On the Scene: Live Jazz Previews for October

Each month, I feature 12-15 jazz performances, releasing them a week or so before the end of the previous month. They are merely suggestions based on forty years of attending gigs in Seattle. I recommend diving even deeper into the amazing wealth of jazz talent we have in our Seattle community. The entire purpose here is to get you out of the house, and support live jazz and the musicians that make the music. Or, as an old friend of mine used to say, to “get off your dupa.” We could all use a little of that after the haze of the past eighteen months or so. Enjoy, and happy gig hopping!

Calluna in Ravenna: An Intimate Jazz Dinner Club Offers Jazz Four Nights a Week, Wednesday-Saturday

Calluna proprietors Jason Moore and Heather Bourne know a thing or two about presenting jazz. After eight years at the helm of Tula’s, the now shuttered iconic jazz spot in Belltown, the couple has settled into an intimate setting on University Way in Ravenna. Following a brief hiatus from presenting music, they invested in a Yamaha C-3 piano, and set out to book top jazz talent in Seattle. The size and setting of the room is several notches more intimate than Tula’s, where everything from trios to big band was presented. At Calluna, duos and trios will be presented, without drums for the most part. Top end talent will be performing in configurations not usually accessible at a club or theatre date. The relationship between performer and patron, between fine cuisine and drink and the music itself, will be very personal. 

Moore, who typically ran Tula’s from behind the bar, while serving up some of Seattle’s finest cocktails, will be where his talents are most realized- in the kitchen. His made-from-scratch desserts fortunately traveled with him from Belltown to Calluna.

One glimpse at the schedule for October illustrates the level of talent appearing at the Ravenna eatery. October 1 & 2 for example, will feature ace trumpeter Thomas Marriott, Seattle first call bassist Paul Gabrielson and Ron Perillo, a formidable pianist  who relocated here from Chicago at the dawn of the pandemic. 

Showtimes are at 7:30 PM, and I recommended that you arrive earlier to dine. Cover charges range from $15- $20. 

Pianist Eric Verlinde will perform with multi-reedist Hans Teuber on Friday October 8, with Seattle piano legend Marc Seales completing the weekend fare on October 9. Seales returns to perform on October 30. Trumpeter Jared Hall, on the release of his new Origin Records release, Seen on the Scene, will appear in trio with pianist John Hansen and bassist Michael Glynn on October 15 & 16. Seattle’s iconic vocalist Greta Matassa appears on October 22, while pianist Bill Anschell, who appeared more than any other artist as a headliner at Tula’s, performs on October 29. The venue adds events as the month procedes, so check the music calendar by following this link: https://callunaseattle.com/music-calendar/

East-West Trumpet Summit featuring Orrin Evans, Roy McCurdy and Michael Glynn

October 9, 7:30 PM/ Meydenbauer Center Theatre

Knkx 88.5

When Seattle born and bred Thomas Marriott met fellow trumpeter Ray Vega when he moved to New York as a young musician, and benefited greatly from his mentorship and friendship. The Bronx born trumpeter seemed to straddle two worlds, working straight ahead jazz gigs as well as a wide variety of significant engagements on the Latin jazz scene. 

Orrin Evans   Lisa Hagen Glynn photo

The two trumpet front line creation, East West Trumpet Summit first convened in 2010, with the release of their album of the same name on Origin Records, employing a standard rhythm section with pianist Travis Shook, bassist Jeff Johnson and drummer Matt Jorrgensen. In 2014, Return of the East West Trumpet Summit (Origin, 2014) matched the trumpet duo with George Colligan on Hammond B-3 organ, with Jorgensen once again in tow. 

Roy McCurdy    photo courtesy of Stanford Jazz Workshop

The most recent incarnation brings Grammy nominated pianist Orrin Evans to the stage at Meydenbauer, along with iconic jazz drummer Roy McCurdy, and Seattle first call bassist, Michael Glynn. Evans, fresh from a two year stint with The Bad Plus, is coming off consecutive Grammy nods for his Captain Black Big Band. His friendship with Marriott has been documented not only with CBBB, but on two Marriott releases, with another to come. McCurdy is still swinging hard at age 85. His historic career has seen him be a prominent member of ensembles led by Cannonball Adderly, Bobby Timmons, Betty Carter, Sonny Rollins and the Art Farmer-Benny Golson Jazztet. 

The concert is part of the Bellevue Jazz Festival, running this year in October instead of its usual place in May due to Covid-19. This historic confluence of three generations of jazz artistry is a rare gem that should not be missed. https://www.bellevuedowntown.com/events/jazz-and-blues-music-series

Gail Pettis Quartet

Sat Oct. 9, 8 PM/ North City Bistro

Gail Pettis  Jim Levitt photo

A trip to the north end is worth your trouble to become acquainted with, or reacquainted with vocal artist Gail Pettis. Her natural, unforced style delivers a song with grace and style, with a deep connection to the blues. 

Pettis’ approach as a bandleader is to let the cats play, always backing up that philosophy with a collection of Seattle’s best on the bandstand with her. Pianist Tony Foster has been a mainstay of her band. A master accompanist, and imaginative soloist, he has developed a chemistry with Pettis that allows the vocalist to take a song where she wills it in the moment. Bassist Chuck Deardorf has been the first call bassist in Seattle since Jazz Alley’s University District incarnation in the late 1970’s. He is a rock on the bottom end for sure, but a prolific practitioner of melodic improvisation as well. Drummer/percussionist Jeff Busch brings with him a literal world of experience–his world travels gathering global rhythms and the instruments that implement them speaks to his approach behind the kit as a jazz drummer. This gig should be compelling instrumentally, with Pettis adding a vocal touch with perfect pitch and genuine soul. https://northcitybistro.com/

Royal Room Monday Night Jam with Thomas Marriott

Mondays at 9 PM

Thomas Marriott  Jim Levitt photo

A jam session in the south end, with a legitimate backline at the Royal Room brings with it a myriad of possibilities. Having Thomas Marriott on the gig makes it that much more legit. The jam follows the weekly Monday night performance of the Royal Room Collective Music Ensemble under the baton of Wayne Horvitz

The jam presents the opportunity for great music and great fellowship. It allows for the natural course of the mentorship cycle to take place. It creates new musical acquaintances, and renews those already made. The only ingredient needed is support, both for the session, and for the Royal Room. With jazz jam sessions largely concentrated downtown and the north end, this session brings the jam back to the south end in Columbia City. A house band will open the session, with an open jam to follow.

*With week one now in the books following a nice crowd, with great music and hang, the jam is off to a running start! https://theroyalroomseattle.com/

Theo Croker BLK2LIFE

Wed Oct 13, 7:30 PM/ Langston Hughes

Theo Croker 

Theo Croker is a storyteller, trumpeter and creator of shape shifting music that blends traditional jazz musings with pop and hip-hop inflections of the modern era. He is the grandson of jazz trumpet legend Doc Cheatham. The music of Croker could very well be described as experimental, but in the process, he has developed a trumpet style that is very much in the modern jazz tradition. He hails from a generation of artists who grew up with hip-hop, and incorporates its ideas into jazz music. In his five previous recordings, including his 2019 release, Star People Nation, he utilized sonic textures from hip-hop, but mostly emphasized his improvisational skills as a trumpet player. His sixth release, BLK2LIFE, is a deeper dive into heavily produced hip-hop, and features guests that include Wyclef Jean. Croker diversified his skill set for this music as a spoken word artist and producer. This performance is part of the 2021 Earshot Jazz Festival. Check out the full calendar here. https://www.earshot.org/

Marina Albero Quintet

Fri Oct 15, 7 PM/ Town Hall Forum

Marina Albero    Lisa Hagen Glynn photo

Pianist Marina Albero in her first of four performances as the Artist in Residence of the 2021 Earshot Jazz Festival, convenes the all-star quintet that has been with her across the seven years she has resided in Seattle. Drummer D’Vonne Lewis, percussionist Jeff Busch, bassist Jeff Johnson and multi-reedist Hans Teuber have a great understanding of Albero’s music whose musical DNA includes traces of jazz, flamenco, classical and Afro-Cuban jazz. 

Albero’s ability to gather musical influences continues to shape her sound, making each reunion with her quintet a new experience for her audience. She will appear on h

ammered dulcimer as well, an instrument she has pioneered in jazz and improvised music. There is always the possibility of vibes working their way into the picture as well. 

Albero’s presence in Seattle over the past seven years has given the Seattle jazz scene a unique cross-current of musical culture. Her splendid virtuosity is opne thing, her ability to apply it emotionally is special and original. Her vibe onstage is an infectious positive influence on her bandmates and her audience. A can’t miss date at this year’s festival. https://www.earshot.org/

Meridian Odyssey featuring Xavier Lecouturier, Ben Feldman, Santosh Sharma, Martin Budde, Dylan Hayes & Noah Halpern

Fri Oct 15, 8:30 PM/ Royal Room

A band born out of friendship and isolation during the worldwide pandemic, Meridian Odyssey gathers in celebration of their first album, Second Wave (Origin, 2020), and their new recording in the works. The band gathered in an airplane hangar at the Alaska home of Budde’s father when the pandemic first broke, and recorded a session of original music that transcends genre, drawing elements from jazz, rock, funk and r&b, but in a very forward thinking sense. All members of the band contribute original tunes, to be probed and reimagined by this group of innovative improvisers. Lecouturier has been a force on the scene in Seattle for the past half dozen years or so, with his own highly regarded release, Carrier (Origin, 2019). Seattle natives Feldman, Sharma and Halpern have been making their mark on the scene in New York. Budde is making a name for himself as a shape shifting guitarist and modernist composer, bouncing back and forth between Seattle, and Alaska. Hayes has been sequestered in Oregon during the pandemic, but has made his mark with his Dylan Hayes Electric Band, his various projects with Lecouturier and working with the legacy of composer Jim Knapp.  https://theroyalroomseattle.com/

Jamie Baum Septet +

Sun Oct 17, 7 PM/ Town Hall Forum

Jamie Baum     WBGO

Renowned flutist Jamie Baum lands in Seattle with her New York septet featuring Seattle reared guitarist, Brad Shepik. Baum, whose artistry and reputation have historic implications in legacy of her instrument, is supported by the splendid ensemble of Jonathan Finlayson (trumpet), Aaron Irwin (also sax/bass clarinets), Chris Komer (French horn), John Escreet (piano), Ricky Rodriguez (bass, singing bowls), and Jeff Hirshfield (drums). A rare and must see concert in an intimate setting for all jazz fans, but especially those with a close relationship with the flute. Baum’s appearance is rare and welcomed. https://www.earshot.org/

Immanuel Wilkins Quartet

Fri Oct 22, 7:30 PM/ Langston Hughes

Long before his premier BlueNote Records release, Omega, in 2020, alto saxophonist Immanuel Wilkens was making an impression in modern jazz that tabbed him as a generational talent. The Philadelphia born and raised Wilkens grew up musically around that city’s historic and vibrant jazz culture that included a place in the “village” of musicians connected to pianist Orrin Evans’ Grammy-nominated Captain Black Big Band. His move to New York to study at the esteemed Julliard School of Music exposed his rare gifts to Gotham artists such as trumpeter Ambrose Akinmusire, who assisted the young saxophonist in navigating the scene in New York. The connections he made at this time enabled him to tour with ground breaking pianist Jason Moran, and impressively record his debut release on BlueNote. He has since worked with Wynton Marsalis, Gerald Clayton, Solange Knowles, Aaron Parks, Joel Ross, and most recently, with pianist Orrin Evans on his release, The Magic of Now, perhaps the most revealing glimpse into his playing as the main soloist in a quartet setting with Bill Stewart and Vincente Archer. While Omega featured Wilkins’ adroit compositional prowess and social awareness, his role in his mentor’s quartet gave the jazz world a strong impression into his improvisers mind in an open setting.

With his focus on the humanity and cultural specificity of jazz, Wilkins sees the music as a means to bring people together through cooperative engagement in his art. The personal humility that accompanies his profound virtuosity allows his music to touch those vital aspects of the art of jazz, and its historically present state of being. 
Wilkins will be performing with his New York quartet that is featured on Omega. Pianist Micah Thomas, much like Wilkins, is an ascendant generational artist, and a musical associate during their time together at Juilliard. Taking his Omega quartet on the road will provide the opportunity to hear and see the music evolve in front of us, and the rise of the next phase of jazz innovation moving forward. Bassist Daryl Johns and drummer Kweku Sumbry round out this groundbreaking quartet whose sound may portend the directional impulse for jazz music in the decade ahead.- Paul Rauch, Earshot Jazz Festival Previews 
https://www.earshot.org/

Seattle Jazz Fellowship Wednesdays at Vermillion

Beginning Wed Oct 20, 4 PM, 7PM. 8PM

10/20- featuring Julian Priester, Marc Seales and Xavier Lecouturier

Julian Priester

The new jazz non-profit, the Seattle Jazz Fellowship, takes off with a weekly slate of events each Wednesday at Vermillion on Capitol Hill. The activities commence at 4 PM with an album listening session, followed by a hang at 7 PM, and two sets from two Seattle jazz artists to follow, starting at 8 PM. 

Marc Seales    Lisa Hagen Glynn photo

To get the ball rolling, the Fellowship has named iconic trombonist Julian Priester as its Artist-In-Residence. Mr. Priester will host the 4 PM listening sessions, playing and discussing classic albums he has played on, including John Coltrane’s Africa Brass, Herbie Hancock’s Mwandishi, and We Insist with Max Roach and Abbey Lincoln. Of course, Mr. Priester will introduce his own recordings that include such jazz icons as Booker Little, Mal Waldron and Eric Dolphy to mention but a few. 


Xavier Lecouturier   Jim Levitt photo   Ballard JF

The cover charge is $20 for the full slate, first come, first serve. This is an important event to support, to launch the Seattle Jazz Fellowship on its journey to find a permanent home. The October 20 opener will feature separate sets from Xavier Lecouturier and Marc Sealeshttps://seattlejazzfellowship.org/


Alex Dugdale CD Release- The Dugout

Tue Oct 28, 7& 9 PM/ Egan’s Ballard Jam House

Alex Dugdale    Daniel Sheehan photo Earshot Jazz

At long last, Seattle jazz fans have an Alex Dugdale album to celebrate! Featuring his formidable Fade Quintet, Dugdale is featured on saxophones and as a tap artist. At times, he may drift over to the brass side of things and play trumpet. But have no doubt, Dugdale’s artistry is best expressed on tenor saxophone with alto running a close second. He holds down the baritone saxophone chair in the Seattle Repertory Jazz Orchestra as well. 

Dugdale’s long time mates, bassist Greg Feingold and drummer Max Holmberg are on board for this one in the intimate confines of Egan’s Ballard Jam House. Pianist John Hansen has been a frequent contributor as well, while trumpeter Jun Iida is new to the band, having arrived in town from Los Angeles just before the Covid-19 shutdown. Dugdale will incorporate his substantial chops on tap just as he would as an instrumental soloist, a unique and original quality to his performances. https://www.earshot.org/2021-festival/

Scenes with John Stowell, John Bishop, Jeff Johnson & Rick Mandyck

10/29, 7:00 PM/ Town Hall Forum

John Stowell    Jim Levitt photo

A band that took root at a weekly gig in Ballard in the early 1990’s, Scenes has seven releases to their credit on the highly regarded Origin Records label, and has toured off and on since that inaugural gig on Ballard Ave. some thirty years ago.

John Bishop    Lisa Hagen Glynn photo

The band began as a trio, with eclectic saxophonist Rick Mandyck, bassist Jeff Johnson and drummer John Bishop. Shortly after their first release in 2001, Scenes, Mandyck went on a fourteen year hiatus from the saxophone due to an injury. Scenes then went on to gain a reputation as a trio, featuring Stowell’s vignette style compositions, and his guitar style that featured an advanced conception of harmony. By then, Johnson and Bishop were gaining a worldwide reputation as an expert tandem in the trio format. Aside from Stowell, the duo has been part of trios led by pianists Jessica Williams, Hal Galper and Chano Dominguez. Stowell’s spacious style allows both to play freely with a liberal sense of time and space. 

Jeff Johnson     knkx

For their latest release, Trapeze (Origin, 2020), Mandyck returns, after a re-engagement with the tenor saxophone. He contributes as a composer as well, with compositions based on simple melodies that provice ample space for improvisation. His rich and powerful sound adds a completely different texture, and provides a steely edge to the ethereal leanings of the band. The quartet is four of the finest players to emerge on the jazz front in the Pacific Northwest over the past forty years, playing at a very high level. https://www.earshot.org/2021-festival/

Rick Mandyck with Jeff Johnson    Jim Levitt photo









A Night On the Town with The Delvon Lamarr Organ Trio

DLO 3 on stage with friends at Jazz Alley. Photo Credit: Lisa Hagen Glynn


The stage at the esteemed Seattle jazz club, Dimitriou’s Jazz Alley, holds special meaning for local musicians who are brought up through the traditions of the city’s historically vibrant jazz scene. The majority of the performers who grace the Belltown nightspot’s hallowed podium are national and international touring artists, who over the years have included Dexter Gordon, Art Blakey and the Jazz Messengers, Chick Corea, Branford Marsalis, Betty Carter and Cecile McLorin Salvant to mention but a few. On occasion, the club has set aside nights for its resident jazz elite, including the great Ernestine Anderson.

Delvon Lamarr at Jazz Alley. Photo Credit: Lisa Hagen Glynn

Before the worldwide pandemic brought the live performance world to a screeching halt, Jazz Alley began featuring resident artists on Monday nights (the reference to ‘resident’ artists as opposed to ‘local’ was inspired by Seattle jazz great Julian Priester, who explained that the term local could be interpreted as pedestrian). With live music at the club re-igniting in the summer of 2021, the club decided to take a chance on Seattle’s best, booking Thomas Marriott, Greta Matassa, Marc Seales and Ari Joshua with positive results both in terms of performance and attendance. It was quite striking to see a full club in on every note for Seattle veteran pianist Seales for example, with a band that featured Seattleites Marriott and Jeff Johnson. 

The Seattle based Delvon Lamarr Organ Trio took to the Jazz Alley stage to begin a two night, sold out engagement on August 24th, a Tuesday evening with a full house on hand. Many in the audience were about to experience live music for the first time since the pandemic induced shutdown. There was a sense of rejuvenation, of celebration in the room, as Lamarr escorted his mother, brother and sister in law to their table suspended over the stage in the front of the balcony. The soulful R&B and blues guitarist Jimmy James was his usual sharp witted and comical self. “Do you know how to tell if someone is not from Seattle,” he quipped. “When they ask how to get on THE five!” James is all south end Seattle, just as Lamarr’s roots run deep in the Emerald City. New drummer Dan Weiss, who hails from Reno, was getting a full dose of the immensity of the moment, of his Seattle bandmates about to take stage on the city’s most prestigious jazz precipice. The trio had enjoyed a degree of commercial success prior to the shutdown, and had drawn well in their previous visit to the club. 

DLO3 at jazz Alley. Photo Credit: Lisa Hagen Glynn

Seattle’s reputation of being a remote and unique cultural outpost is perhaps a bit outdated in its modern incarnation, but nonetheless steeped in historical accuracy. When Jazz Alley opened, it would often feature a national touring artist accompanied by Seattle musicians. In the seventies and eighties, it was common to see such Seattle stalwarts as Chuck Deardorf and Dean Hodges manning the rhythm section for notables like Kenny Burrell or Mose Allison. The resident artists could be found full time at clubs like The New Orleans, or Tula’s beginning in the nineties. But headliners at the old Jazz Alley on University Way, or the current Belltown location, were clearly the exception, not the rule.

Lamarr is what some might refer to as a “natural” musician, one that has an innate understanding of music as a base point for his personal musical progression. In middle school, he came to play in the band by chance, by clearly showing his teacher and mentor Sam Chambliss his ability. 

“One day I saw a horn on the floor, and didn’t even know what it was. I told Mr. Chambliss, ‘I can play that.’ He said, ‘Good, I’ll put you in band.’ It was a baritone horn. I picked it up and played it naturally right away. I couldn’t read music, so I would just copy the person next to me. Whatever they played, I played,” he recalls. 

Lamarr settled on B-3 after playing drums in the band of Seattle B-3 master, Joe Doria. A year of simply observing his bandleader from behind the kit, allowed him to casually sit down and play the complex instrument.

“I had been watching Joe play it for a year, and literally sat down and played it like I had been playing it my whole life,” says Lamarr.

Lamarr was, and is, a jazz first musician no matter what musical tradition he employs. There is an intuitive eclecticism about his art that transcends form. The influences of his first love, R&B and soul, speaks through his music as well. Taking those elements of his musical personality, and creating a concept that not only would be sufficiently expressive for a genius musician like Lamarr, and as well supply ample opportunity to make a living, eventually became the domain of Amy Novo, Lamarr’s wife, life partner and manager. 

“She literally owns DLO3,” exclaimed Lamarr from the Jazz Alley stage that night. “She came up with the idea, and made it happen in every way. I just have to play music.”

Novo worked tirelessly, while her husband created music that would land them with the esteemed Kurland Agency. They found an audience that, like the music, transcended genre. The potent recipe of jazz, rhythm and blues and rock pulled in a sizable crowd that enabled the band to play venues like the Blue Note in New York, worldwide festivals and of course, Seattle’s Jazz Alley. Guitarist James provided the punch that incorporated that which encompasses all of Lamarr’s stylistic indulgences- the blues. The band’s sound has been represented well on the studio albums Close But No Cigar (Colemine, 2018) and I Told You So (Colemine,2021) for Colemine Records, and the live offering Live at KEXP (Colemine, 2018). 

Guitarist Jimmy James and drummer Dan Weiss at Jazz Alley with DLO3. Photo Credit: Lisa Hagen Glynn

That “sound” has a historical lineage, perhaps unknown to Lamarr at the beginning stages of the band’s development. In the fifties and sixties, Seattle Hammond B-3 artist Dave Lewis had a multitude of hit records with what was being referred to at the time as the “Seattle Sound.” It was instrumental, organ based music, that had markings of  jazz, rhythm and blues and the hybrid form taking hold of the airwaves in those days– rock and roll. Lewis’ band would eventually have a huge impact sociologically by playing north end gigs that were the exclusive domain of white bands. This would put an end to musical segregation in the city, which included separate unions for white and black musicians. The unity exhibited by late night jam sessions on Jackson St., now had legal and ethical legitimacy by practice among venue owners. The “sound” would have an impact on Seattle jazz, as well as artists in all blues based styles, including Jimi Hendrix. DLO3 has received a large degree of popularity and commercial success with their own unique organ based sound, that much like Lewis’ combo, is an open door for guest artists to enter and leave their mark. It is a style that is constantly in motion and inviting new musical notions. Whether performing for a sit down audience at Jazz Alley, or accommodating a dance crowd, the band has the unique ability to satisfy multiple audiences, a luxury seldom afforded by jazz artists. 

Lamarr’s solo work, and his minimalist comping style, are unmistakingly tied to his roots as a jazz musician. His dual persona in a way, is like an artistic aperture allowing the entire blues tradition into the mix. So much is the same, so much is different. “When I play DLO3 music versus swinging jazz, the approach is completely different. I intertwine the soul with jazz and make sense of it,” he explains. It is not, however, groove dance music, no matter how thick and comfortable drummer Weiss makes that pocket seem. Lamarr’s thought processes arrive musically from the jazz lexicon, smothered in blues based soul and funk. “It’s undeniable that music is better when it speaks to somebody’s soul instead of just hearing a beat,” he points out. 

The trio’s open door welcomed in India Arie bassist Khari Simmons, and Polyrhythmic’s guitarist Ben Bloom on this Tuesday evening engagement in Seattle. Relieved of bass line duties, Lamarr is able to ascend as a soloist to new heights, and for two tunes, as a vocalist. Until this opening night in Seattle, Lamarr had never dared to sing in public. He soulfully rendered two new compositions to accommodate this new, very personal revelation. “No Walk in the Park,” and “Can’t Win For Losing,” unmasked the organist’s inner creative sanctum, leaving himself completely vulnerable to an audience that included family, long time friends and some of the city’s top music scribes. That comfortable vibe, that which one feels when surrounded by loved ones, by being home, gathered all the loose ends of the evening into one, enlightened space. The jovial nonchalance of Lamarr’s outward personality, and his deep, soul searching inner musical self came to a singular state of being. This wasn’t another ordinary stop on a long tour–it was Seattle, it was Jazz Alley, this was about neighborhood and being home.

Delvon Lamarr at the Owl jam session. 8/24/21

The afternoon preceding DLO3’s opener at Jazz Alley, Lamar and Novo set up a B-3 at the Owl ‘n Thistle, an Irish dive bar in Seattle’s Pioneer Square, with intentions of returning after the Jazz Alley hit to attend a weekly jam session that has taken place at the Owl for more than two decades. The jam is the social focal point of the Seattle jazz scene, and where Lamarr would come to match his chops with the best players in town. In those days, the young Lamarr would play trumpet and drums at the session. Two weeks prior, he had dropped in at the Owl after a gig at Woodland Park, with Novo and Simmons in tow. He played drums a bit, but mostly just enjoyed the hang tremendously. He realized how shut in socially he could be, between touring and ultimately, due to Covid-19. Knowing that he would be playing the house B-3 at Jazz Alley, he set up his own equipment at the Owl, and arrived around 10 PM, just as the house band led by pianist Eric Verlinde was finishing up its set. The trio played a few tunes for the jam packed (pun intended) audience in the small, brick lined room. Soon, Lamarr was at the organ with a rapidly changing cast of musicians at the open session, clearly enjoying himself. While Lamarr is an affable sort, his normal positive self seemed to play into a state of heightened joy and repose. Novo as well sported a look of knowing she was in the right place at the right time. Normally a whirlwind during a gig, dealing with the business portion of the band, she as well could just revel in the sense of normalcy, of fellowship and community, that was so clearly at hand. 

DLO 3 plays the Owl jam session, after their opening night set at Jazz Alley 8/24/21 Photo Credit: Lisa Hagen Glynn

Of course, the evening would end with Lamarr and Novo once again loading one hulk of a musical instrument into their van. There was another night at Jazz Alley to traverse, and whatever else comes literally down the road as things slowly return to normal. There is the uncertainty of the Delta variant, of course, yet over two nights at their city’s most esteemed club, every seat is full, every audience member engaged and content. There is hope in the air, that we will rise above a two year pandemic hiatus, and find our stride musically, and inevitably, socially.

Drummer Dan Weiss in the pocket at Jazz Alley with DLO3 Photo Credit: Lisa Hagen Glynn


A single evening saw the Delvon Lamarr Organ Trio in front of a full house, and then immersed in the hang, that which in the end really matters. A return to normalcy means so much more than audience being reunited with artist. Rising above the fray of a worldwide pandemic, that place where none of us had ever resided, is more about being reunited with each other. Of feeling that embrace. On one Tuesday evening in Seattle, the Delvon Lamarr Organ Trio and family felt the embrace that only home can bring. —Paul Rauch