Photo Credit: Lisa Hagen Glynn

The new year brings with it new hope, and for live jazz lovers in Seattle, an escape from the holiday doldrums that causes a brief interruption to the explosion of live jazz that began in October with the Earshot Festival, continued with the Seattle Jazz Fellowship series, and continues with this impressive slate in January.

The Seattle Jazz Fellowship commences its Fellowship Wednesdays on January 25, evolving into a weekly event at Vermillion rather than the seasonal six week runs of the past. The goal is to eventually present live resident jazz five nights a week in its own room. Clearly, the business model employed by SJF is the clearest path for a healthy, vibrant local jazz scene in Seattle. That being said, the best way to support the effort aside from an annual membership, is to attend their fundraiser featuring the Delvon Lamarr Organ Trio at the historic Royal Esquire Club. The January 22nd matinee tilt will be a major step towards the non-profit’s ultimate goal.

There are as well, a number of dates that will undoubtedly be counted as jazz highlights in 2023 when recalled at year’s end. Pianist Fred Hersch will be joined by bassist/vocalist esperanza spalding at Jazz Alley. The classic organ trio lead collectively by Bill Stewart, Peter Bernstein and Larry Goldings will hit the Royal Room for two shows, which combined with the SJF fundraiser with DLO3, makes for an amazing afternoon and evening on a one block stretch along Rainier Ave. S. The Seattle based quartet, Scenes, celebrates their new release, while opening the weekly Wednesday series at Vermillion. Details below. See you out on the scene!

Photo Credit: Jim Levitt

Monday Night Jam at the Royal Room with Thomas Marriott

Monday nights at 9 PM/ Royal Room

Killin’ house band? Check. Good back line for musicians? Check. Great hang? Double check. Food and beverages? Check. All Ages? Check. The only remaining factor for this jam to succeed was its location in Columbia City. The session generally follows a performance set at 7:30, very often by the Wayne Horvitz led Royal Room Collective Music Ensemble. There is a list to sign up, and everyone gets an opportunity to play. Marriott calls musicians to the stage, with the mentorship cycle in mind. Attendance has been strong, with a great showing of some of the better players in town. There is great opportunity for younger, or less experienced players to share the stage with them. The hang benefits from the all ages fomat as well. And speaking of jam sessions…..

Photo Credit: Jim Levitt

Tuesday Night Jams at the Owl

Tuesday nights/ 9:30 PM

The 26 year run of this historic session continues, and continues to be an absolutely essential part of the Seattle jazz community. The music usually starts around ten, as incoming musicians are usually dropping in after gigs. The vibe is always wonderful, with Eric Verlinde holding down the fort as he has since 2005. There is an hour long first set to start, followed by an open jam, no sign up sheet. Literally, anything can happen, which for the entirety of its run, has been a mantra of sorts for the session. A session could not have a sounder foundational musician in Verlinde to preside over the evening. His mastery behind the keys is worth heading down to Pioneer Square in itself.

Manhattan Transfer

Thu Jan 26- Sun Jan 29, 7:30 & 9:30 PM/ Jazz Alley

When you have been the most successful jazz vocal ensemble in history, you really have nothing left to prove. Fifty years on the road creates that certainty, especially after ten Grammys and record sales in the millions. Of course, they have benefited from the pop side of things, but vocalists Cheryl Bentyne,  Alan Paul , Janis Siegeland Trist Curless have continued to take the art of the  jazz vocal quartet to near perfection. The band started by performing in Manhattan clubs and cabarets, went on to a career of filling concert halls, and in recent years, a return to clubs where they can be best appreciated.

Greta Matassa Quintet

Thu Jan 26, 7 PM/ North City Bistro

It would appear that the new proprietors of NCB are continuing the tradition of live music in the north end eatery. Having Greta Matassa leading the band is not a bad way to do just that. There is a nice blend of food, music and wine, but the approach is that of a listening room. Greta has been gigging with guitarist Brian Monroney, and her long time associates in saxophonist Alexey Nikolaev and Clipper Anderson. For her part, Matassa has such an immense repertoire of tunes, one show is likely to differ dynamically from the next. In all, her mastery and professionalism always rings true.

Rejuvenation: Hwy 99 All-Stars

Tue Jan 31- Wed Feb 1, 7:30 PM/ Jazz Alley

The city has lost an astonishing number of live music venues over the past fifteen years, among them, the Highway 99 Blues Club. The removal of the Alaska Way viaduct turned the funky basement digs where the club resided into valuable waterfront real estate, in the process driving the rent through the ceiling. The club joined The New Orleans, and Tula’s in the dustbin of Seattle music history, and created a void on the city’s vibrant Blues scene. Celebrating the venerable club’s history will be Bob Corritore, Lisa Mann, Ben Rice, Robin Moxey, Jeff Conlin and Steve Sarkowsky.

CD Release, Jam Session, Jazz Alley, Live Jazz, Royal Room, Seattle Jazz, Seattle Jazz Fellowship