by Howard Londner

Mar 6, 2013 – Jargon
The Triple Door Musicquarium
Bryan Smith – alto sax
Gregg Belisle-Chi – guitar
Carmen Rothwell – double bass
Max Wood – drums

All original songs by Bryan Smith and Gregg Belisle-Chi. All of them good. A couple of them could swing a little more. On solos Mr Belisle-Chi’s guitar was a little too loud. Otherwise he demonstrated the kind of excellence we can expect from him. Bryan Smith also played very good. Excellent solos. Ms Rothwell played good. Had one really outstanding solo. She does need to step up more, play with more audacity, especially while accompanying, drive those cats! Mr Wood also played good, with good solos. I sense Max needs to have more fun. He seems to intense.

There were many distractions to the musicians tonight, that I hope to write about in more detail at a later date. Playing and listening isn’t neurosurgery, still, distractions have to effect you. I would say this band plays a thoughtful kind jazz, yet not pathetically serious. They will be playing at the Royal Room April 1 with Christian Pincock’s band. Check it out and you tell me.

The Seamonster Lounge –  Jacque Willis Presents…
Jacque Willis – vibes, keytar
Kate Olson – soprano sax
Paul Fischer – guitar
Geoff Harper – double bass
Byron Vannoy – drums

Only caught the last half of the last set. Good Music. Fusion. Good solos by everyone except Byron who didn’t take one. Jacque rotates different people the first Wednesday of each month at the Seamonster.

Mar 7, 2013 – Jacob Zimmerman Quintet
Egan’s Ballard Jam House
Jacob Zimmerman – alto sax
Ray Larsen – trumpet
Gus Carns – piano
Mark Hunter – double bass
John Bishop – drums

This band was a real treat, playing Bebop era songs. Jacob Zimmerman,  Racer Sessions kid, showed his dexterity in different genres, and also how good an alto player he is. Good tone, vocabulary, and solos. Ray Larsen played powerfully, yet didn’t overwhelm the small room. Great crowd pleasing solos. Gus Carns brought an off beat bent to these traditional Bebop tunes with some crazy chords and intervals. John Bishop played well. Good solos. Mark Hunter was very impressive. Good solos, and his swinging bass lines
kept the rhythm section on course between the two independent styles of Mr Bishop and Mr Carns.

The best thing about this band is it’s book. The song selection by Mr Zimmerman is a credit to how he has studied his craft, his appreciation of the music, and how it has molded him into the adept professional he is today. Jacob Zimmerman Quintet is at Egan’s the first Thursday of each month.

Milo Petersen – guitar
Phil Sparks  – double bass
Adam Kessler – drums

The cats were taking the place apart! Super swinging! Greg Schroeder stopped by to add his trombone to a couple of songs. This is Phil’s and Adam’s weekly gig, every Thursday night. This is a fun venue.

Mar 8, 2013 – Latona Pub
Phil Sparks – double bass
Leif Totusek – guitar
Larry Jones – drums

Leif Totusek was coming at the music from different angles, with  crazy chords, radical rhythms. His hard bodied Fender Stratocaster
gave the music a funk quality. And that’s why he sounded so damn good. Great harmonies between Leif and Phil, who always swings.
Larry Jones has some funk and hard bop background, that you could distinguish in his playing. That helped Leif and Phil give the music that good time feel.

A friend of Leif’s, Denny, sat in with hand drum. I wish there were more trading between him and Larry. This was a party atmosphere. Lots of fun.

Mar 8, 2013 – Hiroshi’s, Greg Schroeder Quartet
Greg Schroeder –  trombone
Tony Foster – keyboard
Chuck Kistler – double bass
Greg Williamson – drums

They were trying out a new sound system, and at first the piano had a muddied tone. After a couple of songs, the higher keys sounded better, then they got it all worked out.

Mr Schroeder sounded very good. Hitting all the notes, from the very highs to the very deep and low. His presentation of his vocabulary was excellent. Mr Jeff Kashiwa, an instructor at Shoreline Community College sat in on one tune during the first set. The range of his alto sax complemented Mr Schroeder’s trombone well. Mr Kashiwa’s tone was good as was the vigor of his musical

The second set Cynthia Mullis sat in for a couple of songs. Her’s is a luscious, sweet and sultry tone. Ya gotta appreciate it. Tony Foster is a good musician, and you could hear it when he had this exceptional solo and special interaction with Chuck Kistler. Mr Kistler sounded better than I’d ever heard him. Great bold bass lines, sometimes swinging. One solo may have been a bit long. Other than that, a pleasure to listen to.

Greg Williamson always comes to work. His greatness comes in his straight ahead, no nonsense style of drumming, helping the band, the team, play winning music. This is Greg Williamson’s gig. Every Friday night, no cover. He rotates different bands each week. Next week Chad McCollough will be with Greg.

Mar 9, 2013 – Jay Thomas Quartet

Jay Thomas – trumpet, flugelhorn, soprano, alto and tenor saxes
John Hansen – piano
Chuck Kistler – double bass
Adam Kessler – drums

Two sets. The second set was better than the first due to sound issues at the venue, which lowered the quality of the sounds of
the horns and piano. Chuck Kistler continued playing very good, just as he did at Hiroshi’s the previous night. John Hansen always plays brilliantly, with finesse and class. He wrote  a song played during the second set, “Knight Moves”. John plays chess, he always beats me. When listening to the song one can  imagine the right angle moves of a knight on a chess board. Adam Kessler played good. His solo received the loudest ovation of the evening.

Jay Thomas played a flugelhorn solo that actually made me jump out of my chair. Outstanding. After the first set, when the sound
problems were corrected, he sounded very good. Great tone and presentation. He’s an old time Master with a lot of swing. This same quartet will be at the Musicquarium (no cover) at the Triple Door Monday, Mar 11.

Thanks to all the composers and musicians. And thanks for reading.


Seattle Jazz