On the Scene: Live Jazz Previews for December

Photo Credit:  davisdigitaldesign.com

December is generally the least active month for jazz music in Seattle, or anywhere for that matter. Even New Year’s Eve has been compromised this year, with Tula’s gone, and Poncho Sanchez’ annual Jazz Alley bash being replaced by…….and it’s difficult for me to type this……Kenny G. Nonetheless, SRJO steps up to the plate with its annual interpretation of Duke Ellington’s Sacred Music, and Seattle top-liners Jovino Santos Neto, Greta Matassa, Gail Pettis and Susan Pascal come out to play. December is as well, a great time to attend and support local jam sessions at The Royal Room, Owl and Thistle and The Angry Beaver. Here are some suggestions for you- see you out there!

Brent Jensen Quartet

Thu Dec 1, 7 PM/ North City Bistro

Saxophonist Brent Jensen hits the newly transitioned NCB for a sit down performance with long-time Seattle mates. Guitarist Dave Peterson, drummer John Bishop and bassist Chris Symer join to create a noteworthy quartet of Seattle jazz greats. Jensen’s pure melodicism isn’t heard often enough these days, so don’t miss this opportunity. It’s a dinner set, so be ready for fine cuisine and a stellar wine selection. https://northcitybistro.com/event/brent-jensen-trio/

Marcus Miller

Thu Dec 1- Sun Dec 4, 7:30 & 9:30 PM/ Jazz Alley

Marcus Miller is a historically significant player in the history of the electric bass in jazz. First introduced to Seattle audiences as a member of Miles Davis’ touring band of the 1980’s, Miller’s prowess as a player and composer is stuff of legend. Accompanied by a gathering of fusion all-stars, Miller’s four day run at JA should bring many great musical moments to the rise. Joining Miller are trumpeter Russell Gunn, keyboardist Xavier Gordon, drummer Anwar Marshall, and saxophonist Donald Hayeshttps://www.jazzalley.com/www-home/artist.jsp?shownum=6368

Photo Credit: Daniel Sheehan

Jovino Santos Neto Quinteto

Sat Dec 3, 7:30 PM/ Town Hall Great Hall

Jovino’s explosive quintet has been a top draw in Seattle for many years, exuding brilliance, energy and light. Of course, recently passed genius Chuck Deardorf will be missing from the bass chair, but young bassist Alex Dyring will aptly step in. Vibraphonist Ben Thomas and Jovino have a magical chemistry that is special and unique. Drummer Mark Ivester and percussionist Jeff Busch provide the drive and the vibe. Trombonist Freddy Fuego adds a new dimension to the band. Jovino is a master pianist, brilliant composer and veteran bandleader who seems to never disappoint– in fact, his performances are as close to a sure thing as you will find in this land by the Salish Sea. https://www.earshot.org/event/jovino-santos-neto-quinteto/

Photo Credit: PDX Jazz

BrandonLee Cierly

Fri Dec 2, 8 PM/ Seamonster Lounge

Portland based saxophonist BrandonLee Cierley hits the Seamonster on the heels of his new album, Camaraderie. Opening for funk monsters, Funky 2 Death, Cierley sports an all-star cast of young, focused, top shelf Seattle musicians in drummer Xavier Lecouturier, keyboardist Dylan Hayes, guitarist Martin Budde and trumpeter June Iida. Cierley is finding his voice on tenor, and does so with fine facility and a strong, interpretive sense. https://www.seamonsterlounge.com/event-info/brandonlee-cierley-camaraderie-album-tour

Photo Credit: Lisa Hagen Glynn

Dylan Hayes Organ Septet

Sat Dec 3, 10 PM/ Seamonster Lounge

Pianist/composer Dylan Hayes morphs into his electric persona, manning electric keyboards leading an all-star septet. Hayes is joined by usual mates Martin Budde on guitar and Xavier Lecouturier on drums, adding ace trombonist David Marriott, vibraphonist Matt Williams, alto saxophonist Sidney Hauser and trumpeter Jun Iida. Worth a trip to the long time Wallingford night spot, and a peek into the next generation of Seattle jazz. https://www.seamonsterlounge.com/event-info/dylan-hayes-organ-septet

Greta Matassa Quintet

Fri Dec 2, 9 PM/ Egan’s Ballard Jam House

Any opportunity to see Greta Matassa sing, is a deep dive into the tradition and lineage of great Seattle jazz singers. Matassa’s instrument, innovation, and remarkable tenure are equaled only by those of the iconic Ernestine Anderson. While many local vocalists tend to lean on, and benefit from this association with Ms. Anderson, Matassa’s history of live performance, personal discography and remarkable talent aligns itself purely on the merit of her huge contribution to the history of jazz in her home city. To see her in the intimate surroundings of this tiny Ballard night spot is a rare and notable gem on the Seattle jazz calendar. https://www.earshot.org/event/greta-matassa-3/

Photo Credit: Lisa Hagen Glynn

Royal Room Collective Music Ensemble/ Monday Night Jam

Mon Dec 4,11,18 / Royal Room

RCME 7:30 PM/ Jam Session 9 PM

The RCME is a mad, swinging large ensemble led by the ever adventurous Wayne Horvitz. Often including such notables as Geoff Harper, David Marriott, Ray Larson, Kate Olson, James Falzone, Haley Freedlund, Evan Woodle and Neil Welch, the band performs an eclectic mix of Horvitz compositions and Thelonious Monk classics.

Following at 9 PM, trumpeter Thomas Marriott hosts a jam session that features veteran and young musicians alike, creating great moments and presenting an aperture into the natural jazz mentorship cycle. In the end, this Monday night gathering in Columbia City is a classic jazz hang with a great sense of community. https://theroyalroomseattle.com/event/royal-room-collective-music-ensemble-2/?instance_id=3716

Photo Credit: JazzClubsNW

Seattle Jazz Fellowship: Danny Kolke Trio/ Beserat Tafesse

Wed Dec 7, 7:30 PM/ Vermillion

This is the final Wednesday engagement with the Seattle Jazz Fellowship for the calendar year, before it becomes an EVERY Wednesday event beginning in January 2023. Veteran pianist Danny Kolke has been an important figure in Seattle area jazz since his tenure with Boxley’s in North Bend. His beautiful piano work often flies under the radar given that status as a promoter. He works in trio here with some very familiar mates in bassist Michael Glynn and drummer Greg Williamson. The performance will be a classic piano trio rendering between three voices that have frequently joined together over the past decade. Trombonist Beserat Tafesse is a relative newcomer to the Seattle scene, with deep roots in the blues and the great jazz trombone tradition- with a very modern twist. At Vermillion, Tafesse leads a quartet featuring young lions Xavier Lecouturier on drums, pianist Matt Williams and bassist Trevor Ford. Fellowship Wednesdays are the best value in Seattle jazz, with great performances in an intimate dive, with a small price tag to boot. The hang between sets and after the music ends is worth your time alone.

The great Julian Priester will lead a listening session at 5:30 before the music for free. This is your opportunity to hang and chat with one of the pivotal figures in jazz history. 

Photo Credit: Daniel Sheehan
knkx

Susan Pascal Quartet

Fri Dec 16, 8 PM/ North City Bistro

Vibraphonist Susan Pascal has been a bit of a mystery since the closing of Tula’s Jazz Club, where her monthly engagements were highly anticipated and received. The pandemic and the trouble with the West Seattle bridge did not help! She makes her return to NCB with the great Bill Anschell on piano, bassist Chris Symer and drummer Jeff Busch. Anschell and Pascal have a long history together, and the magic will be evident from the start of this performance. The piano/vibes aesthetic is not an easy one in which to operate, but this pairing makes it seem seamless. Great menu and wine selection adds to the vibe. https://northcitybistro.com/event/susan-pascal-quartet/

Photo Credit: Daniel Sheehan

Gail Pettis & Jovino Santos Neto

Fri Dec 23, 8 PM/ North City Bistro

At first glance, this pairing appears to be an unlikely scenario- Jovino, the brilliant pianist and caretaker of the legacy of Brazilian icon Hermeto Pascoal, and Pettis, whose interpretation of jazz music is steeped in the blues from her upbringing in Gary, Indiana. But once one looks past the surface, the commonalities, or more precisely, the counterbalances reveal themselves. Pettis performs with a great sense of melody, enabling the lyrics of a tune to come to life. Her very natural approach is a deep, bluesy, late night vibe. Jovino joins her in his absolute dedication to lyricism in his playing, his amazing musical journey from Brazil to Seattle evident in every note. Both musicians know how to hang, to speak and listen, to enjoy someone’s plain company. The ability to make worlds of music, one world, is in the cards for this evening. https://northcitybistro.com/event/gail-pettis-jovino-santos-neto/

AP photo

SRJO: Duke Ellington’s Sacred Music

Fri Dec 30, 7:30 PM/ Town Hall Great Hall

SRJO returns with their annual performance of Duke Ellington’s Sacred Music, a piece the master wrote in 1965 that he considered his most important work. Not written to be a mass, or religious service, the music celebrates the sacred aspects of all cultures. The music is swingin’, and steeped in the traditions of Black American Music. While the vocal soloists and choral members have fluctuated over the years, the tap portion of the performance continues to be in the good feet of Seattle’s Alex Dugdale. This is an annual event worth attending on an annual basis, a spiritual re-awakening of sorts. When it comes right down to it, the concert may be the most valuable contribution the SRJO has made to jazz music in Seattle. https://www.earshot.org/event/concert-of-duke-ellingtons-sacred-music/

….and lastly…..get your jam on y’all. Your local jam sessions need your support

I have met many a jazz fan in Seattle who by personal rule, will only attend one jam session a week. Let me say that I do understand the sentiment, but also must point out that jam sessions are a great opportunity to relieve your social isolation and enjoy the fellowship of your community. 

The 9 PM, all-ages Thomas Marriott led Monday night session at The Royal Room in Columbia City follows the weekly performance of the Royal Room Collective Music Ensemble, led by Wayne Horvitz. There is a sign up sheet, with all who sign up guaranteed an opportunity to play. The 26 year run of the Tuesday Night jam at the Owl ‘n Thistle is based on an opening set, followed by a session that is open ended. It is well grounded in the leadership of pianist Eric Verlinde and an inherent anarchic attitude. Anything goes, and anything can happen, including visitations from touring dignitaries. The start time is inching towards its traditional, after-gig time slot, approaching 10 PM. 

And why not a session in a hockey bar in what is now, an NHL city? North enders Max Holmberg and Greg Feingold have been executing this absurdly wonderful notion for a number of years now on Sunday nights at the Angry Beaver in Greenwood. The vibe is unique in so many ways. While this writer is more likely to attend the Royal Room and Owl sessions, being a southender and all, the Beaver session along with Phil Spark’s 5 PM tilt on Fridays at Latona Pub in Green Lake hold special sentiment for me. They are emblematic of what music can be in a social setting, as a unifier in a time of social disintegration. 

On the Scene: Live Jazz Previews for November

With November comes the autumnal arrival of rain, fall colors and the final days of the Earshot Jazz Festival. The Seattle Jazz Fellowship returns with six weeks of programming, the Royal Room hosts significant international artists, and a generational vocal talent returns to Jazz Alley. With winter fast approaching, we look inward and seek experiences that impact our archetypal center. Here are some suggestions for the coming month in Seattle jazz- as ever, I recommend you dig deeper. In any case, I hope to see you out on the scene this month!

Seattle Jazz Fellowship Wednesdays at Vermillion

Nelda Swiggett’s Megabopolis/Jason Chambliss Quartet

Wed Nov 30, 7:30 PM/ Vermillion

Pianist/composer Nelda Swiggett has in many ways flown under the radar of the live modern jazz scene in Seattle. She has been on the scene for three decades, and is highly regarded within the music community, but as the past decade has rolled by, the new members of the Seattle jazz audience are largely unaware of her musical prowess. Her ensemble, Megabopolis, returns to the forefront of the resident jazz scene with this performance, featuring a roster of players who have made major strides in the forward progression of modern jazz in the Pacific Northwest. Swiggett is joined by trombonist Clif Swiggett, trumpeter Michael Van Bebber, saxophonist Travis Ranney, drummer Max Wood and bassist Michael Glynn

Trumpeter Jason Chambliss returns to the Seattle Jazz Fellowship leading a quartet featuring veteran pianist Darrius Willrich, drummer Chris Patin and bassist Nate Omdahl. Chambliss plays a style that reflects the history of the music emanating from the Central District of Seattle- soul infused modern jazz. Patin as a drummer is relentless and driving, constantly pushing the band forward. Willrich is a fine vocalist as well as a skilled pianist, the personification of the Seattle sound. Omdahl is a veteran presence that should ground the band into a positive communicative resonance. https://seattlejazzfellowship.org/events

Bill Anschell Peru Trio with Chris Symer & Jeff Busch

Wed Nov 30, 7 PM/ North City Bistro

Pianist Bill Anschell reunites with his trio that bonded on one of several tours of Peru. One of Seattle’s true jazz treasures, Anschell is an Origin Records recording artist, noted jazz humorist and first call pianist. His multiple South American tours included those as musical director for vocalist Nnenna Freelon. Bassist Chris Symer has been a major factor in Anschell’s trio adventures, notably with drummer Jose Martinez and saxophonist Brent Jensen. Drummer Jeff Busch has spanned the globe studying world percussion, including a six month stay in Brazil. His world view of music coupled with his jazz chops makes him the easy choice for this trio. This is not a Latin Jazz trio per se, but an open jazz trio that features all participants as soloists and bandmates lending sympathetic rhythmic and harmonic support. The tunes they perform are those enthusiastically received by Peruvian audiences. https://northcitybistro.com/event/bill-anschell-peru-trio/

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

Photos: Thomas Marriott Quintet- last date at Tula’s

As the final week of Tula’s remarkable 26 year run approaches, we as jazz fans are witness to the final performances of the club’s foundational talent, of those artists who made live, resident based jazz thrive in Belltown. Artists such as vocalist Greta Matassa,pianists Marc Seales and Bill Anschell, vibraphonist Susan Pascal, and trumpeter Thomas Marriott have all left their mark on the city’s jazz legacy from the stage at Tula’s.

Photographer Jim Levitt has been as integral as anybody in terms of documenting the inspired jazz scene in Seattle over the last quarter century. While photographic documentation of historic Seattle jazz rooms such as the Black & Tan, Parnell’s, and Jazz Alley’s former home on University Way is scant at best, enthusiastic photographers such as Levitt, Daniel Sheehan, and Lisa Hagen Glynn have provided in depth imagery of Tula’s storied run.

Mr. Levitt recently shared some photographs of Thomas Marriott’s last gig as a leader at Tula’s on September 14. Marriott has been playing at Tula’s since he was a teenager in a band with his brother, trombonist David Marriott, Jr.. Taking quality photographs in the dimly lit confines of the club is no easy task. These were too exceptional  not to share- many thanks to our brother and noted jazz foot soldier, Jim Levitt!

Thomas Marriott leads his Quintet in a final show, two weeks before Tula’s Jazz Club in Seattle closes after 26 years. Thomas Marriott, trumpet; Rick Mandyck, saxophone; Tim Kennedy, piano; Jeff Johnson, bass; John Bishop, drums
Pianist Tim Kennedy at Tula’s with the Thomas Marriott Quintet. 9/14/2019

Tim Kennedy, Thomas Marriott, and Rick Mandyck perform one last time at Tula’s.

Tenor saxophonist Rick Mandyck, and drummer John Bishop with the Thomas Marriott Quintet at Tula’s 9/14/2019

A most dynamic duo- drummer John Bishop and bassist Jeff Johnson at Tula’s, 9/14/2019.

Thomas Marriott leads his Quintet in a final show, two weeks before Tula’s Jazz Club in Seattle closes after 26 years.Thomas Marriott, trumpet;Rick Mandyck, saxophone;Tim Kennedy, piano;Jeff Johnson, bass;John Bishop, drums 9/14/2019

Thomas Marriott leads his Quintet in a final show, two weeks before Tula’s Jazz Club in Seattle closes after 26 years.Thomas Marriott, trumpet;Rick Mandyck, saxophone;Tim Kennedy, piano;Jeff Johnson, bass;John Bishop, drums 9/14/2019

Trumpeter Thomas Marriott, and saxophonist Rick Mandyck at Tula’s, 9/14/2019.

Iconic jazz radio voice Jim Wilke, recording the Thomas Marriott Quintet at their final Tula’s performance on 9/14/2019.