On the Scene: Live Jazz Previews for July

Bassist Buster Williams

July brings the promise of sunny, warm weather, and with any luck, more of a return to normalcy. While attendance has been respectable at area jazz events, good weather tends to draw people outside in the Pacific Northwest. There is no shortage of great gigs to attend in July, as well as three prominent jam sessions in Greenwood, Columbia City and Pioneer Square. Here is a sampler of what lies ahead, and of course, we hope you will dig yet deeper. 

Jose Gonzales Trio

Sun July 3, 7 PM/ 12th Street Arts

Jose Gonzalez is a multi-talented artist, engaging in the local arts scene as an actor, singer, master gardener and yes, as a pianist in a dynamic, groove-based jazz trio. For his engagement at 12th St. Arts, “Juicy” settles in with drummer/composer Matt Jorgensen and bassist Michael Marcus for an evening of conversational jazz piano trio. Gonzalez plays with great energy and personality that makes the audience feel a part of the performance. Bravo to 12th St. Arts for engaging with the jazz community. https://trio.bpt.me/

Sara Gazarek

Tue & Wed July 5&6, 7:30 PM/ Jazz Alley

Vocalist Sara Gazarek is an international star in the jazz world and of course, a local jazz hero as a native Seattleite. Her recent work with the vocal supergroup, säje, also had a strong tie to her hometown, teaming with among others, Johnaye Kendrick. She has received two Grammy nominations and is heralded as a vocal artist of the highest caliber on a world-wide scale. She returns to Jazz Alley joined by pianist Stu Mindeman, bassist Alex Bobeham, drummer Jonathan Pinson and alto saxophonist Lenard Simpsonhttps://www.jazzalley.com/www-home/artist.jsp?shownum=6343

Sam Hirsch Trio

Sun July 10, 7:30 PM/ Royal Room

Pianist Sam Hirsch ascends from Los Angeles for a trio date at the Royal Room featuring bassist Luca Alemanno and drummer Kevin Kanner. Hirsch is a classic Cedar Walton style player, and his trio reflects that vibe. He was a regular at the now shuttered Blue Whale and currently appears at Sam One in LA. The Royal Room is a perfect blend of intimate and relaxed for Hirsch’s appearance. Supporting the efforts of the Royal Room to host jazz is highly recommended for the overall health of the scene here in Seattle. https://theroyalroomseattle.com/event/sam-hirsh-trio/?instance_id=3939

Thomas Marriott photo credit: Jim Levitt

Monday Jam Session at the Royal Room/ Royal Room Collecgtive Music Ensemble

Mon July 11, 18, 25- RCME at 7:30 PM/ Jam Session at 9 PM/ Royal Room

Mondays at the Royal Room have turned the traditional jazz day of rest, into a looked forward to weekly jam and hang. When the RRCME performs, you’re bound to see such Seattle jazz luminaries as Hans Teuber, David Marriott, Jr., Geoff Harper, Eric Eagle, Mark Taylor, Samantha Boshnack and Haley Freedlund. The Wayne Horvitz led ensemble plays his originals and arrangements of the compositions of Thelonious Monk. Horvitz’ unique conducting skills literally moves the band in different directions in a very spontaneous manner. 

At 9 PM, trumpeter Thomas Marriott leads an all-ages jam session that has been attracting many of the top players in town, as well as young up and comers looking for an opportunity to play with established professionals. There is a sign up sheet, and all those included are given the chance to play on stage. The session includes a great community vibe that brings together the disparate parts of the Seattle jazz scene. Marriott leads a band to begin with for two or three tunes, before jumping into the open jam. He has done a spot on job placing different combinations on stage. Unlike the Owl jam, under 21 musicians can participate, as long as they do not enter the bar area. It is a great opportunity for the jazz community at large to get to know each other, and share fellowship. https://theroyalroomseattle.com/event/royal-room-collective-music-ensemble-2/?instance_id=3696

Spanish Harlem Orchestra

Thu July 14- Sun July 17, 7:30 PM & 9:30 PM/ Jazz Alley

Always a pleasure to welcome the Oscar Hernandez– led Spanish Harlem Orchestra to Jazz Alley. One of the premier latin jazz ensembles on the planet, SHO carries the great legacy of salsa dura (hard salsa) and the sounds of the barrio (Spanish Harlem). The 13 piece band has been the recipient of three Grammys, and has Seattle connections in lead vocalist Carlos Cascante and trumpeter Thomas Marriott. Trombonist Doug Beavers is another known quantity in Seattle, having performed with Marriott and recorded on the Origin Records label. Not a dance gig, but an interesting way to highlight the music itself. Considering the personnel, that in itself should be a pleasure and not to be missed.https://www.jazzalley.com/www-home/artist.jsp?shownum=6334

Buster Williams Something More Quartet

Fri July 15, 6 & 8:30 PM/ Triple Door Mainstage

The great Buster Williams makes a rare Seattle appearance at this stage of his career, landing at the Triple Door with a top shelf quartet. Pianist George Colligan, drummer Lenny White and saxophonist Bruce Williams join the trailblazing bassist best known for his work with Miles Davis, Herbie Hancock and Joe Farrell. Now 80 years old, Williams continues to be one of the most influential bassists in jazz history, both as a player and as an educator. With so many musical lives touched by his mastery, these two shows should sell out quickly. https://thetripledoor.net/event/4582902/591257020/buster-williams-something-more-quartet

Dmitri Matheny Group CASCADIA Album Release Celebration

Sat July 23, 8:30 PM/ Royal Room

In celebration of his new album, Cascadia, fluegelhorn specialist Dmitri Metheny hits the Royal Room with a quartet featuring pianist Bill Anschell, bassist Phil Sparks and drummer Mark Ivester’ Metheny benefited from the mentorship of flugelhorn master Art Farmer, and has sailed steady on that course throughout his career. Of course, it is always a pleasure to see Anschell in action, not only as a top shelf soloist, but for his sparse, harmonically brilliant comping. Sparks is a longtime anchor of the Seattle scene, as is drummer Ivester. This should be an extremely satisfying evening of modern, straight ahead jazz expressed through new compositions. https://theroyalroomseattle.com/event/dmitri-matheny-group-cascadia-album-release-celebration/?instance_id=3848

Seattle Jazz Fellowship: Fellowship Wednesdays at Vermillion/ Julian Speaks

Wed July 20, 27/ Vermillion Art Gallery & Bar

Julian Speaks! each week at 5:30 PM

There is no better way for musicians and fans alike to gain insight and wisdom into jazz music and jazz history, than to spend time with one of the true masters of the art. Such is the case with Julian Speaks, an opportunity to spend an hour with iconic trombonist Julian Priester, listening to records and engaging in discussion. Priester spent decades on the road and in the studio with artists such as Sun Ra, Herbie Hancock, Booker Little, Max Roach, Abbey Lincoln and Duke Ellington, and contributed a legacy of recordings as a leader on the Riverside and ECM labels. His warmth, openness and humility is exceeded only by his wisdom. Julian Speaks takes place from 5:30-6:30 PM, preceding Fellowship Wednesdays at Vermillion. 

Photo Credit: Daniel Sheehan

Jay Thomas Phinney Five/ Fellowship ‘Ceptet

Wed July 20, 7:30 PM

Jay Thomas is one of a very few musicians in jazz history to play reeds and brass with both virtuosity and creativity. His iconic influence on jazz music in Seattle spans more than a half century. He appears in the intimate brick-lined confines of Vermillion with his “Phinney Five,” featuring pianist John Hansen, bassist Phil Sparks, drummer Adam Kessler and trumpeter Michael Van Bebber

Opening will be the Thomas Marriott led Fellowship ‘Ceptet. Marriott is joined on the front line with trombonist Beserat Taffesse, tenor saxophonist Jackson Cotugno and alto saxophonist Hans Teuber. The dynamic “rhythm section” of pianist Marina Albero, bassist Grace Kaste and drummer D’Vonne Lewis are all sensational soloists as well. The band is a wonderful cross-generational assemblage of inspired artistry. https://seattlejazzfellowship.org/

Photo Credit: Lisa Hagen Glynn
Photo Credit: Jim Levitt

Rick Mandyck Quartet with Thomas Marriott, Jeff Johnson & John Bishop/ Jona Brown Quartet

Wed July 27, 7:30 PM

Tenor saxophonist Rick Mandyck is simply one of the alltime greats in the Seattle jazz lineage. Just a few notes into a solo, the listener gains an understanding of his mastery. Uncluttered by modern jazz education, Mandyck’s sound is fiercely personal with a pure, emotive projection that sets his sound apart. Yes, that SOUND. For his set at SJF, he performs in a chordless quartet that features long term associates Thomas Marriott, Jeff Johnson and John Bishop. Bassist Johnson and drummer Bishop are a lethal combination, as they have been for years in the band Scenes, and the trios of pianists Hal Galper and Jessica Williams. Marriott is internationally renowned not only for his thirteen albums as a leader, but for his work with such diverse entities as the Captain Black Big Band and the Spanish Harlem Orchestra. The acoustics in the room at Vermillion should have a projectile effect on the overall sound of this quartet.

Pianist Jona Brown began to make his mark in the city appearing at the jam sessions around town. A capable bassist as well, Brown will perform his original music and a few standards in a quartet setting featuring trumpeter Jun Iida, bassist Paul Gabrielson, and drummer Max Holmberg. Brown has not performed much in Seattle, though his session playing has shown wonderful facility and imagination. This presents just one more thing that the SJF has done right- giving a stage to up and coming talent around the city, as well as its more established stars. With Brown and Mandyck as headliners, this is profoundly true. 

Joel Frahm Trio

Sun July 24, 7:30 PM/ Royal Room

Wait, seriously? Joel Frahm is playing the Royal Room? In what should be a room full of area saxophone enthusiasts, Frahm arrives in Seattle in the middle of a Canadian trio featuring bassist Ernesto Cervini and bassist Dan Loomis. An unquestioned avatar of technical ability and raw emotion, Frahm is an iconic figure in sax circles around the globe. He is extremely creative and free flowing, his astounding technique facilitating his unabated emotional flow. Without a framework of chordal harmony, that form of release can seek new territory to roam. https://theroyalroomseattle.com/event/joel-frahm-trio/?instance_id=3970

Jovino Santos Neto Quinteto

Sun July 31, 7:30 PM/ Royal Room

It is a stroke of good fortune that Seattle music fans have been able to call Brazilian pianist/composer Jovino Santos Neto one of their own. The Quinteto is the peak aspect of his artistry here in the northwest, bringing the soul of Brazilian music inspired my master Hermeto Pascoal in direct collision course with post-bop jazz. Bass icon Chuck Deardorf is the jazz conduit through which the band flows, pushed along by the seamless percussion of Mark Ivester and Jeff Busch and the brilliant work of Ben Thomas on vibes. Jovino himself is a pianist of the highest caliber, as well improvising on melodica and flute. This band is as close to a sure thing as you can get in Seattle- lift-off is likely to occur. Since the band’s monthly engagement at Tula’s ended with the club’s closure, their performances have been few and far between. Here’s your chance!https://theroyalroomseattle.com/event/jovino-santos-neto-quinteto-2/?instance_id=3855

Calluna

Calluna, on the north end of University Way in Ravenna continues featuring jazz at their intimate venue that features fine cuisine, wines and liquors. Proprietors Jason Moore and Heather Bourne know something about presenting the music in first class fashion following eight years at the helm of the legendary Tula’s Jazz Club in Belltown. July features newcomers and stalwarts alike at the city’s only jazz dinner club that features resident players.

Highlights include performances from the Bill Anschell Trio with Gary Hobbs and Jeff Johnson, the Art of the Trio with Johnson and John BIshop and the return from New York of young bassist/composer Ben Feldman and his Friendship Trio.

Jazz vocal fans can take in the always elegant Gail Pettis, vocal and guitar artist Robert Vaughn, Calluna regular Stephanie Porter, and Seattle jazz Hall of Famer Greta Matassa.

Three of the young lions of Seattle jazz- bassist Stanley Ruvinov, pianist Dylan Hayes and drummer Xavier Lecouturier will perform in trio. For the complete jazz calendar, click here https://callunaseattle.com/music-calendar/

Seattle Jazz Fellowship’s Saturday Jazz Matinee

The jazz non-profit hits it out of the park presenting piano great George Cables and his trio, with the Fellowship ‘Ceptet

Photo Credit: Lisa Hagen Glynn



Trumpeter and Seattle Jazz Fellowship founder Thomas Marriott is always on the lookout to bring to life ideas that further the goals of the Fellowship. The principle of lowering barriers to access was practiced in booking The George Cables Trio alongside the non-profit’s Fellowship ‘Ceptet for a 1 PM jazz matinee, a promotional risk of sorts. The Saturday tilt would allow more students to attend, as well as families. Then there are those that are reticent about venturing out at night, when most of the music takes place on the Seattle jazz scene, or for that matter, any local jazz scene. 

The show was made possible by a generous donation from Bob and Sue Frause, friends of Marriott’s late parents David and Helen Marriott. The Marriotts were hugely influential in their support for jazz in Seattle, and the Frause family wanted to both support the Fellowship and memorialize David and Helen in some way. Cables was a favorite of theirs, and a dear friend. There was never any doubt as to who their son wanted to bring in to perform. Cables would add drummer Jerome Jennings from New York, and Seattle jazz legend Chuck Deardorf on bass, a long-time friend. Marriott decided to include a key mentorship project of the Seattle Jazz Fellowship in the billing–the Marriott led Fellowship ‘Ceptet.

Photo Credit: Jim Levitt

“We decided to include the ‘Ceptet in the event and to keep the price of the ticket down (and make it early) so we could use the event to further our goals of building community, increasing mentorship, incentivizing excellence and lowering barriers to access,” says Marriott.

The 1 PM start turned out to be agreeable to the Seattle jazz public, as the room filled to capacity in anticipation of two superb sets. The sun washed through the club’s windows looking out onto Rainier Ave, shadows cast across the room seldom seen before by patrons more accustomed to the club’s typical late night persona. The crowd was decidedly cross-generational, with families and students not normally associated with evening sessions at the club in attendance. They came for the music, as the Royal Room itself was not quite accustomed to an afternoon happening. The kitchen was closed, and one bartender was left to attend to the needs of a full house.

Photo Credit: Jim Levitt

The Fellowship “Ceptet opened, featuring a line-up that spoke well to the non-profit’s premise. Marriott, along with drummer John Bishop, pianist Marc Seales and alto saxophonist Mark Taylor are four of the finest jazz musicians to emerge from the Seattle scene historically. Tenor saxophonist Jackson Cotugno, trombonist Beserat Tafesse and bassist Grace Kaste represented the new wave of jazz artistry in the city, with Kaste still a senior at Roosevelt HIgh School. All three would demonstrate to the audience that their inclusion was merited in terms of artistic facility. 

The band played a selection of Marriott originals, and a cover of Thelonious Monk’s “Ask Me Now.” Throughout the seven tunes selected, the band offered crisp arrangements and imaginative soloing. Immediately noticeable was the rhythm section, with Seattle stalwarts Bishop and Seales working seamlessly with Kaste. Kaste performed with the refinement and elegance of a veteran, much to the delight of Deardorf, her mentor since the age of thirteen in attendance. The front line responded to the strong vibe in the room with fire, queued by Marriott’s leadership, and most importantly his brilliant solo work. Taylor, who has been somewhat invisible the past few years from live performance in Seattle, played beautifully, with his trademark, original style on alto. Cotugno continued a somewhat meteoric visibility on the Seattle scene offering a modern approach, with a pre-bop sound that speaks to Ben Webster. Tafesse, who has been ever-present post-pandemic at area jam sessions, was in a way introduced to the jazz public at large, providing harmonic depth and spirited soloing. 

Photo Credit: Jim Levitt

The set had a dynamic arc from start to finish. opening with “Fellowship Blues,” and delving into Marriott’s “Human Spirit,” and O.D.A.A.T (One Day at a Time). The Monk interlude was lush and spacious. It stood out in terms of arrangement, featuring a commonality between Marriott and his saxophone counterparts in Taylor and Cotugno–all three produce a rich tonality that fares well in moments of intensity, or those of melancholy. By the time the band arrived at Marriott’s “Stupor in D,” and “The Tale of Debauchery,” they had found a connective spirit that resonated well with an audience that was pleasingly dialed in. 

Pianist Cables at 78 years of age, still not only performs at a high and inspired level, but maintains the prowess he has demonstrated throughout his career without any signs of slowing down. His playing is crisp, brilliantly articulated and radiating with the joy that is an integral part of his personality both on and off the bandstand. 

The trio offered in depth interpretations of Wayne Shorter’s “Speak No Evil,” and Bill Strayhorn’s gorgeous “Lotus Flower,” with Cable’s playing accented perfectly by Deardorf’s seemingly effortless style. Jennings played as though delighted to be in the presence of the two jazz elders he would converse with over the ninety minute set. 

Photo Credit: Jim Levitt
Photo Credit: Jim Levitt

The standards “Too Close For Comfort,” and “Who Can I Turn Too” brought the audience to Cables’ romantic side, perhaps prepping them emotionally for his two originals he silently dedicated to his late wife. “Song For Helen,” and “My Muse” brought more than melancholy to the audience. Cables’ lush harmonies and sweeping, melodic runs spoke to fond remembrance, joy and gratitude. It reminded the attentive audience that they were in the company of one of the true giants of jazz music. The elders in the audience could think back to seeing the master as a sideman with the likes of Dexter Gordon and Art Pepper. With that, came the realization that Cables had joined the two saxophone icons as a true master of the form. His graciousness and humility was a true gift to the younger members of the audience, many of them musicians themselves. As young bassist Kaste learned on the bandstand, and many of her contemporaries witnessed in the audience, true mentorship and the process of paying dues in this music is done in the presence of the masters of the form. For this one afternoon, those lessons were communicated with unusual clarity. 

Photo Credit: Jim Levitt

The matinee portends good things for SJF, for what is to come down the road. With their weekly “Fellowship Wednesdays” commencing on April 20, the non-profit moves front and center in support of the resident jazz scene in Seattle. 


Seattle Jazz Fellowship Photo Gallery: Alex Claffy Quintet and The Fellowship ‘Ceptet at the Royal Room

The Seattle Jazz Fellowship, the city’s 501 (c) (3) jazz non-profit, has taken a hiatus from their weekly dates at Vermillion until April 20, when the Wednesday night program will re-ignite for another six week run. In the meantime, the organization founded by Thomas Marriott has turned its focus to presenting performances featuring the Fellowship ‘Ceptet, a rotating gathering of the best of the Seattle jazz scene. The seven piece ensemble opened for New York based bassist Alex Claffy and his quintet on Tuesday, February 8 at the Royal Room in Columbia City. 

The ‘Ceptet performed compositions by trumpeter Marriott, along with a Thelonious Monk classic. Marriott was joined by a front line of altoist Alex Dugdale, tenorist Jackson Cotugno and trombonist David Marriott, Jr.. Pianist Marina Albero, bassist Trevor Ford and drummer D’Vonne Lewis held down the rhythm section.

Claffy’s quintet featured Portland born and raised tenorist Nicole Glover, and trumpeter Benny Benack III. The New York based band was all in on the hang in Seattle as well, attending both the Monday night jam at the Royal Room, and the Tuesday night jam at the Owl ‘n Thistle. 

Photographers Jim Levitt and Lisa Hagen Glynn were there to document the event with their stellar photographic skill sets. Enjoy the results! To further explore the goings on with the Seattle Jazz Fellowship, visit their website at https://seattlejazzfellowship.org/

Photo Credit:
Lisa Hagen Glynn
Photo Credit: Lisa Hagen Glynn
Saxophonist Jackson Cotugno
Photo Credit:
Lisa Hagen Glynn
l to r: Alex Dugdale, Thomas Marriott, Jackson Cotugno, David Marriott
Photo Credit: Lisa Hagen Glynn
l to r: Nicole Glover, Alex Claffy
Photo Credit:
Lisa Hagen Glynn
Bassist Alex Claffy
Photo Credit:
Lisa Hagen Glynn
pianist Marina Albero
Photo Credit: Lisa Hagen Glynn
Trunmpeter Benny Benack III
Photo Credit:
Lisa Hagen Glynn
Photo Credit:
Lisa Hagen Glynn
Guest drummer Ted Poor
Photo Credit:
Jim Levitt
Drummer D’Vonne Lewis
Photo Credit: Jim Levitt
Pianist Marina Albero
Photo Credit:
Jim Levitt
Trumpeter and SJF founder Thomas Marriott

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

Giveton Gelin                                                          Lisa Hagen Glynn photo

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

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




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: East-West Trumpet Summit at Meydenbauer Center Theatre- Oct 9, 2021

Lisa Hagen Glynn photo

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.

Ray Vega                   Lisa Hagen Glynn photo

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

Thomas Marriott              Lisa Hagen Glynn photo
Roy McCurdy                         Lisa Hagen Glynn photo
Lisa Hagen Glynn photo
L to R- Thomas Marriott, Ray Vega                    Lisa Hagen Glynn photo
L to R- Ray Vega, Orrin Evans, Thomas Marriott
Roy McCurdy, Michael Glynn                        Lisa Hagen Glynn photo
The rhythm section- Orrin Evans, Roy McCurdy, Michael Glynn
L to R- Orrin Evans, Thomas Marriott, Michael Glynn, Ray Vega, Roy McCurdy

A Night On the Town with The Delvon Lamarr Organ Trio

DLO 3 on stage with friends at Jazz Alley. Photo Credit: Lisa Hagen Glynn


The stage at the esteemed Seattle jazz club, Dimitriou’s Jazz Alley, holds special meaning for local musicians who are brought up through the traditions of the city’s historically vibrant jazz scene. The majority of the performers who grace the Belltown nightspot’s hallowed podium are national and international touring artists, who over the years have included Dexter Gordon, Art Blakey and the Jazz Messengers, Chick Corea, Branford Marsalis, Betty Carter and Cecile McLorin Salvant to mention but a few. On occasion, the club has set aside nights for its resident jazz elite, including the great Ernestine Anderson.

Delvon Lamarr at Jazz Alley. Photo Credit: Lisa Hagen Glynn

Before the worldwide pandemic brought the live performance world to a screeching halt, Jazz Alley began featuring resident artists on Monday nights (the reference to ‘resident’ artists as opposed to ‘local’ was inspired by Seattle jazz great Julian Priester, who explained that the term local could be interpreted as pedestrian). With live music at the club re-igniting in the summer of 2021, the club decided to take a chance on Seattle’s best, booking Thomas Marriott, Greta Matassa, Marc Seales and Ari Joshua with positive results both in terms of performance and attendance. It was quite striking to see a full club in on every note for Seattle veteran pianist Seales for example, with a band that featured Seattleites Marriott and Jeff Johnson. 

The Seattle based Delvon Lamarr Organ Trio took to the Jazz Alley stage to begin a two night, sold out engagement on August 24th, a Tuesday evening with a full house on hand. Many in the audience were about to experience live music for the first time since the pandemic induced shutdown. There was a sense of rejuvenation, of celebration in the room, as Lamarr escorted his mother, brother and sister in law to their table suspended over the stage in the front of the balcony. The soulful R&B and blues guitarist Jimmy James was his usual sharp witted and comical self. “Do you know how to tell if someone is not from Seattle,” he quipped. “When they ask how to get on THE five!” James is all south end Seattle, just as Lamarr’s roots run deep in the Emerald City. New drummer Dan Weiss, who hails from Reno, was getting a full dose of the immensity of the moment, of his Seattle bandmates about to take stage on the city’s most prestigious jazz precipice. The trio had enjoyed a degree of commercial success prior to the shutdown, and had drawn well in their previous visit to the club. 

DLO3 at jazz Alley. Photo Credit: Lisa Hagen Glynn

Seattle’s reputation of being a remote and unique cultural outpost is perhaps a bit outdated in its modern incarnation, but nonetheless steeped in historical accuracy. When Jazz Alley opened, it would often feature a national touring artist accompanied by Seattle musicians. In the seventies and eighties, it was common to see such Seattle stalwarts as Chuck Deardorf and Dean Hodges manning the rhythm section for notables like Kenny Burrell or Mose Allison. The resident artists could be found full time at clubs like The New Orleans, or Tula’s beginning in the nineties. But headliners at the old Jazz Alley on University Way, or the current Belltown location, were clearly the exception, not the rule.

Lamarr is what some might refer to as a “natural” musician, one that has an innate understanding of music as a base point for his personal musical progression. In middle school, he came to play in the band by chance, by clearly showing his teacher and mentor Sam Chambliss his ability. 

“One day I saw a horn on the floor, and didn’t even know what it was. I told Mr. Chambliss, ‘I can play that.’ He said, ‘Good, I’ll put you in band.’ It was a baritone horn. I picked it up and played it naturally right away. I couldn’t read music, so I would just copy the person next to me. Whatever they played, I played,” he recalls. 

Lamarr settled on B-3 after playing drums in the band of Seattle B-3 master, Joe Doria. A year of simply observing his bandleader from behind the kit, allowed him to casually sit down and play the complex instrument.

“I had been watching Joe play it for a year, and literally sat down and played it like I had been playing it my whole life,” says Lamarr.

Lamarr was, and is, a jazz first musician no matter what musical tradition he employs. There is an intuitive eclecticism about his art that transcends form. The influences of his first love, R&B and soul, speaks through his music as well. Taking those elements of his musical personality, and creating a concept that not only would be sufficiently expressive for a genius musician like Lamarr, and as well supply ample opportunity to make a living, eventually became the domain of Amy Novo, Lamarr’s wife, life partner and manager. 

“She literally owns DLO3,” exclaimed Lamarr from the Jazz Alley stage that night. “She came up with the idea, and made it happen in every way. I just have to play music.”

Novo worked tirelessly, while her husband created music that would land them with the esteemed Kurland Agency. They found an audience that, like the music, transcended genre. The potent recipe of jazz, rhythm and blues and rock pulled in a sizable crowd that enabled the band to play venues like the Blue Note in New York, worldwide festivals and of course, Seattle’s Jazz Alley. Guitarist James provided the punch that incorporated that which encompasses all of Lamarr’s stylistic indulgences- the blues. The band’s sound has been represented well on the studio albums Close But No Cigar (Colemine, 2018) and I Told You So (Colemine,2021) for Colemine Records, and the live offering Live at KEXP (Colemine, 2018). 

Guitarist Jimmy James and drummer Dan Weiss at Jazz Alley with DLO3. Photo Credit: Lisa Hagen Glynn

That “sound” has a historical lineage, perhaps unknown to Lamarr at the beginning stages of the band’s development. In the fifties and sixties, Seattle Hammond B-3 artist Dave Lewis had a multitude of hit records with what was being referred to at the time as the “Seattle Sound.” It was instrumental, organ based music, that had markings of  jazz, rhythm and blues and the hybrid form taking hold of the airwaves in those days– rock and roll. Lewis’ band would eventually have a huge impact sociologically by playing north end gigs that were the exclusive domain of white bands. This would put an end to musical segregation in the city, which included separate unions for white and black musicians. The unity exhibited by late night jam sessions on Jackson St., now had legal and ethical legitimacy by practice among venue owners. The “sound” would have an impact on Seattle jazz, as well as artists in all blues based styles, including Jimi Hendrix. DLO3 has received a large degree of popularity and commercial success with their own unique organ based sound, that much like Lewis’ combo, is an open door for guest artists to enter and leave their mark. It is a style that is constantly in motion and inviting new musical notions. Whether performing for a sit down audience at Jazz Alley, or accommodating a dance crowd, the band has the unique ability to satisfy multiple audiences, a luxury seldom afforded by jazz artists. 

Lamarr’s solo work, and his minimalist comping style, are unmistakingly tied to his roots as a jazz musician. His dual persona in a way, is like an artistic aperture allowing the entire blues tradition into the mix. So much is the same, so much is different. “When I play DLO3 music versus swinging jazz, the approach is completely different. I intertwine the soul with jazz and make sense of it,” he explains. It is not, however, groove dance music, no matter how thick and comfortable drummer Weiss makes that pocket seem. Lamarr’s thought processes arrive musically from the jazz lexicon, smothered in blues based soul and funk. “It’s undeniable that music is better when it speaks to somebody’s soul instead of just hearing a beat,” he points out. 

The trio’s open door welcomed in India Arie bassist Khari Simmons, and Polyrhythmic’s guitarist Ben Bloom on this Tuesday evening engagement in Seattle. Relieved of bass line duties, Lamarr is able to ascend as a soloist to new heights, and for two tunes, as a vocalist. Until this opening night in Seattle, Lamarr had never dared to sing in public. He soulfully rendered two new compositions to accommodate this new, very personal revelation. “No Walk in the Park,” and “Can’t Win For Losing,” unmasked the organist’s inner creative sanctum, leaving himself completely vulnerable to an audience that included family, long time friends and some of the city’s top music scribes. That comfortable vibe, that which one feels when surrounded by loved ones, by being home, gathered all the loose ends of the evening into one, enlightened space. The jovial nonchalance of Lamarr’s outward personality, and his deep, soul searching inner musical self came to a singular state of being. This wasn’t another ordinary stop on a long tour–it was Seattle, it was Jazz Alley, this was about neighborhood and being home.

Delvon Lamarr at the Owl jam session. 8/24/21

The afternoon preceding DLO3’s opener at Jazz Alley, Lamar and Novo set up a B-3 at the Owl ‘n Thistle, an Irish dive bar in Seattle’s Pioneer Square, with intentions of returning after the Jazz Alley hit to attend a weekly jam session that has taken place at the Owl for more than two decades. The jam is the social focal point of the Seattle jazz scene, and where Lamarr would come to match his chops with the best players in town. In those days, the young Lamarr would play trumpet and drums at the session. Two weeks prior, he had dropped in at the Owl after a gig at Woodland Park, with Novo and Simmons in tow. He played drums a bit, but mostly just enjoyed the hang tremendously. He realized how shut in socially he could be, between touring and ultimately, due to Covid-19. Knowing that he would be playing the house B-3 at Jazz Alley, he set up his own equipment at the Owl, and arrived around 10 PM, just as the house band led by pianist Eric Verlinde was finishing up its set. The trio played a few tunes for the jam packed (pun intended) audience in the small, brick lined room. Soon, Lamarr was at the organ with a rapidly changing cast of musicians at the open session, clearly enjoying himself. While Lamarr is an affable sort, his normal positive self seemed to play into a state of heightened joy and repose. Novo as well sported a look of knowing she was in the right place at the right time. Normally a whirlwind during a gig, dealing with the business portion of the band, she as well could just revel in the sense of normalcy, of fellowship and community, that was so clearly at hand. 

DLO 3 plays the Owl jam session, after their opening night set at Jazz Alley 8/24/21 Photo Credit: Lisa Hagen Glynn

Of course, the evening would end with Lamarr and Novo once again loading one hulk of a musical instrument into their van. There was another night at Jazz Alley to traverse, and whatever else comes literally down the road as things slowly return to normal. There is the uncertainty of the Delta variant, of course, yet over two nights at their city’s most esteemed club, every seat is full, every audience member engaged and content. There is hope in the air, that we will rise above a two year pandemic hiatus, and find our stride musically, and inevitably, socially.

Drummer Dan Weiss in the pocket at Jazz Alley with DLO3 Photo Credit: Lisa Hagen Glynn


A single evening saw the Delvon Lamarr Organ Trio in front of a full house, and then immersed in the hang, that which in the end really matters. A return to normalcy means so much more than audience being reunited with artist. Rising above the fray of a worldwide pandemic, that place where none of us had ever resided, is more about being reunited with each other. Of feeling that embrace. On one Tuesday evening in Seattle, the Delvon Lamarr Organ Trio and family felt the embrace that only home can bring. —Paul Rauch

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

Pianist Marc Seales. Lisa Hagen Glynn photo

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

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

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

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

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


Thomas Marriott on flugelhorn. Lisa Hagen Glynn photo

Marc Seales and Thomas Marriott. Jim Levitt photo

Jeff Johnson and Marc Seales. Jim Levitt photo

The always expressive Marc Seales. Jim Levitt photo

Drummer Moyes Lucas. Lisa Hagen Glynn photo.


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

Marc Seales Quintet at Jazz Alley

All eyes on the leader. Jim Levitt photo


John Coltrane Birthday Celebration: Charles Owens Interview

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.

 

Steve Wilson at Tula’s – July 17-18

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
Seattle

Reservations: 206-443-4221
http://tulas.com

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.

Jason Parker Quartet’s “Homegrown”– CD Release Party March 23rd

cover

“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.

On The Scene with Howard Londner: Three groups at The Royal Room

On The Scene with Howard LonderJanuary 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 …

Nelda Swiggett Stringtet
Nelda Swigett – piano, voice, composer
Rachel Swerdlow – viola
Walter Gray – cello
Chris Symer – bass
Byron Vannoy – drums

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.
Thank you.

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/

Weekend of Rising Stars at Bake’s Place

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.

For both of these performances, dinner service starts at 6pm and the show starts at 7:45pm. For reservations, please call 425-391-3335 or send an email to [email protected]. For more information, please visit www.bakesplace.org.

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.

zackhartmanntrio2w180h269

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]

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.”

Review: Wayne Horvitz and NY Composers Orchestra West at The Triple Door

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.

Read the entire review by David Marriott and view a slideshow here

Tuesday Jazz

TULA’S JAZZ CLUB: Music Works Big Band

JAZZ ALLEY: Ed Reed and the Peck Allmond Quartet

NEW ORLEANS: Holotradband

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)

DEXTER AND HAYES: Tim Kennedy Trio

MARTIN’S ON MADISON: Karin Kajita

MIX: Don Mock, Steve Kim & Charlie Nordstrom

OWL ‘N THISTLE: Jam Session