Corey Harris / Catherine Russell photos courtesy of artist
May 31-June 4
Various venues, Bellevue, WA
Celebrating its 10th anniversary, the 2017 Bellevue Jazz & Blues Festival will host over 40 live concerts in downtown Bellevue that feature top regional artists, leading student musicians, and headlining music masters Catherine Russell and Corey Harris. The Eastside festivities take place over the course of five days, running from Wednesday, May 31, through Sunday, June 4.
This year’s four-day schedule highlights Catherine Russell and The Corey Harris Band at the Meydenbauer Center Theatre. Catherine Russell is a one-of-a-kind musician and vocalist who has toured, performed, and recorded with greats such as David Bowie, Paul Simon, and Cyndi Lauper. Russell was nominated for a 2017 Grammy for Best Jazz Vocal Album for her record Harlem On My Mind. Mastering sparkling acoustic swing and a unique vocal approach, Russell is one of the leading performers of American Popular Song.
The Corey Harris Band is best described as “Blues with all the roots & branches” – a group led by a man who has carved out his own niche in blues. Harris has recorded many old songs of the blues tradition while also creating an original vision of the blues by adding influences from reggae, soul, rock and West African music.
A handful of more Seattle favorites fill out the lineup: Grammy-nominated composer/keyboardist Josh Rawlings, sultry vocalist Gail Pettis, leading sax man Kareem Kandi, 2016 Seattle Jazz Hall of Fame Inductee Bill Anschell, Pacific Northwest legend Overton Berry, Pearl Django’s revered guitarist Tim Lerch, violinist Geoffrey Castle, and rock-n-jazz monsters The Stonecutters.
Additionally, the festival presents noteworthy performances by rocking fusion soul band Radio Raheem and Mediterranean-inspired trio The Rumba Kings. Formed in 2011, Radio Raheem has been garnering accolades for their danceable genre fusion music. The band is made up of leading Northwest musicians and fronted by Seattle jazz, soul, and gospel mainstay Josephine Howell. The Rumba Kings are producer/bassist Johnny Bacolas, guitarist George Stevens, and guitarist Teddy Adams. Sharing a vision of writing and recording soulful Mediterranean-inspired music, the trio creates a passionate and romantic style that is infused with Flamenco, Spanish, Greek, and Italian styling.
Since year one, the festival has also hosted a non-adjudicated student showcase to feature high school and middle school ensembles from around the Puget Sound. Schools playing this year include Edmonds-Woodway High School, who was selected to perform at the Essentially Ellington Competition & Festival in NYC, and Bellevue High School, who recently performed at Hot Java Cool Jazz at Seattle’s Paramount Theatre. A total of 12 schools perform between the final two days at the Bellevue Arts Museum.
Celebrating community and the creative power of live jazz and blues music, Bellevue’s premier annual music showcase is Seattle’s excuse to venture past the lake. Festival events are produced in part by non-profit organization Bellevue Downtown Association and sponsored by the City of Bellevue, Microsoft, Washington Federal, Bellevue Arts Museum, KNKX 88.5 FM, Bellevue Reporter, 425 Magazine, and Gravity Creative.
For tickets and full lineup see online at bellevuedowntown.com/events/bellevue-jazz-blues-festival or call 1-800-838-3006.