Each month, I feature 12-15 jazz performances, releasing them a week or so before the end of the previous month. They are merely suggestions based on forty years of attending gigs in Seattle. I recommend diving even deeper into the amazing wealth of jazz talent we have in our Seattle community. The entire purpose here is to get you out of the house, and support live jazz and the musicians that make the music. Or, as an old friend of mine used to say, to “get off your dupa.” We could all use a little of that after the haze of the past eighteen months or so. Enjoy, and happy gig hopping!
Calluna in Ravenna: An Intimate Jazz Dinner Club Offers Jazz Four Nights a Week, Wednesday-Saturday
Calluna proprietors Jason Moore and Heather Bourne know a thing or two about presenting jazz. After eight years at the helm of Tula’s, the now shuttered iconic jazz spot in Belltown, the couple has settled into an intimate setting on University Way in Ravenna. Following a brief hiatus from presenting music, they invested in a Yamaha C-3 piano, and set out to book top jazz talent in Seattle. The size and setting of the room is several notches more intimate than Tula’s, where everything from trios to big band was presented. At Calluna, duos and trios will be presented, without drums for the most part. Top end talent will be performing in configurations not usually accessible at a club or theatre date. The relationship between performer and patron, between fine cuisine and drink and the music itself, will be very personal.
Moore, who typically ran Tula’s from behind the bar, while serving up some of Seattle’s finest cocktails, will be where his talents are most realized- in the kitchen. His made-from-scratch desserts fortunately traveled with him from Belltown to Calluna.
One glimpse at the schedule for October illustrates the level of talent appearing at the Ravenna eatery. October 1 & 2 for example, will feature ace trumpeter Thomas Marriott, Seattle first call bassist Paul Gabrielson and Ron Perillo, a formidable pianist who relocated here from Chicago at the dawn of the pandemic.
Showtimes are at 7:30 PM, and I recommended that you arrive earlier to dine. Cover charges range from $15- $20.
Pianist Eric Verlinde will perform with multi-reedist Hans Teuber on Friday October 8, with Seattle piano legend Marc Seales completing the weekend fare on October 9. Seales returns to perform on October 30. Trumpeter Jared Hall, on the release of his new Origin Records release, Seen on the Scene, will appear in trio with pianist John Hansen and bassist Michael Glynn on October 15 & 16. Seattle’s iconic vocalist Greta Matassa appears on October 22, while pianist Bill Anschell, who appeared more than any other artist as a headliner at Tula’s, performs on October 29. The venue adds events as the month procedes, so check the music calendar by following this link: https://callunaseattle.com/music-calendar/
East-West Trumpet Summit featuring Orrin Evans, Roy McCurdy and Michael Glynn
October 9, 7:30 PM/ Meydenbauer Center Theatre
When Seattle born and bred Thomas Marriott met fellow trumpeter Ray Vega when he moved to New York as a young musician, and benefited greatly from his mentorship and friendship. The Bronx born trumpeter seemed to straddle two worlds, working straight ahead jazz gigs as well as a wide variety of significant engagements on the Latin jazz scene.
The two trumpet front line creation, East West Trumpet Summit first convened in 2010, with the release of their album of the same name on Origin Records, employing a standard rhythm section with pianist Travis Shook, bassist Jeff Johnson and drummer Matt Jorrgensen. In 2014, Return of the East West Trumpet Summit (Origin, 2014) matched the trumpet duo with George Colligan on Hammond B-3 organ, with Jorgensen once again in tow.
The most recent incarnation brings Grammy nominated pianist Orrin Evans to the stage at Meydenbauer, along with iconic jazz drummer Roy McCurdy, and Seattle first call bassist, Michael Glynn. Evans, fresh from a two year stint with The Bad Plus, is coming off consecutive Grammy nods for his Captain Black Big Band. His friendship with Marriott has been documented not only with CBBB, but on two Marriott releases, with another to come. McCurdy is still swinging hard at age 85. His historic career has seen him be a prominent member of ensembles led by Cannonball Adderly, Bobby Timmons, Betty Carter, Sonny Rollins and the Art Farmer-Benny Golson Jazztet.
The concert is part of the Bellevue Jazz Festival, running this year in October instead of its usual place in May due to Covid-19. This historic confluence of three generations of jazz artistry is a rare gem that should not be missed. https://www.bellevuedowntown.com/events/jazz-and-blues-music-series
Gail Pettis Quartet
Sat Oct. 9, 8 PM/ North City Bistro
A trip to the north end is worth your trouble to become acquainted with, or reacquainted with vocal artist Gail Pettis. Her natural, unforced style delivers a song with grace and style, with a deep connection to the blues.
Pettis’ approach as a bandleader is to let the cats play, always backing up that philosophy with a collection of Seattle’s best on the bandstand with her. Pianist Tony Foster has been a mainstay of her band. A master accompanist, and imaginative soloist, he has developed a chemistry with Pettis that allows the vocalist to take a song where she wills it in the moment. Bassist Chuck Deardorf has been the first call bassist in Seattle since Jazz Alley’s University District incarnation in the late 1970’s. He is a rock on the bottom end for sure, but a prolific practitioner of melodic improvisation as well. Drummer/percussionist Jeff Busch brings with him a literal world of experience–his world travels gathering global rhythms and the instruments that implement them speaks to his approach behind the kit as a jazz drummer. This gig should be compelling instrumentally, with Pettis adding a vocal touch with perfect pitch and genuine soul. https://northcitybistro.com/
Royal Room Monday Night Jam with Thomas Marriott
Mondays at 9 PM
A jam session in the south end, with a legitimate backline at the Royal Room brings with it a myriad of possibilities. Having Thomas Marriott on the gig makes it that much more legit. The jam follows the weekly Monday night performance of the Royal Room Collective Music Ensemble under the baton of Wayne Horvitz.
The jam presents the opportunity for great music and great fellowship. It allows for the natural course of the mentorship cycle to take place. It creates new musical acquaintances, and renews those already made. The only ingredient needed is support, both for the session, and for the Royal Room. With jazz jam sessions largely concentrated downtown and the north end, this session brings the jam back to the south end in Columbia City. A house band will open the session, with an open jam to follow.
*With week one now in the books following a nice crowd, with great music and hang, the jam is off to a running start! https://theroyalroomseattle.com/
Theo Croker BLK2LIFE
Wed Oct 13, 7:30 PM/ Langston Hughes
Theo Croker is a storyteller, trumpeter and creator of shape shifting music that blends traditional jazz musings with pop and hip-hop inflections of the modern era. He is the grandson of jazz trumpet legend Doc Cheatham. The music of Croker could very well be described as experimental, but in the process, he has developed a trumpet style that is very much in the modern jazz tradition. He hails from a generation of artists who grew up with hip-hop, and incorporates its ideas into jazz music. In his five previous recordings, including his 2019 release, Star People Nation, he utilized sonic textures from hip-hop, but mostly emphasized his improvisational skills as a trumpet player. His sixth release, BLK2LIFE, is a deeper dive into heavily produced hip-hop, and features guests that include Wyclef Jean. Croker diversified his skill set for this music as a spoken word artist and producer. This performance is part of the 2021 Earshot Jazz Festival. Check out the full calendar here. https://www.earshot.org/
Marina Albero Quintet
Fri Oct 15, 7 PM/ Town Hall Forum
Pianist Marina Albero in her first of four performances as the Artist in Residence of the 2021 Earshot Jazz Festival, convenes the all-star quintet that has been with her across the seven years she has resided in Seattle. Drummer D’Vonne Lewis, percussionist Jeff Busch, bassist Jeff Johnson and multi-reedist Hans Teuber have a great understanding of Albero’s music whose musical DNA includes traces of jazz, flamenco, classical and Afro-Cuban jazz.
Albero’s ability to gather musical influences continues to shape her sound, making each reunion with her quintet a new experience for her audience. She will appear on h
ammered dulcimer as well, an instrument she has pioneered in jazz and improvised music. There is always the possibility of vibes working their way into the picture as well.
Albero’s presence in Seattle over the past seven years has given the Seattle jazz scene a unique cross-current of musical culture. Her splendid virtuosity is opne thing, her ability to apply it emotionally is special and original. Her vibe onstage is an infectious positive influence on her bandmates and her audience. A can’t miss date at this year’s festival. https://www.earshot.org/
Meridian Odyssey featuring Xavier Lecouturier, Ben Feldman, Santosh Sharma, Martin Budde, Dylan Hayes & Noah Halpern
Fri Oct 15, 8:30 PM/ Royal Room
A band born out of friendship and isolation during the worldwide pandemic, Meridian Odyssey gathers in celebration of their first album, Second Wave (Origin, 2020), and their new recording in the works. The band gathered in an airplane hangar at the Alaska home of Budde’s father when the pandemic first broke, and recorded a session of original music that transcends genre, drawing elements from jazz, rock, funk and r&b, but in a very forward thinking sense. All members of the band contribute original tunes, to be probed and reimagined by this group of innovative improvisers. Lecouturier has been a force on the scene in Seattle for the past half dozen years or so, with his own highly regarded release, Carrier (Origin, 2019). Seattle natives Feldman, Sharma and Halpern have been making their mark on the scene in New York. Budde is making a name for himself as a shape shifting guitarist and modernist composer, bouncing back and forth between Seattle, and Alaska. Hayes has been sequestered in Oregon during the pandemic, but has made his mark with his Dylan Hayes Electric Band, his various projects with Lecouturier and working with the legacy of composer Jim Knapp. https://theroyalroomseattle.com/
Jamie Baum Septet +
Sun Oct 17, 7 PM/ Town Hall Forum
Renowned flutist Jamie Baum lands in Seattle with her New York septet featuring Seattle reared guitarist, Brad Shepik. Baum, whose artistry and reputation have historic implications in legacy of her instrument, is supported by the splendid ensemble of Jonathan Finlayson (trumpet), Aaron Irwin (also sax/bass clarinets), Chris Komer (French horn), John Escreet (piano), Ricky Rodriguez (bass, singing bowls), and Jeff Hirshfield (drums). A rare and must see concert in an intimate setting for all jazz fans, but especially those with a close relationship with the flute. Baum’s appearance is rare and welcomed. https://www.earshot.org/
Immanuel Wilkins Quartet
Fri Oct 22, 7:30 PM/ Langston Hughes
Long before his premier BlueNote Records release, Omega, in 2020, alto saxophonist Immanuel Wilkens was making an impression in modern jazz that tabbed him as a generational talent. The Philadelphia born and raised Wilkens grew up musically around that city’s historic and vibrant jazz culture that included a place in the “village” of musicians connected to pianist Orrin Evans’ Grammy-nominated Captain Black Big Band. His move to New York to study at the esteemed Julliard School of Music exposed his rare gifts to Gotham artists such as trumpeter Ambrose Akinmusire, who assisted the young saxophonist in navigating the scene in New York. The connections he made at this time enabled him to tour with ground breaking pianist Jason Moran, and impressively record his debut release on BlueNote. He has since worked with Wynton Marsalis, Gerald Clayton, Solange Knowles, Aaron Parks, Joel Ross, and most recently, with pianist Orrin Evans on his release, The Magic of Now, perhaps the most revealing glimpse into his playing as the main soloist in a quartet setting with Bill Stewart and Vincente Archer. While Omega featured Wilkins’ adroit compositional prowess and social awareness, his role in his mentor’s quartet gave the jazz world a strong impression into his improvisers mind in an open setting.
With his focus on the humanity and cultural specificity of jazz, Wilkins sees the music as a means to bring people together through cooperative engagement in his art. The personal humility that accompanies his profound virtuosity allows his music to touch those vital aspects of the art of jazz, and its historically present state of being.
Wilkins will be performing with his New York quartet that is featured on Omega. Pianist Micah Thomas, much like Wilkins, is an ascendant generational artist, and a musical associate during their time together at Juilliard. Taking his Omega quartet on the road will provide the opportunity to hear and see the music evolve in front of us, and the rise of the next phase of jazz innovation moving forward. Bassist Daryl Johns and drummer Kweku Sumbry round out this groundbreaking quartet whose sound may portend the directional impulse for jazz music in the decade ahead.- Paul Rauch, Earshot Jazz Festival Previews
Seattle Jazz Fellowship Wednesdays at Vermillion
Beginning Wed Oct 20, 4 PM, 7PM. 8PM
10/20- featuring Julian Priester, Marc Seales and Xavier Lecouturier
The new jazz non-profit, the Seattle Jazz Fellowship, takes off with a weekly slate of events each Wednesday at Vermillion on Capitol Hill. The activities commence at 4 PM with an album listening session, followed by a hang at 7 PM, and two sets from two Seattle jazz artists to follow, starting at 8 PM.
To get the ball rolling, the Fellowship has named iconic trombonist Julian Priester as its Artist-In-Residence. Mr. Priester will host the 4 PM listening sessions, playing and discussing classic albums he has played on, including John Coltrane’s Africa Brass, Herbie Hancock’s Mwandishi, and We Insist with Max Roach and Abbey Lincoln. Of course, Mr. Priester will introduce his own recordings that include such jazz icons as Booker Little, Mal Waldron and Eric Dolphy to mention but a few.
The cover charge is $20 for the full slate, first come, first serve. This is an important event to support, to launch the Seattle Jazz Fellowship on its journey to find a permanent home. The October 20 opener will feature separate sets from Xavier Lecouturier and Marc Seales. https://seattlejazzfellowship.org/
Alex Dugdale CD Release- The Dugout
Tue Oct 28, 7& 9 PM/ Egan’s Ballard Jam House
At long last, Seattle jazz fans have an Alex Dugdale album to celebrate! Featuring his formidable Fade Quintet, Dugdale is featured on saxophones and as a tap artist. At times, he may drift over to the brass side of things and play trumpet. But have no doubt, Dugdale’s artistry is best expressed on tenor saxophone with alto running a close second. He holds down the baritone saxophone chair in the Seattle Repertory Jazz Orchestra as well.
Dugdale’s long time mates, bassist Greg Feingold and drummer Max Holmberg are on board for this one in the intimate confines of Egan’s Ballard Jam House. Pianist John Hansen has been a frequent contributor as well, while trumpeter Jun Iida is new to the band, having arrived in town from Los Angeles just before the Covid-19 shutdown. Dugdale will incorporate his substantial chops on tap just as he would as an instrumental soloist, a unique and original quality to his performances. https://www.earshot.org/2021-festival/
Scenes with John Stowell, John Bishop, Jeff Johnson & Rick Mandyck
10/29, 7:00 PM/ Town Hall Forum
A band that took root at a weekly gig in Ballard in the early 1990’s, Scenes has seven releases to their credit on the highly regarded Origin Records label, and has toured off and on since that inaugural gig on Ballard Ave. some thirty years ago.
The band began as a trio, with eclectic saxophonist Rick Mandyck, bassist Jeff Johnson and drummer John Bishop. Shortly after their first release in 2001, Scenes, Mandyck went on a fourteen year hiatus from the saxophone due to an injury. Scenes then went on to gain a reputation as a trio, featuring Stowell’s vignette style compositions, and his guitar style that featured an advanced conception of harmony. By then, Johnson and Bishop were gaining a worldwide reputation as an expert tandem in the trio format. Aside from Stowell, the duo has been part of trios led by pianists Jessica Williams, Hal Galper and Chano Dominguez. Stowell’s spacious style allows both to play freely with a liberal sense of time and space.
For their latest release, Trapeze (Origin, 2020), Mandyck returns, after a re-engagement with the tenor saxophone. He contributes as a composer as well, with compositions based on simple melodies that provice ample space for improvisation. His rich and powerful sound adds a completely different texture, and provides a steely edge to the ethereal leanings of the band. The quartet is four of the finest players to emerge on the jazz front in the Pacific Northwest over the past forty years, playing at a very high level. https://www.earshot.org/2021-festival/