Chemical Clock – Jazz: The Second Century

from Daniel Sheehan,

Cameron Sharif (keyboard), Ray Larsen (trumpet), Mark Hunter (bass), Evan Woodle (drums)

Following Syrinx Effect last Thursday evening was yet another band arising from Seattle’s embarrassment of avant-jazz riches, Chemical Clock,  an aggressive and determined young band with a lot of good ideas and more than enough chops to pull them off. Led by keyboardist and composer Cameron Sharif, the quartet’s self-titled debut CD EP is a brief and refreshing blast of post-everything avant fusion. Keep in mind that the word “fusion” is a bit loaded. Fusion, to Sharif and his colleagues, means something very different than it did back in the 20th century. The combination of Ray Larsen’s electric trumpet and Shari’s electric keys might suggest a set inspired by Miles Davis’ Bitches Brew (Columbia, 1969) – but while such influences are unavoidable, Chemical Clock is not about reinterpreting or regurgitating the past. Indeed, there is very little nostalgia going on here. The fusion here encompasses aspects of jazz, electronic dance music, prog-metal, contemporary classical music, and the indefinable electro-acoustic music currently being explored by edgy rock bands such as Lightning Bolt and Hella.

Photos: Roscoe Mitchell at Benaroya Hall

Photos by Daniel Sheehan
(see all the photos at

Roscoe Mitchell performed last weekend at a concert put on by Table and Chairs at Benaroya Hall. Table & Chairs, a New Music record label located in Seattle, brought the legendary saxophonist and composer ROSCOE MITCHELL to Benaroya Hall, where he was featured in a concert dedicated entirely to his landmark composition, “Nonaah” [no-NAY-uh]. The performance  featured a rare, extended solo saxophone performance by the composer himself, as well as several different arrangements of “Nonaah” spanning the length of Mitchell’s career. Starting off the musical performances was a Cello Quartet version of Nonaah featuring Sonja Myklebust, David Balatero, Maria Scherer-Wilson, and Natalie Hall. Then Roscoe Mitchell played his solo version of Nonaah, followed by an Alto Saxophone Quartet of Jacob Zimmerman, Ivan Arteaga, Andrew Swanson, and Neil Welch. Bad Luck, Neil Welch, tenor saxophone and Christopher Icasiano, drumset then played their version,  Nonaah Reimagined.

Photos: Evan Flory-Barnes at the 2013 Bellevue Jazz Festival

Photos by Daniel Sheehan,

Bassist and composer Evan Flory-Barnes opened for Kendrick Scott at the 2013 Bellevue Jazz Festival with a wonderful group of artists and played some beautiful new compositions. Evan Flory-Barnes on Bass, Dawn Clement on Piano, Craig Flory on Winds, Art Brown on Winds, Ahamefule J. Oluo on Trumpet, Josiah Boothby on French Horn, Nathan Vetter on Trombone, Jon Hansen on Tuba and  Jeremy Jones on Drums

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Photos: Jason Parker at Vitos


I really enjoyed hearing the Jason Parker Trio on Wednesday night at Vito’s. He was playing really well and had a bunch of other folks sitting in on various numbers. One of them Sax player Brian Hartman I have know previously only as a photographer and was pleasantly surprised to hear how good he sounded with Jason’s group. Here are a few pictures from the late set. Brian is in the last shot below. Daniel Sheehan

Photos: Clave Gringa at Tula’s

By Jim Levitt

Eariler this week I made it to Tula’s for a show by Clave Gringa, the band helmed by Ann Reynolds, with a decidedly Cuban flavor. Here’s a selection of photos.

A couple of Ann’s friends from the Afro-Cuban All-Stars (playing at Jazz Alley) came by after they finished their own set, but they got to Tula’s after Clave Gringa had wrapped up. Too bad!

Photos: Murl Allen Sanders w/ Warren Rand

by Daniel Sheehan,

Murl Allen Sanders performed at Tula’s as part of the Earshot Jazz Festival on Saturday November 3rd along with  Seattle bassist Clipper Anderson, Tacoma drummer Mark Ivester and Portland saxophonist Warren Rand. “This is a high-energy ensemble combining modern and traditional aesthetics,” Sanders writes. Murl Allen Sanders describes his music as zyfusico – a fusion of jazz, pop and zydeco. He sings and performs on accordion, piano and harmonica.

Photos: Seattle Repertory Jazz Orchestra with Branford Marsalis

by Daniel Sheehan,

On the last weekend of the 2012 Earshot Jazz Festival at the  LLSLEY BALL NORDSTROM RECITAL HALL AT BENAROYA NEA Jazz Master and three-Grammy winner Branford Marsalis joined the all-star big band Seattle Repertory Jazz Orchestra  on a tour of the music of his hometown –New Orleans – from early brass bands to Louis Armstrong, Sidney Bechet, and King Oliver to modern interpretations of jazz classics such as “Basin Street Blues” and “Do You Know What It Means to Miss New Orleans.”

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Photos: Mundell Lowe / Mike Magnelli Quartet

By Daniel Sheehan,

Mundell Lowe and Mike Magnelli performing at Tulas as part of the Earshot Jazz Festival on Thursday, November 1.

For the festival, Lowe was joined by Boston guitarist Mike Magnelli — a 1970 graduate of the Boston Conservatory. Magnelli studied with Joe Pass and eventually became his agent and manager. Magnelli also recorded on Burt Bacharach’s “Promises, Promises” and was assistant conductor for the Broadway musical Grease, starring John Travolta.

Rounding out the quartet was Chuck Kistler on bass and Milo Peterson on drums.

Photos: Susan Pascal’s Soul Sauce at Tula’s

by Daniel Sheehan,

Another great night at Tulas as Earshot rolls on. For this performance, vibraphonist Susan Pascal celebrated the 1960’s work of mallet masher Cal Tjader (1925-1982). Pascal is joined by pianist Fred Hoadley and percussionist Tom Bergersen, from Seattle’s Afro-Cuban jazz band Sonando, and bassist Chuck Deardorf and drummer Mark Ivester, from Jovino Santos Neto’s Brazilian jazz band Quinteto.

Photos: Bandalabra at The Royal Room

Photos by Daniel Sheehan,

The Royal Room was packed and the music was hot. Bandalabra was presented by the Earshot Jazz Festival to the Columbia City venue and they rocked the house. Every one of these guys played great.

Part Afro-beat rhythm, part psychedelic punk, Seattle’s Bandalabra evokes the sounds of “Fela Kuti meeting Steve Reich in rock’s backyard,” group founder, punk-jazz saxophonist Skerik says. The lively quartet includes well-loved locals D’vonne Lewis on drums, Evan Flory-Barnes on bass, and Andy Coe on guitar.

Photos: Tom Varner Quartet

by Daniel Sheehan,

French horn player Tom Varner and Seattle saxophonist Eric Barber, bassist Phil Sparks and drummer Byron Vannoy opened for Tamarindo at Poncho Concert Hall at Cornish College as Earshot Jazz Festival moves on. The Tom Varner Quartet celebrated the legacy of the late Steve Lacy, with whom Varner performed in Seattle in 1993. The program also included Varner’s arrangements of tunes by Lacy’s favorite composers, Duke Ellington and Thelonious Monk.

Photos: The Royal Room Collective Music Ensemble

Photos by Daniel Sheehan,

Monday night at the Triple Door as the 2012 Earshot Jazz festival enters another week of wonderful performances, The  Royal Room Collective Music Ensemble put on a great set The Royal Room Collective Music Ensemble is a  conduction group led by Wayne Horvitz, featuring many of the same musicians as the Voodoo Orchestra who they were opening for: drums Bobby Previte, saxophones Greg Sinibaldi, Neil Welch, Kate Olson, bass clarinet Beth Fleenor, trumpets Al Keith, Samantha Boshnack, Steve O’Brien, trombones Naomi Siege, Jacob Herring, French horn Tom Varner, string bass Geoff Harper and piano Ryan Burns.