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/
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 Simpson. https://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
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.
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/
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, 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/