Two trumpet quintets in jazz are rare, historically and presently. The alliances most commonly mentioned are the bop era tandem of Fats Navarro and Howard McGhee and their post-bop descendents, Freddie Hubbard and Woody Shaw. The individual players in both these pairings had similar qualities in terms of style and approach.
The pairing of Bronx born trumpeter Ray Vega, and his younger partner, Seattle’s Thomas MarriottT, as well have their musical commonalities. It is where the differences lie between the two that provides the intrigue around their recordings and live performances.The age-old belief that the east coast version of jazz is commonly more intense, and the west coast approach more laid back, has not been completely eradicated by modern travel, and in recent times, social media. Vega’s move from the Bronx and New York City to Burlington, Vermont has certainly redefined the “east” portion of the equation, while Marriott is now suddenly the more urban of the two, residing in the city of Seattle. Musical styles aside, the true story of this historic pairing has much more to do with friendship, with mentorship, and a long time friendship and bond that has seen Vega name his youngest son after Marriott. A little background therefore, is necessary to be able to appreciate the magnitude of this latest meeting in Seattle, performing at the Bellevue Blues and Jazz Festival. To continue reading, click on this link:https://www.allaboutjazz.com/east-west-trumpet-summit-at-meydenbauer-center-theatre-thomas-marriott-and-ray-vega
Each month, I feature 12-15 jazz performances, releasing them a week or so before the end of the previous month. They are merely suggestions based on forty years of attending gigs in Seattle. I recommend diving even deeper into the amazing wealth of jazz talent we have in our Seattle community. The entire purpose here is to get you out of the house, and support live jazz and the musicians that make the music. Or, as an old friend of mine used to say, to “get off your dupa.” We could all use a little of that after the haze of the past eighteen months or so. Enjoy, and happy gig hopping!
Calluna in Ravenna: An Intimate Jazz Dinner Club Offers Jazz Four Nights a Week, Wednesday-Saturday
Calluna proprietors Jason Moore and Heather Bourne know a thing or two about presenting jazz. After eight years at the helm of Tula’s, the now shuttered iconic jazz spot in Belltown, the couple has settled into an intimate setting on University Way in Ravenna. Following a brief hiatus from presenting music, they invested in a Yamaha C-3 piano, and set out to book top jazz talent in Seattle. The size and setting of the room is several notches more intimate than Tula’s, where everything from trios to big band was presented. At Calluna, duos and trios will be presented, without drums for the most part. Top end talent will be performing in configurations not usually accessible at a club or theatre date. The relationship between performer and patron, between fine cuisine and drink and the music itself, will be very personal.
Moore, who typically ran Tula’s from behind the bar, while serving up some of Seattle’s finest cocktails, will be where his talents are most realized- in the kitchen. His made-from-scratch desserts fortunately traveled with him from Belltown to Calluna.
One glimpse at the schedule for October illustrates the level of talent appearing at the Ravenna eatery. October 1 & 2 for example, will feature ace trumpeter Thomas Marriott, Seattle first call bassist Paul Gabrielson and Ron Perillo, a formidable pianist who relocated here from Chicago at the dawn of the pandemic.
Showtimes are at 7:30 PM, and I recommended that you arrive earlier to dine. Cover charges range from $15- $20.
Pianist Eric Verlinde will perform with multi-reedist Hans Teuber on Friday October 8, with Seattle piano legend Marc Seales completing the weekend fare on October 9. Seales returns to perform on October 30. Trumpeter Jared Hall, on the release of his new Origin Records release, Seen on the Scene, will appear in trio with pianist John Hansen and bassist Michael Glynn on October 15 & 16. Seattle’s iconic vocalist Greta Matassa appears on October 22, while pianist Bill Anschell, who appeared more than any other artist as a headliner at Tula’s, performs on October 29. The venue adds events as the month procedes, so check the music calendar by following this link: https://callunaseattle.com/music-calendar/
East-West Trumpet Summit featuring Orrin Evans, Roy McCurdy and Michael Glynn
October 9, 7:30 PM/ Meydenbauer Center Theatre
When Seattle born and bred Thomas Marriott met fellow trumpeter Ray Vega when he moved to New York as a young musician, and benefited greatly from his mentorship and friendship. The Bronx born trumpeter seemed to straddle two worlds, working straight ahead jazz gigs as well as a wide variety of significant engagements on the Latin jazz scene.
The two trumpet front line creation, East West Trumpet Summit first convened in 2010, with the release of their album of the same name on Origin Records, employing a standard rhythm section with pianist Travis Shook, bassist Jeff Johnson and drummer Matt Jorrgensen. In 2014, Return of the East West Trumpet Summit (Origin, 2014)matched the trumpet duo with George Colligan on Hammond B-3 organ, with Jorgensen once again in tow.
The most recent incarnation brings Grammy nominated pianist Orrin Evans to the stage at Meydenbauer, along with iconic jazz drummer Roy McCurdy, and Seattle first call bassist, Michael Glynn. Evans, fresh from a two year stint with The Bad Plus, is coming off consecutive Grammy nods for his Captain Black Big Band. His friendship with Marriott has been documented not only with CBBB, but on two Marriott releases, with another to come. McCurdy is still swinging hard at age 85. His historic career has seen him be a prominent member of ensembles led by Cannonball Adderly, Bobby Timmons, Betty Carter, Sonny Rollins and the Art Farmer-Benny Golson Jazztet.
A trip to the north end is worth your trouble to become acquainted with, or reacquainted with vocal artist Gail Pettis. Her natural, unforced style delivers a song with grace and style, with a deep connection to the blues.
Pettis’ approach as a bandleader is to let the cats play, always backing up that philosophy with a collection of Seattle’s best on the bandstand with her. Pianist Tony Foster has been a mainstay of her band. A master accompanist, and imaginative soloist, he has developed a chemistry with Pettis that allows the vocalist to take a song where she wills it in the moment. Bassist Chuck Deardorf has been the first call bassist in Seattle since Jazz Alley’s University District incarnation in the late 1970’s. He is a rock on the bottom end for sure, but a prolific practitioner of melodic improvisation as well. Drummer/percussionist Jeff Busch brings with him a literal world of experience–his world travels gathering global rhythms and the instruments that implement them speaks to his approach behind the kit as a jazz drummer. This gig should be compelling instrumentally, with Pettis adding a vocal touch with perfect pitch and genuine soul. https://northcitybistro.com/
Royal Room Monday Night Jam with Thomas Marriott
Mondays at 9 PM
A jam session in the south end, with a legitimate backline at the Royal Room brings with it a myriad of possibilities. Having Thomas Marriott on the gig makes it that much more legit. The jam follows the weekly Monday night performance of the Royal Room Collective Music Ensemble under the baton of Wayne Horvitz.
The jam presents the opportunity for great music and great fellowship. It allows for the natural course of the mentorship cycle to take place. It creates new musical acquaintances, and renews those already made. The only ingredient needed is support, both for the session, and for the Royal Room. With jazz jam sessions largely concentrated downtown and the north end, this session brings the jam back to the south end in Columbia City. A house band will open the session, with an open jam to follow.
Theo Croker is a storyteller, trumpeter and creator of shape shifting music that blends traditional jazz musings with pop and hip-hop inflections of the modern era. He is the grandson of jazz trumpet legend Doc Cheatham. The music of Croker could very well be described as experimental, but in the process, he has developed a trumpet style that is very much in the modern jazz tradition. He hails from a generation of artists who grew up with hip-hop, and incorporates its ideas into jazz music. In his five previous recordings, including his 2019 release, Star People Nation, he utilized sonic textures from hip-hop, but mostly emphasized his improvisational skills as a trumpet player. His sixth release, BLK2LIFE, is a deeper dive into heavily produced hip-hop, and features guests that include Wyclef Jean. Croker diversified his skill set for this music as a spoken word artist and producer. This performance is part of the 2021 Earshot Jazz Festival. Check out the full calendar here. https://www.earshot.org/
Marina Albero Quintet
Fri Oct 15, 7 PM/ Town Hall Forum
Pianist Marina Albero in her first of four performances as the Artist in Residence of the 2021 Earshot Jazz Festival, convenes the all-star quintet that has been with her across the seven years she has resided in Seattle. Drummer D’Vonne Lewis, percussionist Jeff Busch, bassist Jeff Johnson and multi-reedist Hans Teuber have a great understanding of Albero’s music whose musical DNA includes traces of jazz, flamenco, classical and Afro-Cuban jazz.
Albero’s ability to gather musical influences continues to shape her sound, making each reunion with her quintet a new experience for her audience. She will appear on h
ammered dulcimer as well, an instrument she has pioneered in jazz and improvised music. There is always the possibility of vibes working their way into the picture as well.
Albero’s presence in Seattle over the past seven years has given the Seattle jazz scene a unique cross-current of musical culture. Her splendid virtuosity is opne thing, her ability to apply it emotionally is special and original. Her vibe onstage is an infectious positive influence on her bandmates and her audience. A can’t miss date at this year’s festival. https://www.earshot.org/
Meridian Odyssey featuring Xavier Lecouturier, Ben Feldman, Santosh Sharma, Martin Budde, Dylan Hayes & Noah Halpern
Fri Oct 15, 8:30 PM/ Royal Room
A band born out of friendship and isolation during the worldwide pandemic, Meridian Odyssey gathers in celebration of their first album, Second Wave (Origin, 2020), and their new recording in the works. The band gathered in an airplane hangar at the Alaska home of Budde’s father when the pandemic first broke, and recorded a session of original music that transcends genre, drawing elements from jazz, rock, funk and r&b, but in a very forward thinking sense. All members of the band contribute original tunes, to be probed and reimagined by this group of innovative improvisers. Lecouturier has been a force on the scene in Seattle for the past half dozen years or so, with his own highly regarded release, Carrier (Origin, 2019). Seattle natives Feldman, Sharma and Halpern have been making their mark on the scene in New York. Budde is making a name for himself as a shape shifting guitarist and modernist composer, bouncing back and forth between Seattle, and Alaska. Hayes has been sequestered in Oregon during the pandemic, but has made his mark with his Dylan Hayes Electric Band, his various projects with Lecouturier and working with the legacy of composer Jim Knapp. https://theroyalroomseattle.com/
Jamie Baum Septet +
Sun Oct 17, 7 PM/ Town Hall Forum
Renowned flutist Jamie Baum lands in Seattle with her New York septet featuring Seattle reared guitarist, Brad Shepik. Baum, whose artistry and reputation have historic implications in legacy of her instrument, is supported by the splendid ensemble of Jonathan Finlayson (trumpet), Aaron Irwin (also sax/bass clarinets), Chris Komer (French horn), John Escreet (piano), Ricky Rodriguez (bass, singing bowls), and Jeff Hirshfield (drums). A rare and must see concert in an intimate setting for all jazz fans, but especially those with a close relationship with the flute. Baum’s appearance is rare and welcomed. https://www.earshot.org/
Immanuel Wilkins Quartet
Fri Oct 22, 7:30 PM/ Langston Hughes
Long before his premier BlueNote Records release, Omega, in 2020, alto saxophonist Immanuel Wilkens was making an impression in modern jazz that tabbed him as a generational talent. The Philadelphia born and raised Wilkens grew up musically around that city’s historic and vibrant jazz culture that included a place in the “village” of musicians connected to pianist Orrin Evans’ Grammy-nominated Captain Black Big Band. His move to New York to study at the esteemed Julliard School of Music exposed his rare gifts to Gotham artists such as trumpeter Ambrose Akinmusire, who assisted the young saxophonist in navigating the scene in New York. The connections he made at this time enabled him to tour with ground breaking pianist Jason Moran, and impressively record his debut release on BlueNote. He has since worked with Wynton Marsalis, Gerald Clayton, Solange Knowles, Aaron Parks, Joel Ross, and most recently, with pianist Orrin Evans on his release, The Magic of Now, perhaps the most revealing glimpse into his playing as the main soloist in a quartet setting with Bill Stewart and Vincente Archer. While Omega featured Wilkins’ adroit compositional prowess and social awareness, his role in his mentor’s quartet gave the jazz world a strong impression into his improvisers mind in an open setting.
With his focus on the humanity and cultural specificity of jazz, Wilkins sees the music as a means to bring people together through cooperative engagement in his art. The personal humility that accompanies his profound virtuosity allows his music to touch those vital aspects of the art of jazz, and its historically present state of being. Wilkins will be performing with his New York quartet that is featured on Omega. Pianist Micah Thomas, much like Wilkins, is an ascendant generational artist, and a musical associate during their time together at Juilliard. Taking his Omega quartet on the road will provide the opportunity to hear and see the music evolve in front of us, and the rise of the next phase of jazz innovation moving forward. Bassist Daryl Johns and drummer Kweku Sumbry round out this groundbreaking quartet whose sound may portend the directional impulse for jazz music in the decade ahead.- Paul Rauch,Earshot Jazz Festival Previews https://www.earshot.org/
Seattle Jazz Fellowship Wednesdays at Vermillion
Beginning Wed Oct 20, 4 PM, 7PM. 8PM
10/20- featuring Julian Priester, Marc Seales and Xavier Lecouturier
The new jazz non-profit, the Seattle Jazz Fellowship, takes off with a weekly slate of events each Wednesday at Vermillion on Capitol Hill. The activities commence at 4 PM with an album listening session, followed by a hang at 7 PM, and two sets from two Seattle jazz artists to follow, starting at 8 PM.
To get the ball rolling, the Fellowship has named iconic trombonist Julian Priester as its Artist-In-Residence. Mr. Priester will host the 4 PM listening sessions, playing and discussing classic albums he has played on, including John Coltrane’s Africa Brass, Herbie Hancock’s Mwandishi, and We Insist with Max Roach and Abbey Lincoln. Of course, Mr. Priester will introduce his own recordings that include such jazz icons as Booker Little, Mal Waldron and Eric Dolphy to mention but a few.
The cover charge is $20 for the full slate, first come, first serve. This is an important event to support, to launch the Seattle Jazz Fellowship on its journey to find a permanent home. The October 20 opener will feature separate sets from Xavier Lecouturier and Marc Seales. https://seattlejazzfellowship.org/
Alex Dugdale CD Release- The Dugout
Tue Oct 28, 7& 9 PM/ Egan’s Ballard Jam House
At long last, Seattle jazz fans have an Alex Dugdale album to celebrate! Featuring his formidable Fade Quintet, Dugdale is featured on saxophones and as a tap artist. At times, he may drift over to the brass side of things and play trumpet. But have no doubt, Dugdale’s artistry is best expressed on tenor saxophone with alto running a close second. He holds down the baritone saxophone chair in the Seattle Repertory Jazz Orchestra as well.
Dugdale’s long time mates, bassist Greg Feingold and drummer Max Holmberg are on board for this one in the intimate confines of Egan’s Ballard Jam House. Pianist John Hansen has been a frequent contributor as well, while trumpeter Jun Iida is new to the band, having arrived in town from Los Angeles just before the Covid-19 shutdown. Dugdale will incorporate his substantial chops on tap just as he would as an instrumental soloist, a unique and original quality to his performances. https://www.earshot.org/2021-festival/
Scenes with John Stowell, John Bishop, Jeff Johnson & Rick Mandyck
10/29, 7:00 PM/ Town Hall Forum
A band that took root at a weekly gig in Ballard in the early 1990’s, Scenes has seven releases to their credit on the highly regarded Origin Records label, and has toured off and on since that inaugural gig on Ballard Ave. some thirty years ago.
The band began as a trio, with eclectic saxophonist Rick Mandyck, bassist Jeff Johnson and drummer John Bishop. Shortly after their first release in 2001, Scenes, Mandyck went on a fourteen year hiatus from the saxophone due to an injury. Scenes then went on to gain a reputation as a trio, featuring Stowell’s vignette style compositions, and his guitar style that featured an advanced conception of harmony. By then, Johnson and Bishop were gaining a worldwide reputation as an expert tandem in the trio format. Aside from Stowell, the duo has been part of trios led by pianists Jessica Williams, Hal Galper and Chano Dominguez. Stowell’s spacious style allows both to play freely with a liberal sense of time and space.
For their latest release, Trapeze (Origin, 2020), Mandyck returns, after a re-engagement with the tenor saxophone. He contributes as a composer as well, with compositions based on simple melodies that provice ample space for improvisation. His rich and powerful sound adds a completely different texture, and provides a steely edge to the ethereal leanings of the band. The quartet is four of the finest players to emerge on the jazz front in the Pacific Northwest over the past forty years, playing at a very high level. https://www.earshot.org/2021-festival/
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.
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.
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).
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
Since her appearance at the inauguration of President Barak Obama at age 16, alto saxophonist Grace Kelly has been turning heads in the jazz world. Starting out more in the bebop tradition in the musical lineage of alto predecessors Charlie Parker and Cannonball Adderly, Kelly has added electronics, vocals and dance moves to her resume, amping up her pop image within the jazz genre. Kelly is still an impressive technician of her instrument, whether or not you admire the new aspect to her performance will determine whether or not this gig is for you. https://www.jazzalley.com/www-home/artist.jsp?shownum=5245
Tuesday Night Jams at the Owl
Tuesday Nights- 9:30 PM/ Owl ‘n Thistle
26 years in, the Owl jam has evolved into the social center of the jazz scene in Seattle. Coming out of the Covid-19 shutdown, the importance of the late Tuesday night session became that much more important. This summer has seen the session feature such Seattle jazz luminaries as Thomas Marriott, Hans Teuber, Eric Verlinde, Jared Hall, Matt Jorgensen, John Bishop, Marina Albero and Rick Mandyck to scratch the surface. An absolute must to feel the pulse of jazz in Seattle. Once touring bands begin to frequent the city, drop ins may again be the norm, having seen Wynton Marsalis, Roy Hargrove and Nicholas Payton among others who have spontaneously sat in with the host band. Pianist Eric Verlinde, who has hosted the session since 2005, keeps the vibe celebratory and upbeat. https://www.facebook.com/search/top?q=tuesday%20night%20jams%20at%20the%20owl.
The Beaver Sessions
Sunday Nights- 9 PM/ The Angry Beaver
There is no overestimating the importance of the neighborhood jam session in the jazz lineage. This is true, even when that session is held in a hockey bar that is otherwise unattached to live music in the north end Greenwood neighborhood.
The session has long been the domain of the 200 Trio, featuring guitarist Cole Schuster, bassist Greg Feingold and drummer Max Holmberg. The evening begins with a host band of rotating musicians that include Jean Chamont, Kareem Kandi, Reuel Lubag Brian Kirk and the aforementioned members of the 200 Trio. The turnout is not quite as massive as the Tuesday night session at the Owl, but that contributes to the comfortable and fun vibe. The session is attended well, and the music beginning with the hosts is very good. A bit out of the way for south enders, but the #5 metro bus does take you practically to the doorstep of the classic hockey bar. This is one yours truly is going to pay more attention to going forward, after all–Seattle is now part of the NHL family! https://beaversessions.com/
Royal Room Opening Night: Piano Starts Here
Wed 9/15, 7:30 PM/ Royal Room
Columbia City will come just a little bit more to life this particular evening, as The Royal Room swings into action with perhaps its most noble undertaking– “Piano Starts Here.” The interpretive program features area pianists engaging with historic jazz pianists, in many ways defining the mission statement of the club on this, its opening night celebration. For this installment, KNKX and Abe Beeson will present the music of Earl Hines, Teddy Wilson, Duke Ellington, Carla Bley and Cole Porter, interpreted by Jose Gonzales, Alex Guilbert, Darrius Willrich, Ann Reynolds and Ray Skjelbred.
“I think ‘Piano Starts Here’ represents the best of the Royal Room. It’s local, it’s great music, and it’s also curatorial,” says Wayne Horvitz. He will play his own compositions and essentially interpret himself, an idea hatched by Guilbert, the event’s host.
Seeing guitar great Pat Metheny in the intimate confines of Jazz Alley is a rare chance to witness genius close up. The eclectic guitarist/composer is more commonly seen around town at venues like The Paramount, The Moore and McCaw Hall. This time around, Metheny features a trio featuring two of the most exciting young stars in jazz- keyboardist/pianist James Francies and New Orleans drummer, Joe Dyson.
Side-Eye is a project matching Metheny up with an array of young, intrepid voices that have included Anwar Marshall, Eric Harland and Marcus Gilmore. Francies and Dyson continue this progression. Metheny has always been unpredictable in terms of his recording history and his ambitious touring adventures. For more than forty years we have seen the iconic Pat Metheny Group, a number of trios and the Unity Band with Antonio Sanchez and Chris Potter. Seeing him work from the intimate sight lines of Jazz Alley is a special opportunity in a special time.
“I wanted to create an ongoing platform to host a rotating cast of the newer generations of musicians who have particularly caught my interest along the way. From my earliest days in Kansas City onward, I was the beneficiary of so many older musicians hiring me, which gave me a chance to develop through the prism of their experiences and the particular demands of what their music implied.”- Pat Metheny https://www.jazzalley.com/www-home/artist.jsp?shownum=5206
Blending Brazilian and traditional jazz forms, vocalist Adriana Giordano and pianist Eric Verlinde lead Entremundos into NCB for a dinner performance. Seattle’s go-to electric bassist Dean Schmidt, and all-world drummer/percussionist Jeff Busch complete this quartet that now has an extensive history together. Whether accompanying Giordano, or playing as a trio, this rhythm section that performs together in Verlinde’s projects as well, has marvelous chemistry and musical intuition. The diversity of musical styles that cross during an Entremundos performance are a reflection of the band members and their divergent separate paths. Their performances at the north end bistro have helped establish the tradition of live music at NCB. https://northcitybistro.com/
9/21- 7:30 PM/ Paramount Theatre
To claim that pianist/keyboardist/composer Herbie Hancock is an icon of American music is a safe assumption. From his early days with Miles Davis’ second great quintet, to his fusion persona via Mwandishi and The Headhunters, Hancock has viewed innovation as an elemental aspect of his music. Now 80 years old, his prowess as a musician and composer is undiminished in terms of imagination, execution and innovation. This tour celebrates a performing career that has now touched seven decades. Though the band to this point has not been announced, it is generally assumed that he will be accompanied by drummer Vinnie Colaiuta, bassist James Genus, guitarist Lionel Loueke and keyboardist/saxophonist Terrace Martin.
Aside from his historic impact on jazz piano and composition, Hancock has had great success in such divergent activities as film scoring, but most importantly, his embrace of generational musicians who have followed in his footsteps have received the benefit of his wisdom and grace. He, along with Wayne Shorter, represent the very best of humanity, casting a guiding light for generations of musicians and fans alike. His performances are generally a highlight reel of his entire career, with the compositions that fall into line performed in new and innovative fashion. This is one not to be missed. Watch out for the ticket sharks, and purchase your tickets through STG/Ticketmaster from the link below. https://www.stgpresents.org/calendar/6798/herbie-hancock
9/21-22, 7:30 PM/ Jazz Alley
The hard hitting septet returns to Seattle featuring some of the all time great figures in modern jazz history. Pianist George Cables is one of the great pianists as well as one of the truly transcendent people in jazz. Bassist Cecil McBee and drummer Billy Hart hold down the backline as they have since their younger days paying their dues in the bands of Miles Davis, Wes Montgomery, Alice Coltrane, McCoy Tyner, Jimmy Smith, Herbie Hancock and Joanne Brackeen to name a few.
Trumpeters David Weiss and Eddie Henderson have emerged from a similar pedigree, and along with burning tenor giant Billy Harper and New Orleans born and bred altoist Donald Harrison, form a historic front line unmatched in jazz today.
Assembling an all-star cast does not guarantee a grandiose result. In the case of The Cookers, the assemblage is one of music, friendship and love. That much is obvious at any one of their performances. It is rare to witness a working band of this quality in any genre, much less in jazz, a musical world often embraced by genius. An absolute can’t miss two nights at the Alley. https://www.jazzalley.com/www-home/artist.jsp?shownum=5241
Tue 9/21, 7:30 PM/ Neumo’s
Julian Lage comes to Seattle in celebration of his new album, Squint. The guitarist has been playing with the legendary Charles Lloyd from his early days as a Northern California guitar prodigy, and that aesthetic is clearly expressed in his work. The trio features bassist Jorge Roeder and drummer Eric Doob in a format that finds three musicians revolving around a common center, allowing the sparks to fly as they may.
Squint is Lage’s first recording as a leader on the prestigious BlueNote label. He is clearly humbled by that designation and attachment to a legendary history of recordings.
“I felt like this was an opportunity to present new music born out of the Blue Note tradition as I’ve interpreted it,” explains Lage, who previously recorded for the label with The Nels Cline 4’s Currents, Constellations and Charles Lloyd’s celebratory 8: Kindred Spirits.
A master class is being planned as well, so keep an eye out for that. This performance will be at Neumo’s, which holds the possibility of listening being more difficult outside of the traditional trappings of a jazz audience. The dynamics of the trio tend to be soft, precise and ethereal, requiring an audience that can take to that vibe. https://www.stgpresents.org/calendar/event/3968
Jovino Santos Neto Quinteto
9/24, 8PM/ North City Bistro
Creeping just over the city line, the north end venue continues its support of jazz, in this case, Brazilian Jazz, by bringing in the Brazilian piano legend Jovino Santos Neto and his longtime, sure-fire quintet. The band features Seattle bass legend Chuck Deardorf, drummer Mark Ivester, percussionist Jeff Busch and vibraphonist Ben Thomas.
The quinteto is as close to a sure thing as there is on the Seattle music scene. The music incorporates the jazz tradition into Jovino’s music that grew from the pianist’s many years playing in the band of Brazilian music icon, Hermeto Pascoal. The music is a pure release of joy and celebration, enhanced by the pure artistry of this top shelf band. This is a sit down dinner club, so come prepared for good food, fine wine and a grand performance. If you enjoy dancing to Brazilian music, this is not the venue. As a concert performance, the quinteto will make you dance inside! https://northcitybistro.com/
Monday Night Jam at The Royal Room with Thomas Marriott
Mondays beginning 9/20- 9PM
Monday nights will find two jam sessions bookending the weekly performance of The Royal Room Collective Music Ensemble at the Columbia City nightspot. Saxophonist Stuart MacDonald will host a late afternoon jam session for younger players, featuring musicians from the area’s celebrated school music programs. Trumpeter Thomas Marriott will follow RRCME with an open jam session that will begin with a short set from host musicians at 9 PM.
The addition of the south end jam is now the third weekly session in Seattle, following the Beaver Sessions on Sundays in Greenwood, and the iconic Owl Jam in Pioneer Square. All three are in the hands of musicians that will no doubt skillfully curate these community sessions. More opportunities for music and fellowship is always a positive. There is a huge backline advantage for this session, especially with the club’s resident Steinway B. https://theroyalroomseattle.com/
9/28-29, 7:30 PM/ Jazz Alley
Cuban born alto saxophonist, clarinetist and composer Paquito D’Rivera is a historic presence in the world of Latin jazz. A frequent visitor to Seattle, D’Rivera always plays with focused joy and virtuosity. He is joined by pianist Alex Brown, bassist Oscar Stagnaro, trumpeter Diego Urcola, and drummer Mark Walker.
D’Rivera’s music is a reflection of his wide ranging musical interests that can often move towards the eclectic side. This is especially true in his work as a composer. The artist and his current lineup have the chops to explore all of the aspects of the leader’s musical persona. https://www.jazzalley.com/www-home/artist.jsp?shownum=5247
Seattle Trumpeter Jared Hall Drops New Album Seen on the Scene on Origin Records
The title Seen on the Scene in many ways encapsulates trumpeter Jared Hall’s story leading up to the studio session in 2018 that resulted in this, his sophomore release. The Spokane, Washington native arrived in Seattle in 2015 after completing studies with mercurial trumpet ace Brian Lynch, almost immediately scoring a residency at Tula’s, the city’s legendary jazz spot. Sporting new compositions and a new recording on Lynch’s Hollistic MusicWorks label, Hall went about establishing himself on the vibrant Seattle scene, establishing working and social relationships with such Emerald City stalwarts as pianist John Hansen, bassist Michael Glynn and drummer Matt Jorgensen. Jorgensen is, as well, a principal of the highly regarded Origin Records label. Hall in the process began to shake off the sediment of jazz education and chance upon his own original sound by playing and interacting socially with his new community via jam sessions and gigs as a sideman for a variety of resident artists in his new city. Becoming a new father in the process necessitated he be employed in education extensively, all the while grinding and performing his way towards the top of Seattle’s impressive roster of jazz elite. Continue reading at All About Jazz https://www.allaboutjazz.com/seen-on-the-scene-jared-hall-origin-records__16108
The annual John Coltrane Birthday Celebration at Tula’s has become a symbolic jazz new year of sorts. It is performed in a time of transition in the northwest, when we begin to seek a bit more shelter both without and within.
The music of Coltrane is a spiritually unifying force of nature, a gust of wind to push our humanity ever forward to each new day.
Each year, event organizer Matt Jorgensen brings in special guests to offer their interpretations of Coltrane’s art. This year saxophonist Charles Owens is our guest, arriving from Charlottesville, VA. along with New York-based bassist Ben Shapiro. The two will form a quartet with Jorgensen on drums and pianist Marc Seales. In a way, it continues a tradition that began on Jackson St., and continues to this day of welcoming great players from yonder scenes and surrounding them with the best the Seattle jazz scene has to offer.
Owens was so kind as to answer a few questions, and provide some insight as to who he is as an artist, and what we might anticipate at this year’s performances.
You spent 12 years on the scene in New York City and moved to Charlottesville VA. Talk about your reasons for the change, and how that transition has been for you musically.
The year 2002 was a big one for me. I got married, turned 30, and my wife became pregnant with our first child. I was looking for a better life for myself and my family, I was looking for some space and some quiet. I grew up in VA and my mom has some property out in the country. So we moved out there to get our footing and then shortly thereafter moved to Charlottesville. Being in VA as a musician has been beautiful! I am a big part of the scene in Cville but also in Richmond which is a short drive away. I play and record with guys in Butcher Brown like Devonne Harris (DJ Harrison) Corey Fonville, Andrew Randazzo, Morgan Burrs, and Marcus Tenney as well as guys like Kelli Strawbridge on drums Cameron Ralston (Matthew E White) on bass. Also, there’s a great bunch of cats in Richmond that are in a band called Future Prospect. I love to gig with them. Cleandre Foster, Brandon Lane, Jacob Ungerleider, Trey Sorrels. In Charlottesville, I have the pleasure of playing with guys like Dane Alderson who’s the bass player in the Yellowjackets and John D’earth who is a master trumpeter and improviser. He was really close with many people in the Brecker generation in NY. All of these people and more have indeed changed my playing. Virginia has a laid back, funky, and soulful vibe. Virginia music is greasy and sexy and hot. It’s got its own special sauce that everybody needs to experience. I treasure what its done to my saxophone playing, improvising, writing and arranging.
You are often linked stylistically to John Coltrane, Sonny Rollins, and Wayne Shorter. How do you use those voices to create and impact your own voice as a player?
Well, those men had a huge hand in creating Charles Owens the improvising saxophonist, so the voices have created, and continue to impact my sound. I don’t just study their playing but I also study the spirit in which they bring forth their truth. These men played in a way that spoke to humans through key facets of their humanity. Their music appeals to people on a visceral level because they are accessing the most truthful regions of their muse, and bringing to fruition sublime improvised musical art. I want to create at this level 100% of the time.
You are coming to Seattle to be featured at the annual John Coltrane Birthday Celebration at Tula’s Jazz Club. First off, how did this association with Seattle come to be?
I was lucky enough to attend the New School for Social Research (Jazz performance and composition) in NYC alongside the amazing Seattle drummer Matt Jorgensen and the great Seattle based bassist Ben Shapiro. Matt and I had been talking for a while about playing together again and when the Coltrane celebration came up, we all thought it would be a perfect fit and opportunity for us to make it happen. I’m so grateful! This will be my first time in Seattle and I’m thrilled.
Coltrane was a primal force that forged so many creative pathways through the music. How will you approach this performance as a saxophonist? Will it be more of a repertory approach, or will you seek more personal insights into the music?
I’ve been playing Coltrane’s music since I was a teenager. These songs are simply part of the Black American Music Canon. We will certainly choose compositions that span his career and make sure that the repertoire is varied in tempo, tone, and timbre. I will approach this music saxophonistically the same way I approach all music. I will be calm, clear and confident. I will gain my inspiration from a mix of spirituality, intellect, and passion. I will treat this and every opportunity to play music for my fellow humans as a sacred and rarified privilege. I will have an open heart and mind and proceed without fear.
With so much material to choose from, how do you go about selecting a set of music from the vast Coltrane library?
For me, it’s the compositions that have meant the most to me personally over the years and also the ones that I enjoy improvising on. But we will also rely on the tried and true method of putting a good set together which is to not have songs with a varied tempos, feels and forms. We want to produce a different mood and vibration on every song so as to make it a rich and satisfying experience for us and the audience. Luckily we have a wide range of genius material from which to choose. We will also put in a couple of songs from the American songbook that were favorites of Coltrane’s.
You performed “A Love Supreme” in Charlottesville last year at UVA. In preparing for, and performing this music, did it at all impact your personal view of this classic?
It had a huge impact on my personal view of the album. I actually performed the suite in Richmond two years before the Charlottesville performance. I never dreamed I would be in a place where I could convincingly perform the Suite. So when the opportunity arose I made sure to prepare thoroughly. I studied the transcriptions heavily and memorized passages that I thought were classic parts and then improvised other parts. This was his ultimate opus. He is thanking God for his life and acknowledging that to him God is the only thing he is doing anything for forever.
This is going to be your first visit to Seattle. The city is noted for its eclectic music scene. What have you learned about Seattle, and what do you anticipate encountering on the scene here?
I know little about the music scene in Seattle other than every musician I’ve played with from there has been great. Matt Jorgensen, Shawn Schlogel, and Max Holmberg.
Coltrane transitioned his sound towards the end of his life, employing what he saw as a spiritual approach, a soul cleansing series of cries and vocalized effects. Some in the audience did not receive the music in the same light in which Coltrane created and performed it. What is your personal perception of this period of Coltrane’s sound, and what impact did it have on your approach to playing?
Coltrane always pushed himself forward and never seemed to want to stay in the same place for long. This is one of the normal hallmarks of an artist/creative person. It’s really the same old story. An artist becomes popular by doing their art in a certain way. That art lives in the fans heart as sublime. Then the artist pushes themselves to create something new (again) with the same energy, focus, and attitude that they used in the past. The established fan usually reacts in 1 of 2 ways- they move forward with their artist despite the fact that things are different, or they stop and stick with what they like about the artist and pine away for “the old stuff.” This is what happened with Trane. I don’t listen to as much of his avant-garde as I do Crescent,A Love Supreme, Coltrane’s Sound etc., but I still do listen. The thing that has most influenced me from his later work is how much his tone continued to evolve, Listening to his tone on the Olatunji Concert recordings makes me feel that he had transcended the saxophone and turned it into his interstellar voice of his worship. No one has ever evoked the universal power of love through a saxophone like him. I learned a lot from the vocalized effects as well. One of my first gigs in NYC was with Reggie Workman’s ensemble at the Knitting Factory. We were playing free, free, free as a bird. Many of the things I’d heard Trane doing, I did especially on those gigs.
Jazz education has become largely institutionalized in modern times, much like classical music in the twentieth century. So many giants of the form learned through the oral tradition, with mentorship provided by the experienced players of the day. Talk about your own personal experience learning the saxophone and jazz music, and how that experience has impacted your approach as an educator.
I’ve been quite lucky to have great saxophone teachers. Ralph Lalama, Joe Lovano, Grant Sewart, Eric Alexander, Makanda McIntyre, Arnie Lawrence. I’ve never had a “big break” gig with a master. The people that I learned the most about actual improvisation though were John Coltrane, Sonny Rollins, Thelonious Monk, Bud Powell, and Charlie Parker. I learned a lot about swing from Duke Ellington and Count Basie. I also came up in NYC in the 90’s at my home club, Smalls. I met, and hung out with, listened to, and learned from just about every great jazz musician you could think of that was still around at the time. Smalls was the place where I really learned what the music should sound like, and more importantly, the attitude and ethos one needs in order to be a successful improviser, performer, bandleader, and composer. My first gig in NYC was running the Sunday jam session at the Village Gate. That’s where I first met people like Brad Mehldau, Dwayne Burno, Ben Wolfe, Leon Parker, Gonna Okegwo, Ari Roland, just to name a VERY few. I also learned a lot during my time at the New School. Some of my teachers there included Jim Hall, Buster Williams, Jimmy Cobb, Bernard Purdie, Peter Bernstein, Reggie Workman… I also was lucky enough to take some advanced jazz harmony classes with Kenny Werner. But I also never stop learning and growing and pushing myself to be better. So I woke up this morning with the same attitude towards music and saxophone that I’ve always had. How can I be better? When I educate people on the tradition of Black American Music, I am very careful to point out that the concepts that we cover are intellectual, but this music needs more than just intellectuality. The other essential ingredients are spirituality and passion.
Environment and lifestyle impacts culture on all levels, including music. New York is like an incubator for new talent, and is unquestionably the living gathering place for jazz, convening sounds from all over the world. The energy and whirlwind of cultural activity drives the music and seems to give it an ardent physicality like nowhere else. Seattle is a touch more relaxed, reflecting the physical beauty and lifestyle of the Pacific Northwest. Talk about the musical environment in Charlottesville, your current residence, and how it differs from other musical scenes you have encountered.
Charlottesville has a wide variety of bands in different genres. It reminds me a lot of other scenes in other cities, just smaller. The energy is, of course, more relaxed and certainly reflects the terrain of the Blue Ridge Mountains. I love the scene here though. Being in Cville and Richmond has taught me that it’s cool to relax and not go for the “touchdown” solo every time. It’s helped me to let go of my ego and not play solos where I’m “checking boxes” i.e the out part, the fast part, the part, the altissimo part, where I trick the audience into clapping more etc… It’s taught me that it’s ok to groove and be sparse and play longer notes. That VA grease!
What projects are you currently engaged in?
I am of course busy with my trio and quartet but I also play in a wide variety of bands here in VA and NYC.
Jack Kilby and the Front Line. Drummer Jack Kilby is about to release his debut album and it’s gonna be amazing. I wrote a song for the Album titled “Love Is A Song Anyone Can Sing.” Jack liked the tune so much that he named the album after it and has taken the concept and run with it. We have a couple of release shows in October and the album is just fantastic. Allyn Johnson, Kris Monson, John D’earth, and Antonio Hart are playing on it.
I am in a band called The ATM Unit that plays every Monday at a club called Rapture here in Cville. The band is lead by Australian electric bass virtuoso Dane Alderson who is also currently in the Yellowjackets. It’s a fusion sound coming out of bands like Yellowjackets, Weather Report, Steps Ahead, etc. It is such a killer band and it’s been a fun challenge learning all the new music.
Reginald Chapman is a great bass trombonist and composer formerly with No BS Brass Band. He has just released a fantastic album called Prototype, and I will be playing his VA release shows in September.
I also play with a ton of great rock, funk, and should bands. I stay very busy with recording sessions, and I have a full studio of wonderful private saxophone, theory and improvisation students. I’m also a pianist and stay busy with solo piano work and duo work with singers.
What can we expect from Charles Owens in the near future in terms of recordings and live performances?
Well, Jack Kilby’s album is on deck next. I just recorded a live album at Smalls with the great Joel Frahm on tenor saxophone, Ari Hoenig on drums and Alexander Claffy on bass. That was released back in April. The next record I want to do will be a trio record with electric bass, drums, and saxophone. I am currently compiling repertoire and testing it out on gigs. My M.O. for recording is to gig with material/band for a year then go to the studio for one day and record it all. I just got a new horn so I will be playing a lot on it before I decide to go back to the studio again.
Tula’s Jazz Club is proud to announce that they will be presenting New York saxophonist Steve Wilson two nights, Friday – Saturday, July 17-18. Make your reservations now to hear this group in the intimate setting at Tula’s Jazz Club (Reservations: 206-443-4221).
Joining Wilson will be an all-start Northwest group featuring Thomas Marriott (trumpet) , Marc Seales (piano), Michael Glynn (bass) and Matt Jorgensen (drums).
JULY 17-18: STEVE WILSON QUINTET TULA’S JAZZ CLUB
2214 Second Ave
About Steve Wilson:
Steve Wilson has attained ubiquitous status in the studio and on the stage with the greatest names in jazz, as well as critical acclaim as a bandleader in his own right. A musician’s musician, Wilson has brought his distinctive sound to more than 100 recordings led by such celebrated and wide-ranging artists as Chick Corea, George Duke, Michael Brecker, Dave Holland, Dianne Reeves, Bill Bruford, Gerald Wilson, Maria Schneider, Joe Henderson, Charlie Byrd, Karrin Allyson, Don Byron, James Williams, and Mulgrew Miller among many others. Wilson has seven recordings under his own name, leading and collaborating with such stellar musicians as Carl Allen, Steve Nelson, Cyrus Chestnut, Greg Hutchinson, Dennis Irwin, James Genus, Larry Grenadier, Ray Drummond, Ben Riley, and Nicholas Payton.
“Homegrown,” the new CD from the Jason Parker Quartet, is a celebration of contemporary Seattle jazz. The recording features original compositions from some of the area’s top artists and reflects the depth of riches in the Seattle jazz community. The release party for “Homegrown,” is scheduled for Monday, March 23rd at Tula’s. Music starts at 7:30pm.
Shortly after release of the band’s previous CD, “Five Leaves Left: A Tribute to Nick Drake,” trumpeter Jason Parker put a call out to local musicians, inviting them to contribute original songs for a new project. The response was enthusiastic – 16 artists submitted – and resulted in this ten-track collection that showcases the compositional talents of Thomas Marriott, Cynthia Mullis, Marc Seales, Jeremy Jones, Josh Rawlings, Troy Kendrick, the late Hadley Caliman and Parker. The recording highlights the diverse sensibilities of its contributors, from the dulcet swing of Parker’s “One Perfect Rose” to the pensive dreamscape of Seale’s “Rue Cler,” and is bolstered by the band’s steady and nuanced performances. Personnel for the CD includes the Jason Parker Quartet, with Josh Rawlings on piano, Evan Flory-Barnes on bass, D’Vonne Lewis on drums and Parker on trumpet, and also special guest Cynthia Mullis on tenor saxophone.
In addition to music from “Homegrown,” the March 23rd performance will also include selections from “Five Leaves Left: A Tribute to Nick Drake,” featuring guest vocalist Michele Khazak. Admission to the show is “pay-what-you-want,” and the first set is all-ages. For reservations, call 206- 443-4221. To purchase the CD, please visit: www.oneworkingmusician.com.
January 13, 2013
Three Bands (or musical groups) at the Royal Room.
Storm D’Angelo’s All Star Big Band
Storm D’Angelo – tenor sax, bass clarinet
Rubin Hohlbein – trumpet
John Otten – trumpet
David Klein – baritone sax
Lise Ramaley – bass
Daniel Arthur – piano
Quinn Anex-Ries – alto sax, clarinet
Noah Halpern – trumpet
Adam Shimabakuro – guitar
Kenzo Perron – drums
Porter Jones – trombone
Logan Pendergrass – bass trombone
Some of Roosevelt High’s finest, these kids are just great!
They could be tighter (how perfect were you in high school?), so what! These kids played great, were a lot of fun.
Support the kids… they’re doing something positive!
I was especially impressed with, Mr Hohlbein, Mr Arthur, Ms Anex-Ries, and Mr Jones. If Mr Storm D’Angelo was a baseball player he’d be like Ken Griffey Jr. This kid is killer! He composes, plays great, and leads the band with a poise and grace and talent well beyond his years. You better be listening to these kids now, before they head off to NY.
This was the first band of the night, the last band was …
Tonight’s performance was a tune-up for a CD they will be recording soon.
All the compositions were originals by Ms Swiggett, who played piano and sang well. All the tunes were pleasant, enjoyable.
Ms Swerdlow and Mr Gray are from the Seattle Symphony, so I’ll just shut up about them and you listen. Mr Symer played a great solo bowing (keep bowing, man, it sounds great.). Mr Vannoy and D’vonne Lewis both remind me of my favorite drummer, Ed Blackwell. Byron always has impecable time keeping, and always makes great statements concisely, that is, he doesn’t need a lot of flash and jive, he just plays the right amount of notes the right way! (Byron was my drum teacher, ’till he fired me because I was a lousy drummer and a lousier student.)
The band has a blend of third stream music with a touch of Stephan Grappelli.
The large group of musicians playing between these two bands call themselves Scrape.
Mostly classiacal folks, with jazz’s own Chris Symer on bass, and Gregg Belisle-Chi on guitar. Exquisite harmonies, interesting compositions (these aren’t quick little ditties). All of the compostions except two were by local jazz trumpeter, educator, and composer, the great Jim Knapp. If you want to hear classical music without paying the high ticket prices classical music usually charges … come see this band. A couple of drinks and a donation, and you’ll still be money ahead.
Thank you to all the musicians and composers tonight.
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
Trumpeter Riley Mulherkar and vocalist Siobhan Brugger are the featured performers for “A Weekend of Rising Stars,” which takes place July 16 & 17 at Bake’s Place.
The Pacific Northwest is home to some of the most outstanding high school jazz programs in the country and has long been the starting point for some of the brightest musicians and vocalists entering the national jazz scene today. In recognition of the wealth of emergent talent in our own backyard, Bake’s is dedicated to supporting these new artists and providing them an opportunity to perform. “We are excited about the talent of these up and coming young people,” says owner Craig Baker. This weekend marks the first of what will be a regular series at Bake’s.
Trumpeter Riley Mulherkar graduated in June from Garfield High School, where he was a member of the prestigious Garfield Jazz band. The band recently took top honors at the Essentially Ellington Competition in New York, and Mulherkar was named the Ella Fitzgerald Outstanding Soloist. Over the past few years, Mulherkar has received numerous awards and accolades, including being recognized as an “outstanding soloist” in DownBeat magazine’s 30th Annual Student Musician Awards. Mulherkar will be attending the Julliard School of Music in the fall. Joining Riley on the bandstand will be Gus Carns on piano, Carmen Rothwell on bass, Zach Para on drums and Carl Majeau on tenor sax. Riley and his band will be performing on July 16.
Siobhan Brugger has been singing jazz standards since she was 12 years old and has appeared at jazz clubs in Edinburgh, Scotland and Kobe, Japan. She has received numerous accolades including:winner of the 2009 Downbeat Magazine Best High School Jazz Vocalist, two –time winner of the “Outstanding Alto Soloist” award at the Lionel Hampton jazz Festival, winner of the student division of the Seattle-Kobe Jazz Vocalist competition, selection for the 2008 All-State Jazz Choir and also a two-time finalist for the Gibson/Baldwin Grammy Jazz Festival. She is a longtime student of Greta Matassa and her performed at such great venues as Dimitriou’s Jazz Alley and Bake’s Place. Siobhan is presently a student at USC, where she is continuing her education in jazz studies. Siobhan’s band features Devon Yesberger on piano, Chris Copland on drums, Colleen Gilligan on bass and Daniel Hipke on guitar. Siobhan will be appearing on July 17.
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.
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.
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/.
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.
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.”
I didn’t think I’d be able to attend much of the 2009 Earshot Jazz Festival as I’ve been completely tied up with The Drowsy Chaperone at The 5th Avenue, but with my Monday night free, and my brother in the band, I decided to check out Wayne Horvitz and NY Composers Orchestra West at The Triple Door. While I did bring my camera, I sadly didn’t bring anything for note taking, so I missed getting the titles, but to be honest, it’s not important. What was important about this concert was the music of composer and keyboardist Wayne Horvitz. I used to go see his band Zony Mash at the OK Hotel and revelled in the groove, but always remembered seeing a similar incarnation of tonight’s band around ten years ago. My tastes have certainly broadened since then, and with a focus on Wayne’s writing this time, I was even more taken with it.
EGAN’S BALLARD JAM HOUSE:
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)
EGAN’S BALLARD JAM HOUSE:
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)
CHAPEL PERFORMANCE SPACE: Ziggurat Ensemble Good Shepherd Center, 4649 Sunnyside Ave N, 8pm