Seattle Jazz Fellowship: One Small Step at Vermillion, One Giant Step for the Seattle Jazz Scene

Xavier Lecouturier Group performs at the first Seattle Jazz Fellowship “Fellowship Wednesday” event, at Vermillion Art Bar.Matt Williams, vibes;Noah Halpern, trumpet;Martin Budde, guitar;Dylan Hayes, piano;Xavier Lecouturier, drums;  Jinm Levitt photo

History and historical change happens incrementally. An able writer could expound exponentially about the life changes that added up to Louis Armstrong being the first great messenger of jazz music, step by step, before ever mentioning Duke Ellington. In the history of jazz in Seattle, one evening last week has the huge potential of being the first incremental phase of live, local jazz moving forward in the new jazz century, in such a way that allows more meaningful access for the fans, and a creative outlet for artists that compensates them fairly. It has the potential of uniting in a meaningful way, the musicians of this very social art form, and the patrons that support it. For those patrons, it as well allows them to put their hard earned dollars more directly into the musician’s pockets, impacting the creative process in such a way that positively leads to innovation in the music itself. For those of us who love the music, and see it as an integral part of our lives and culture, October 20, 2021 is the date where a giant step was taken towards a goal of vibrance and stability for the Seattle jazz scene. It was the first live incarnation of the Seattle Jazz Fellowship, and its weekly affair at Vermillion on Capitol Hill.

Trumpeter Thomas Marriott welcomes the audience to the first “Fellowship Wednesday” at Vermillion Art Bar, on behalf of the Seattle Jazz Fellowship. Jim Levitt photo

Trumpeter Thomas Marriott, one of the most impactful jazz musicians in recent Seattle memory, has envisioned a movement like this for a number of years. During the deepest, darkest days of the Covid-19 pandemic, he put his ideas on paper, effectively charting the future for post-pandemic, live, resident jazz in Seattle. With the eventual goal being a five night a week venture in a permanent home, the Seattle Jazz Fellowship has taken its first incremental step towards that goal, forming a Wednesday night partnership with Vermillion, an art gallery and bar that has mainly hosted music from the city’s avant-garde and improvised music community. Marriott purchased a piano and a PA system, and began operations in Vermillion’s brick lined digs. The room is quite vibrant acoustically, and the music was able to take place without electronic assistance with the exception of light amplification for bass and electric keyboards. The piano was not mic’d. 

The Marc Seales Group opens the first Seattle Jazz Fellowship “Fellowship Wednesday” event, at Vermillion Art Bar. Thomas Marriott, trumpet; Marc Seales, keyboards; Chuck Deardorf, bass; Gary Hobbs, drums;

As a 501(c)3 non-profit, the fellowship cannot charge a cover, but has a twenty dollar suggested donation that includes two sets of music from the best Seattle jazz has to offer. The programming however, actually starts in the afternoon at 5 PM, with a free listening event designed for students and jazz fans alike. Historic trombonist and jazz icon, Julian Priester, spends an hour playing albums he appears on, and discusses the historical aspects of that recording. Mr. Priester has appeared on albums and toured with Max Roach, Abbey Lincoln, John Coltrane, Sun Ra, Herbie Hancock, Duke Ellington and more. His own records on ECM and Riverside will be explored as well. 

On his first go-around, Priester played and expounded on his 1960 Riverside date, Keep Swingin’, and shared wonderful stories about his time with such greats as Roach, Lincoln, and Tommy Flanagan. To sit in a quiet room, talking about a session that took place over sixty years ago with one of the participants was magical, an opportunity not to be missed. Unfortunately, the audience consisted of twenty six musicians, and not a single high school student. The hope is certainly that students will begin to take advantage of this rare opportunity to share time with Priester.

Gary Hiobbs (d), Chuck Deardorf (b)        Jim Levitt photo

At 7 PM, the club opened officially for an hour of hang time prior to the first set. Vermillion had been shuttered since the beginning of the pandemic, and it took a little work to create the space the event required. Many familiar faces checked in, as well as many new, young faces, all covered in masks. Vaccination ID was checked at the door, adding a layer of social comfort to the event. 

Xavier Lecouturier         Jim Levitt photo

From the first note, the room was resonant, the sound projecting out of the bar, and down the long corridor that is the art gallery. People walking through the front door could hear the acoustical brilliance of the room, with the piano of Marc Seales coloring the sound with gorgeous voicings. Drummer Gary Hobbs, up from Portland for the evening, chimed in at first, and then dug in, being his usual swinging self. So appropriately, bassist Chuck Deardorf was on the gig, and sounding better than ever, literally. Deardorf has been a first-call musician in this town since the early seventies, playing often at clubs like the original Jazz Alley in the U District, Parnell’s, The Rainbow and the Pioneer Banque, all of which are swept away into the dustbin of history. Marriott’s trumpet sound was in perfect tune with the physical aspects of the room, his resonant tone rising and projecting immensely. The quartet was in perfect tune with the human vibe in the room, as fifty people filled the tiny, brick lined digs at the Capitol Hill club. 

Noah Halpern                           Jim Levitt photo

A short break between sets provided more time for people to enjoy the fellowship of community, in many cases, greeting long time friends not seen since the pandemic shut down live music eighteen months ago. The diversity of the crowd itself was stunning in terms of age–being so indicative of the long term multi-generational nature of jazz scenes around the globe. Those attracted are not done so by generational trends, or corporatized marketing. The music is the thing, the appreciation of beauty, the immersion into something that elevates us emotionally and spiritually. There were no expensive dinners to buy, no craft cocktails required. Hungry patrons took advantage of Mario’s across the street. Vermillion owner Diana Adams provided drinks and friendly service. It was obvious she was there for the art, the music itself, just as everyone else in her bar. 

Xavier Lecouturier (d), Matt Williams (v), Noah Halpern (t)

Drummer/composer Xavier Lecouturier led his quartet the second set, a bassless ensemble that morphed into a quintet with the last minute addition of trumpeter Noah Halpern. Some of the usual suspects were on the gig, with Meridian Odyssey bandmates Martin Budde (guitar), and Dylan Hayes (piano, keyboards). Vibraphonist Matt Williams, known more prominently as a pianist, but as well highly skilled on vibes, completed the band. With the bassline maintained collectively by Hayes, Budde and Halpern, soloists were free to explore with less visible and audible parameters, creating a unique, orchestral sound. Halpern’s ardent tonality was rich and warm, giving the evening an extraoridinary two trumpet hit. Budde’s playing was free, probing yet thoughtful, as his evolution continues to unfold before us. Lecouturier acted as a leader should, often kicking rhe music in another direction with his confident playing that embraces the entirety of the jazz tradition. Noticeable of course, was like the audience, the group of musicians playing that evening spanned four generations. If you include Priester into the mix, there was sixty five years of separation between the most highly regarded elder, and the youngest player on the gig. There is beauty and value in that beyond measure. 

Guitarist Martin Budde                          Jim Levitt photo

The Seattle Jazz Fellowship could not have hoped for a better result the first time out of the gate. The evening was competing with the Earshot Jazz Festival and Jazz Alley, and received an audience that was attentive, mature, joyous, engaged and aware of the value of masking and being vaccinated. The music was thrilling, the vibe generous and positive and our hosts at Vermillion, kind, helpful and all in on the music.

Gary Hobbs (d), Thomas Marriott (t)

The Seattle Jazz Fellowship offers a weekly opportunity to show your support for local Seattle jazz, hear vibrant and important music and gather in fellowship with friends. Best of all, it won’t cost you half your weekly paycheck to attend. It is an organization for the music, and the community that embraces it. Musicians and patrons alike are equal partners in this most social music. October 20, 2021, mark it down. It is step one of a journey that very well could determine the future of the Seattle jazz scene. https://seattlejazzfellowship.org/


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 https://hardlyraining.com

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

The Jazz Hang: Ship Canal Grill

By Katy Bourne

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The Ship Canal Grill is Eastlake’s newest live music venue and jazz-friendly hang spot. I was making the rounds the other evening and decided to pop in and check out the scene.

The Ship Canal Grill is situated on Eastlake Ave., just southwest of the University Bridge and a beat away from the large intersection at Eastlake and Harvard Ave, where I-5 towers overhead. The spacious room is sleek and modern, with a slight industrial feel. Big windows look out on the busy street. There is an ample stage with tasteful lighting. Serving as a backdrop is a large quirky mural that includes figures from Seattle history sitting together on a girder that floats above Lake Union. There was a pile of instrument cases next to the stage.

I dropped in for the Wednesday night jam session, which is hosted by Jay Thomas and the Cantaloupes. The band featured Jay Thomas on sax and trumpet, Chuck Kistler on bass, Adam Kessler on drums and Gus Carns subbing for John Hansen on keys. The jam, which is all ages, included both student musicians and professionals from the Seattle jazz community. Thomas has a nice touch as host and the vibe is upbeat and friendly. Although the room is mostly hard surfaces with very little to absorb the sound, the acoustics were surprisingly good. The crowd was mixed: couples on dates, families and a host of folks hanging out at the bar. Most people seemed to be there for the jam. I might add that I counted at least three television sets positioned throughout the room. All of them were on but, mercifully, the sound was muted.

Mark Taylor at Ship Canal Grill The Ship Canal Grill has a full bar and a Mediterranean-leaning menu that includes an appealing assortment of appetizers, sandwiches and entrees. There are a variety of options for vegetarians. The bar offers a nice selection of wines, beer (bottled and draft) cocktails and non-alcoholic drinks. They serve $4 mojitos and margaritas all day. I would describe the service as aloof. My waiter brought me my drink but never came back to my table after that. In fact, I had to hunt him down to get my check. That was the only negative in an otherwise pleasant experience.

The Ship Canal Grill has live music several nights a week. Weekday Happy Hours are from 4-6pm and after 9pm. There is free parking in the adjacent garage. I was also able to easily find street parking close to the restaurant. For more information about the Ship Canal Grill, check out www.shipcanalgrill.com.

Rising Stars at Bake’s – The Yesberger Band

The Yesberger Band at Bake’s Place
Friday, July 29. 7:45pm

Bake’s Place continues its “Rising Stars” series this weekend with a featured performance from “The Yesberger Band.”

Pianist Devon Yesberger is the prodigy of the Edmonds-Woodway High School jazz program and is presently enrolled in the Berklee School of Music. While performing with Edmonds-Woodway, Devon was a finalist for the Gibson-Baldwin Grammy Jazz Ensemble and was also a participant in the All-Northwest Jazz program. The Yesberger Band includes fellow Berklee classmates Spencer Stewart on bass and Gabriel Smith on drums. Rooted in the jazz tradition, the trio playfully infuses elements of pop into their music and performs original compositions that convey a message of universal love and the “euphoric expression of self.” The Yesberger Band will appear at Bake’s Place this Friday, July 29.

“Rising Stars” showcases up and coming jazz young jazz artists from the Northwest and a features some of the brightest musicians and vocalists entering the national music scene today. Bake’s is dedicated to supporting these new artists and in providing them an opportunity to play. This is the second summer for the series.

For this performance, dinner services starts at 6pm and showtime is 7:45pm. For reservations, call 425-391-3335 or send an email to [email protected]. For more information, please visit the www.bakesplace.org.

Rising Stars at Bake’s Place: The Mulherkar-Clausen Quintet

FRIDAY, JULY 22 – 7:30PM – BAKE’S PLACE
The Mulherkar-Clausen Quintet

BAKE’S PLACE
4135 Providence Point Dr SE, Issaquah, 425-391-3335, 7:30pm

Bake’s Place recently announced the launch of the “Rising Stars” concert series, which showcases up and coming young musicians from the Pacific Northwest. The region is home to some of the most outstanding high school jazz programs in the nation and has long been the starting point for some of the brightest musicians breaking into the scene today. Although many of these artists are busy with their musical studies and blooming careers, Bake’s offers an open door and an opportunity to play when their travels bring them back to the area. “We are dedicated to supporting these exciting, young musicians,” say club owner Craig Baker.

The series kicks off this Friday with the Mulherkar-Clausen Quintet led by Juilliard classmates Riley Mulherkar and Andy Clausen.

Riley Mulherkar is a prodigy of the prestigious Garfield High School jazz program. Described by the New Yorker as a “brilliant teen-aged trumpeter,” Mulherkar is already making a name for himself. He has been recognized by Downbeat Magazine and also received the “Ella Fitzgerald Outstanding Soloist” award at the 2010 Essentially Ellington Competition in New York City. He has shared the stage with the likes of Wynton Marsalis, Benny Golson, Jimmy Heath, Paquito D’Rivera and Roy Hargrove and has performed nationally and internationally at such festivals as Umbria Jazz Festival, Jazz a Vienne, Lionel Hampton Jazz Festival and the Reno Jazz Festival. In August, Riley will be joining fellow Julliard students for a tour of Brazil as part of Julliard’s Student Outreach program. He will be performing in collaboration with other jazz musicians as well as actors and actresses.

Trombonist/composer Andy Clausen has enjoyed an equally impressive trajectory. He rose through the ranks of the acclaimed Roosevelt High School jazz program. At just 14 years of age, Andy was already writing original compositions and leading his own sextet, which played throughout the Seattle area. In 2009, he was named as the “Emerging Artist of the Year” by Earshot Jazz and in that same year, also won the Gerald Wilson Award for Jazz Composition from the Monterey Jazz Festival. The Andy Clausen Large Ensemble has also garnered high praise; the New York Times hailed the band as “sleek, dynamic large group jazz.”  Andy has performed in across the U.S. as well as in Italy, France, Austria, Slovenia and Croatia. His compositions have been performed by Winton Marsalis and recorded by Cuong Vu.

Riley and Andy recently completed their freshmen year at Juilliard and have joined forces to front their own quintet, which is presently touring throughout the Northwest. Rounding out the band are Gus Carns on piano, Mark Hunter on bass and D’Vonne Lewis on drums.

For this performance, dinner service starts at 6pm. Showtime is 7:45pm.  Reservations can be made by calling 425-391-3335 or by sending an email to [email protected]. Early reservations are highly recommended.

Jazz Hang: Tangabrazo. Wow!

by Katy Bourne

As a writer, it is sometimes very difficult to capture the riveting loveliness of an experience and translate it into mere words. This is the dilemma that I am confronted with now as I attempt to write about a very enchanting band that I had the pleasure of hearing last night at Bake’s Place. I am talking about Ben Thomas and his magical group Tangabrazo.

As the name suggests, Tangabrazo plays tango music or, more specifically, the three main styles of tango dance music: tango, milonga and waltz. Although the band typically plays for dances, this show was a rare opportunity to perform in a distinctly listening venue. As such, the group was able to delve into more improvisation and also to expand its repertoire to include modern arrangements more suited for listening, as well as original compositions.

Tangabrazo features bandleader Ben Thomas on bandoneon, vibraphones and cajon, Alex Chadsey on piano, Jeff Norwood on bass and Eric Rynes on violin. There is some serious musical firepower in this collective of musicians. Individually, each has deep and impressive resumes that would take several blog posts to cover. However, while I in no way diminish the mastery of these musicians, the thing that made this band tick for me was the spirit and reverence that they brought to the music.

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Shout Out: Jazz Now! Seattle

By Katy Bourne

It is with great enthusiasm that I send a virtual high five and a holler out to Seattle jazz musicians Jason Parker and Dave Marriott for their spanking new podcast Jazz Now! Seattle. Jazz Now! Seattle is a weekly podcast that features music from local artists in the Seattle community. The mission of the podcast is twofold: (1) To put the spotlight on Seattle musicians and their projects and to help publicize their performances. (2) To present the thriving Seattle jazz scene to the rest of the world. Now in its fifth week, Jazz Now! Seattle has already been downloaded 1000 times

Jason and Dave are working jazz musicians and both have backgrounds in broadcasting. Jason is a trumpeter, blogger, bandleader and one half of the production and booking company J & J Music. Jason worked in radio for several years and is the former musical director for KMTT radio in Seattle. He is an occasional guest host on KPLU. Dave is an award-winning trombonist and plays with a variety of groups including the Seattle Repertory Jazz Orchestra, the Emerald City Jazz Orchestra and his own band Septology. Dave was also the force behind the “original” Seattle jazz podcast “Seattle JazzScene.” Jason and Dave combine their experience and knowledge with sheer enthusiasm to create podcasts that offer a unique view of Seattle jazz. They highlight music from “every corner of the jazz spectrum in Seattle.”  So far, the podcasts have included a wide-range of music from artists such as Richard Cole, Wayne Horvitz, Matt Jorgenson, McTuff, Zubatto Syndicate, Gail Pettis, Nelda Swiggett and many, many more. The podcasts are presently focused on artists that are appearing in the Earshot Jazz Festival, which runs until November 7th. In Dave’s words, “We’re both fans of the scene that we’re a part of.”

Jason and Dave record new episodes every Monday and spend the rest of the week editing and also going through music for future podcasts. For two musicians who already have their hands in numerous other ventures, their efforts on behalf of the local scene are amazing. While it would be easier to stay focused solely on their own pursuits, Jason and Dave choose to cheer on other artists and help them get attention for their music. Jason and Dave are true ambassadors for Seattle jazz, and our community is all the better for it. If you haven’t already, I highly recommend checking out Jazz Now! Seattle. While you’re at it, maybe send a message of thanks to Jason and Dave for their time, work and generosity. They deserve it.

“We’ve figured out a way to make something that’s going to be a good contribution.”
– Dave Marriott

For more information, visit: http://jazznowseattle.com/

Bad Monkey Bistro: Live Jazz in South Lake Union


Situated between the glittering high rises of the downtown core and the busy waters of Lake Union, the South Lake Union neighborhood is Seattle’s new mecca for contemporary urban living. With all the hustle and bustle there, it is the perfect location for a spanking new live music venue; welcome the Bad Monkey Bistro

Last Friday, my teenage son Emmett and I dropped by to check things out. We had just come from the last day performances of the University of Washington jazz workshop and were looking to grab a bite to eat. The room was popping with activity and felt immediately inviting. We landed during happy hour; the bar was full of cheerful, chatting patrons, and a pianist was playing away in the dining room, where we were seated.

The layout of the space allows it to successfully accommodate both sports fans and music lovers; this is certainly not easy to do, and many establishments fail at this particular kind of multi-tasking. As you walk in, there is a sports bar with high tables and stools to the immediate right. Straight on is the dining room with traditional tables and chairs and also the piano. Adjacent to the bar is an enclosed room-the “Socialing Lounge”- with leather chairs and a fireplace. On the other side of the bar is an area with a pool table. Both the bar and the Socialing Lounge have large, flat screen TV’s, which were turned on but with the sound muted. I appreciated the respect shown to Martin Ross, who happened to be the pianist working that set. Although the bar was very busy, it in no way detracted from the music. I felt like the balance was well executed. Hats off to Bad Monkey for that.

The musical setting at the Bad Monkey is a combination of piano bar and jazz joint. The glass top on the table with surrounding stools certainly indicates the former. Martin Ross played a variety of music from “Popsicle Toes” to Tom Wait’s boozy anthem “My Piano Has Been Drinking.” While we were having dinner, a trio of giggling women came in and sat around the piano. Ross engaged them accordingly, mixing song with playful banter. Bad Monkey has live music a few nights a week. They have two sets; a 4-7pm set for happy hour and an 8-11pm set for the dinner service. In addition to solo piano, they present jazz combos from a variety of genres, with or without vocalists, depending on the particular group.

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The owners of the Bad Monkey Bistro are Daniel Poe Gale and Christopher Williams. Even though he was clearly busy taking care of customers, Daniel kindly took a few minutes to chat it up with us. He told us a little bit about the history of the building, which used to be an office for a paper manufacturing company. When they were remodeling the space, they used much of the original wood, especially in the bar area. We talked a little bit about the music; Daniel is clearly a piano aficionado and is very enthusiastic about the potential of the room and about musical things to come. (Sidebar: It came up in the conversation that Emmett plays guitar and performs with his own jazz group. Daniel offered him a gig on the spot. I found his openness surprising yet refreshing.) There is no question that he is committed to creating a welcoming scene for live jazz at the Bad Monkey. You gotta love that.

Our dinner was yummy. I had the smoked salmon pasta, which was creamy and smooth and full of lightly cooked, fresh vegetables. Emmett had the calamari stuffed with artichoke, garlic and crab, which he gobbled up in mere minutes. Our waitress was sweet and laid back. The Bad Monkey experience is probably best done when you’re in the mood to kick back, relax and hang awhile. The vibe seems to lend itself to that, and that’s just fine.

The Bad Monkey Bistro is located at 400 Boren Ave. N., Seattle, WA 98109, on the corner of Boren and Harrison. Please note that it can be slightly tricky to find because there are actually two Boren Avenues that run parallel to each other. Construction in the area can add to the confusion. However, don’t let this dissuade for one minute. There are directions on the website (http://www.badmonkeybistro.com/), and once you arrive, there is plenty of available street parking. The Bad Money Bistro is open daily from 10am to 2am, serving lunch, dinner and late night bites. There is a happy hour menu as well. Phone is 206-467-1111.

By Katy Bourne

The Jazz Hang: Sandy Cressman & Homage to Brazil

Sandy Cressman

Sandy Cressman is a San Francisco jazz vocalist, who has devoted the majority of her career to the study and performance of Brazilian music. This Saturday, Sandy will be appearing at  along with the Jovino Santos Neto Trio and together they will perform her Homage to Brazil- a “musical journey through the world of Brazilian jazz” at Bake’s Place. Earlier this week, I had the pleasure of interviewing Sandy about her career and about Brazilian music. She was warm and engaging and clearly very passionate about what she does. The following are excerpts from our conversation:

It is clear from your bio that you’ve had a natural affinity for Brazilian music almost your entire life. What about it resonates with you?

In knew the first time I heard it, there was something about the passionate nature of the music that was appealing. Performing it myself really suited my own personal expression. Early on in junior high, I heard a girl sing Sergio Mendes’s hit “Mas Que Nada” and it totally floored me.  I didn’t know how to go out and seek the music at that time. But by the time I was into college and into jazz, I heard it again…..Tania Maria, Flora Purim….and was really excited. One time I was at a Pat Metheny concert, and the music that was playing on the break was so beautiful that I walked to the soundboard to find out who it was. It was Ivan Lins. I went out and bought as much as his music as I could.

Later, I was on touring Japan with a Japanese group. The guitarist for that group gave me recordings of Djavan to listen to. I was overwhelmed. When I got back from Japan, I bought all the Brazilian music I could find. At one point, the pianist Marco Silva sat in as a sub for Pastiche. He brought me cassettes of Brazilian music and fed my addiction further. In 1995, Marco asked me to come and sing Brazilian music with him. It was a little café duo gig. Each week we would bring in new tunes to try out. That was really the start for me.

Why do you think the popularity of Brazilian music is so enduring?

I think the rhythm is infectious. There’s a feeling of passion that’s very Brazilian yet not restricted to Brazil. A lot of people feel that passion. It makes you feel really good. It really takes you somewhere.

Tell me about putting together the music for “Homage to Brazil.”

Well, my first record was “Homenegem Brasileira”. I have known Jovino for fourteen years. We met at California-Brazil summer camp. He’s one of the rare pianists that can play the broad repertoire of Brazilian music that I like to sing with authenticity and freshness. The last time we played at Bake’s, it was Jobim’s 80th birthday. At that time, we decided to do a tribute to Jobim. This time, we decided to mix up composers. We came up with some songs that our quartet can explore and have fun with. Basic arrangements but not everything is planned.

Tell me a little bit about playing with Jovino.

Jovino is just a stellar musician. He knows his craft, knows Brazilian music and knows jazz. He has a certain openness to the unexpected and he’s non-judgmental, which makes it such a comfortable experience to play music together. I’m a guest on his soil. He respects the work that I’ve done to do it as well as I do. It feels like I’m being collaborated with and respected.

How do you think your approach to the music differs from other vocalists and musicians?

I’m not Brazilian but I try to be true to the spirit of the music. The musicians I use, the way I sing and phrase it. I typically sing to a non-Brazilian audience and I am able to give them a background on the tunes and why I like them. They get a history and exposure to things they might not have heard before.

To someone who is new to Brazilian music and wants some ideas as to what recordings to check out, what suggestions would you make?

Joao Guilberto. Also, I have a Brazilian music discography on the teaching page on my website.

What is playing on your i-Pod right now?

Chico Pinheiro. Really cool, modern Brazilian music.

For more information about Sandy, please visit http://www.cressmanmusic.com/.

For information about Bake’s Place, please visit the website at www.bakesplace.org. To make resvervations for the show, please call 425-391-3335 or send an email to [email protected]

A Quick Chat with Patti Wicks

By Katy Bourne

Patti Wicks is a highly regarded jazz pianist and vocalist and international recording artist. She spent over three decades playing in jazz clubs in New York City and also working the East Coast jazz circuit. She has several recordings in her discography and her CD “It’s a Good Day” received an Italian jazz award for the best jazz album in 2008.

Patti Wicks

Patti currently resides in Florida and will be appearing at Bake’s Place this weekend with Seattle’s much beloved vocalist Greta Matassa. Patti and I spoke over the phone the other day. Here are a few bits and pieces from that conversation.

You just got back from a trip to New York City. What did you do there?

I played five nights at the Metropolitan Room, on 22nd between 5th and 6th. The room has only been open 2 or 3 years. I have a wonderful bassist I work with when I’m there. Linc Milliman. Great player.

You’re heading up here to the Northwest to play at Bake’s Place with Greta Matassa. Tell me about working with Greta.

I love working with her. She’s a wonderful singer and a great human being. We first worked together last October. We were both aware of each other but never had a chance to work together. Last fall, Nich Anderson had the idea that we should work together. We did one of his house concerts on Camano Island on a Friday night. That was great fun. Then we did Bake’s on that Saturday and Sunday. We had so much fun, we decided to do it again. We just hit it off. She’s a nifty lady and a wonderful singer. We just had a ball. I love to accompany singers. Over the years, I’ve worked with Anita O’Day, Rebecca Parris, Sheila Jordon, Carol Sloane…. Read More

The Jazz Hang: Local Color – Art, Jazz & Big Fun

There is some seriously fun hang happening right in the belly of the Pike Place Market: Local Color Gallery. This spunky spot is a working art studio, coffee shop, wine bar and live jazz venue all rolled into one. Anyone looking for a great place to listen to jazz should definitely check this out.

Local Color sits on the corner of Pike Place and Stewart Street. I recently went down to check out their “Jazz in the Market” series, which happens every Friday and Saturday night. On this particular night, vocalist Rochelle House was, forgive the pun, in the house along with her killer band: Darrius Willrich on keys, Evan-Flory-Barnes on bass and D’Vonne Lewis on drums. The room is long and rectangular, and a stage sits on the far end of the space. Of course, there is art everywhere. Local Color features works by local artists of all mediums: oil, acrylic, watercolor, photograph and contemporary pottery. There are paintings and photographs on all the walls and cases full of original jewelry. The room is colorful and cheerful. They have a full espresso menu, a nice variety of beer and wine and also a selection of light nibbles, including delicious grilled sandwiches, a la pannini-style. I had a wonderful tuna melt and a very tasty vanilla latte, which was served to me by the friendliest of baristas.

When it comes to the music side of things, owners Frank and Sydne Albanese don’t mess around. They are committed to creating a relaxed listening venue for their patrons and also to making this jazz series successful. They have an outstanding sound system, complete with stage monitors, main speakers for the house and a Mackie mixer. The acoustics were pretty impressive. Initially, we couldn’t hear enough of the vocals through the mains, but Frank quickly adjusted, and it was fine for the rest of the evening. There is a house drum kit and an electronic piano. The stage is well lit with professional gel lighting. Comfortable couches and chairs are assembled in front of the stage, and there are high tables, counters and stools situated throughout the room. This is no coffee shop open mic with a singer-songwriter on a stool in the corner. This is a full-on listening venue that has been planned with careful attention to detail.

Perhaps one of the most striking things about Local Color is the warm hospitality and decidedly pro-music vibe. Frank, Sydne and staff treat everyone like friends, and anyone walking through the door is greeted as such. Frank, in particular, is excited about all things jazz and happily engages in conversations about his favorite recordings or about the upcoming performance of a new vocalist that he is excited about. On the particular night I was there, the room was packed, Rochelle and her band were on fire, and the overall scene felt like a party full of happy friends. I thought to myself, “Everyone should know about this place.”

Local Color has live jazz on Friday and Saturday nights, with the exception of the first Saturday night of the month, when they host a regular art opening. Local Color validates parking after 5pm at the Public Market Garage at 1531 Western Ave. This eliminates the pesky task of parking in the market, which can be very daunting, especially on a weekend evening. Again, Frank and Sydne have thought of everything.

Local Color is truly a wonderful establishment, and I can’t say enough about the sheer fun- factor of hanging out there. In a time when many music venues are struggling to stay afloat, the spirited gang at Local Color forges full-speed ahead. This optimism and enthusiasm will no doubt make this one of the most vibrant rooms on the scene. If you haven’t been, check it out. If you’ve already been, well, you know what I’m talking about.

Local Color is located at 1601 Pike Pl., Seattle, WA 98101. Phone is 206-728-1717. Website is http://www.localcolorseattle.com/

The Jazz Hang: 2009 – The Year of Live Music

by Katy Bourne

Well, here it is the New Year again. It seems I should have some inspiring personal missive or perhaps a bold, optimistic profundity to share. But the truth is people: I got nothing. Oh sure, I’m plenty excited for the January 20th inauguration. Even though the election was back in November, I still grapple to find the words to express how it feels to be alive during such an unprecedented moment in history. Trust me, it’s big stuff for me….for all of us. However in regards to 2009 overall, I don’t have much commentary, personal, political or otherwise.

But I’m here and you’re here, so I feel like I should come up with something. So, I am going to make a short but heartfelt plea to encourage you to make 2009 the Year of Live Music in our community.

Yes, times are hard, and there’s plenty to be gloomy about, especially on the economic front. This is precisely why, however, that we need live music.

Music is a living, breathing, burning entity. It is bigger than the cosmos but affects us on a cellular level. It is the tried and true magic that lifts us up and energizes us. It is the enduring comfort that reaches down to our most desolate places. It is everything in between.

Throughout all of history with wars and economic downturns, as well as men landing on the moon and people dancing in the streets, music has been there in one fashion or another. No matter what we or our ancestors have been through, we have always had a sound track. Musicians have always been around to shoot us to the heavens, funk us to the low down, swing us into delirium and soothe our wounded hearts. Musicians are the constant of history, and music is the one sure thing.

So I propose that we make this the Year of Live Music. I’m standing on my chair (OK, home alone at my desk….You can’t see me, but still…conjure up an image.) and asking you to commit to going out and supporting live music, whenever or wherever you can.

Drop into shows. Support restaurants and cafes that have live music. Better yet, ask your local noodle shack or pizza joint to start booking bands and musicians.

If you’re a musician, go out and hear your friends play. If you’re driving home from work, drop into your neighborhood coffee shop and throw a buck or two into the hat of the guy playing acoustic guitar. If you’re low on cash, there are plenty of places to catch music for free. If you have some bread, then squirrel a few bucks away to spend on a cover charge or two.

Think of this, for one month of basic cable, you could catch two or three really great live jazz performances. Make music part of your New Year’s resolution effort and reward yourself for putting down that donut with two or three (or five or ten or nineteen) nights a month out listening to music. Take your friends. Invite your mom. Get up your nerve and finally ask that special someone out on a date. Ride your bike. Hop on a bus. Saddle up a donkey. Carpool with your neighbors. Just go out and listen to live music! It’s not just about keeping musicians working, although that’s very important. It’s about keeping our collective selves alive, engaged and energized. It’s about making the place we live hip and wonderful.

Yes, things suck right now, but they don’t have to suck as badly. Live music can make the difference. So how about it? “2009-The Year of Live Music”. C’mon, let’s do it, people! As the Ellington tune so eloquently put it, “It don’t mean a thing, if it ain’t got that swing.”

The Jazz Hang: Martin’s Off Madison

THE JAZZ HANG by Katy Bourne

It had been awhile since I’d been up to Capitol Hill. However, for some time I’ve been hearing about a happening piano bistro that has live music 7 nights a week, so I decided to pay a visit. Off to the hill I went. Martin’s Off Madison is a bustling neighborhood joint that is located on 14th street just off, well, Madison Avenue. This straight-friendly bar and restaurant is lively and welcoming. It almost feels like the neighborhood living room. Patrons sit in comfortable, red easy chairs that are situated around little, round center tables with votive candles glowing away on top. More tables sit flush against the wall, and all provide a view of a playing area with a small grand piano. Burnt- orange colored drapes and tear-shaped lights hang around the piano and add an elegant touch. Behind the piano is a cheerful print of a chimpanzee swigging from a bottle of liqueur. The bar is separated from the dining and music area by a dividing wall. Busy waiters donned in black polo shirts and Utilikilts buzz around the room. When you walk in the door, you are greeted with smiles and nods from customers and staff alike.
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The Jazz Hang: Jazz and Sushi

THE JAZZ HANG with Katy Bourne

This Friday: Susan Pascal Trio
Susan Pascal, vibes
Chuck Deardorf, bass
Dave Petersen, guitar

Last Friday night, my teenage son, Emmett, and I were looking for something to do. The planets must have been in some kind of quirky alignment. Or maybe there was some residual weirdness from the full moon of a few days before; Emmett doesn’t usually want to hang out with mom, especially on a Friday night. But there we were. The kid likes sushi, so we decided to head over to Hiroshis for the Jazz and Sushi night, which happens every Friday.

If you’ve never been before, Hiroshis is a jumping little sushi joint on Eastlake Avenue. It’s a bright and lively spot with busy waitresses navigating around tightly arranged tables. On past visits, the place has been packed and there has been a lengthy wait for a table. However, this was not the case on Friday. There were plenty of available tables, and we were seated immediately. Jazz happens in the main room, right underneath a giant TV, which was mercifully turned off. The band this particular night consisted of Alexey Nikolaev on sax, Jon Hamar on bass, Randy Halberstadt on piano and of course, Greg Williamson on drums. (Jazz and Sushi is presented by Pony Boy Records, of which Greg is the big cheese.) They started out with “All the Things You Are” and then moved on to original compositions by Greg and Randy. God, what a treat. There was no histrionic manager wringing his hands and asking the band to turn down. This was no pansy-ass background music. This was jazz exactly as it should be: Out there for all to hear and enjoy. Heaven. The band seemed free to do whatever they wanted, and I was particularly taken by the unbound improvisation and the take-no-prisoners solos. It was the first time I’d ever heard Alexey play. Man, that cat can blow! Jon, Randy and Greg also delivered the goods, providing the high-octane performances we’ve happily come to expect from them. Adding to the jovial and laid back vibe was Greg’s between tune banter, which was pretty entertaining all by itself. The teenager was even amused.
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J & J Music: Making It Happen

THE JAZZ HANG by Katy Bourne

Editor note: Check out the J & J Music Showcase at Jazz Alley this Thursday night.
THURSDAY, JANUARY 31
JAZZ ALLEY

2033 6th Avenue
phone 206.441.9729
http://www.jazzalley.com

J & J Music isn’t just a booking agency. It’s not exactly a production company or a publicity firm. It’s not a record label either. Any of these descriptions would be too limiting. Instead “J & J Music” is a labor of love, formed to get bands working, create cohesion among musicians and to better the music community at large. The “J’s” behind J & J Music are pianist, Josh Rawlings, and trumpeter, Jason Parker. I recently met Josh and Jason over breakfast at Seattle’s B & O Espresso. I found myself sitting across the table from two very bright, articulate artists with loads of energy and lots of big ideas.


Trumpeter Jason Parker

Josh and Jason are working musicians on the Seattle jazz scene. Both are extremely busy players and juggle a multitude of projects. Jason’s band, The Jason Parker Quartet, plays at many venues throughout the northwest and also keeps busy with a heavy casual business. In addition, Jason plays with the funk group, Water Babies, and in duos with many fine Seattle Musicians, including pianist Ty Bailie, guitarists Jamie Baumgart and George Stone, and others. Josh also has a long list of projects, which includes the bands Soul Kata, Industrial Revelation, The Teaching, Water Babies, Pocket Change, the Flora MacGill Band, the Jason Parker Quartet and, of course, the Josh Rawlings Trio. Josh and Jason also perform together as a duo. Although their backgrounds are quite different, their life experiences and passion for jazz led them to each other and ultimately, to J & J Music.

Josh Rawlings had a deep connection to music, even before birth. “My Mom said it felt like I was playing drums in her womb.” He was born in St. Croix, Wisconsin and spent a good part of his childhood in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Around 5 years of age or so, Josh began taking piano lessons from a classical teacher and would study with many teachers over the years. By his own admission, however, Josh wasn’t particularly engaged by the necessities of theory or reading music. He just wanted to improvise, explore and enjoy the music. His greatest inspiration was Billy Joel. “I wanted to be the piano man. I wanted to be Billy Joel”, he recalls, unabashed. When Josh was 14, his family moved to Issaquah, Washington. Here Josh found himself playing piano at church and also singing and playing with his high school jazz choir. This was his first taste of jazz piano, mostly just playing chord changes. After high school, Josh enrolled in the jazz program at Cornish College. Josh’s first year at Cornish was sobering. He realized that he did not know as much about jazz piano as he’d thought. He lacked a firm foundation in “the fundamentals” and his first year at Cornish was spent “trying to keep up.” Josh almost dropped out of the jazz program after the first year. However, the support of fellow students and encouragement from mentor and Cornish faculty member, Randy Halberstadt, kept him going. “Randy is a great jazz pianist. He was doing what I wanted to do. He was very encouraging. Randy replaced Billy Joel.” Josh stuck it out, completed the program and graduated from Cornish. He’s been working as a professional pianist ever since.
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The Jazz Hang: 2008 – What I Want

THE JAZZ HANG with Katy Bourne

It’s January again. It’s the time of year when we take down the Christmas decorations, go on diets and give some thought to our hopes and goals for the year ahead. As a jazz fan and working vocalist, I’m wishing hard and thinking big. What I want for 2008 is nothing short of a complete jazz renaissance in Seattle.

On any given night in any Seattle neighborhood, I want live jazz to be coming out of the windows of every club and restaurant. I want to be able to hear it as I walk down the sidewalk. I want to see droves of jazz fans coming out to hear live music and to support their favorite bands and musicians. If I am playing at one club, I want to be able to walk down the street to the next club or restaurant on my break and listen to other groups playing. I want Seattle jazz fans to be constantly overwhelmed by too many great choices.

I want the scene to be all encompassing and inclusive. I want there to be room and support for all kinds of jazz from original modern and hard bop to Dixieland jazz and vocal standards. For the musicians, I want things to be easier. I want plenty of work for everyone, with fair and livable wages. I want us to hold up and encourage each other in any way we can. I want us to remember that we’re all on the same page.

For the club and restaurant owners who treat musicians well and value live music, I want their businesses to boom. I want them to have long lines out their doors, deep with patrons willing to spend money in their establishments. For the less than enlightened club owner, I want them to gain heart and vision. I want them to see that live music adds not only to the ambiance of their business but that it also gives life and energy to the very fiber of our culture. I want them to understand that live music is more than an expenditure on a ledger sheet and to act accordingly.

I want for local jazz festivals to be even more successful in ’08. I want to see them draw bigger and bigger crowds and to enjoy broader and deeper fiscal support. I would like heavy hitting corporations and small businesses to throw their money behind local music festivals. I want the powers that be to understand how jazz builds community. I want to see the birth of more jazz festivals across the city. I want festivals that give both local favorites and visiting artists a chance to play. I want every single festival to be a wild jazz party.

I want for music education to be available to each and every child in Seattle. I want our outstanding school jazz programs to continue to get the support they need to do the important work that they do: Teaching kids about jazz and providing them with hands-on playing experience. I want for every child who is interested, to have the chance to learn to play the instrument of his or her choice. Call me crazy, but I want every student to be just as familiar with Miles Davis, John Coltrane and Billie Holiday as they are with Nintendo, Britney Spears and 50 Cent.

I want to hear jazz in elevators, at the dentist’s office and anytime I’m “on hold”. I want the knuckleheads at Nordstrom’s to get a clue. I want every piano at every Nordstrom’s throughout the region to have a jazz pianist sitting at it. I want to hear live jazz when I shop for shoes or lingerie.

Finally, I want for all the people who work so hard on behalf of the Seattle jazz scene to be successful in 2008. I want for their dreams to be realized and for their efforts to pay off. I want for all of us to dive in and help. There are so many ways to lend some muscle to the cause: volunteering at a jazz walk, sending emails to neighborhood restaurants that have live jazz to thank them for doing so, buying CD’s from local artists and most of all, going out to see the shows. I want jazz to be everywhere. I want us all to take that giant leap together and to make it happen.

This is what I want for 2008. Nothing less will do.

Editor note: What do you want for 2008? Let’s get a discussion going by posting your ideas and comments in the Comments section.

Jazz Hang: Do It For the Kids

By Katy Bourne

Way back when I was a kid growing up in Ponca City, Oklahoma, I played alto saxophone. I first learned to play in elementary school, where a couple days a week, we would be excused from our regular class to go to the cafeteria where the aged and beloved Mr. Hartman gently worked with us on embouchure, time signatures, scales, etc. (I have a vague recollection of playing “Ave Maria” again and again and again.) Unfortunately, the only way to continue instrumental music education past elementary school was to be in the middle, then high school marching band, which in Ponca City was basically an accessory to the football team more than a focused music program. On top of learning songs, we were required to also master new choreography for each and every football game. We would drag out to the field for early morning practices or sometimes after school, when the September sun was a scorcher. On games days, we had to wear itchy, blue wool suits, which were hot, uncomfortable and looked about as attractive as a female police officer’s uniform. The band director was mean, plain and simple. I don’t remember his name. I do recall that he was short and would snap, snarl and froth at the mouth. He would scream at us if we didn’t get the requisite moves down correctly. I could never remember the choreography and not being a multi-tasker, I found playing and marching at the same time to be almost impossible. I was often the target of the angry band director’s wrath. Being young and at that point, unconscious of a musical world beyond Oklahoma, I drew the erroneous conclusion that if I was going to play the alto saxophone, then this was the best I could hope for. I was miserable and gave up playing. There was no one around spinning John Coltrane or Charlie Parker records. “Jazz” was not in the musical vocabulary in Ponca City, Oklahoma in those days. (Er, and probably still isn’t.) I was unaware that playing the saxophone could be fun and that music could be hip.

Thankfully, things couldn’t be more different for my boys, ages 10 and 14. The Seattle Public Schools offer some of the most outstanding jazz programs in the country, at both the middle and high school level. Two of the most notable are Roosevelt High School, directed by Scott Brown, and Garfield High School, directed by Clarence Acox. (My oldest son is a freshman at Garfield and is a member of the jazz ensemble III there.) Both of these schools offer in-depth jazz education as well as multiple opportunities for students of various skill levels to play in an ensemble and/or big band and to gain valuable performing experience. The level of musicianship of these young players is truly amazing, and both of these programs turn out some of the best jazz bands in the city. There are many opportunities to see these groups perform. Here are few upcoming dates for the Garfield Jazz Bands:

Winterfest-Student Showcase
December 8, 2007 11:30am
Seattle Center House Stage
Garfield Jazz Ensemble II opens their performance season with a free concert of holiday music.

Winterfest-Seattle’s Best Jazz
December 14, 2007 8:00pm
Seattle Center House Stage
This free concert features James Caddell, Lisa Loud and Darren Motamady, backed up by the Garfield Jazz Band I.

Tula’s Jazz Club
December 16, 2007 3:00pm
2214 2nd Ave.
Seattle, WA
Under the tutelage of Jay Thomas, the Garfield Jazz Ensemble III makes their second public performance. The Jay Thomas Big Band follows immediately afterwards.

If you’re not familiar with these groups, do not for a second let the fact that they are students dissuade you. These kids have some serious chops. You will be delighted by solid jazz performances from any of these groups. It is very important to support all of the school jazz programs here in Seattle and attending performances is a great way to do so. My friend, jazz photographer Ron Hudson, said it best, “They’re the ones who will perpetuate the music”. Please consider dropping by one of these performances. Do it for the kids.

Seattle meets L.A.

Trumpeter Thomas Marriott, and Drummers John Bishop and Matt Jorgensen have the perfect way to beat the N.W. winter weather…

Go to Los Angeles.

Tonight the guys will perform at the first ever “L.A. Origin Records Jazz Party.” Hosted by 425 Productions, the event will feature several artists from the record label in a jam session-style hang. Grammy-nominated artists Chris Walden and Kim Richmond will be joined by tenor saxophonists David Sills, Rob Lockart and Matt Otto, with Seattle native Gary Fukishima on piano as well as several other guests.

After the recent success with the Ballard Jazz Walk, and a 10th Anniversary pin, the Origin boys haven’t even thought about taking a break. “When we get back to Seattle, it’ll be time to get to work on our trip to Toronto for the IAJE in early January…” says Bishop, “and then another Ballard Jazz Festival.” The coming Ballard Jazz Festival (the 4-day event) is scheduled to run April 23-26.

Since most of this site’s readers live in Seattle, you’ll want to tune in Friday morning (through the web) for an on-air interview with Matt, Tom, and John. Visit 88.1 KKJZ for more info.

The L.A. Jazz Party is a project of former Origin Intern Jeff Watkins, a music business student at the University of Southern California. The event will be held at the Pasadena Jazz Institute, at 8pm. Tickets are available at the door.

The Jazz Hang: Monday Night Vocal Jams @ Tula’s

by Katy Bourne

Singers looking for something to do on a Monday night might want to check out the regular Monday night vocal jam at Tula’s. The process is simple: Show up. Sign up. Sing. Each singer gets to perform 2 tunes. Different musicians from the local jazz scene host each session. There is always a pianist to accompany, and in the case of Darin Clendenin’s jams, there is even a full rhythm section. Singers have the opportunity to sing with some of the top jazz musicians in Seattle. Vocalists with all levels of experience are welcome. The vibe is very relaxed and supportive, and the scene is wonderfully fun hang. It is a great chance to try out new material, work out a tricky song or just have a good time. The musicians are the best in town, and you couldn’t ask for friendlier or more expert support. Many local singers have honed their chops at these very sessions. It’s a great place to learn, gain experience and meet other singers. In addition to all those positives, Tula’s has great food and a full-service bar, for those who enjoy a martini with their favorite jazz standard. The hosts for each week are as follows:

First Mondays: Greta Matassa with Randy Halberstadt
Second and Fourth Mondays: Darin Clendenin Trio
Third Mondays: Kelley Johnson with John Hansen

Vocal jams start at 8:00pm. Tula’s is located at 2214 Second Ave., Seattle, WA 98121. Phone is 206-443-42221. For more information about vocal jams and other events at Tula’s, check out www.tulas.com