Seattle Jazz Scene: Live Jazz Previews for April & May

Photo Credit: Jim Levitt

Underground Sounds with Thomas Marriott, Rick Mandyck, Jeff Johnson & John Bishop

Tue Apr 2, 9, 16, 23, 30, 8 PM / Underbelly- 119 First Av S.

Underbelly, the quaint cellar bar on First Avenue in Pioneer Square sits directly across the street from what was the New Orleans club, a former hub of local Seattle jazz. That vibe lives on Tuesday nights in the former burlesque venue, with four of the city’s top jazz musicians colliding in an explosive chordless quartet that at times has been known as “Free Fall.” This is an opportunity to witness great jazz in an informal environment with no cover. 

Trumpeter Thomas Marriott leads this band of long time mates with a strong intuitive connection. The author of fourteen albums as a leader and a recent inductee into the Seattle Jazz Hall of Fame is joined by the incomparable duo of bassist Jeff Johnson and drummer John Bishop. Saxophonist Rick Mandyck has switched to alto, but bears the sound and approach of some of the great tenor players in jazz. The band plays originals from Marriott, Mandyck and Johnson, along with a few standards. The vibe in the room is relaxed, the drinks are first class and there is a very cute puppy in the house to add to the charm. The house screens classic films and cartoons as well! A highly recommended hang on Tuesday nights.

Stanley Clarke

Thu Apr 18 – Sun Apr 21, 7:30 & 9:30 PM / Jazz Alley

Electric bass virtuoso, and NEA Jazz Master Stanley Clarke has been lighting it up for fifty years. Brought to national attention as a member of Return to Forever with Chick Corea, Clarke has gone on to become a jazz fusion pioneer and living legend through his recordings and performances as a leader.

Clark hits Jazz Alley in trio mode, in collective spirit with Dave Weckl on drums and piano / keyboard ace Beka Gochiashvili. Weckl is to fusion drumming what Clark is to the electric bass– a true match made in heaven. These shows amount to fusion royalty present in Seattle. https://www.jazzalley.com/www-home/artist.jsp?shownum=7539

Photo Credit: Lisa Hagen Glynn

Jun Iida Quintet

Fri & Sat Apr 19 – 20, 7:30 PM / Seattle Jazz Fellowship- 109 S. Main St.

Trumpeter Jun Iida hits the Fellowship for a two night residency on the heels of his new release on Origin Records, Evergreen. Iida has a fluid and full trumpet sound. Having four sets over two nights gives the band a chance to reallyn dig into his tunes, with the help of this well put together band. Pianist Dylan Hayes, guitarist Martin Budde, bassist Michael Glynn and drummer Xavier Lecouturier represent a formidable gathering for Iida to work his magic. Always good for a trumpet player to have a band stocked with skilled soloists. For the audience, it presents a diversity of sound across the board over a weekend residency that makes attending both nights an excellent option. https://seattlejazzfellowship.org/events

Photo Credit: Lisa Hagen Glynn

The Racer Sessions: James Falzone

Sun Apr 21, 7 PM / Gallery 1412- 1412 18th Ave

The Racer Sessions are an iconic series of performances that feature artists in exploration mode. There is a wide variance in the performances depending on the participating artist, but all are strong in the art of improvisation. The tradition began at the old Cafe Racer on the edge of the University District, when it was a hip coffee bar. The sessions moved to the current incarnation of Racer on Capitol Hill, but have moved once again to the intimate room at Gallery 1412.

Clarinetist James Falzone is a world class musician, and a master of both classical and improvised forms. For his Fellowship date, he plays clarinet and piano in duo with Seattle-based dancer Giordana Falzone. G. Falzone is an accomplished movement artist, and the daughter of the noted clarinetist. https://www.racersessions.com/

Photo Credit: Daniel Sheehan

Ann Reynolds Quartet

with Tobi Stone, Heather Chriscaden & Evan Woodle

Ian Hughes Quartet

Thu Apr 25, 7:30 PM / Seattle Jazz Fellowship – 109 S. Main St.

Pianist Ann Reynolds has been featuring the compositions of female composers in her recent performances, including those of the great Mary Lou Williams. Her skillful arrangements have raised awareness of these “new standards” for her audiences. Reynolds is supported by the solid rhythm section of bassist Heather Chriscaden and drummer Evan Woodle. Her beautifully harmonic support elevates the soaring, bold sound of tenor saxophonist Tobi Stone, who acts as the lead voice of this well formed quartet. 

Photo Credit: knkx

Guitarist Ian Hughes makes his Fellowship debut, leading a band that includes drummer Chris Patin, alto saxophonist Michael Jedynak, and bassist Marina Christopher. Hughes is known around Seattle for his work with the band Freudian Slurp among others projects. He is a tradition based player, with branches that extend into funk and adventurous original compositions. For this performance, he offers compositions inspired by nature, written during the pandemic to channel joy into times of despair. https://seattlejazzfellowship.org/events

Photo Credit: KNKX

Julio Jauregui

Fri Apr 26, 7 PM / Seattle Jazz Fellowship- 109 S. Main St.

Nobody embodies the spirit of Latin jazz in Seattle, better than talented pianist Julio Jauregui. The Mexico City native is an excellent jazz pianist who has pushed the limits of Latin music through a number of musical associations. He founded the band Tumbao with vocalist Carlos Cascante in 2001, and has been thrilling jazz and latin audiences with that combo ever since. Many of Jauregui’s performances are outside the orbit of local jazz programming. It’s satisfying to see him on the SJF schedule, giving the audience there the opportunity to witness his artistry and virtuosity. Band TBA https://seattlejazzfellowship.org/events

Photo Credit: Lisa Hagen Glynn

Dylan Hayes Trio with Jeff Johnson & Xavier Lecouturier

Sat Apr 27, 7:30 PM / Seattle Jazz Fellowship- 109 S. Main St.

Dylan Hayes is a highly skilled pianist, composer and arranger who moves around the Seattle jazz scene in a wide ranging sort of way. He is the curator of the legacy of conmposer Jim Knapp, and co-leads The Jim Knapp Orchestra with Jay Thomas. As a member of the collective ensemble, Meridian Odyssey, he is challenged in all facets of his skillset. For this performance, he strips it all down to the studs, performing in the traditional jazz piano trio format. It will be fun to see how the composer / arranger side of him interacts with the jazz pianist.

Hayes has chosen excellent partners for this trio venture. Bassist Jeff Johnson has been blazing a new trail through trio configurations for decades with the likes of Hal Galper, Jessica Williams, Chano Dominguez and Bill Anschell. Drummer Xavier Lecouturier has been Hayes’ musical partner since high school days in California, and shares a collective spirit with the pianist. https://seattlejazzfellowship.org/events

Willie Jones III Sextet

Tue Apr 30 – Wed May 1, 7:30 PM / Jazz Alley

Drummer Willie Jones III is touring in support of his new album Fallen Heroes, an homage to a long list of his mentors that include Roy Hargrove, Larry Willis and Jimmy Heath. Speaking of Hargrove, Jones has Justin Robinson on alto, a veteran of the late trumpeter’s quintet. Young trumpeter Giveton Gelin is on the gig as well, a rising star in jazz who appeared recently in Seattle at Langston. Vocalist Christie Dashiell adds a different dimension to the proceedings, with pianist Keith Brown and bassist Gerald Cannon rounding out this stellar assemblage of talent. This is one that has “fly under the radar” written all over it, and could well be one of the best hits of the year at Jazz Alley. https://www.jazzalley.com/www-home/artist.jsp?shownum=7527

Chris McCarthy Quintet

Wed May 1, 7:30 PM / Royal Room

Chris McCarthy is a Seattle born and raised pianist based in New York City. His style rests on the edge of straight ahead modern jazz and modern improvised music. His articulate, probing playing does not delineate a particular style in the jazz world, and possesses a refreshing openness and clarity. He is joined by the dynamic front line of Japanese born trumpeter Takuya Kuroda and dedicated baritone saxophonist Eden Bareket. Both bassist Sam Minaie and drummer Steven Crammer are adventurous spirits in the post-bop tradition that have a penchant for producing elasticity in their approach to rhythmic aspects of a given tune. 

This date will tend to slip under the radar, due to the Royal Room’s outdated and puzzling approach to publicity. Don’t allow that to deter you from venturing to Columbia City and welcoming home a brilliant Seattle artist who is making his mark in New York. https://theroyalroomseattle.com/event/chris-mccarthy-quintet-feat-takuya-kuroda/

Trombonasaurus Wrecks

Thu May 2, 7:30 PM / Seattle Jazz Fellowship- 109 Main St.

Veteran trombonist Dan Marcus has been a major voice on the Seattle music scene for decades. His work includes highly visible gigs with SRJO and a variety of small bands in the area’s best clubs. His playing is also heard in show bands around town at the city’s showcase theaters. His musical personality is bold and virtuosic. Trombonasaurus Wrecks is his statement as a proud, unabashed trombonist living in a trumpet and saxophone dominated world. For good measure, he brings along a cadre of the city’s best trombonists, including the brilliant David Marriott, Jr.. Add relative newcomers Beserat Tafesse and Audrey Stangland, and you have a low toned wall of sound that ascends to trombone heaven. With pianist John Hansen and bassist Greg Feingold or Heather Chriscaden in tow in the rhythm section, this band is sure to vibrate the foundation of the intimate room at 109 S. Main. https://seattlejazzfellowship.org/events

Photo Credit: Matt Jorgensen

Matt Jorgensen Quintet

Fri & Sat May 3 – 4, 7:30 PM / Seattle Jazz Fellowship- 109 S. Main St.

Drummer/composer Matt Jorgensen is the author of eleven albums as a leader or co-leader, including his modern jazz band, +451. He has co-led the ensembles Chamber 3, Human Spirit with Thomas Marriott and Mark Taylor, and NYC with Gary Versace. He is co-principal of Origin Records, the highly regarded Seattle based label.

Jorgensen has a way of measuring the pulse of the Seattle scene and assembling a band that best interprets his original compositions. For this iteration of his quintet, he teams with his longtime ally Mark Taylor on alto saxophone, joined in the front line by young tenor saxophonist Jackson Cotugno. Pianist Dylan Hayes has been making a name for himself as a composer/arranger, as well as an up and coming voice on piano. Bassist Kelsey Mines has become a highly visible presence on the scene, performing in a wide-ranging array of gigs that covers a broad spectrum of the jazz idiom. Jorgensen’s two night residency presents him with an opportunity to reach out over his two plus decade career as a composer, and dig deep into the sound. https://seattlejazzfellowship.org/events

Photo Credit: Jim Levitt

Free Fall with Jeff Johnson

Thu May 9, 7:30 PM / Seattle Jazz Fellowship- 109 S. Main St.

Free Fall is a chord-less quartet that in rare appearances over the years, has gained a reputation as a free spooling affair with four of the best jazz musicians this city has produced historically. The core of the band’s history goes back to a weekly gig in Ballard in the 1990’s, when bassist Jeff Johnson, drummer John Bishop and saxophonist Rick Mandyck led a trio gig that would every so often add a fourth member. That fourth member now is trumpeter Thomas Marriott, adding a different dynamic to the band. 

The quartet performs original compositions, many of which are open ended, freedom seeking scores written by Johnson and Mandyck. Marriott adds his tunes as well, selecting those that very well may have been incubated in this harmony liberated environment. Johnson’s trailblazing style on bass, and Bishop’s orchestral sound on drums tends to bring the best out of Marriott and Mandyck. One not to miss on the May calendar. https://seattlejazzfellowship.org/events

Photo Credit: Jim Levitt

Marina Albero Trio / Quartet

Fri & Sat May 10 – 11, 7:30 PM / Seattle Jazz Fellowship- 109 S. Main St.

It’s now been ten years since pianist Marina Albero arrived in Seattle from her native Barcelona. The daughter of iconic Catalan musician / composer Marian Albero has created a style that reflects the many different directions her musical journey has taken her. A four month sabbatical in New Orleans is the latest journey taken by Albero, an immersion into her music while surrounded by the multiplicity of musical influences that encompass the crescent city. Albero hits SJF upon her return from that real life deep dive into the melting pot of American music, for a two night residency that features two different bands.

Albero breaks things down into the classic trio format on the first night, joining in conversation with bassist Kelsey Mines and drummer D’Vonne Lewis. Saturday night will feature a quartet with drummer Xavier Lecouturier, bassist Trevor Ford and tenor saxophonist Jackson Cotugno. With a different band and different tunes each night, attending both nights is a great option. https://seattlejazzfellowship.org/events

Marc Smason / Noah Pettibon Quartet

Thu May 16, 7:30 PM / Seattle Jazz Fellowship- 109 S. Main St.

This twin bill has an interesting theme of sorts, but in two very different ways. Young saxophonist Noah Pettibon bears the mark of being perhaps the only dedicated baritone player on the scene, dedicated enough to have studied with baritone legend Gary Smulyan. While he has played gigs in the area, and has frequented jam sessions around town, for the majority of Seattle jazz fans, this set is a bit of an introduction. Tacoma based guitarist Elliott Turner will join and contribute the original tunes for the set. Mountlake Terrace native Scott Swanberg is on bass with drummer Brady McCowan completing the quartet.

Marc Smason has played every type of gig in Seattle one could imagine, moving in and out of a broad range of musical forms. A trombonist of note and a jazz singer to boot, it is just as common to see him delivering his message on the street as it is to see him playing more conventional club dates. While holding a degree from the prestigious Cal Institute of the Arts, Samson’s jazz life has eschewed the career path of many modern jazz school trained musicians. He has served the local music community as a member of the executive board of international federation of musicians local 76-493, and as a community activist on a broad range of issues. His trombone sound is thick and foggy like the Seattle marine layer. He is trained both in jazz and classical music, and can often be seen and heard dipping into latin and klezmer sounds. You’ve heard about jazz musicians paying dues? This cat has paid a ton, and it is good to see him on the SJF docket. Samson’s band includes Gus Denhard on tuba, holding down the bottom end. Saxophonist Jeremy Shaskus, guitarist Martin Budde and drummer Dave Bush round out this unconventional lineup that should provide interesting results. https://seattlejazzfellowship.org/events

Photo Credit: Jim Levitt

Johnaye Kendrick

Fri & Sat May 17-18, 7:30 PM / Seattle Jazz Fellowship- 109 S. Main St.

Now with a Grammy in tow from her work in the vocal quartet, saje, vocal artist Johnaye Kendrick returns home to the SJF for two sets of original music and selected standards. A professorship at Cornish brought her to us in Seattle, and we have reaped the benefits of her artistry ever since. The author of two solo albums with a long list of finely crafted original tunes, Kendrick will be working up some new tunes to be included in her next album. An original board member of the Seattle Jazz Fellowship, Kendrick thrilled the audience on the opening weekend of the new Pioneer Square digs. She is joined in her return by bassist Chris Symer, pianist Dylan Hayes and drummer Byron Vannoy.  Another stellar two night residency by SJF with one of the true gems of the Seattle and international jazz scene. https://seattlejazzfellowship.org/events

Noah Haidu Trio with Buster Williams & Lenny White

Tue & Wed May 21-22, 7:30 PM / Jazz Alley

Pianist Noah Haidu is a relative newcomer to the international jazz scene compared with his bandmates, noted as a modern player with a free and buoyant feel to his playing. While this performance will be a bit of a coming out party for the pianist in Seattle, the immediate focus for listeners will be the years of history made by his partners in bassist Buster Williams and drummer Lenny White

Williams and White share a commonality as former members of bands led by the great Miles Davis. At eighty one years of age, Williams still possesses his nimble, even-toned touch much like he did in Herbie Hancock’s historic sextet of the 1970’s. His trio work includes groundbreaking work with Hank Jones and Tony Williams. Much like Williams, White has a long list of recording and performance credits that include time with the revolutionary fusion transition of Davis in the early 1970’s. The three time Grammy winner was a founding member of Chick Corea’s seminal fusion band, Return to Forever. He is considered one of the founding fathers of the fusion movement. 

This performance allows jazz fans to both witness greatness that has persisted over generations and a talent that is fresh and on the rise. A can’t miss date at Jazz Alley. https://www.jazzalley.com/www-home/artist.jsp?shownum=7545

Jory Tindall: Left Coast

Thur May 23, 7:30 PM / Seattle Jazz Fellowship- 109 S. Main St

Saxophonist Jory Tindall has put together a band to celebrate the West Coast style, with a non-chordal quartet in the spirit of Lee Konitz, Lennie Tristano and Chet Baker. The band will present original music inspired by the west coast movement, though nuanced by Tindall’s hard bop DNA. Driven by bassist Greg Feingold and drummer Stefan Schatz, Tindall is joined on the front line by trumpeter Jun Iida. Feingold is a bold presence on double bass, and a perfect fit for this assemblage. Plenty of room here for melodic improvisation from the front line. https://seattlejazzfellowship.org/events

Photo Credit: Lisa Hagen Glynn

Ray Vega Quartet

Fri & Sat May 24 – 25, 7:30 PM / Seattle Jazz Fellowship- 109 S. Main St.

Trumpeter Ray Vega is a native of the Bronx, NY, and a veteran of the bands of Tito Puente, Ray Barretto, Mongo Santamaria, Johnny Pacheco and many, many more. He is also a master practitioner of bebop. Vega met a young Thomas Marriott in Seattle while on a tour stop at Jazz Alley, and became a close friend of the young trumpeter and his family. Their friendship became a musical partnership under the banner of “East-West Trumpet Summit,” resulting in three albums on the Origin Records label and accompanying live performances. 

This time around, Vega performs in quartet mode with three of Seattle’s finest. Pianist Eric Verlinde is a perfect match for the trumpeter’s personal musical journey. He is a master jazz pianist with a special affection for Latin jazz. Bassist Michael Glynn is a first call Seattle player with the acute musical flexibility to interact with a wide range of approaches to the jazz lexicon. He appeared on the latest East-West Trumpet Summit album, Coast to Coast (Origin, 2022). Drummer John Bishop is an iconic Seattle performer acclaimed on an international scale. He has been one of the leading voices in the Seattle jazz community for forty years as a drummer, record label owner, graphic designer and festival presenter. He has appeared on over 100 albums and has recorded and toured with the likes of Hal Galper, Jessica Williams, Sonny Fortune and Ernestine Anderson to name but a few. He was elected to the Seattle Jazz Hall of Fame in 2008. 

Vega is a genuine soul and a bright light in the music world. Get there early for this one, it should fill up quickly. https://seattlejazzfellowship.org/events

Samara Joy

Sat May 25, 8 PM / Benaroya Hall

After quickly selling out her Earshot show at Town Hall, Grammy winning vocalist Samara Joy returns to Seattle to perform at Benaroya Hall. If you are unfamiliar, Joy performs standards in the vocal jazz tradition, and has been generously rewarded for her efforts. She recently has taken on writing lyrics for instrumental jazz classics for her own interpretation. How can a singer with a musician’s approach to sound not want to take on melodies that were written without lyrics? One example would be her take on Charles Mingus’ “Reincarnation of a Lovebird.”

In seeing Joy perform on several occasions, I have become well acquainted with her perfect pitch, deep resonance and dedication to excellence. She has not approached artistry to the extent of Cecile McLorin Salvant or Jazzmeia Horn, two current voices in jazz that have extended their respective reach into the music as artists. But she has a glorious instrument that can completely disarm you in moments. 

I fear Joy falling into the “too much credit, too soon” category that is prevalent in these times of social media driven, recency biased instant-gratification. Her talent is genuine and sound, and a gift not to be taken lightly. Another concern is Benaroya Hall itself. As anyone who has attended a jazz concert at the renowned venue can tell you, it is a difficult room to achieve dynamics through any sort of amplification. Performances by the Keith Jarrett Trio there were stricken by unbalanced resonance, particularly concerning drums and cymbals. Wayne Shorter on the other hand, sounded wonderful. Here’s to hoping for the latter. 

If you are a vocal jazz enthusiast, May is especially kind to you. Between Joy and Salvant, you might want to seek out a Greta Matassa show to add good measure for the month! https://www.earshot.org/event/samara-joy/

Photo Credit: Detroit Jazz Festival

Cecile McLorin Salvant

Tue & Wed May 28 – 29, 7:30 PM / Jazz Alley

What more can one say about vocal artist Cecile McLorin Salvant? A generational talent who is already a multi-Grammy recipient, Salvant’s performances could be described as “stunning,” or “genius seeking beauty.” She has recently visited Jazz Alley in duo with her partner, the great pianist Sullivan Fortner. Fortner is indeed on the gig this time around, joined by Bellevue’s own Yasushi Nakamura on bass and drummer Aaron Kimmel. If you are yet to witness one of her performances, this becomes a priority event for you, whether or not you are a fan of jazz vocals. Salvant is a musician in every sense of the word, with a comnposer’s ear and mind. She very well may be the greatest American jazz singer since the historic reigns of Sarah Vaughn and Carmen McRae. https://www.jazzalley.com/www-home/artist.jsp?shownum=7547

Photo Credit: Anthony Dean

Victor North

Thu May 30, 7:30 PM / Seattle Jazz Fellowship- 109 S. Main St.

Philadelphia based tenor saxophonist Victor North has roots in Seattle and Alaska, moving to Philly some twenty five years ago after attending Rutgers University. In that time, he has established himself as a prominent voice on the fertile Philly scene, performing with the late Joey DeFancesco, Orrin Evans’ Captain Black Big Band, Charles Fambrough, Terrell Stafford and a variety of others. North is a powerful presence on the tenor, a straight ahead player with an eclectic view of the music. He doesn’t perform in Seattle all that often, take advantage of this opportunity. Band TBA https://seattlejazzfellowship.org/events

Emmet Cohen Trio

Thu May 30 – Sun Jun 2, 7:30 & 9:30 PM / Jazz Alley

It seems as though pianist Emmet Cohen has been around forever. He is frequently booked at major festivals and clubs on an international scale, and for good reason- he is a technically brilliant player with a seemingly endless vocabulary steeped in beatific melody. Yet Cohen is just thirty years of age, with a vital energy and peerless vision of what straight ahead jazz is and will be in the future. 

Cohen hits Jazz Alley with bassist Joey Ranieri and drummer Kyle Poole in tow for what should amount to a sizzling ninety minute set each of the four nights of his run. The only regret may be that the run doesn’t include a Tuesday evening, as he has a history of hitting the late-night jam session at the Owl ‘n Thistle. If you are a straight ahead jazz fan that loves genius musicianship, this is the gig for you. https://www.jazzalley.com/www-home/artist.jsp?shownum=7519

Photo Credit: Lisa Hagen Glynn

Machado Mijiga Trio

Fri & Sat May 31 – Jun 1, 7:30 PM / Seattle Jazz Fellowship- 109 S. Main St.

Machado Mijiga is a Portland based drummer / composer who has a close connection to the new wave of young jazz artists in Seattle. Making his second SJF appearance, Mijiga will perform in trio mode with one of those Seattle players in pianist Dylan Hayes. Veteran first-call bassist Michael Glynn completes the trio, in an environment where listeners will be able to witness his elegance as a soloist in ample portions. Mijiga’s style is intricate in form, polyrhythmic at times and nuanced in pure energy. At this point in his career, he is stylistically diverse, still in search of a true voice as he well should be. All of that musical gathering will be pared down to the moment at hand in trio mode, with Hayes’ harmonic imagination creating shapes for bass and drums to interact with. The date ends an active and broad ranging month of programming at the Seattle Jazz Fellowship. https://seattlejazzfellowship.org/events

Opinion/Editorial: The Time to Act is Now to Support Local Seattle Jazz

“Our mission is to build community, provide access to the mentorship cycle, incentivize excellence and to lower the barriers to access jazz for both performers and listeners.”

This quote from the original mission statement of the Seattle Jazz Fellowship states in no uncertain terms, the focus of the Seattle 401(c) 3 non-profit that has guided its journey from its point of inception in October 2021. This was when the fellowship initiated its “Fellowship Wednesdays” weekly affair at Vermillion Art Bar on Capitol Hill. While the non-profit has engaged in a variety of special events, the Wednesday series has presented live jazz featuring Seattle resident musicians with occasional out of town guests now for more than two years. It has provided a stage for Seattle jazz musicians to perform original music for an appreciative listening audience and be paid respectfully. While only one night a week, it has been a beacon of hope for the Seattle jazz scene that has lost its collective mainstages largely due to gentrification. The business model that guided jazz dinner clubs like the New Orleans Creole Restaurant in Pioneer Square and the iconic Tula’s Jazz Club in Belltown became obsolete. The price tag for the consumer became sky high, while the numbers needed to manage a successful business became impossible. An alternative was needed if the resident jazz scene in Seattle was to survive.

On Tuesday November 21, SJF founder Thomas Marriott announced that the December 6 edition of Fellowship Wednesdays would be the last staged at Vermillion, as the fellowship would be moving into its own space in Pioneer Square beginning in late January of 2024. The venue will be a pop-up affair in the historic Globe building near the intersection of First Avenue and Main St., smack dab in the middle of the neighborhood that not long ago was the heartbeat of Seattle nightlife. Programming will increase to “several” nights a week according to Marriott, increasing employment opportunities for musicians, and live jazz access for listeners. The non-profit’s logical next step is a large one, and will require a significant increase in support from the Seattle music community at large. Most importantly, it will require an “all in” support network from Seattle jazz musicians themselves. In an interview I conducted with Marriott that culminated in an All About Jazz article in February 2022, he stated, “It takes everybody showing up. It takes people getting off the bench and off the sidelines and saying,’I’m going to show up to this person’s gig because it’s good for all of us.’” 

Photo Credit: Jim Levitt

In essence, this is a calling to step up to the plate and hit it out of the park. The time is NOW. What is required is not a burden, but an act of love and respect for jazz music in Seattle, and the artists that provide the sounds. It is a call to the jazz audience to not only support the music with your dollars, but to show up and join in the fellowship and broad sense of community this music provides. 

Photo Credit: Lisa Hagen Glynn

You can purchase a membership using the link below. If your personal income allows you to make a donation beyond standard membership, now is the time to do so. If your working life puts you in contact with personal and/or corporate entities that are possibly willing to support this venture, now is the time to begin that conversation. We can create something beautiful and long-lasting if we so wish–it’s up to us as a community. Do we want local, fair paying gigs in an inclusive environment that welcomes the public without typical financial barriers to access? The answer is definitely yes. It is now officially in our hands.

Buy a membership, volunteer your time, make a donation, show up–this is what is required of you. The exploding moment we have all been waiting for is here. Nobody is going to show up and be the savior of the local Seattle jazz scene–we are collectively just that. Marriott has set the foundation. It’s “go time” to take it from there and build our community. https://seattlejazzfellowship.org/membership

Photo Credit: Jim Levitt
Photo Credit: Lisa Hagen Glynn
Photo Credit: Jim Levitt

Album Review: Ray Vega & Thomas Marriott/ East West Trumpet Summit- “Coast to Coast”

For some people, the whole notion of an east-west summit of anything in jazz brings up the perceived differences over time between American west coast jazz and its east coast counterpart. The basic premise is that jazz on the American west coast is a cousin to the cool jazz movement, a calmer, less soulful part of the tradition that relies more on composition and arrangement than the playing of individual improvisers. East coast jazz is seen more as hard driving, soulful and rooted deeply in the blues. All of these perceptions have been eclipsed in great part by among other aspects of modern living, the internet and efficient commercial air travel. Follow link to All About Jazz to continue https://www.allaboutjazz.com/coast-to-coast-ray-vega-and-thomas-marriott-east-west-trumpet-summit-origin-records

Album Review: Jeff Johnson- “My Heart”

What could possibly be so interesting about a thirty-two-year old session of first takes, recorded live to 2-track DAT by a quartet led by a Seattle- based bassist who is not exactly a household name? A quick answer would include superlatives such as “masterful,” or “historic.” A brief history of bassist and composer Jeff Johnson creates a better sense of understanding. Johnson is perhaps best known as a pioneering member of pianist Hal Galper’s revolutionary rubato trio of the ’90’s, and ’00’s. His education in music was not from an institution of higher education, but from the fertile jazz scene of the early ’70’s in his native Minneapolis. His original sound would later be nuanced by time spent in Texas and Oklahoma, and by time spent alongside masters, including such greats as Philly Joe Jones, during a brief tenure in New York. Follow link to All About Jazz to continue https://www.allaboutjazz.com/my-heart-jeff-johnson-origin-records

Seattle Jazz Fellowship Presents: Orrin Evans & The Captain Black Big Band

“While the nonprofit has been acknowledged for providing a place for the resident Seattle jazz to thrive, it is equally important to note the Fellowship’s work in caring for the music itself.”

The Seattle Jazz Fellowship, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit founded by trumpeter Thomas Marriott, was created in response to the loss of viable jazz stages showcasing the vibrant resident jazz scene in Seattle. While local jazz musicians and fans alike mourned the downfall of longtime resident haunts such as the New Orleans club and Tula’s Jazz Club, Marriott and a supportive group of like-minded community members sought an alternative to the traditional jazz supper club personified by the aforementioned institutions. Gentrification of the downtown core of the city had driven rents to such a level that sustaining a club that could also serve as a community hub had become difficult at best. Food and liquor sales became the life blood of these attempts, driving up the price of access to jazz fans, while wages for musicians hung at early 1980’s levels. Worse yet, musicians had to rely on the door or ticket receipts to be paid at all. Like many jazz scenes around the country not based in New York City, the best musicians had to leave town to have any hope of earning a living as a professional jazz musician. The story of the Seattle Jazz Fellowship (SJF) and its guiding principles first appeared in All About Jazz in February, 2022, in the article Seattle Jazz Fellowship: A New Beginning For Live Resident Jazz . To continue reading, click here https://www.allaboutjazz.com/seattle-jazz-fellowship-presents-orrin-evans-and-the-captain-black-big-band-captain-black-big-band

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

Seattle Jazz Fellowship: Why in one evening,”Fellowship Wednesdays” became the most important jazz hang in Seattle

Pianist Dylan Hayes leads a tribute to Jim Knapp, for Seattle Jazz Fellowship. Dylan Hayes, piano; Jay Thomas, trumpet and sax; Michael Glynn, bass; Xavier Lecouturier, drums;

It was 5 PM on a crisp Wednesday afternoon on December 1, and thirty people sat casually in the brick lined digs of Vermillion Art Gallery and Bar on Capitol Hill, intently listening to the soft spoken musings of jazz legend, Julian Priester. The historic trombonist was playing selections from his storied career that continually over the course of seven decades has stood at the progressive forefront of the music. This afternoon it was his work with Dave Holland and Herbie Hancock that was featured. His historical and cultural anecdotes were thrilling to hear, providing weekly attendees a unique perspective on the music that they had become passionate about.  

There are a variety of ways to enjoy jazz music performed at its highest level of artistry in Seattle. Many of those options include a cover and a high end price tag for dinner and drinks. Those venues tend to lack a major component of jazz culture- the hang. It is during that time before, between and after sets that cultivates community and enables fellowship. 

The Seattle Jazz Fellowship weekly offers Priester’s free listening session, and two sets featuring two separate ensembles of the finest resident jazz musicians in Seattle for a reasonable cover. Vermillion serves fine drinks at a very reasonable price. If you need to eat, you can pop over to Mario’s for a slice, or head around the corner to grab a burrito. The music is the focus, and because of the organization’s non-profit status, it can book and curate music that is not ruled by the age old “butts in the seats” mentality, but with the idea of artistry in music first and foremost. At the front door, vaccination status is checked, and a twenty dollar cover charged. Fellowship founder Thomas Marriott remarked at one point, “It’s a twenty dollar cover, if you can swing it.” The important thing to Marriott and the Fellowship, is that you are there in the first place, that the evening is treated as a sacred place of music for the entire community. 

The seventh edition of “Fellowship Wednesdays at Vermillion” featured young pianist/arranger Dylan Hayes performing a set of his quartet arrangements of the music of recently departed composer Jim Knapp, followed by the Nathan Breedlove Quartet. Hayes was joined by Seattle jazz icon and Knapp associate, Jay Thomas, first-call bassist Michael Glynn and drummer Xavier Lecouturier. Thomas, a 55 year veteran of the Seattle scene, played brilliantly, putting a shine on Hayes’ perfect arrangements. The focus and drive of the band revealed what has been a commonality with all fourteen sets presented thus far by the SJF–that the musicians bring their “A” game to the set, that the vibe of the room was one that invites and appreciates artistry. 

l to r: Xavier Lecouturier, Michael Glynn, Dylan Hayes                 Jim Levitt photo
Jay Thomas                                                 Jim Levitt photo
l to r: Xavier Lecouturier, Michael Glynn, Jay Thomas             Jim Levitt photo

Between sets, the hang was thick, with many of the city’s top musicians present, as well as a jazz audience that spanned generations. New players on the scene, now especially unknown due to the pandemic, emerge and become acquainted with their new community. Younger players are mentored by the more experienced players. The audience is able to interact with the musicians in a meaningful way. They are truly a part of the performance, of the evening’s activities. The room itself has a warm glow, an intimate, welcoming vibe. The all ages policy invites younger players and fans, and allows parents to share the music with their children. 

Just before hitting the stage for his set, veteran trumpeter Nathan Breedlove informed us that Delfeayo Marsalis would be dropping by. Indeed he did, playing most of the set with this assemblage of veterans that included pianist Ron Perrillo, bassist Phil Sparks and drummer Brian Kirk. Marsalis and Perrillo played both dynamically and melodically, with the live nature of the room projecting the sound through the narrow gallery to the rear of the club, through the doors, and out into the Capitol Hill night. Marsalis’ presence brought the striking realization that in only seven total nights of operation, the hang at Vermillion was gaining significant notoriety for all the right reasons. 

Delfeayo Marsalis                                              Jim Levitt photo
l to r: Brian KIrk, Phil Sparks, Nathan Breedlove                                    Jim Levitt photo
Brian Kirk                                                 Jim Levitt photo
l to r: Nathan Breedlove, Phil Sparks, Delfeayo Marsalis

With the playing of the last note of the evening, the room was electric, the vibration of the music still stirring in the room and in the souls of all those that attended. Old friends and new acquaintances were united in fellowship, which of course, is the point. SJF wants you to be there, to help create a sacred place for the music. One departs the room with an overwhelming sense of community, a true feeling of belonging to something sacred, historic and sustainable. With current economnic times in direct conflict with the proliferation of art, the model presented by Marriot and the SJF is proving to be one that promotes artistry and accessibility. It is a foundational source of fellowship as its name portends, within the framework of a community that has sustained itself over a century of time. The ambitions of the group to expand to five nights a week in a permanent home is the light that shows the way to the present and future of the Seattle jazz scene. The music, the gathering of friends and the emotional and spiritual high experienced by those fortunate enough to attend speaks loudly and clearly to that. 

Scroll down to On the Scene: Live Jazz Previews for December to see the full schedule of the Seattle Jazz Fellowship. Next week: Iconic jazz vocal artist Greta Matassa, and Latin Jazz piano firebrand Julio Jauregui lead their respective bands to the Vermillion stage. https://seattlejazzfellowship.org/

Nathan Breedlove                                        Jim Levitt photo
Phil Sparks (b), Ron Perrillo (p)                               Jim Levitt photo

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

There’s a New Jazz Spot in Ravenna

There’s a new spot in North Seattle for an intimate evening of jazz. Calluna restaurant, a casual European American restaurant at 5628 University Way NE in the Ravenna neighborhood, will offer live jazz Wednesday-Sunday beginning in September.

Calluna was opened by familiar faces on the jazz scene in Seattle in former Tula’s manager Jason Moore and his partner, Heather Bourne. With Tula’s ending its 26 year run in October of 2019, they were looking to open a restaurant outside of the music business. The restaurant opened in December of 2019, just three months before the world shut down due to Covid-19. After close to two years in their new digs, they realized how much they missed the music. They knew post-pandemic, they had to breathe some life into the intimate, homespun room.

“I missed the music, I missed the culture and the musicians themselves” says Moore. Very much like they did at Tula’s, Moore and Bourne took on the task of renovating their new space, from painting and cleaning, to the huge step of committing finances to a piano and acoustic revisions to the room. Experience told them that a room in Ravenna was going to have to draw people in with something special and welcoming. This isn’t Belltown, and lack of foot traffic in the north end neighborhood makes Calluna a destination venue, needing top end talent and superior ambience to attract a crowd. 

L to R Heather Bourne, Jason Moore. Lisa Hagen Glynn photo

Knowing the room was not suitable for more volumnus bands, they decided on a duo/trio format, with solo acts a possibility as well. The recently shuttered New York club, Bradley’s, was cited as an example to follow. While Calluna doesn’t plan on being the late night hang that the iconic Bradley’s was known for, it will offer top tier Seattle jazz musicians performing in duos and trios without drums, just right for the cozy living room vibe that best describes the Ravenna eatery. Moore brought in a Yamaha C-3 piano, and invited the best players in town to join in on the fun.

September will bring in a large strand of Seattle’s top jazz musicians, including Bill Anschell, Jeff Johnson, Greta Matassa, Stephanie Porter, Kelley Johnson, Rick Mandyck, and a special John Coltrane birthday celebration with Alex Dugdale. Anschell will square off in a duo with bassist Jeff Johnson, a fine example of the programming at Calluna. The marvelous jazz vocalist Matassa will perform with Clipper Anderson on bass and Alexey Nikolaev on saxophones. The demands the room places on the musicians in terms of intimacy will create an environment unlike what one might experience at a larger venue. The fine food and drink and Moore’s standard and understanding of live jazz performance will be a big plus. 

Pianist Bill Anschell, who closed Tula’s, will open Calluna with bassist Jeff Johnson.
Bassist Jeff Johnson    knkx.org

Calluna adds to nightly opportunities for Seattle jazz fans. From the Royal Room in Columbia City and Egan’s in Ballard, to Jazz Alley and the arrival of the new Seattle Jazz Fellowship, the landscape for live jazz, post-pandemic, is beginning to take shape. For more information on Calluna, and a full music calendar, follow the link below.   

https://callunaseattle.com/music-calendar/


20 Seattle Jazz Musicians You Should Know: Matt Jorgensen

Photo Credit: Lisa Hagen Glynn

The jazz life in the twenty-first century requires a diverse and multi-skilled portfolio, requiring a resume previous generations of jazz musicians never fathomed having to deal with. Seattle’s Matt Jorgensen has spent the entirety of his career figuring out what this skill set entailed, and has navigated those waters, well, skillfully.

Jorgensen is a jazz drummer by trade, and has throughout his career composed original tunes. His entrepreneurial skills have manifested in the creation of the highly regarded indie-jazz label, Origin Records, in partnership with fellow drummer John Bishop. The label has now released close to seven hundred albums. A second label, OA2 came soon after, and Origin Classical next. The label in turn spawned the Ballard Jazz Festival, a Seattle jazz scene annual rite of spring each May since 2002. To continue reading, click this linkhttps://www.allaboutjazz.com/20-seattle-jazz-musicians-you-should-know-matt-jorgensen-matt-jorgensen

“20 Seattle Jazz Musicians You Should Know” Continues With 2 New Installments

Over the course of forty weeks, All About Jazz has given front page treatment to twenty of Seattle’s bright lights in the jazz universe. This unprecedented coverage highlights artists making a splash on the national and international scene. As we begin to rise from the scorched earth created by the worldwide pandemic, we attempt to keep the home fires burning here in Seattle, by celebrating a host of our outstanding artists. This time around the block, we feature drummer/record company owner/graphic artist/ festival promoter John Bishop, and pianist/composer Marina Albero. 

John Bishop

To say that John Bishop has had a profound impact on the life of jazz music in the Pacific Northwest, and more specifically, the city of Seattle, would be a sizable understatement. His influence has cast a spotlight on the vibrant Seattle scene on an international scale. As a musician, record label owner, festival presenter, graphic designer and educator, he has contributed mightily to the profound sense of community that exists presently and historically in his home city and abroad. Photo Credit: Lisa Hagen Glynn Follow this link to continue reading.https://www.allaboutjazz.com/20-seattle-jazz-musicians-you-should-know-john-bishop-john-bishop

Marina Albero

A lot can happen in life over six long years. The past six years in the life of Marina Albero have been eventful to the point of being a revelation. She arrived here with her then partner, flamenco jazz pianist Chano Dominguez, and their two children, aged 12 and 15. It was a fresh start, with the hope of finding more work in America than was being afforded them in Europe. The children were to start school in a new country, speaking their third language, behind Catalan and Spanish. Marina would play in the house band at Teatro Zinzanni and tend to the everyday needs of their children, while Chano continued to tour internationally, as he had for a quarter century. Photo credit: Lisa Hagen Glynn Follow this link to continue readinghttps://www.allaboutjazz.com/20-seattle-jazz-musicians-you-should-know-marina-albero-marina-albero

Pandemic Blues: The Slow Withdrawal From the Abyss

The Covid-19 pandemic has been a unilateral blow to the norms of all segments of our culture. For those of us dependent on the gathering of people in clubs, theatres, arenas and the like to make a living, that blow seems especially thunderous. Through the sociological haze of the state wide stay at home order, many musicians have taken to streaming performances, bringing a much needed sense of solace and hope. Music, just as love, can remind us of what it is like to not have it, the vacuity it engenders when it is suddenly taken from us. It is something in our lives that communicates through all perceived boundaries. Kudos locally to Earshot Jazz for their Saturday night series, to the Marina Albero led Quarrantine Sessions, and all musicians worldwide for sharing their music within the quarantine from their very living rooms. 

As you can see, this is the first time I have written a word here since April 1. This site has been largely about live performances in recent times, about presenting a means to research what is happening nightly around the city. My agenda today is to bring to your attention, some things that have been brought to my attention. As well, I am providing links to a profile series I am writing for allaboutjazz.com, “20 Seattle Jazz Musicians You Should Know.” This series gives Seattle musicians an internaional spotlight at the much acclaimed site, and is linked to local websites via the musician’s member page at AAJ. I highly recommend to all who do not have such a page, to create one. That way, any CD review, feature article, interview, or profile that mentions your name will be hyperlinked to your page, and from there, anywhere you need it to go. Here is the link to get that started https://news.allaboutjazz.com/download-the-all-about-jazz-musician-starter-guide.php

As we slowly return to normal life over the next months, years, we look forward for hope. We hope to have an Earshot Jazz Festival in October, the rescheduled Ballard Jazz Festival in November. We hope that the venues that generously support the music are there when we are ready to move forward. Most of all, we hope that we are all well, and ready to HANG. The fellowship our community provides to all who care to participate, is what is missed most of all. Here are a few things to ponder……..

Our friends Ryan Burns, Cole Schuster and Max Holmberg have taken to recording remotely, and are announcing the release of two brand new singles. The always eclectic, and remarkably versatile Burns is featured on Hammond B-3, along with Schuster on guitar, and Holmberg on drums. Here is a link to the press release. https://www.artistpr.com/press-release/ryan-burns-jazz-music/?fbclid=IwAR0gJRWMm_BZ4FTx0IMhm1WrKKxBzGNEXMD13MBVXjmNQLo_-g41IvdxAAg

As I mentioned, I am in the midst of writing 20 musician profiles for AAJ. So far we have featured Jeff Johnson, Jovino Santos Neto, Brittany Anjou, Xavier Lecouturier, Rex Gregory, Gail Pettis, Christopher Icasiano, Chuck Deardorf, Jay Thomas and Samantha Boshnack. Ten down, ten to go! Here is the link to my articles at AAJ, the overwhelming majority of which cover jazz in Seattle. https://www.allaboutjazz.com/php/contributor_articles.php?id=163817

Roosevelt High School grad Chris McCarthy has been making quite a name for himself in New York. He recently released a new album on Ropeadope Records, and pre-covid, was often seen performing with several noteables, including Jerry Bergonzi and Sasha Berliner. Here is an in depth look at the album……..

CD Review: Chris McCarthy- Still Time to Quit

From 2017 to 2020, composer and pianist Chris McCarthy charted a path as a noted sideman for such notables as Jerry Bergonzi and Jason Palmer. He was often seen performing with vibraphonist Sasha Berliner and in duet with vocalist Clotilde Rullaud. In short, he has gained a reputation for imaginative and supportive playing.

McCarthy’s path has been blazed from a renowned high school program in Seattle, to the cloistered realm of the New England Conservatory, finally landing in the pressure cooker that is the New York jazz scene. His first recording, Sonder (Red Piano, 2017), could easily have categorized him as a project artist, as the music was an amalgam of forms, including spoken word and vocal parts. The music was well written and performed, but in no way did it set a trajectory for what was to come next. To continue reading, click here https://www.allaboutjazz.com/still-time-to-quit-chris-mccarthy-ropeadope

Swedish born flutist/composer Elsa Nilsson spent some years here in Seattle, studying at Cornish College of the Arts. She has become a major force on the New York scene as a musician, activist and organizer. 2020 has seen her release a new solo album, Hindsight, and a new collective recording with her trio SXNE, For Human Beings. The album is a fully improvised suite of five movements. Read the review here:

SXNE: For Human Beings

Flutist Elsa Nilsson voice performing on an instrument that has historically received secondary status in jazz music. Often the second or third instrument for saxophonists such as Eric Dolphy, Charles Lloyd, and Tia Fuller, it would seem even the most passionate fans of the genre have relegated the flute as such. Modern times in jazz have however, cast that notion aside. Flutists covering a wide musical swath through the annals of modern jazz include the eclectic sounds of Nicole Mitchell, the post-bop works of jamie Baum,  and the diverse, fearless approach to the instrument by Nilsson, a Swedish born, New York based whirlwind. Continue reading here- https://www.allaboutjazz.com/for-human-beings-sxne-bumblebee-collective


CD Review: Thomas Marriott- Trumpet Ship

In a day and age when social and personal narratives pervade the jazz recording medium, it is a welcoming feeling to experience a recording of superb jazz musicians playing music in the moment the way it’s supposed to be played—for the people.

For his spring 2020 quartet release Trumpet Ship (Origin, 2020), Seattle-based trumpeter Thomas Marriott has summoned a powerhouse quartet that hits hard from the outset and never lets up. He has convened a band that shares his ferocity of approach, stretching the boundaries, while respecting tradition of modern jazz music. While many recent releases have been attached to some sort of conception, Marriott focuses the music on the fellowship that accompanies friendship and community. To continue reading click this linkhttps://www.allaboutjazz.com/trumpet-ship-thomas-marriott-origin-records__30386.php

Jim Levitt Photos: Marc Seales Band at Jazz Alley

KNKX has teamed up with Dimitriou’s Jazz Alley to present Northwest Music Mondays, a nod to the vibrant Seattle jazz scene. This is a welcome addition to the monthly Seattle jazz calendar post-Tula’s. Jazz photographer extraordinaire, Jim Levitt, was there on the scene to capture the Marc Seales Band playing before a full house at the city’s most esteemed jazz stage. Seales was joined by trumpeter Thomas Marriott, bassist Chuck Deardorf, drummer Moyes Lucas, Jr., and guitarist Jesse Seales. Many thanks to Mr. Levitt for documenting Seattle jazz in such fine and vivid detail!

The Marc Seales Group performs at Jazz Alley, for a KNKX Northwest Music Monday show. Marc Seales, keyboards; Jesse Seales, guitar; Thomas Marriott, trumpet; Chuck Deardorf, bass; Moyes Lucas Jr, drums;
Thomas Marriott

Marc Seales and Chuck Dearforf

Jesse Seales

Marc Seales- piano; Moyes Lucas, Jr.- drums; Chuck Deardorf- bass

Marc Seales

Moyes Lucas, Jr. 

Chuck Deardorf

The Marc Seales Group performs at Jazz Alley, for a KNKX Northwest Music Monday show. Marc Seales, keyboards; Jesse Seales, guitar; Thomas Marriott, trumpet; Chuck Deardorf, bass; Moyes Lucas Jr, drums;

Jim Levitt Photos: Marina Albero CD Release at the Royal Room

Jim Levitt is at it again, this time at Marina Albero’s CD Release at the Royal Room on December 17. Albero was celebrating the release of her 3 CD set, A Life Soundtrack before a full house, surrounded by friends, fans and family. 

Jim’s work is art in itself, with the vibrant Seattle jazz scene as a canvas. We are deeply appreciative for his work here at seattlejazzscene.com

Marina Albero celebrates the release of her three-volume recording A Life Soundtrack, with a concert at The Royal Room. Marina Albero- piano and hammered dulcimer; Hans Teuber- saxophone, flute; Jeff Johnson- bass; Jeff Busch- percussion; D’Vonne Lewis- drums; Serena Dominguez Albero-voice; Marcel Dominguez Albero- cajon, saxophone
Jeff Johnson

Serena Albero sings “Mi Secreto.”
Hans Teuber

Marina and Serena Albero

Marina Albero- psalterium

Marina Albero- piano; Jeff Johnson- bass; D’Vonne Lewis- drums; Jeff Busch- percussion

Marcel Dominguez- alto

Marina Albero performs with her son, Marcel Dominguez
Jeff Busch

Standing O, Music is Love

CD Review: Marina Albero- A Life Soundtrack

Attempts to characterize the music of Barcelona-born pianist Marina Albero seem to get lost in the details. She is not an artist who found herself within a passion for a particular form. That her music is the sum of her life experiences would be a factual description that would nonetheless fall short, given the far reaching, culturally diverse, and wildly meandering path that has occupied her first forty years. To continue reading, click this linkhttps://www.allaboutjazz.com/a-life-soundtrack-marina-albero-self-produced

CD Review- Charlie Porter: Immigration Nation

Jazz has always carried with it a social narrative with historical ebbs and flows reliant on the polarizing issues of its time. With Immigrant Nation (OA2, 2019), Portland based trumpeter Charlie Porter embraces the forever narrative of American immigration, the historical force of humanity that has formed and enriched this country from its beginnings. The linear timeline of American immigration that widened at the beginning of the twentieth century has narrowed due to the gut wrenching actions of the current administration, providing much artistic impetus to inspire a much needed reaction from the jazz community. Porter follows through with a view and statement from the collective lens of the musicians on this session. Much like Max Roach’s We Insist! (Candid, 1960), concerning the civil rights movement of the 1960’s, and Roxy Coss’ modern narrative piece, The Future is Female (Posi- Tone, 2018), Porter surrounds the listener with a social narrative that is rich musically, and open-ended poetically. To continue reading, follow this linkhttps://www.allaboutjazz.com/immigration-nation-charlie-porter-oa2-records

Jim Levitt Photos: Thomas Marriott and Friends From Philly- Oct 26, 2019/ Royal Room

Jazz beat photographer Jim Levitt was visiting family in California during a major portion of the 2019 Earshot Jazz Festival, but is back with a vengeance! Jim shared these fine shots of Thomas Marriott’s Earshot performance at the Royal Room, featuring friends from the Philadelphia jazz scene. 

Saxophonist Victor North offered his soaring tenor sound, working with Marriott on the front line of a quartet featuring a remarkable father-son tandem. Bassist Michael Boone is a veteran of the Philly scene, and a mentor to many young players on the rise there. Among them is his remarkable son, Mehki Boone, a 13 year old drummer with the presence, skills, and maturity of a seasoned, veteran player. 

Tula’s: The Final Weekend- Photographs From Lisa Hagen Glynn

Tula’s Jazz Club ended it’s vaunted 26 year run with two nights of music with old friends, and a late night hang not seen at the club in many years. It was a bittersweet time, in the end joyous in the form of the music that took place on the stage. 

Photographer Lisa Hagen Glynn was there, not just as a photographer, but on the hang as she often is at Tula’s. She captured some poignant moments, that will serve as portraits of this place that the Seattle jazz scene called home for  a quarter century. In that time, the best of the best in the Northwest played Tula’s, and as seen through the lens of Lisa, that standard was upheld to the end. 

Pianist Bill Anschell leads a trio on the final night at Tula’s- 9/29/2019


Bill Anschell- piano; D’Vonne Lewis- drums

Bassist Michael Glynn, last night at Tula’s, 9/29/2019

Jam at the last night of Tula’s- Michael Brockman- tenor; Mark Taylor- alto; Anton Schwartz- tenor; Michael Glynn- bass


And then we sing- Kelley Johnson, Gail Pettis, Stephanie Porter, adnd Jacqueline Tabor, last night at Tula’s 9/29/2019
Mack Waldron, last night at Tula’s, 9/29/2019

The club, and the couple that created it- Mack and Tula Waldron

The gang on Saturday night, 9/28/2019

Marc Seales- piano; Thomas Marriott- trumpet; Susan Pascal- vibes; Jeff Johnson- bass; D’Vonne Lewis- drums


Greta Matassa and Thomas Marriott, last weekend at Tula’s, 9/28/2019

Marc Seales, last weekend at Tula’s, 9/28/2019

Thomas Marriott performs at Tula’s on the last weekend.

Thomas Marriott

Mack, Tula, Jason, and Heather, last night at Tula’s

Seattle jazz royalty- Mack and Tula Waldron, last night at Tula’s, 9/29/2019