On the Scene: Live Jazz Previews for November

With November comes the autumnal arrival of rain, fall colors and the final days of the Earshot Jazz Festival. The Seattle Jazz Fellowship returns with six weeks of programming, the Royal Room hosts significant international artists, and a generational vocal talent returns to Jazz Alley. With winter fast approaching, we look inward and seek experiences that impact our archetypal center. Here are some suggestions for the coming month in Seattle jazz- as ever, I recommend you dig deeper. In any case, I hope to see you out on the scene this month!

Seattle Jazz Fellowship Wednesdays at Vermillion

Nelda Swiggett’s Megabopolis/Jason Chambliss Quartet

Wed Nov 30, 7:30 PM/ Vermillion

Pianist/composer Nelda Swiggett has in many ways flown under the radar of the live modern jazz scene in Seattle. She has been on the scene for three decades, and is highly regarded within the music community, but as the past decade has rolled by, the new members of the Seattle jazz audience are largely unaware of her musical prowess. Her ensemble, Megabopolis, returns to the forefront of the resident jazz scene with this performance, featuring a roster of players who have made major strides in the forward progression of modern jazz in the Pacific Northwest. Swiggett is joined by trombonist Clif Swiggett, trumpeter Michael Van Bebber, saxophonist Travis Ranney, drummer Max Wood and bassist Michael Glynn

Trumpeter Jason Chambliss returns to the Seattle Jazz Fellowship leading a quartet featuring veteran pianist Darrius Willrich, drummer Chris Patin and bassist Nate Omdahl. Chambliss plays a style that reflects the history of the music emanating from the Central District of Seattle- soul infused modern jazz. Patin as a drummer is relentless and driving, constantly pushing the band forward. Willrich is a fine vocalist as well as a skilled pianist, the personification of the Seattle sound. Omdahl is a veteran presence that should ground the band into a positive communicative resonance. https://seattlejazzfellowship.org/events

Bill Anschell Peru Trio with Chris Symer & Jeff Busch

Wed Nov 30, 7 PM/ North City Bistro

Pianist Bill Anschell reunites with his trio that bonded on one of several tours of Peru. One of Seattle’s true jazz treasures, Anschell is an Origin Records recording artist, noted jazz humorist and first call pianist. His multiple South American tours included those as musical director for vocalist Nnenna Freelon. Bassist Chris Symer has been a major factor in Anschell’s trio adventures, notably with drummer Jose Martinez and saxophonist Brent Jensen. Drummer Jeff Busch has spanned the globe studying world percussion, including a six month stay in Brazil. His world view of music coupled with his jazz chops makes him the easy choice for this trio. This is not a Latin Jazz trio per se, but an open jazz trio that features all participants as soloists and bandmates lending sympathetic rhythmic and harmonic support. The tunes they perform are those enthusiastically received by Peruvian audiences. https://northcitybistro.com/event/bill-anschell-peru-trio/

Jazz Returns to Seattle’s Central District: Two Evenings of Black Brilliance

Giveton Gelin                                                          Lisa Hagen Glynn photo

There is a miracle on the corner of 12th Avenue and Jackson St. in what is now Seattle’s “Little Saigon.” In what was a traditional African American and Jewish community before the influx of Vietnamese, Cambodian and Laotian immigrants after the war in Southeast Asia in the early 1980’s, this urban crossroads was the main pulse of an integrated nightclub scene in the 1930’s, ’40s and ’50s that featured dozens of late-night jazz clubs that not only housed the city’s thriving African American musicians, but attracted many musicians after hours from their respective gigs Downtown that featured only white audiences. 

A fully integrated jazz nightclub scene was a rarity on a national scale, perhaps only fully realized along Jackson Street in Seattle, and Central Avenue in Los Angeles. The respective scenes attracted Black musicians from the Jim Crow south, in search of work and the ability to achieve artistry untethered by the tyranny experienced in southern music cities such as Atlanta, Memphis and New Orleans. Even Jelly Roll Morton lived a spell in Seattle, as early as 1919. Neither prohibition, nor the Great Depression could cap the enthusiasm of the city’s bottle clubs along Jackson Street, many of which were operated by Black entrepreneurs. The most notable of these club owners was E. Russell “Noodles” Smith, who along with partner Burr “Blackie” Williams would operate the legendary Black and Tan nightclub in the basement of the aforementioned “miracle” on the corner of 12th and Jackson. In 1920, they opened The Entertainers Club in the upstairs portion of the building, and the late night Alhambra club in the basement. The downstairs nightspot then was renamed the Black and Tan, noted for its integrated, black and white clientele. Smith had arrived in Seattle in 1909, and had a sharp eye for business. With the town rife with cash from the shipyards and lumber mills following the Great War, Jackson Street was able to withstand the onslaught of prohibition, and later as mentioned, the Great Depression. To continue reading, click this link

Earshot Jazz previews The Ballard Jazz Festival

Ballard Jazz Festival

May 6-9
Various venues

View Ballard Jazz Festival WebsiteBuy Tickets

Thirteen is a lucky number for local jazz fans: The 13th annual Ballard Jazz Festival is just around the corner. Hitting on multiple stages from May 6-9, Seattle’s uniquely homegrown jazz fest has developed into an eagerly anticipated annual event that hasn’t lost touch with the intimate and collaborative atmosphere that made it special in the first place. Since its early days as the Ballard Jazz Walk, the reputation and reach of the festival have grown while the vibe has remained welcoming and accessible.

“I want to make sure it’s a local festival, so it sounds like Seattle,” says festival organizer and Seattle jazz impresario John Bishop. “It will be a celebration of that.”

Rather than putting the focus solely on individual marquee gigs, Bishop’s approach is to bring in carefully selected out-of-town talent and pair them up with local musicians for a variety of performances. This gives everyone a chance to mix and mingle, to have a good time over a period of a few days. As Bishop says, invoking a sage perception of what makes a jazz scene vital, “It’s about the hang.”

I want to make sure it’s a local festival, so it sounds like Seattle
Another key piece of Bishop’s goal is to present the full range of jazz-related activity in town, mixing old and new, traditional and cutting-edge. To achieve your balanced jazz diet, for example, you could sample some renegade experimentalism at the Table & Chairs showcase and then drop in for classic jazz trio sounds from legendary pianist Overton Berry – “Two massively different experiences within a half block of each other,” says Bishop.

Bishop has also wisely retained festival elements that have proven popular over the years, including the opening night’s Brotherhood of the Drum and night two’s Guitar Summit concerts (both at Conor Byrne Pub), as well as the Ballard Jazz Walk, where you can take in 17 artists in eight venues for the price of a single ticket.

Every minute of the Ballard Jazz Festival is packed with great music, so selecting highlights can be an exercise in frustration. Just a few to consider: Brotherhood of the Drum will no doubt be special, as this year’s edition features Michael Shrieve, Gene Coye, and Julian MacDonough each leading their own bands. Shrieve is well-known to audiences locally and around the world as the original drummer for Santana. He has a staggering resume, which includes a wide range of music in many genres from rock and jazz to electronic and global experimentalism. Coincidentally, one of Los Angeles-based Gene Coye’s first gigs after high school was also with Santana, and he has since toured with guitarists Larry Carlton and Robben Ford. Julian MacDonough is a fixture on the West Coast scene, well-known for his work with saxophonist Mike Allen’s quartet and pianist Aaron Parks.

This is an especially notable year for guitar fans, with three legendary axe men taking the stage at the Guitar Summit. Peter Bernstein is internationally acclaimed for his mastery and taste as a thoughtful straight-ahead maestro. The NYC stalwart has toured with Diana Krall and Joshua Redman, and the legendary icon Jim Hall sang his praises. John Stowell is also revered as a guitarist’s guitarist, an original voice with a uniquely cliché-free take on the jazz tradition, informed by a modern harmonic sense. Jerry Hahn was one of the first to occupy the guitar chair in Gary Burton’s pivotal groups starting at the close of the 60s, and was a key figure in laying the groundwork and establishing a musical vocabulary for later eclectic innovators such as Pat Metheny.

This is only scratching the surface: Other appearances include bassist David Friesen, saxophonists Eric Alexander and Lucas Pino, plus a cross-section of supremely talented local luminaries that will make you glad to call the Pacific Northwest home. Don’t miss it!

Tickets and information available at ballardjazzfestival.com.

Andrew Luthringer

Ballard Jazz Fest Schedule

Wednesday, May 6
Conor Byrne Pub, 5140 Ballard Avenue NW
Brotherhood of the Drum, 8pm
Michael Shrieve, Gene Coye, and Julian MacDonough
Tickets $15 / $13 advance. Ages 21+.

Thursday, May 7
Conor Byrne Pub, 5140 Ballard Avenue NW
Guitar Summit, 8pm
Peter Bernstein, John Stowell, and Jerry Hahn
Tickets $15 / $13 advance. Ages 21+.

Friday, May 8
Various venues, downtown Ballard
Ballard Jazz Walk, 6:30pm
17 groups in eight venues for a single ticket price
Jazz Walk Only, $30 / $26 advance. Tickets available day-of at New York Fashion Academy, 5201 Ballard Ave NW. Most venues all ages, with some 21+.

Nordic Heritage Museum, 3014 NW 67th St
Friday Night Concert, 7:30pm
The Peter Bernstein Trio and David Friesen Circle 3 Trio
Friday Night Concert + Jazz Walk, $30 / $26 advance. All ages.

Saturday, May 9
Nordic Heritage Museum, 3014 NW 67th St
Swedish Pancake Jazz Brunch, 11am & 12:30pm
Thomas Marriott Quartet
Tickets $15 non-museum members, $12 museum members, $40 families of four. All ages.

Mainstage Concert, 7:30pm
Eric Alexander w/ the Peter Bernstein Trio
Lucas Pino No Net Nonet
Tickets $35 general, $55 reserved, $18 students. All ages.

Earshot Jazz Presents a Concert of Duke Ellington’s Sacred Music

SRJO_by_Daniel SheehanThe holiday concert of “Sacred Music by Duke Ellington,” will be presented at 7:30pm on Saturday, December 28nd, 2013, at Town Hall Seattle (1119 Eighth Avenue, Seattle). This very special event, now celebrating its 25th anniversary, features the all-star Seattle Repertory Jazz Orchestra with guest vocalists Everett Greene and Nichol Venee Eskridge, the 30-voice Northwest Chamber Chorus, and tap-dancer Alex Dugdale.

The Seattle Repertory Jazz Orchestra is directed by Ellington scholar Michael Brockman, professor of saxophone at the University of Washington, and Clarence Acox, drummer and award-winning band director at Seattle’s Garfield high school. Many of Seattle’s favorite jazz artists are to be featured, including trumpeter Thomas Marriott, pianist Bill Anschell, saxophonists Mark Taylor, Bill Ramsay and Travis Ranney, bassist Phil Sparks, and many more.  The SRJO’s double-album “Sacred Music of Duke Ellington” continues to be widely praised by the national media, including recognition as one of the “Best Recordings of 2006” by audiophileaudition.com.

For the fifth time, vocalist Everett Greene, a renowned Emmy Award winning vocalist and touring veteran with the Count Basie Orchestra, joins the cast. Returning for this year’s concert is vocalist Nichol Venee Eskridge (who is also featured on the SRJO’s Sacred Music of Duke Ellington CD), tap-dancer Alex Dugdale (a graduate of Roosevelt High School and the Eastman School of Music), and the Northwest Chamber Chorus under the direction of Mark Kloepper.

Duke Ellington is one of the great composers in American history. His engaging “Sacred Music,” both serious and swinging, premiered at Grace Cathedral in San Francisco in 1965 and was performed in programs around the world until his death in 1974. Embracing jazz heritage and diverse faiths, the concert celebrates Ellington’s Universalist philosophy that “Every man prays in his own language. There is no language God does not understand.” Full production includes big band, jazz vocals, choir, and tap dancer.
The Sacred Concerts are a long-standing holiday tradition presented by Earshot Jazz, Seattle’s nonprofit jazz organization.

Tickets for the concert are $28 general admission. Discounts available for Earshot members, senior citizens and students.  Tickets are available through Brown Paper Tickets at brownpapertickets.com or 1-800-838-3006.

For more information, contact Earshot Jazz at 206-547-6763 or go online at earshot.org.

Photos: Industrial Revelation at Tula’s

From EyeShotJazz.com

The 2013 Earshot Jazz Festival kicked off with two shows, Keith Jarrett, Gary Peacock, Jack DeJohnette at BENAROYA HALL and Industrial Revelation at TULA’S. They were both formidable performances. Here are pictures from Industrial Revelation since Keith Jarrett is camera shy.

Widely regarded as the best drummer in Seattle, D’Vonne Lewis proppeled Seattle’s homegrown, hard-hitting post-genre quartet – with bassist Evan Flory-Barnes, Rhodes pianist Josh Rawlings and trumpeter Aham Oluo.

See more photos from this event and other Earshot shows at EyeShotJazz.com.

Photos: Jon Hamar Quintet at Tula’s

Photos by Daniel Sheehan, EyeShotJazz.com

My final set of the evening on Sunday I ended up at Tula’s and got to enjoy the Jon Hamar Quintet.the top-flight Seattle bassist Jon Hamar explored new music with tenor-sax titan Rich Perry, virtuoso multi-reedist Todd DelGiudice , pianist John Hansen and drummer Julian MacDonough.

Photos: Human Spirit and Bettye LaVette

Last night at the Earshot Jazz Festival.
Photos by Daniel Sheehan, EyeShotJazz.com

Trumpeter Thomas Marriott, saxophonist Mark Taylor and drummer Matt Jorgensen joined pianist Orrin Evans (Bobby Watson’s former pianist) and bassist Essiet Essiet (Art Blakey’s last bassist) under the Human Spirit banner for two nights of sold-out performances at the 2011 Earshot Jazz Festival.

Another evening of wonderful performances. Bettye LaVette at the Triple Door put on a very amazing show. Her voice has to be experienced.

Photos: Danilo Perez Trio at Earshot Jazz Festival

Photos by Daniel Sheehan, EyeShotJazz.com

On Saturday the 2012 Earshot Jazz Festival continued with the wonderful Panama-born piano virtuoso Danilo Perez who has established himself as one of the preeminent jazz musicians of his generation. Writing in the New York Times, music critic Ben Ratliff praised him as “a bold example of the musicological rethinking of jazz.”

In The Country – Friday at Tula’s

Friday, June 24, 7:30 pm
In the Country (Roger Arntzen, Pål Hausken, and Morten Qvenild)

Tula’s Restaurant and Jazz Club
2214 2nd Avenue (Belltown), Seattle

For Reservations call 206-443-4221
Cover Charge: $14 general; $12 Earshot members;
$7 Students w/ ID

It has been said that Norway produces exceptional jazz artists, and the trio In the Country is further proof of this assertion. Featuring pianist Morten Qvenild (formerly of Jaga Jazzist), bass player Roger Arntzen, and drummer Pål Hausken, the group’s third album, Whiteout, released in 2009, is a soaring, progressive work, reminiscent of The Bad Plus. This month, the band releases a live album. They are quick to point out: “We are not just making a CD from one of our concerts, we thought we just as well would make a full-length concert video, slash artfilm, slash film noir out of the whole project.”

Qvenild is probably best known (in his native Norway, at least) for being “the orchestra” in Susanna and the Magical Orchestra. He has also been a member of both Shining and Jaga Jazzist. Qvenild formed In the Country with Arntzen and Hausken at the Norwegian Academy of Music in Oslo in 2003. Since then, they have been selected best young jazz artists in Norway, played concerts throughout Europe and the United States, and released three albums to date on the prestigious Rune Grammofon label to much critical acclaim. DownBeat called their debut album “one of the finest and most arresting albums to come out of Europe” that year, and All About Jazz selected Whiteout for their “Best of 2009” list.

In a live review of the group’s 2010 performance at Scandanavia House in Manhattan, Saby Reyes-Kulkarni of the New York Press wrote: “In person the trio does a great job of absorbing the audience into its dreamy bubble of sound. When all three members start chanting out of no where, for example, the show veers into uplifting, other-worldly realms, and the band’s discreet touch and soft pace might have you too busy enjoying the show to notice how progressive Qvenild’s writing truly is … In the Country provides yet another compelling glimpse into what appears to be a vital jazz scene brewing in that part of the world. If you harbor any doubts about the ability of Danes, Swedes, Fins, or Norwegians to capture jazz with the right feel or inventiveness, here’s the last chance you’re going to get for a while to prove yourself wrong.”

Continue reading at Earshot.org

Jason Parker Quartet at the U-District/Lucid Jazz Walk

photos by Jim Levitt

Saturday was a big day for jazz in the U-District: LUCID Jazz Club celebrated it’s one year anniversary by hosting the 2nd Annual U-District Jazz Walk. Jazz groups were featured in venues up and down “the Ave.”

These photos are from the performance at the Historic University Theater of the Jason Parker Quartet, with Jason Parker (trumpet), Josh Rawlings (piano), Even Flory-Barnes (bass), D’Vonne Lewis (drums) and special guest Cynthia Mullis (sax). The group performed a number of tunes from the group’s new recording “No More, No Less.”

Read More

Earshot Golden Ear Award Nominees Announced

Each year the Golden Ear Awards program provides an opportunity for Seattle jazz fans and performers to celebrate the region’s jazz accomplishments of the previous year. Earshot Jazz initiated the Golden Ear Awards in 1990 to recognize the accomplishments of Seattle jazz artists over the previous year, and to induct significant members of the jazz community into the local Jazz Hall of Fame.

Nominees have been announced for the 2008 awards. To cast your vote, visit the Earshot website at:

2008 NW Recording of the Year:
Hadley Caliman – Gratitude
Byron Vannoy – Meridian
Thomas Marriott – Crazy: Music of Willie Nelson
Matt Jorgensen +451 – Another Morning
Jeff Johnson – Tall Stranger

2008 NW Acoustic Jazz Ensemble:
Hadley Caliman Quartet/Quintet
Jim Knapp Orchestra
Hans Teuber/Geoffrey Harper/Byron Vannoy

2008 NW “Outside” Jazz Group:
Jeff Johnson Trio
More Zero
Thomas Marriott’s Willie Nelson Project

2008 NW Jazz Instrumentalist:
Mark Taylor
Hadley Caliman
Hans Teuber
Thomas Marriott
Jeff Johnson

Emerging Artist of 2008:
Neil Welch
Byron Vannoy
The Teaching
Evan Flory-Barnes

NW Vocalist of the Year:
Kelly Harland
Kelley Johnson
Greta Matassa
Gail Pettis

2008 NW Concert of the Year:
Hadley Caliman at Ballard Jazz Festival
Hadley Caliman CD release party at Tula’s
Lee Konitz at Ballard Jazz Festival
Wayne Horvitz Retrospective at Earshot Festival

Seattle Jazz Hall of Fame Nominees:
Jack Perciful
KBCS 91.3
Phil Sparks
Bob Nixon

Tonight at The Seattle Art Museum

Orchestra Zarabanda w/ Elspeth Savani
Seattle Art Museum Downtown
1300 First Avenue, Seattle

Performances held at 5:30 PM on the 2nd Thursday
of every month. Free with museum admission.

from Earshot Jazz: This month’s installment of the Art of Jazz series, sponsored by Earshot and the Seattle Art Museum, features Orchestra Zarabanda with Elspeth Savani. Zarabanda presents big-band-salsa music inspired by Cuban orquestras and son groups as well as classic New York salsa. Their trademark sound features sensual melodies juxtaposed with driving, syncopated dance rhythms. Tonight singer and co-bandleader Elspeth Savani headlines the group. Originally trained as a classical vocalist, Savani describes her first encounters with Cuban music as an epiphany, after which she put aside her classical training to focus on congas, Cuban dance, Cuban son, and the Spanish language. She has performed with Zarabanda for the past decade, and in 2007 she received an Earshot Jazz Golden Ear nomination for “Best Emerging Artist.” This after-work concert takes place in the Brotman Forum of the Seattle Art Museum, 1300 1st Ave. Music begins at 5:30 pm; admission to the concert is free with museum admission.

Sounds Outside 2008

The Monktail Creative Music Concern is proud to lead a growing coalition of community sponsors and volunteers to bring you Sounds Outside 2008. The City of Seattle recently renovated Cal Anderson Park and we want to ensure the park is a place of positive use, where we continue to build Seattle’s community. This year’s festival will take place on July 19 and August 23. Seattle leads the nation in creative and jazz music development. Concert series such as Sounds Outside keep our vibrant music scene on the cutting edge, while celebrating our creative community at large.

1:00 Paul Harding & the Juju Detective Agency
2:30 The Owcharuk Sextet
4:00 Bill Horist
5:30 Cuong Vu featuring SPEAK
7:00 Blue Cranes

Cal Anderson Park
1635 11th Ave
(bet. East Denny Way and East Pine St.)

Earshot Presents: Ken Vandermark & Paal Nilssen-Love Duo

FRIDAY, JUNE 13 – 8:00pm
Ken Vandermark & Paal Nilssen-Love Duo

Ken Vandermark, reeds
Paal Nilssen-Love, drums

Vandermark stretches the tenor, baritone saxophone and clarinet in a continuous flow of tones and timbres, while the Stavanger-drummer Nilssen-Love proves his reputation of being the avant-garde jazz’ most powerful mallet and stick wizard. (more info)

Seattle Asian Art Museum, Volunteer Park, 1430 Prospect Ave, Seattle
$15 general ($13 for Earshot members, seniors, and students)
Tickets available through Earshot Jazz (206) 547-6763 and online

Norm Bobrow Memorial Gathering

Sunday, June 8, 4 pm
Norm Bobrow Memorial Gathering

A memorial gathering will be held at the Seattle Betsuin Buddhist Temple, 1427 South Main Street (between 14th and 16th Ave). Please share your personal memories of the illustrious, 60-year career of Seattle promoter, radio personality, journalist and all-around jazz advocate Norm Bobrow, who died April 13. Music and refreshments will be on hand.

RSVP requested: [email protected]

Jazz on a Steamboat!

A Summer Solstice Cruise on the steamship Virginia V with live jazz at sunset and a moonlit return is set for June 21.

We’re cruisin’ on the steamship Virginia V again, an early evening Summer Solstice cruise on Lake Union and Lake Washington at sunset and returning under a full moon. Live jazz by the Clarence Acox Quintet, light hors d’oeuvres and deserts included, cash bar, Saturday night June 21, 8-11 pm.

Co-presented by Earshot Jazz, Jazz After Hours and the Virginia V Foundation. Don’t miss this great night of jazz on the water aboard an historic steamship! For more information, see www.virginiav.org or call 206-624-9119.
$49 singles, $90 couples – Reservations are required.

Wednesday Jazz

TULA’S JAZZ CLUB: Hal Sherman & the BCC Jazz Orchestra

THAIKU: Ron Weinstein Trio

JAZZ ALLEY: Bucky Pizzarelli Trio

NECTAR: Earshot Jazz Presents: Ben Allison and Man Size Safe
412 N 36th St, Seattle, WA, 8:30pm

NEW ORLEANS: Legend Band with Clarence Acox

6pm – Oghale and Marti MacEwan
8pm – Vocal jazz jam session with Carrie Wicks and the Bruce Barnard Trio

Civica Office Commons, 205 108th Ave NE, Bellevue, 5:00pm

WHISKEY BAR: Ronnie Pierce

GALLERY 1412: Jim DeJoie Group, More Zero featuring Chris Stover