper – double bass
Tim Kennedy – piano (1, refers to the night present)
Ryan Burns – piano (2,3)
Al Keith – trumpet
Samantha Boshnack – trumpet
Chad McCullugh – trumpet
Naomi Seigel – trombone
Jacob Herring – trombone (1,2,)
Steve Moore – trombone
Beth Fleener – clarinet
Kate Olson – soprano sax
Jacob Zimmerman – alto sax (1,2)
Craig Flory – tenor sax (1,3)
Greg Sinibaldi – baritone sax (1,3)
Wayne Horvitz – conductor, composer, arranger

I don’t know if Mr Horvitz wrote or arranged any of these songs. I can’t remember hearing any of them before, that is my assumption. Mr Horvitz is involved in a lot of projects, almost all good, and
this one of the better ones.

Check out this line up of musicians. On a par with WACO. Some of these folks play in both bands. A note about some of the players; Eric Eagle – Steady cat. Good drummer. Geoff Harper – An excellent bass player.
Tim Kennedy and Ryan Burns – Both good performers. Al Keith – One of those cats that unfortunately  people don’t know enough about. A really, really good musician. Chad McCullugh – One of the more melodic trumpet players around. Jacob Zimmerman – A good alto player. Craig Flory – An excellent, versatile musician. Plays great tenor, as well as other reeds and woodwinds. Greg Sinibaldi – Good baritone player. Also a mean tenor. He also composes  in twelve tone formulas, and that can be reflected from time to time in his solos. Beth Fleener, Samantha Boshnack, Naomi Seigel, Kate Olson – These ladies are
always a pleasure to listen to.

Tonight the band played two sets. The first set the tunes were swinging more. So it was more fun than the second set, where the songs were slower and more contemplative. The music was good.

Feb 4, 2013 – Three bands tonight, one set each.

The Mike Vlatkovich Quartet
Mike Vlatkovich – trombone
Jim Knoodle – trumpet
Phil Sparks – double bass
Greg Campbell – drums, french horn

This band was very refreshing. Their harmonies were really  great, some really interesting intervals rhythmically as well. Reminded me of Monk.  Everyone played good, great solos. Maybe the second tune, Greg Campbell was playing french horn with his left hand, and at the same time playing a ride cymbal with his right hand (I think they were quarter notes.). DAMN!

The Collective Music Ensemble
Tonight they played the slower, more thoughtful stuff. It was OK.
You can always count on the solos from this band. Never bad, almost
always good to great.

The Majestical Quintet
Skerik – tenor sax
Hans Teuber – alto sax, flute, alto flute, piano (Probably something else and I forgot.)
Steve Moore – trombone, keys
Geoff Harper – double bass
Jacque Willis – drums

To start, Mr Willis had an injury that effected his playing, which I believe effected the band’s rhythm, and may have been a contributing factor to these guys playing so disjointed. Another factor was that the band and sound tech weren’t completely on the same page. Mr Harper had a string break during a song, that hurt their momentum (Yeah, like an athlete or ball club, I believe a musician or band has momentum. And a good player (sports or music), or band or team will make their own momentum (or luck).). They played
songs and arrangements from band members and other folks, like some guy called Beethoven.

I’d like to quickly tell you about the musicians; Skerik – A good sax player. When he’s really on… he’s really, really good. When he’s got it going on, he’s like a pitcher with a really good breaking ball. Nasty. Untouchable. Hans Teuber – Fish were born to swim, dogs were born to hunt, and Hans Teuber was born to make great music. I don’t think anyone else in the area is as inherently gifted as Hans. A piano player said of him, “For Hans, English is his second language.” One time at the Royal Room  a while back Hans was playing pocket trumpet, and I’m laughing, it was so astonishing to me that it wasn’t even his main instrument and he sounded better than half the cats out there. Steve Moore – When this guy’s playing, he ain’t playing! He plays really good keys, his trombone playing,… Wow! Nothing flashy, no jive, well articulated, mature. Geoff Harper – As previously stated, a serious, good musician. Jacque Willis – A good drummer, too bad he was having such a rough night. He’s also a very good vibes player. He leads a gig every first Wed night at the Seamonster. All the solos were good. Even though the music wasn’t all together, it was still OK.

Feb 18, 2013 – The  Collective Music Ensemble

Tonight  the (what’s the difference between a band, an orchestra, an ensemble, a bunch of people playing music together, a group,..) ensemble played most stuff at quicker tempo, swinging more than the last time
I heard them. More fun. Fun is good. There were outstanding solos by Mr Harper and Mr Burns. I gotta tell ya, that Wayne Horvitz is something. The way he conducts is cool. He really looks busy, as I’m sure he is, coordinating the music. It seems he can really manage to get the most out these great performers. They played one set.

The Majestical Quintet
Jacque is healthier. He sounds like a different drummer than two weeks ago. He sounds good. It was good to hear him play as he normally does. These guys were playing together tonight, and they sounded very, very, good. Sound issues were also resolved. As on Feb 4, all the solos were good. The band was pretty tight. They played two sets. The second set a young lady (Sorry folks, I didn’t write down her name, ask Skerik next time you him.) sang a song in Spanish.  Probably popular on the folks’ scene in Texas. I wouldn’t know, I’m not an expert on that culture, or anything else. Good sets. Good music. Cool.

Feb 10, 2013 – The Seattle Jazz Composers Ensemble
at The Triple Door Musiquarium

Beth Fleener – clarinet, vocals
Brandon Gibbons – guitar
Michael Owcharuk – keys
Nate Omdal – double bass
Adam Kessler – drums

So I’m going down to check this band out, and I’m expecting some hyper-eclectic gig. I’m getting this vibe from the name of the band, excuse me, ensemble, and some of the performers have a history with the free music scene. Wrong again. These folks, excuse me, ensemble (OK, I’ll stop.),  were all about folk music. Mainly from Europe. Spain and Eastern Europe mostly, I believe. This band is all about fun. They have fun with the music, with each other, it’s contagious. You see these people play, you’re gonna have a great time.

To me, great art needs; great technique, a finished product, it  has to be innovative, a social statement, and the passion has  to be palpable. Beth Fleener always brings these dimensions to her performances. You can feel how much she digs playing and singing (this is the first time I heard her).Usually she took the first
solo, then passed the baton to Mr Gibbons. Brandon Gibbons brought most of the blues and funk to this band. A real good guitarist. Michael Owcharuk played well, often flippin’ the ball off to Nate Omdal, good bass lines and solos. At the end of the gig Adam Kessler told me he “was flying by the seat of my pants.”
He flew well. He didn’t know any of the songs. He was playing right along with the others. Didn’t miss a note. Steady, with the right amount of emphasis at the right time.

Three sets. The first were compositions by Misters Omdal, Owcharuk, and Gibbons. The second set were arrangements of the folk tunes, as was the third set. The last tune of the night was the one Ms Fleener sang. Beautiful. The passion filled the place up, and was beautifully accompanied by Mr Owcharuk.

Feb 24, 2013 – Sex Mob
at the Royal Room

Steven Bernstein – slide trumpet
Briggan Krauss – alto sax
Tony Scherr – bass guitar
Kenny Wollesen – drums

If you’ve ever seen the Rebirth Brass Band, or Thione Diop’s band here in Seattle, it’s not just about great music, you’re going to a party. You’re gonna have a great time. You’re gonna have a ton of fun!

And these Sex Mobsters are the same way. Steven Bernstein, the spokesman for the band, is very funny, and very entertaining. One part Groucho Marx, another part Woody Allen, the rest all Bernstein.

The Royal Room often has themes to it’s shows, oh, excuse me, performances. Tonight it had something to do with Fellini. What, I didn’t care about, until a stripper, Lady Ta-Ta’s did her strippin thing on break, shakin’ her scantily clad money-maker. Way Cool.

OK. About the music. To my ears the slide trumpet can hit the high notes of a valve trumpet, yet has a subtler tone. Mr Bernstein has exceptional  technique. Using different mikes and amp/sound  vehicles he
really generated some good music. His bandmates also delivered. Briggan Krauss plays great alto. He has some interesting tones. Some he gets from a ball of linen, maybe it’s an old ace bandage, stuffed in his bell.
Tony Scherr bass lines were pretty basic, I thought. That’s not bad. It sounded good. Less can be more. And his solos were also good, sticking to solid fundamentals. Kenney Wollesen is a good drummer that can really hold a beat. I  especially enjoyed some of the gong stuff he did, and one instrument he played kinda sounded like a thumb piano, but bigger, which he played with mallets. And the New Orleans stuff he and the other cats played, you gotta love that stuff. They played other tunes from a wide assortment of genres.

They played two sets. Skerik joined them for a couple of tunes during the second set. Sex Mob has been playing together for 17 years, and were really tight. A great band.

The greatest title for a jazz song ever…
A Mingus tune….

Thanks to all the musicians, composers, arrangers, and ensembles.
Special thanks to Lady Ta-Ta’s.
Thanks for reading, I’ll see ya around.

Seattle Jazz