October is arguably the busiest and most noteworthy month on the Seattle jazz calendar. Of course, much of this has to do with the Earshot Jazz Festival adding to an already active scene. I do recommend researching the festival as a whole at https://www.earshot.org/, but I have highlighted a number of the performances here, along with an impressive amount of stellar events around the city this month, including those at Jazz Alley and the Royal Room. While the Earshot Jazz Festival does bring in an impressive array of artists from around the world, it features Seattle musicians as well, including the 2022 Resident Artist, Alex Dugdale. As always, we encourage you to get out and experience jazz as it should be– through live performance.
Greta Matassa/ Robert Vaughn
Sat Oct 1, 7 PM/ Egan’s Ballard Jam House
Small club, big time indeed. Seattle’s Greta Matassa will double bill with guitarist/vocalist Robert Vaughn at the tiny Ballard jazz spot. Matassa’s pedigree goes without saying, being one of the city’s jazz legends, while Vaughn was MIA from Seattle stages for many years, as he worked a steady gig in Idaho. Matassa began to bring him back to Seattle audiences as a guest at her long-running Tula’s residency. Vaughn opens in trio with bassist Clipper Anderson and drummer Mark Ivester. Matassa plays the second set adding tenor saxophonist Alexey Nikolaev and guitarist Brian Monroney with Vaughn guesting. http://www.ballardjamhouse.com/schedule.html
Royal Room Collective Music Ensemble/ Monday Night Jazz Jam with Thomas Marriott
Oct 3,10,17,24,31- 7:30 PM, Jam at 9 PM/ Royal Room
Monday nights at the Royal Room have become a thing in Seattle, with Wayne Horvitz’ ensemble performing interpretations of his original compositions, and those of Thelonious Monk. At 9PM, Thomas Marriott leads an open, all-ages jam session that places an emphasis on the mentorship cycle. Younger players have the opportunity to play with more experienced players, and everyone gets to play. Marriott has done an excellent job of curating the event that tends to include many of the top shelf players in town. https://theroyalroomseattle.com/event/royal-room-collective-music-ensemble-2/?instance_id=3708
Grace Kelly CD Pre-Release
Tue Oct 4- Wed Oct 5, 7:30 PM/ Jazz Alley
In a month dominated by the Earshot Jazz Festival, Jazz Alley has a few nuggets to feast on as well. Grace Kelly pays her annual visit to the esteemed venue, in celebration of her 14th album, All I Need. The fiery altoist is joined by pianist Adam Bravo, bassist Cooper Appelt, and drummer Julian Allen. https://www.jazzalley.com/www-home/artist.jsp?shownum=6362
Ron Weinstein and Friends
Wed Oct 5, 9:30 PM/ Seamonster Lounge
The closing of Vito’s due to the fire on the fourth floor above it has impacted the jazz community in Seattle more than many anticipated. Ron Weinstein’s Sunday night gig there was a staple on the Seattle scene for many years, with Weinstein featured on piano. He often features top players in his trio, including bassist Jeff Johnson. You can catch Weinstein on his Wednesday night gig at the Seamonster in Wallingford in what many consider his true natural environment- performing on Hammond B-3 organ.https://www.facebook.com/Seamonsterlounge/events/?id=100049077476160&sk=events
Sun Oct 9, 7:30 PM/ The Forum at Town Hall
Pianist/vocalist Dawn Clement and flutist Elsa Nilsson have deep roots in Seattle, both as students at Cornish College of the Arts, with Clement’s tenure there including a long term professorship. Swedish born, New York City resident Nilsson took advantage of her time in Seattle by performing live with many of the city’s most renowned players. Clement performed regularly with Julian Priester, Johnaye Kendrick and others, culminating her tenure in Seattle as Resident Artist at the 2017 Earshot Jazz Festival. Nilsson has spent her time wisely in New York, rapidly becoming recognized as a unique and innovative trailblazer of her instrument. Her presence on the front line of Esthesis Quartet exudes a physical strength, brilliance of tone and deep compositional wisdom.
Drummer Tina Raymond is a well known quantity on the international jazz scene both as a musician and clinician. Her use of African polyrhythms and classical percussion techniques in her playing is free flowing and original. Bassist Emma Dayhuff has a presence and depth of talent that continues to evolve in a myriad of notable ways. One of only five women to participate in the Herbie Hancock Institute of Jazz Performance, the Chicago based Dayhuff is performing and recording while continuing to pursue her DMA at the University of Wisconsin in Madison. https://earshot.secure.force.com/ticket#/events/a0S2L00000SaF9YUAV
Dave Weckl Tom Kennedy Project featuring Stu Mindeman with special guest Eric Marienthal
Tue Oct 11- Wed Oct 12, 7:30 PM/ Jazz Alley
Drummer/bandleader Dave Weckl has found a home at Jazz Alley, a venue that seems to be a jazz fusion flash point. Teaming up with bassist Tom Kennedy and pianist Stu Mindeman, Weckl’s high energy music is open ended and invites new congregants with each iteration of the band. This time around, saxophonist Eric Marienthal joins the band for this two night run. https://www.jazzalley.com/www-home/artist.jsp?shownum=6359
Kurt Rosenwinkle Quartet
Wed Oct 12, 7:30 PM/ Triple Door
Guitarist Kurt Rosenwinkle is a generational voice and a messenger at the leading edge of modern jazz for more than thirty years. Much the same could be said for all four members of this stellar quartet. Bassist Eric Revis, pianist Taylor Eigsti and drummer Gregory Hutchinson join the Philly born Rosenwinkle for what should be an explosive evening of music. At the time of this writing, the show was nearly sold out, so make haste if you plan to attend. https://tickets.thetripledoor.net/orderticketsvenue.asp?p=4180
Thomas Marriott and the Fellowship ‘Ceptet with Johnaye Kendrick
Thu Oct 13, 7:30 PM/ The Forum at Town Hall
The Fellowship ‘Ceptet led by trumpeter Thomas Marriott, is an outgrowth of another Marriott project–The Seattle Jazz Fellowship, a 501(c) 3 non-profit dedicated to the resident jazz scene in Seattle. Marriott prioritizes a blend of musicians that crosses generational lines. The personnel has changed a bit between performances due to a variety of factors. For example, bassist Grace Kaste has performed with the band during her senior year at Roosevelt High School, but had to opt out of this performance as she attends Columbia University in New York. Marriott has tapped bassist Trevor Ford in her absence.
Pianist Marina Albero joins the band a year removed from being the Resident Artist of the 2021 Earshot Jazz Festival. Alto saxophonist Mark Taylor stands with Marriott and Albero as a veteran presence in the band, as is the case with drummer D’Vonne Lewis. Trombonist Beserat Taffesse is on the leading edge of new, young faces on the Seattle scene. Tenor saxophonist Jackson Cotugno is a young saxophonist with a modern approach that features an older, Ben Webster style sound. Then of course, there is Marriott, on the cusp of releasing his fourteenth album as a leader, and perhaps the most notable Seattle jazz musician on an international scale.
Vocal artist Johnaye Kendrick is a musician whose instrument is voice. Her approach blends dynamic range with a strong melodic sense, perfect pitch and open ears. The author of two albums as a leader is also a member of the Grammy-nominated vocal supergroup, saje. Kendrick’s instrument adds a whole new dimension to the ‘Ceptet, who will feature her addition for the first time with this appearance at the 2022 Earshot Jazz Festival.https://www.earshot.org/event/fellowship-ceptet-featuring-johnaye-kendrick/
Fri Oct 14, 8 PM/ North City Bistro
Entremundos seems to be the house band at North City Bistro, having frequented the venue from the very beginnings of the band. Brazilian vocalist Adriana Giordano and pianist Eric Verlinde have developed great repor during that time, blending their own immersions in jazz, Brazilian and Latin Jazz into an interesting fusion. Drummer/percussionsit Jeff Busch can handle the kit in all of the band’s variant forms, which is truly the joining force that allows the band’s unique sound to happen. Bassist Dean Schmidt is the center point of the band, holding down the bottom end solidly and colorfully. A gem aside from the torrent of Earshot dates this month. https://northcitybistro.com/
Sat Oct 15, 7:30 PM/ The Forum at Town Hall
The band Meridian Odyssey, a gathering of young jazz artists with ties to Seattle, represents the new wave of jazz in the Pacific Northwest. Performing primarily original compositions, the music speaks to life as a young professional artist in a time in history transformed by a worldwide pandemic.
The storyline authored by the band includes being sequestered at the familial home of guitarist Martin Budde in Big Lake, Alaska in the thick of the pandemic lockdown. The music tells the story of six close friends, finding solace in the natural world, while creating music they would go on to record in an airplane hangar belonging to Budde’s father. Those recordings resulted in two albums released on the highly regarded Origin Records label. The aptly titled Second Wave arrived in 2021, followed by the recently released Earthshine in 2022.
Drummer Xavier Lecouturier has released his own album of original compositions on Origin, the 2019 offering, Carrier. Pianist Dylan Hayes released Songs For Rooms and People in 2020 with his electric band. Trumpeter Noah Halpern had recently graduated from Julliard, and was being alluded to as one of the rising trumpet stars of his generation. In the same way, recent Manhattan School of Music grad Ben Feldman had made headway into the New York scene as a bassist and bandleader, performing with such notables as Dave Liebman and Stefon Harris. Saxophonist Santosh Sharma, a dynamic tenor player in the tradition of John Coltrane, had enthusiastically added the dimension of being a notable practitioner of the EWI. Then there’s guitarist Budde, who chanced upon this collection of talent while a student at Cornish College of the Arts in Seattle. Aside from contributing his family home in Alaska, Budde offers memorable compositions and a playing style heavily steeped in melodicism.
The band’s performance at the 2022 Earshot Jazz Festival marks an ascendency from the constraints of circumstance, a high water mark in their remarkable story. https://earshot.secure.force.com/ticket#/events/a0S2L00000SaGlZUAV
Naomi Moon Siegel Ensemble
Sun Oct 16, 8 PM/ Royal Room
Missoula based trombonist/composer Naomi Moon Siegel comes back to her roots in Seattle, leading a sextet of the city’s finest. Always adventurous in an original way as both a musician and composer, she performs with some familiar faces in pianist Marina Albero, bassist Kelsey Mines, drummer Christopher Icasiano, guitarist Sean Woolstenhulme and trumpeter Ray Larsen. Siegel’s compositions straddle the folk-jazz medium, written with space for the spontaneous composition of her bandmates. https://earshot.secure.force.com/ticket#/events/a0S2L00000SaGloUAF
Marquis Hill: New Gospel Revisited
Tue Oct 18, 7:30 PM/ Langston Hughes Performing Arts Center
Trumpeter Marquis Hill explores the entire history of jazz with a modern outlook and traditional approach. In his New Gospel Revisited project he stakes out that territory with mates Jahari Stampley on piano, bassist Joshua Griffin, and drummer Jeremiah Collier. The band will be revisiting music from Hill’s album, New Gospel.https://earshot.secure.force.com/ticket#/events/a0S2L00000SaHZyUAN
The Bad Plus
Tue Oct 18- Wed Oct 19, 7:30 PM/ Jazz Alley
The Bad Plus has been going through personnel changes after the departure of founding pianist Ethan Iverson, but bassist Reid Anderson and drummer Dave King have kept the progressive jazz vision alive. At first, the piano trio format was preserved with the addition of pianist Orrin Evans. Evans’ departure ushered in a completely different approach, with guitarist Ben Monder and saxophonist Chris Speed joining to form an eclectic quartet in the spirit of the band historically. In other words, expect the unexpected. https://www.jazzalley.com/www-home/artist.jsp?shownum=6337
Jacqueline Tabor & Marina Albero: Don’t Explain
Thu Oct 20, 7:30 PM/ The Forum at Town Hall
Barcelona born pianist Marina Albero has been performing in Seattle since her arrival here in 2014, but it wasn’t until the lockdown during the worldwide pandemic that she became close friends with blues based jazz vocalist Jacqueline Tabor. The music presented here speaks to the truth of today’s modern civil rights movement, told through the voices of Billie Holiday and Nina Simone. The music sheds light on the courage of these two great American artists, a story told by two of the city’s most dynamic musical voices. https://earshot.secure.force.com/ticket#/events/a0S2L00000SaHyxUAF
Bad Luck/ Kin of the Moon
Thu Oct 20, 9 PM/ Clock-Out Lounge
The explosive duo of drummer Christopher Icasiano and saxophonist Neil Welch takes off on Beacon Hill, at the Clock Out Lounge. Welch’s mastery of his instrument and applied electronics seems bent on a collision course with Icasiano’s relentless approach on drum kit. In the end, there is a symphonic and sonic intelligence to what they do. There is nothing remotely similar to an hour long Bad Luck set. Kin of the Moon is a classically based eclectic ensemble with a wide array of musical interests. A cross-pollination of flute, viola and electronics could be the default instrumentation, but the band utilizes ten instruments, voice and electronics. Violist Heather Bentley, flutist Leanna Keith, and vocalist/composer Kaley Lane Eaton are conservatory trained musicians who each serve on the faculty of the Cornish College of the Arts. Whatever the case, this is a well placed billing and a night to remember in the south end.https://www.earshot.org/event/bad-luck-kin-of-the-moon/
Miguel Zenon Quartet
Fri Oct 21, 7:30 PM/ The Forum at Town Hall
One of the premier ensembles in modern jazz, alto saxophonist Miguel Zenon returns to Seattle with his quartet featuring pianist Luis Perdomo, drummer Henry Cole and bassist Luca Alemanno. Zenon’s music is very much in the moment and open to interpretation, making a ninety minute set with them a journey into the depths of modern jazz. The presence of these particular musicians by nature is guided by the music of Puerto Rico, yet the original approach of this well grounded foursome creates a post-bop hybrid that speaks for itself.https://earshot.secure.force.com/ticket#/events/a0S2L00000SaI1cUAF
Ben Wendel Quartet
Wed Oct 26- 6:30 & 9 PM/ Royal Room
Since his arrival with the band Kneebody, saxophonist Ben Wendel has been thrilling Emerald City jazz fans with his ultra-modern approach to an ever-changing modern jazz vision, accompanied by some of the most adventurous musicians in jazz. His appearance at the Royal Room is no exception. Pianist Fabian Almazan, bassist Harsh Raghavan and drummer Nate Wood are a select group of intrepid travelers that should be a perfect match for Wendel’s adventurous compositions. All of this in the community vibe in Columbia City at the Royal Room. https://earshot.secure.force.com/ticket#/events/a0S2L00000SaI21UAF
Anat Cohen Quartetinho
Thu Oct 29, 7:30 PM/ Town Hall- Great Hall
Clarinetist Anat Cohen is one of the most inspired and exuberant musicians in jazz, no matter which iteration of her band within which she performs. She plucks a select few from her Triple Helix Tentet to perform at Town Hall, with Vitor Goncalves (accordion & piano), Tal Mashiach (bass & 7-string guitar), and James Shipp (percussion, vibraphone, & electronics). Cohen will perform on clarinet and bass clarinet. https://earshot.secure.force.com/ticket#/events/a0S2L00000Sa0bKUAR
Joachim Mencel Quartet
Sun Oct 30, 7:30 PM/ The Forum at Town Hall
Polish piano icon Joachim Mencel makes a rare appearance in the Pacific Northwest with his Earshot set featuring guitarist Pete McCann. bassist Ugonna Okegwo and drummer Allan Mednard. Mencel is also an eclectic practitioner of the hurdy gurdy, but let’s not get ahead of ourselves here. Mencel has a unique piano voice, one that invites introspection and imagination. That in itself is worth your time and interest. Then, he somehow makes an ancient voice such as the hurdy gurdy make sense in twenty first century improvised music. Mencel has recently released Brooklyn Eye (Origin, 2020) on the Seattle based Origin Records label. His US based quartet is all about modern jazz, with Mencel’s European overtones included brilliantly in the conversation.
Opening will be M.O.M., an eclectic trio featuring bassist and drummer François and Louis Moutin, identical twins. along with versatile Haitian-Canadian multi-horn player, Jowee Omicil. https://www.earshot.org/event/joachim-mencel-quartet-m-o-m/