Seattle Jazz Scene: Live Jazz Previews for March

Photo Credit: Jim Levitt

Skerik Band 

Fri Mar 1, 7:30 PM / Seattle Jazz Fellowship- 109 S. Main St.

Good to see our friend Skerik back out and gigging again. He hits the SJF weekend shift with familiar company in pianist Tim Kennedy, bassist Geoff Harper and drummer D’Vonne Lewis, all of whom have been collarborators with the eclectic saxophonist. Skerik’s music has a good habit of bringing out something a little extra in those diving into it. His set in 2023 was the best attended Seattle Jazz Fellowship performance– nobody was disappointed. The music had a wide dynamic range and a free spirit that prevailed over two sets. Look for the same on what should be a great evening of music.

Photo Credit: Lisa Hagen Glynn

Kandace Springs

Fri – Sat Mar 1 & 2, 7:30 PM / Jazz Alley

If an evening of a skilled jazz pianist / vocalist covering standards is your thing, then this is your gig. I attended her run last year in Seattle, going in with a commodified impression of Kandace Springs. I left with the understanding that she is a soulful performer who is all in, all the time. Her skill on rhodes and piano are top notch, and her vocal skills are near the top of the trade. Bassist Caylen Bryant and drummer Camille Gainer both double as background vocalists. The trio has tenure and plays with a read and react familiarity. Six shows at the alley is a long haul, but a large opportunity for area jazz fans.

Photo Credit: Kathryn Elsesser 

Kerry Politzer Trio 

with George Colligan & Greg Feingold

Sat Mar 2, 7:30 PM / Seattle Jazz Fellowship- 109 S. Main St.

It’s about time that Seattle listeners become acquainted with Portland based pianist / composer Kerry Politzer. With seven albums released as a leader, Politzer is a nationally acclaimed performer who is currently on the staff at Portland State University. She makes her SJF debut performing with drummer Matt Jorgensen and bassist Greg Feingold, a formidable trio for two sets.

The piano trio is always truly honest and highly vulnerable. This is a good opportunity to gain insight to Politzer’s full musical personality. Her two set night is a nice bookend to a stellar weekend at SJF.

Photo Credit: Jim Levitt

Jim Knapp Orchestra

Sun Mar 3, 8 PM / Royal Room

The rescheduled date for the previous postponement due to frozen pipes at The Royal Room. Twenty of Seattle’s finest musicians play the music of the late, great composer, Jim Knapp. Knapp is highly regarded on an international scale, but is an absolute legend here in Seattle. Since his passing, the baton has been passed to young pianist/composer-arranger Dylan Hayes and the esteemed veteran, Jay Thomas. Attendance at this show helps continue the Knapp legacy, something difficult to do with such a large, committed band. This is one not to miss.

Todo Es: Latin Jazz

Thu Mar 7, 7:30 PM / Seattle Jazz Fellowship- 109 S. Main St.

The Seattle Jazz Fellowship is big tent, here bringing in a band that plays a wide array of Latin forms, from Afro-Cuban to Brazilian samba. It’s so often that Latin jazz is presented as dance music. At SJF, the jazz club vibe is closer to concert presentation, where the music must stand up on its own. Kudos to SJF for embracing the whole community and giving it a stage. Band members : Rebecca Garcia – vocals; Daniel Miller – guitar; Stephen Yamada-Heidner – vibraphone and steel drum; Dan Hensley – trumpet and flugelhorn; Tor Dietrichson – percussion; Tim Miller – drums, and John Lilley – acoustic and electric bass.

Nelda Swiggett Trio with Chris Symer and Adam Kessler

Fri – Sat Mar 8 & 9, 7:30 PM / Seattle Jazz Fellowship- 109 S. Main St.

Pianist/composer Nelda Swiggett has been mostly on the perimeter of the Seattle scene for the past decade. She wasn’t a regular on the local club scene, this after establishing herself as a formidable composer and pianist. Since the live music world came back to life after the pandemic, she has been a frequent participant at local jam sessions, and has reimmersed herself in playing live dates, including this, her second go – around at the Seattle Jazz Fellowship.

Swiggett’s tunes are built around sturdy melodies, taking on a folk vibe that can swing at will. Her piano style is very clean and understated, always lagging a bit behind the beat before catching up in tidy and dynamic fashion. Swiggett has two nights to hit her stride and tell her stories. Chris Symer is a very musical presence on bass and a perfect fit in this trio setting. Drummer Adam Kessler may be the diametric opposite of Swiggett in his approach, setting up his presence as a drummer playing music as opposed to containing himself within the traditional parameters of the rhythm section. Cliff Swiggett will guest on trombone.

Photo Credit: Jim Levitt

Julian Speaks! with Julian Priester

Sat Mar 9, 1 PM / Seattle Jazz Fellowship – 109 S. Main St.

The personal journey in this music by jazz legend Julian Priester gives us the opportunity to touch the history of jazz in a very personal way. Julian Speaks is where we gather to listen to the many historic recordings Priester has played on, and hear the stories that accompany them. Within those stories are insights into his work with Sun Ra, Herbie Hancock, John Coltrane, Red Garland, Duke Ellington, Max Roach and a littany of others. It is always wise to listen to the elders of our music and gather the wisdom they have collected over decades of time. Don’t miss this opportunity to hang with one of the true masters. .

Brittany Anjou’s Moon Mode

with Matt Jorgensen, Jessica Lurie & Kelsey Mines

Wed Mar 13, 7:30 PM / Seattle Jazz Fellowship – 109 S. Main St.

New York based pianist Brittany Anjou arrives in her hometown of Seattle for two sets at the fellowship. Leading a quartet, Anjou’s music can stray from piano trio to rock, so expect something a little extra. Anjou is featuring music from a new album project in the works. Her musical journey has taken her around the world. as well as a focus on the scene in New York. The Roosevelt grad always enjoys coming home, something that doesn’t happen all that often. Anjou is joined by an all-star Seattle ensemble featuring drummer/composer Matt Jorgensen, saxophonist/flutist Jessica Lurie and bassist Kelsey Mines.

Darian Asplund Group

Thu Mar 14, 7:30 PM / Seattle Jazz Fellowship- 109 S. Main St. 

Multi- reedist Darian Asplund is known as much for his work with blues artists such as Lee Oskar as he is for playing jazz. A regular on tenor and alto at local sessions, he has always been a known quantity around the city, enough so that his work is definitively cross-genre. This band includes pianist Josh Rawlings and bassist Tony Lefaive, both familiar to the Seattle jazz scene, but guitarist Andrew Friedrich and drummer Jansen Leggett are relative unknowns. Friedrich pulls strongly from the jazz guitar tradition. Rawlings has been performing in the piano trio format quite a bit since his days with Industrial Revelation, including a fine trio outing at SJF. Lefaive glides easily from double bass to electric, a skillset that should serve him well with this playlist. 

Asplund will play originals as well as jazz arrangements of rock tunes from “famous bands.”

Photo Credit: Lisa Hagen Glynn

Xavier Lecouturier Quintet

with Ben Feldman, Matt Williams, Santosh Sharma & Jack Radsliff

Fri – Sat Mar 15 & 16, 7:30 PM / Seattle Jazz Fellowship- 109 S. Main St.

Drummer / composer Xavier Lecouturier has been busy composing new music and is presented with a weekend to realize that effort performing with a stellar quintet of close musical acquaintances. Bassist Ben Feldman and tenor saxophonist Santosh Sharma are Seattle natives now living in New York. They have a long history with Lecouturier here in the Emerald City, a bond unshaken by a worldwide pandemic and three thousand miles of distance. 

Pianist Matt Williams has quickly gained a reputation for being one of the city’s finest pianists and has added vibraphone to that skillset as well. Whether performing acoustically or with electric keyboards, Williams has an orchestral sense and an experimental curiosity to his playing that is very intriguing. Guitarist Jack Radsliff is a Bay Area native currently based in Eugene. He has been showing up on the periphery of the Seattle scene after playing with many of the top players coming out of Portland. Together, this band represents the high end of the newest wave of impactful voices in jazz from Seattle and the Pacific Northwest. Each brings with them an original compositional slant as well, adding to the diversity of sound that should grace this weekend residency.

Martin Budde Trio

with Trevor Ford & Evan Woodle

Thu Mar 21, 7:30 PM / Seattle Jazz Fellowship- 109 S. Main St. 

Celebrating the release of his new trio album Backburner, on the Origin / OA2 label, guitarist Martin Budde leads a formidable trio for two sets at SJF. Drummer Evan Woodle would seem the perfect foil here, with his broad ranging style that features shimmering cymbal work. Bassist Trevor Ford has a definitive richness of tone, adventurous spirit and the ability to flat out swing. Things are lined up for the unknown to have interesting properties and open possibilities for an interesting musical journey. 

Budde’s tunes have a folk-like quality to them, stemming from his musical upbringing around the folk and bluegrass scene in his native Alaska. His playing is more John Abercrombie than any folk adventurist however, using that harmonic framework to create open spaces to probe in this wide open trio.

Marcus Miller

Thu – Sun Mar 21 – 24, 7:30 & 9:30 PM / Jazz Alley

Bassist Marcus Miller is one of the true titans of the electric bass. With a career that now spans more than four decades, he has stayed on the course of change that was set in motion by his decade-long tenure with Miles Davis in the 1980’s. He has made an indelible mark with his compositional skills as well, penning tunes for records, film and television. No word on the band yet, but safe to assume this will be a fusion performance with a killin’ band. Stay tuned.

Photo Credit: Lisa Hagen Glynn

Beserat Tafesse Quartet

with Chris Icasiano, Matt Williams & Michael Glynn

Fri – Sat Mar 22 & 23, 7:30 PM / Seattle Jazz Fellowship- 109 S. Main St. 

It’s been awhile since we’ve seen a trombonist as an out and about bandleader in Seattle. Not since David Marriott’s Triskadekaband have we seen a band fronted by a trombonist as a regular part of the local club scene. It’s been fun watching Beserat Tafesse rise from a mildly tentative, highly trained musician, to a confident, clear voice and an aggressive, active bandleader. His powerful, full sound serves his melody based approach to soloing, utilizing on point long tones and rapid fire bursts. 

Tafesse’s skillset in forming a band seems to be on the rise as well. Bad Luck and Fleet Foxes drummer Christopher Icasiano, Seattle first call bassist Michael Glynn and innovative pianist Matt Williams are so much more than a supporting rhythm section. Each brings a spirit of adventure to the stage, with a full weekend to explore where the quartet can go.

Photo Credit: Lisa Hagen Glynn

Orrin Evans Trio 

featuring Robert Hurst & Mark Whitfield, Jr. 

Tue Mar 26, 7:30 PM / Seattle Jazz Fellowship- 109 S. Main St. 

Orrin Evans is one of the most noted and influential pianists in jazz over the past twenty years. With fourteen albums released as a leader, he has shown us his artistry via piano trio, quartet and quintet settings, and large ensemble with his Captain Black Big Band. His friendship with trumpeter Thomas Marriott has enabled him to visit Seattle and become a friend of the local scene here. In this trio setting, he teams up with the great Robert Hurst on bass, and sensational young drummer, Mark Whitfield, Jr.

It can’t be overemphasized that to see musicians of this artistry in an intimate space like 109 S. Main is an extraordinary opportunity for Seattle jazz fans. Be sure to get there early to guarantee a spot. There is a cover, and SJF memberships do not apply to this date.

Photo Credit: Jim Levitt

Jackson Cotugno Quartet

with Tim Kennedy, Stefan Schatz & Paul Gabrielson

Thu Mar 28, 7:30 PM / Seattle Jazz Fellowship- 109 S. Main St.

It has been a lot of fun to see the rise of tenor saxophonist Jackson Cotugno on the Seattle scene. The young tenorist is on a lot of gigs these days, as well as leading his own quartet. Cotugno has benefited greatly from the oral tradition in the music, putting himself in positions to play with the majority of the major voices in Seattle jazz. His sound is old, comping favorably with pre-bop masters like Coleman Hawkins and Ben Webster, but his spirit is adventurous and open minded, more taking cues from post-bop masters. 

Cotugno is building his sound and approach among some of the best players in the city. Pianist Tim Kennedy, bassist Paul Gabrielson and drummer Stefan Schatz are top tier players that set the bar high for him, a challenge he takes on with great verve. The two set evening should be swingin’, and a delve into the adventurous spirit represented by its four participants.

Omar Sosa Quarteto Americanos

Tue – Wed Mar 27 & 28, 7:30 PM / Jazz Alley

Omar Sosa has been on a fascinating musical journey for quite some time now. He has created his sound by his real life adventures in Cuba, Africa, The United States, and during the pandemic shutdown, Spain. What we haven’t witnessed for thirty years is a tour like the current one, featuring American musicians. San Francisco cats, in bassist  Ernesto Mazar Kindelan, drummer Josh Jones and saxophonist Sheldon Brown join Sosa in a band that features improvisation within jazz, latin and world forms. The performance will feature compositions from earlier in Sosa’s career, when he first arrived in San Francisco in the mid 1990’s. The ensemble more closely resembles a traditional jazz setup than in the recent past, giving newer fans a glimpse into something more experienced fans remember well from when Sosa first crossed the threshold into American jazz. His performances are always all in, honest and emotive.

Photo Credit: Jim Levitt

Susan Pascal Quartet

with Bill Anschell, Chris Symer & John Bishop

Fri – Sat Mar 29 & 30, 7:30 PM / Seattle Jazz Fellowship- 109 S. Main St. 

Vibraphonist Susan Pascal has been a strong presence in Seattle jazz for quite some time, going back to establishing herself with a lengthy residency at the now shuttered Belltown jazz spot, Tula’s. While being one of the few vibes masters around town, she has always managed to put together outstanding bands. Her status as a strong female bandleader over the past twenty years has served as quantifiable inspiration for up and coming female players. 

Pianist Bill Anschell is a major headliner in the city himself, and has performed with Pascal during the majority of her tenure as a bandleader. Drummer John Bishop is one of the most original percussion masters ever to rise in Seattle. Bassist Chris Symer is an exceptionally musical bassist, always offering melodic input into the mix aside from hanging on to the groove. Pascal’s vibe (pun intended) as a leader is one of equal partnership within the musical conversation. With these four conversationalists, it should be a fascinating narrative.

Thomas Marriott Album Release: “Live From the Heatdome”

The Thomas Marriott Quartet featuring Orrin Evans, Essiet Essiet and Mark Whitfield, Jr. play to a full house at Jazz Alley

Photo Credit: Jim Levitt

Night after night, week after week, jazz performances take place in the city of Seattle that inspire the local jazz community. They take place in clubs, dive bars, theaters and concert halls, featuring national and international jazz artists as well as prominent resident artists from the dynamic Seattle jazz scene. On occasion, an individual jazz performance serves as a signpost of things to come. The September 26 performance of the Thomas Marriott Quartet at Jazz Alley was all of the above. Marriott had assembled a stellar quartet to celebrate the release of his fourteenth album as a leader, Live From the Heatdome (Imani, 2022).

The stage at Jazz Alley has seen the best of the best since its opening in 1980 as an intimate bistro in the University District. For the first six years of the club, it was common to see an artist of international prominence perform with a supporting cast of Seattle jazzers such as Chuck Deardorf, Dean Hodges, Marc Seales and Jerry Granelli among others. After moving to its more spacious digs downtown in 1986, full touring bands were and are featured, with Seattle based performances becoming less common. Over the years, there have been periods when Monday nights were reserved for the local scene, either in the form of an individual artist’s show, or a jam session that featured top Seattle players such as Hadley Caliman and Don Lanphere. Taking on Marriott’s album release was a rarity that needed support from the Seattle jazz community. That support was received in abundance with the club nearly full house. 

Photo Credit: Jim Levitt

Marriott has had a musical connection with Philadelphia based pianist Orrin Evans since a chance meeting at a jazz festival in Idaho over a decade ago. Live From the Heat Dome is the fourth release from the trumpeter that features Evans. His appearance, along with legendary bassist Essiet Essiet and sensational drummer Mark Whitfield, Jr., gave the performance a huge kickstart, with Marriott delivering a top flight performance of original tunes and a triad of well chosen standards. 

The quartet started with Marriott’s “Tale of Debauchery,” extracted from his Urban Folklore (Origin, 2014) album that featured Evans on piano. On this evening, it served as a vehicle for Marriott to find his sound and cadence, serving up a long solo that began with longer tones and finished with a flurry of rapid fire runs. Evans, Essiet and Whitfield were immediately playful with the tune, something that would continue throughout the ninety minute set in plenitud. 

Orrin Evans and Thomas Marriott. Photo Credit: Jim Levitt

“Front Row Family,” an ode to Marriott’s uber-supportive family over the years, was a mood changer that featured his ultra refined trumpet tonality that served as a warm invite for the audience to join in the intimacy of the moment. Essiet’s solo was a telltale sign of his unique artistry, his exquisite sound framing intricate passages and chordal brilliance. Marriott for his part appeared to be just getting started, not quite unleashing the hounds, so to speak. 

“Mo-Joe,” Marriott’s homage to vibraphonist Joe Locke pushed the set forward into an uptempo, swinging foray into his post-bop, modernist leanings. His solo and that of Evans were telltale statements of their deep connection to the blues and the swing rhythm that defines the Black American art form they so ably express. Just as strongly, Evans launched into a quiet, beautifully harmonic intro to Marriott’s “Chick’s Lullaby,” serving as a beautiful interlude of quiet focus and meditative thought. In a tune dedicated to his wife, Marriott’s muted soliloquy was embracingly romantic and had a magical impact on the audience, roping them into the emotional aspect of the performance.

Photo Credit: Jim Levitt

Essiet’s thunderous intro to Wayne Shorter’s “General Assembly,” served as a passageway to melodic freedom for the quartet, with Marriott’s searing solo setting the bar high for his positively respondent bandmates. Evans has always had a percussive aspect to his playing that has supplied a degree of separation between him and the majority of pianists in modern jazz. His solo seemed to ignite Whitfield on drums, whose focused intensity and supportive dynamics were unabashedly a highlight of the entire performance. In essence, Shorter’s thunderous composition seemed to light the fuse for the next few tunes. Easing into Vernon Duke’s classic, “I Can’t Get Started,” the quartet seemed to settle into a comfortable place with Evan’s playfully daring solo and Essiet’s beautifully pensive offering leading the way. 

Jazz great Julian Priester stageside at Jazz Alley Photo Credit: Jim Levitt

“The Joint Chiefs,” which appears on Live From the Heatdome, and “Both Sides of the Fence,” the title track from Marriott’s 2007 release, operated at an elevated degree of intensity and featured Whitfield’s spirited playing. Marriott and Evans exchanged glancing blows back and forth with the young drummer, the spirited response of the near capacity crowd seemingly lifting the roof off the place. The finale, Duke Ellington’s “Things Ain’t What They Used to Be,” was a fitting ending for the band, wrapping up their fourth consecutive night on a high. The foursome had spent two nights at Frankie’s in Vancouver, followed by a night in Bellingham. They had earned their repose. 

Thomas Marriott Photo Credit: Jim Levitt

Jazz Alley has never been much of a “hang” spot after a gig since the U District days when it was all of that. This evening was an exception, with an audience that represented a broad cross-section of the Seattle jazz community. It seemed everyone wanted a piece of the trumpeter, a prime indicator of the love and respect that Marriott inspires in his home town. With community elders like Julian Priester, Jim Wilkie and Marvin Thomas in the room and many of the city’s prominent jazz musicians as well, the respect factor was plainly evident. As far as the love factor, that was something felt upon entering the room, was elevated by the performance, and expressed with warm embraces post-show. For anyone that has spent any amount of time on the Seattle jazz scene, and at Jazz Alley in particular, this was a beautiful and welcoming sight. Let’s hope it portends to a re-ignited relationship between Seattle’s best jazz musicians, and its city’s most renowned stage. 

On the hang: Thomas Marriott, Lisa Chick, Orrin Evans. Photo Credit: Jim Levitt

Live Review: The Cookers at Jazz Alley- 9/22/2021

Performance Photos by Lisa Hagen Glynn

The Cookers at Jazz Alley on 9/22/2021

The third week of September turned out to be quite the week for jazz in Seattle. On Tuesday September 21, Herbie Hancock appeared at the Paramount Theatre, performing a thrilling two hour set with bassist James Genus, flutist Elena Pinderhughes and drummer Justin Tyson. The following night, The Cookers were at Jazz Alley, and I went not only to hear some great jazz music, put to pay homage to a group of jazz elders that are hugely influential in the music I had come to be passionate about. This was personal and I wasn’t alone in that feeling. Pianist George Cables is not only one of the great jazz pianists of our time, he is a man with tremendous humility and humanity. Eddie Henderson is on the list of most underappreciated trumpeters historically, with his brilliant melodic sense and tonal elegance. Drummer Billy Hart is still, at age eight one, a force of nature. Mr. Cecil Mc Bee? The master bassist is on records I have come to treasure that date back to the early sixties. Just seeing the great McBee enjoying a glass of wine after the gig was a bit of a surreal experience in itself for an admittedly over-the-top jazz fan like myself. 

I was insistent on attending the performance as a civilian–I wanted to enjoy these master musicians without checking on a set list, without jotting down notes. I was however, accompanied by photographer Lisa Hagen Glynn, who wanted to document the event with her very fine skills as a live performance photographer. She knew the room well, so her plan of attack would no doubt bring excellent results. As you can see from the photgraphs below, that indeed was the case. 

A review might simply point out that Billy Harper is still letting it fly on tenor, that Cables is playing as well, or better than he ever has. It would state the obvious that Hart would set the pace with his physical and articulate style. It would cite McBee as the foundational impulse of the band, playing with understated elegance. It would mention that Donald Harrison would bring a bit of New Orleans with him, acting as a tonal counterpoint to Harper’s snarling, biting attack. David Weiss would fill in the gaps, solo madly and be the band’s designated spokesman. 

For the audience, there was a prominent feeling of  rebirth, that somehow through the fog of now almost two years of social isolation, these jazz apostles are still on the road, still sharing their gifts with us. We felt not only joyous, but fortunate to be sharing space with them. 

Our friend, the iconic trombonist Julian Priester, sat at a table right up against stage left. It occured to me that three members of Hancock’s Mwandishi Band would be in the house, after having seen Hancock the night before. Priester was there unbeknowst to his Mwandishi brothers, Hart and Henderson. As the Cookers were being announced and entering the stage, Hart spotted Priester and got down on his knees to lean over the stage and embrace his old friend. The emotion of the moment was only surpassed by its beauty. 

Julian Priester (L) and Bill Hart (R)    Lisa Hagen Glynn photo

The hang is always the thing–an unequivocal fact in the jazz community, that somehow felt even more relevant that evening. To be seated with Priester, Hart and Henderson, or sharing a drink with McBee is an honor. Young musicians, such as saxophonist Jackson Cotugno, were able to meet and briefly chat with these legendary and historic musicians. That generational bridge is always something wonderful to behold. 

As for my friend Lisa Hagen Glynn, she captured the energy of the evening perfectly. Many, many thanks to her for sharing this treasure trove of jazz history with us. You can catch and support her fine work covering the music scene in Seattle, both inside jazz and out, at her new blogsite

Tenor saxophonist Billy Harper and bassist Cecil McBee      Lisa Hagen Glynn photo

The great Billy Hart                            Lisa Hagen Glynn photo 

Alto saxophonist Donald Harrison       Lisa Hagen Glynn photo

Bassist, the great Cecil McBee           Lisa Hagen Glynn photo

George Cables with the Cookers at Jazz Alley, 9/22/2021          Lisa Hagen Glynn photo
L to R- George Cables, Billy Harper, David Weiss, Eddie Henderson, Cecil McBee, Donald Harrison, Billy Hart  at Jazz Alley 9/22/2021         LIsa Hagen Glynn photo
Cecil McBee (bass) and Eddie Henderson (trumpet)     Lisa Hagen Glynn photo
Billy Hart drum solo at Jazz Alley with the Cookers- 9/22/2021    Lisa Hagen Glynn photo
Dr. Eddie Henderson        Lisa Hagen Glynn photo

The great George Cables       Lisa Hagen Glynn photo

Mwandishi brothers- Julian Priester, Billy Hart, Eddie Henderson       Ken Steiner 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

Photo Review: Marc Seales Quintet at Jazz Alley- 8/17/2021

Pianist Marc Seales. Lisa Hagen Glynn photo

One of the recent positive marks on the Seattle jazz scene is that Jazz Alley, the city’s premier spot for touring acts, has been featuring some resident artists. The shows have been well attended, featuring iconic Seattle artists such as Greta Matassa, Marc Seales, Thomas Marriott and Delvon Lamarr. 

The Seattle jazz community has been well documented in recent years photographically, thanks in large part to veteran jazz photog, Jim Levitt. Long known for his work for the Ballard Jazz Festival, Seattle Repertory Jazz Orchestra and Jazz Port Townsend, Levitt can often be found at a gig near you. He may be hiding behind a curtain, or slithering along the ground like a shutterbug snake. He may find the empty chair at your table, taking a few shots before disappearing again, toting his stuffed to the gills bag of camera equipment. 

Levitt has mentored the next gen photog on the scene, Lisa Hagen Glynn, who as well can often be found working around stages and audiences in several genres of the city music scene, most notably the jazz world where she typically resides. Her initial interest in photographing jazz performances came by attending gigs played by her husband, Seattle first call bassist, Michael Glynn. She has a unique, perhaps innate sense of the moment, often catching musicians at the height of their emotional arc. Her remarkable ability to seem almost invisible, yet find superior angles to shoot, makes her work stand out much in the way of her mentor. Many thanks to Jim and Lisa for bringing the music to life in pictures. 

L to R- guitarist Jesse Seales, drummer Moyes Lucas, bassist Jeff Johnson, pianist Marc Seales and trumpeter Thomas Marriott. Lisa Hagen Glynn photo’

The tall stranger- bassist Jeff Johnson. Lisa Hagen Glynn photo

Thomas Marriott on flugelhorn. Lisa Hagen Glynn photo

Marc Seales and Thomas Marriott. Jim Levitt photo

Jeff Johnson and Marc Seales. Jim Levitt photo

The always expressive Marc Seales. Jim Levitt photo

Drummer Moyes Lucas. Lisa Hagen Glynn photo.

Guitarist Jesse Seales and drummer Moyes Lucas. Lisa Hagen Glynn photo

Marc Seales Quintet at Jazz Alley

All eyes on the leader. Jim Levitt photo

Tuesday Jazz

TULA’S JAZZ CLUB: Music Works Big Band

JAZZ ALLEY: Ed Reed and the Peck Allmond Quartet

NEW ORLEANS: Holotradband

7pm – Boston to Austin, with Liz Stahler and Brianna Lane
9pm – Victor Noriega Trio Plus 2, with Victor Noriega (piano), Jay Thomas (horns), Mark Taylor (alto sax), Willie Blair (bass) and Kassa Overall (drums)

DEXTER AND HAYES: Tim Kennedy Trio


MIX: Don Mock, Steve Kim & Charlie Nordstrom

OWL ‘N THISTLE: Jam Session

Saturday Jazz

TULA’S JAZZ CLUB: Susan Pascal Quartet

JAZZ ALLEY: Earl Klugh


7pm – Island Jazz Quintet, Maggie Laird (vocals/melodica), Richard Person (trumpet/flugelhorn), Tom Wilkins (piano), Todd Zimberg (drums), Todd Gowers (bass)
9pm – Steve Korn Group with Steve Korn (drums), Mark Taylor (sax), Marc Seales (piano) and John Hamar (bass)

Good Shepherd Center, 4649 Sunnyside Ave N, 8pm

SERAFINA: Leo Raymundo w/ Sue Nixon

GRAZIE: Michael Powers Group

BAKE’S PLACE: Kelley Johnson Quartet

SORRENTO HOTEL: Katy Bourne Trio

PAMPAS ROOM: Brian Nova w/ Stephanie Porter

Sunday Jazz

BUDDY CATLETT FUNDRAISER: The Pampas Room under El Gaucho.
5:00pm – 11:00pm. 90 Wall St., Belltown.

SEATTLE DRUM SCHOOL: Byron Vannoy’s Meridian
12510 15th Ave NE, Seattle, WA 98125, Tel:(206)364-8815

JAZZ ALLEY: Robben Ford

3:00pm: Jazz Police
8:00pm: Jim Cutler Jazz Orchestra

BAKE’S PLACE: Pearl Django

TRIPLE DOOR MUSICQUARIUM: Sunday Night Salsa: Fred Hoadley Trio


11am – 1:30pm: Jazz Brunch with the Conlin Roser Duo
6:30 – 9:00pm: Jerry Frank Solo Piano

La SPIGA: Gail Pettis Trio

Saturday Jazz

TULA’S JAZZ CLUB: Andrienne Wilson Farewell Concert

JAZZ ALLEY: Robben Ford


BAKE’S PLACE: Karin Plato Quartet

7pm – Student Loan. Julio Appling (bass/vocals), Liz Chibucos (guitar/violin/vocals), Mark Gerolami (banjo/guitar/vocals) and Chad Kimbler (mandolin/vocals)
9pm – Elise Kloter w/ Karin Kajita
11pm – Rachel Bade-McMurphy Quartet. Rachel Bade-McMurphy (vocals/sax/composer) and Brendan McMurphy (trumpet/drums)

SERAFINA: Jazzuhka

GRAZIE: Andre Thomas and Quiet Fire

PAMPAS ROOM: Brian Nova Quartet

Sunday Jazz

The Pony Boy Jazz Picnic is the biggest game in town today…sure hope you don’t need a last minute sub for those other gigs!

Sandpoint Magnuson Park Amphitheatre, 7400 Sandpoint Way, NE, Seattle. For more information visit the Pony Boy Records website. (See previous post.)

JAZZ ALLEY: Chuck Mangione

3:00pm: Reggie Goings / Hadley Caliman
8:00pm: Jim Cutler Jazz Orchestra



11am – 1:30pm: Jazz Brunch with the Conlin Roser Duo
6:30 – 9:00pm: Ann Reynolds / Tobi Stone Duo

La SPIGA: Makini and the Killer Bees

KWJZ JAZZ BRUNCH CRUISE: Susan Pascal Quartet, 12-2pm.
More info: 206-623-1445

Saturday Jazz

3:00 – Andrienne Wilson Vocal Showcase
8:30 – Greta Matassa Quartet

JAZZ ALLEY: Chuck Mangione

BAKE’S PLACE: Jeanie Bryson Quartet

SORRENTO HOTEL: Katy Bourne w/ Hans Brehmer and Chuck Kistler
900 Madison St., Seattle, 206-622-6400


7pm and 9pm- Overton Berry Trio CD Release Party

SERAFINA: Leo Raymundo w/ Sue Nixon

GRAZIE: Blues Union

PAMPAS ROOM: Brian Nova Quartet w/ Stephanie Porter

Friday Jazz

TULA’S JAZZ CLUB: Katie King Quartet

JAZZ ALLEY: Chuck Mangione

TRIPLE DOOR MAINSTAGE: Cuchata and Nationbeat (world music)

7pm – Dylan Heaney Group, with Dylan Heaney (sax), Andy Coe (guitar), Keith Judelman (bass) and Phil Parisot (drums)
9pm – Like Minds, jazz guitar duo with Greg Glassman and Ron Peters

HIROSHI’S: Gene Argel / Jay Thomas / Greg Williamson

LATONA PUB: Phil Sparks / Leif Todasek

SERAFINA: Jose Gonzales Trio

GRAZIE: Blues Union

PAMPAS ROOM: Brian Nova Quartet

Thursday Jazz

TULA’S JAZZ CLUB: Greta Matassa Vocal Workshop

7pm – Sunship, with Brian Heaney (guitar), Michael Monhart (saxophone), David Revelli (drums), Andrew Luthringer (bass) and Stuart Dempster (trombone)
9pm – Tom Baker Quartet, with Tom Baker (guitar and fretless guitar), Greg Cambell (drums), Jesse Canterbury (clarinet) and Brian Cobb (bass)

JAZZ ALLEY: Holly Cole


NEW ORLEANS: The Ham Carson Quintet

ASTEROID CAFE: Tim Kennedy & Friends

THAIKU: Jon Alberts / Jeff Johnson / Tad Britton

LO-FI: The Teaching


MAY: Hans Teuber Trio

Wednesday Jazz

JAZZ ALLEY: Umalali: The Garifuna Women’s Project

TRIPLE DOOR MUSICQUARIUM: Monarch Duo / Ramana Viera

TULA’S JAZZ CLUB: The Teaching w/ Jeremy Jones, Josh Rawlings, Evan Flory-Barnes

NEW ORLEANS: The Legend Band w/ Clarence Acox

GALLERY 1412: More Zero w/ Chris Stover, Jeff Norwood, Ben Thomas,  Matt Jorgensen, Stuart McDonald

THAIKU: Ron Weinstein Trio

7pm – Beth Wulff (piano) and Jim Wulff (vocals/drums)
9pm – Vocal jazz jam session

WHISKEY BAR: Ronnie Pierce

Tuesday Jazz

JAZZ ALLEY: Phoebe Snow

TULA’S JAZZ CLUB: Jay Thomas Big Band

NEW ORLEANS: Holotradband


7pm – Chuck Ogmund Quintet, with Hans Brehmer (piano), Chris Symer (bass), Patty Padden (drums) and Tony Rondolone (sax).

MIX: Don Mock, Steve Kim & Charlie Nordstrom


Anything else? As always, send us a note and let us know!

Sunday Jazz

JAZZ ALLEY: Lee Ritenour and Friends with Patrice Rushen, Melvin Davis and Will Kennedy

3:00pm: Easy Street Jazz Band
8:00pm: Jim Cutler Jazz Orchestra

TRIPLE DOOR MUSICQUARIUM: Sunday Night Salsa: Rumbeggae


11am – 1:30pm: Jazz Brunch with the Conlin Roser Duo
6:30 – 9:00pm: Ann Reynolds / Tobi Stone Duo

La SPIGA: Gail Pettis Trio

BUMBERSHOOT: today and Monday. For more information, visit

For more info, visit
11:30 – Pocket Change
1:00 – Clarenence Acox
2:30 – Jeanie Bryson
4:30 – Dr. Lonnie Smith
8:00- Anacortes Jazz Walk w/ Joe Doria, Fidalgo Swing, Bassic Sax

Saturday Jazz

Start early and get to at least one thing on this long list today!

JAZZ ALLEY: Lee Ritenour and Friends with Patrice Rushen, Melvin Davis and Will Kennedy

BAKE’S PLACE: Crossing Borders featuring Jennifer Scott and Kristen Strom


TULA’S JAZZ CLUB: Isabella du Graf Quartet

7pm – Eric Apoe and Baby Gramps
9pm – Shauna Wu (vocals) and Randy Halberstadt (piano)
11pm – Gryphon, with Brian Murray on (vox/rhythm guitar), Ben “Mudslide” Davis (lead guitar), Jake Melius (bass) and Pax Allen on (drums)

SERAFINA: Jose Gonzales Trio

GRAZIE: Greta Matassa

PAMPAS ROOM: Brian Nova Quartet w/ Fred Radke

ANACORTES JAZZ FESTIVAL: today, Sunday and Monday.
For more info, visit
11:30 – Trish Hatley
1:00 – Doug Wamble and Bill Frisell
2:30 – SRJO
4:30 – Kevin Mahogany
6:00 – The Pony Boy All-Star Mini Big Band
9:00- Anacortes Jazz Walk w/ Dina Blade, Tom Marriott, Dan Heck, Ryan Burns, Lee Pence, Frankly Moanin’, Cambalache

Oh, and there’s that other big music festival this weekend. What was the name of that again? Right. Bumbershoot (

Sunday Jazz

JAZZ ALLEY: Count Basie Orchestra

TRIPLE DOOR MUSICQUARIUM: Sunday Night Salsa: Salsariba

3:00pm: Fairly Honest Jazz Band
8:00pm: Jim Cutler Jazz Orchestra

TUTTA BELLA WALLINGFORD: Miss Rose and Her Rhythm Percolators

11am – 1:30pm: Jazz Brunch with the Conlin Roser Duo
6:30 – 9:00pm: Jerry Frank solo piano

La SPIGA: Eli Rosenblatt solo guitar 

Gallery 1412: Monsters of the Accordian, master class, 12:30pm

Saturday Jazz

It’s like the Jazz Olympics today.

TULA’S JAZZ CLUB: Kelley Johnson Quartet

JAZZ ALLEY: Count Basie Orchestra


7pm – Rupert Wates and Kate Graves
9pm – Vocal Jazz and Latin music from Finn Hill Jazz, featuring Kay Bailey, with Rob Silver (guitar), Peter Rockas (tenor sax), Jamael Nance (drums) and Will Stump (bass)
11pm – Jim Knodle and The Distract Band (plus special guests), with Jim Knodle (trumpet), Mike Dodge (tenor sax), Mike Owcharuk (piano), Nate Omdal (bass) and Don Berman (drums) [

SERAFINA: Voodoo Trio

GRAZIE: Michael Powers Group

BAKE’S PLACE: Amandah Jantzen Quartet

PAMPAS ROOM: Brian Nova w/Mike West

VERRAZANOS: Katy Bourne w/Randy Halberstadt and Doug Miller
28835 Pacific Highway S., Federal Way, 253-946-4122

GALLERY 1412: Unused Lexical Variable

1:00 Floss featuring Zachary Watkins
2:30 Reptet
4:00 Aram Shelton + Special O.P.S.
5:30 Ahamefule J. Oluo and the New seattle Brass Ensemble
7:00 The Wally Shoup Free Three

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

Sunday Jazz

JAZZ ALLEY: Habib Koite and Bamada

TRIPLE DOOR MUSICQUARIUM: Sunday Night Salsa: Rhythm Syndicate

3:00pm: Jay Thomas Big Band
8:00pm: Jim Cutler Jazz Orchestra

TUTTA BELLA WALLINGFORD: Miss Rose and Her Rhythm Percolators

11am – 1:30pm: Jazz Brunch with the Conlin Roser Duo
6:30 – 9:00pm: Ann Reynolds and Tobi Stone

La SPIGA: Leif Totusek Duo

MT. HOOD JAZZ FESTIVAL: Matt Jorgensen +451, Gresham, Oregon. 2-3pm.