On the Scene: Live Jazz Previews for June

Ah, sweet Juneuary……some years you bring us the best summer weather of the year, and some others you mire us in a marine layer that just won’t go away. Nevertheless, June brings some promising prospects at venues around the city. Bear in mind, these are previews for Seattle proper for the most part. Music provided by the Seattle Jazz Fellowship and the South Hudson Music Project need your support, to continue to provide top tier, live Seattle jazz at value pricing. If you have that killer deal for your membership, or are attending a no cover event such as a jam session, please consider making a contribution above and beyond. That being said, here’s a few suggestions for your listening and social engagement.

Seattle Jazz Fellowship: Fellowship Wednesdays at Vermillion Art Bar

Each Wednesday at 7:30 PM, the non-profit presents the best of the Seattle jazz scene, with special events presenting visiting artists sprinkled in. The vibe is relaxed, with time between sets to have some hang time with YOUR community. The event has been drawing well, with the small club filling up fast, first come, first served. This month’s offerings are like a string of pearls.

In Motion Quartet with Steve Treseler & Kevin Woods

Wed Jun 7, 7:30 PM/ Set 1

Tenor saxophonist Steve Treseler and trumpeter Kevin Woods lead a quartet featuring Bellingham based musicians. Bassist King Dahl and drummer Jerry Steinhilber fill out this chord-less foursome inspired by the quartets of Ornette Coleman and Dewey Redman. The format allows musicians to interact melodically and harmonically, focusing on rhythmic variation. Treseler’s reputation is solid in Seattle, and on a national scale, has received accolades for his work with Ingrid Jensen. Woods’ appearances in Seattle are less frequent. Both leaders are skilled composers and arrangers, adding to the intrigue of what the quartet will offer in that sense, with the structure of the music being more modal and rhythm oriented. https://seattlejazzfellowship.org/events

Ari Joshua Quartet

Wed Jun 7, 7:30 PM/ Set 2

Guitarist Ari Joshua is a shapeshifting guitarist that lives on the edge of the jazz and jam band thin line. One of the requirements to play a gig at the Fellowship is that you can describe your music as jazz. With this quartet, Joshua makes that declaration. Bassist Michael Glynn has been a first call double bassist in Seattle for quite some time, and continues to not only remain incredibly solid, but open to new and fresh ideas to incorporate into his playing. Pianist Dan Kramlich has kindred ambitions with Joshua concerning the rock world, though his fascination with grunge differs from Joshua’s Grateful Dead attraction. Kramlich is however, about as straight ahead as a jazz pianist can be, with a penchant for gathering different elementals into his jazz vision. Drummer D’Vonne Lewis is a Seattle music treasure, and the fourth generation of the Lewis family to impact the Seattle music scene. His original style is athletic, yet accompanied with a great ability to listen, and enter the fray in a conversational way. This is the second set of this Wednesday double bill.

George Colligan Trio

Wed Jun 21, 7:30 PM

The appearance of Portland based pianist George Colligan at a small venue like Vermillion is a rarity to say the least. The author of more than twenty albums as a leader, and over a hundred as a sideman, Colligan is one of the most prolific pianists of the past twenty five years in jazz. His musical associations include Jack DeJohnette, Buster Williams, John Scofield and Ravi Coltrane among many others. Colligan is Portland- based these days, and arrives with his trio, including Portland bassist Eric Gruber. Drummer Michael Raynor is a well known part of the outstanding jazz scene in Chicago, and has played regularly with saxophone icon, Von Freeman, for many years. Arrive early for this one.

Rich Cole Quartet

June 28, 7:30 PM

Tenor saxophonist Rich Cole has been a bit of a mystery in the post-pandemic world. The soulful tenorist has turned up in recent months, sounding like the player we are accustomed to hearing on his recordings for Origin Records and live performances at local clubs. Cole played Tula’s regularly for many years. His wit and humor comes through in his playing that can be introspective and unhinged. Cole is joined by pianist Bill Anschell, bassist Chris Symer and drummer Byron Vannoy, three of the city’s finest, and familiar faces to the eclectic tenorist.

Photo Credit: NYT

Brandee Younger Trio

Tue Jun 6- Wed Jun 7, 7:30 PM/ Jazz Alley

Brandee Younger has extraordinary command of her instrument. She has applied it as part of ensembles led by such luminaries as Ravi Coltrane, Ron Carter and Pharoah Sanders. This Jazz Alley hit is unique and interesting in that she is performing in trio, utilizing the harp as the primary melody and harmony instrument with bass and drums. She has played in the place normally assigned to piano and guitar frequently, but this time around she stands alone aside bassist Rahsaan Carter and drummer Allan Medford. Younger has the ability to thrill listeners with both traditional playing and original, innovative modernism. She is not only the best at what she is doing as a harpist, she is the only one doing what she does on her instrument. Take a chance on this one if you are even vaguely unfamiliar with her work– she is that transformative. https://www.jazzalley.com/www-home/artist.jsp?shownum=7433

David Sanborn Jazz Quintet

Thu Jun 8- Sun Jun 11, 7:30 & 9:30 PM/ Jazz Alley

David Sanborn is a commercially successful entertainer, mostly through his work in pop, r&b and television. He has been deemed one of the most influential saxophonists of the past half century, due to that sort of work. The good news is, he has returned to modern acoustic jazz over the past decade, and the results have shown us he is indeed a jazz saxophonist of note. This tour, he is joined by pianist Andy Ezrin, bassist Philip Norris and drummer Billy Kilson. Don’t expect a Sanborn hit parade. Approach this one with the idea that he is simply playing the music that inspires him as a musician at this point in his career. His true artistry may be more apparent to the listener now than ever. https://www.jazzalley.com/www-home/artist.jsp?shownum=7443

Photo Credit: Detroit Jazz Festival

Charles McPherson Quintet

Tue Jun 13- Wed Jun 14, 7:30 PM/Jazz Alley

To have an artist of such significant relevance musically and historically, paying us a visit in Seattle is a blessing. Certainly, it is a JA run not to be missed. McPherson propagated his legend first, with a twelve year run with Charles Mingus in the 1960’s and early 70’s, standing out in ensembles that included Eric Dolphy, Dannie Richmond and Rahsaan Roland Kirk. He is a prolific composer, working outside of jazz on occasion to provide music for dance ensembles. The Detroit native is still playing extremely well, his melody based playing possessing grace under fire after all these years! Charles is joined by trumpeter Terrell Stafford, pianist Jeb Patton, bassist Marcus Shelby and drummer Akira Tana. These are can’t miss dates on the Seattle jazz calendar! https://www.jazzalley.com/www-home/artist.jsp?shownum=7434

Steve Lehman Trio

Sat Jun 17, 7:30 PM/ Raisbeck Auditorium

An alto saxophonist unafraid to venture into unknown territory, Steve Lehman is a tough act to nail down in a sketch preview. The presence of bassist Matt Brewer in this chord-less trio dynamic is the factor that allows me to feel strong about recommending this gig to our readers. Lehman dabbles in electronics, as well as orchestral forms, making this trio lineup tough to predict. Drummer Damion Reid adds to the allure of this Earshot Jazz hit. There is enough jazz interpretation and Bennie Maupin- like influences to satisfy a more straight ahead jazz fan, as well as enough exploration into spontaneously inspired new space to draw the more outside crowd. Raisbeck, as a new venue, is acoustically superb, comfortable and intimate. Earshot continues their penchant for taking risks in pursuit of new sounds. https://www.earshot.org/event/steve-lehman-trio/

Photo Credit: Lisa Hagen Glynn

East-West Trumpet Summit with Ray Vega & Thomas Marriott

with Special Guest Roy McCurdy

Thu Jun 22, 7:30 PM/ Royal Room

Trumpeter Ray Vega grew up between the sounds of jazz and salsa in Bronx, NY, with his counterpart, Thomas Marriott hailing from Seattle in the Pacific Northwest. This time around, they celebrate their third release on Origin Records, Coast to Coast. They are joined by jazz legend and octogenarian Roy McCurdy on drums. A pair of Seattle aces in bassist Michael Glynn and pianist Tim Kennedy complete this well formed quintet. Vega has acted as a friend and mentor to Marriott since he began passing through Seattle with Latin Jazz icon, Tito Puente. Both Marriott and Vega carry distinctively original voices that communicate well. Ticket time is now, as this one should sell out quickly. https://theroyalroomseattle.com/event/the-east-west-trumpet-summit-w-ray-vega-thomas-marriott-featuring-roy-mccurdy/?instance_id=8025

Emmett Cohen Trio

Tue Jun 27- Wed Jun 28, 7:30 PM/ Jazz Alley

Pianist Emmet Cohen is a genius improviser and modern straight ahead jazz virtuoso. There is a genuine quality to his playing as well, one that exudes joy, innovation and a deep reverence for the jazz tradition. His trio has been featured annually at a variety of festivals internationally. His nimble touch, broad harmonic vocabulary and spontaneous imagination are vividly on display during his performances. He’s the type of cat who will play a ninety minute set and then spend several hours at a local jam session. His love for the music is plain. Bassist Philip Norris and drummer Kyle Poole join for this iteration of the trio. https://www.jazzalley.com/www-home/artist.jsp?shownum=7421

Greta Matassa Quintet

Fri Jun 30, 7 PM/ Egan’s Ballard Jam House

While Greta Matassa’s many Seattle performances may seem commonplace, they are anything but. Even while sporting the same band night after night, she keeps things fresh and innovative. Constantly looking for interesting ways to arrange and present both original and standard tunes, Matassa has a legacy of excellence to draw from and add to. She teams with bassist and husband Clipper Anderson, ace guitarist Brian Monroney, drummer Mark Ivester and the band’s second solo voice- tenor saxophone giant, Alexey Nikolaev. Performances often feature Matassa’s arrangements of instrumental tunes, clearly stating that she is much more than a singer–she is a vocal musician, with the ability to improvise without lyrics, as well as communicate a tune’s narrative masterfully. Get your tickets quickly for this one–Egan’s is an intimate, forty seat venue. I recommend the cornbread and ice cream….seriously. https://www.earshot.org/event/greta-matassa-quintet-5/

……..and don’t forget to get your jam on. The local jam session is where you can experience community and fellowship to go along with your daily dose of vitamin M. Weekly sessions of note are Sunday nights at The Angry Beaver in Greenwood, Tuesday nights at the Owl ‘n Thistle in Pioneer Square, and the Monday night jam at The Royal Room in Columbia City, hosted by Thomas Marriott. The Monday night jam is all ages.