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Catching Up With Seattle Jazz Vespers

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Edda Glass and Max Hatt photo courtesy of the artist.

BY EMMA GAROFALO

Seattle Jazz Vespers is gearing up for its 20th season and there’s a lot in store for returning jazz buffs in the city!

From October through June, fans of the genre can look forward to beautiful music, hosted in the unique, gothic-style sanctuary of Seattle First Baptist Church. ​On the first Sunday of each month at 6pm, talent hailing from all over the Pacific Northwest will perform two sets for the audience per session. These evenings will also include a short, ​non-sectarian inspirational message, as well as mingling after the concert. 

In 2002, former lead pastor Dr. Stephen Jones brought one of his favorite traditions from his previous church in Detroit to Greater Seattle for a monthly community concert series, orchestrated by volunteers for all to enjoy. And thus, Seattle Jazz Vespers was born.

Over the years, new leaders have stepped up to the plate and taken up the reins, but the spirit behind this annual series of free music has not changed one single iota. Part of an ongoing legacy of ​cultural enrichment ​to the community, SJV offers local talent both a stage to perform their hearts out and for local purveyors of jazz an active and bustling forum to hear new artists shine and long-time favorites belt out all of the classics.

Seattle First Baptist Church serves as the perfect venue for these performances, with a state-of-the-art sound system, twice-remodeled for optimal acoustics; even those in the rafters are treated to the full sonic experience.

As one of the city’s premier monthly cultural events, SJV is an event that is meant to bring the transformative power of jazz to Seattleites of every walk of life. These efforts include the annual awarding of their Seattle Jazz Vespers Young Jazz Artist Scholarship, which is a fund set up to support the future education of deserving local musicians.

SJV’s mission is to bring the entire city together through music; a smaller world, one where nobody is left without a partner to jam with. People of all ages are invited to partake in these festivities throughout the entire season. Attendees will even have the chance to connect with the talent performing each evening and to purchase their work and merchandise from them directly. Dennis Raymond, an SJV regular attendee says of the organization,

Seattle Jazz Vespers programs are an enriching part of my life.  The quality of the musical talent, the great acoustics of the venue, the opportunity to talk with the musicians following the music, and maybe buy a CD or two, all add up to a great way to spend a Sunday evening.  A freewill offering is taken to help pay the musicians, and I feel it’s worth $20 to me for all the program offers.

This year’s season ​kicked off with three-time Earshot Jazz Vocalist of the Year Award winner Jacqueline Tabor and her band, performing their tribute to ​jazz great Nancy Wilson. On the horizon through winter is the unique artistry of guitarist Max Hatt and vocalist Edda Glass in November, the stylings of the Colin Pulkrabek Quintet in December, the Seattle Repertory Jazz Orchestra ringing in the new year, and the up-and-coming Miranda Kitchpanich who will be SJV’s February guest.

You can catch all of these names and more this season. Secure, covered, free parking at the Polyclinic garage across the street or free street parking is available in abundance around the venue. In light of recent events, this season’s concerts will follow current Seattle COVID mandates and all of the CDC’s recommendations. The doors open promptly at 5:30pm with seating on a first-come, first-serve basis. Seattle Jazz Vespers is open to the public and free for all to attend, but if you can afford to donate, doing so is encouraged to help pay for the musicians. The dress code? Come as you are. We look forward to seeing you there. To keep up with the latest news or line-up changes visit seattlejazzvespers.org.

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November 1, 2021

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