Jackson Street Jazz Walk Celebrates 10 Years


Greg Campbell and Nathan Breedlove photo by Lisa Hagen Glynn


The Jackson Street Jazz Walk, which honors the Central District’s rich jazz history, celebrates its 10th anniversary in September with new voices, an expanded, three-day program on ten stages, and a more centralized core.

As most Seattleites know, jazz has flourished in this historically Black neighborhood since the 1920s, flowering in the ‘40s with such figures as Ray Charles, Quincy Jones, Ernestine Anderson, Bumps Blackwell, and Buddy Catlett, among others.

“Back then, this area provided opportunities when there were gatekeepers who didn’t let Black performers into downtown,” explains Seattle vocalist and jazz advocate Eugenie Jones, whose tagline for the event is “Music, Community, Legacy.”

“The camaraderie they created allowed them to develop as musicians and to take their music all around the world. Their legacy should be shared down through the generations.” 

Admission to the Jackson Street Jazz Walk is by donation. The event is also funded by financial and in-kind donations from Vulcan Real Estate, Uncle Ike’s, Verity Credit Union, Earshot Jazz and KNKX, and others. Under Jones’ leadership, which began five years ago, the Jazz Walk has become an opportunity for a “give-back” to the community. Any profits – the goal is $5,000, she says – go to the Central District’s Carolyn Downs Family Medical Center. 

The Jazz Walk kicks off Friday, September 8, with a ticketed evening concert at Langston Hughes Performing Arts Center featuring a quartet led by trumpeter Nate Breedlove. Veterans of the Jazz Walk will remember Breedlove’s previous appearance there with saxophonist Gary Hammon, but this year he’s bringing a new group, with Ron Perrillo (piano), Phil Sparks (bass), and Greg Campbell (drums). Breedlove, who grew up in Memphis, Tennessee, has been developing a book of arrangements drawn from the work of Memphians Mulgrew Miller, Phineas Newborn, Jr., Donald Brown, and James Williams. His set will provide an opportunity to hear selections from that project. Perrillo is a dynamite pianist who recently moved to Tacoma from Chicago, where he worked with Von Freeman, Bobby Broom and others. Jones herself will open the show. A free after-party features blues and flamenco guitarist Rafael Tranquilino. 

The Jazz Walk proper begins Saturday, September 9, on five stages clustered near South Jackson Street and 18th Avenue South, plus four other venues several blocks away: the Jackson Street Apartments, near 23rd Avenue South and South Jackson Street; the Jackson Street Pizza Lounge on the corner of 29th Avenue South and South Jackson Street; the Green Dolphin Lounge of the Central Area Senior Center, near South Jackson Street and 31st Avenue South; and the Liberty Bank Building on 24th Avenue and East Union Street. Venues in the 18th and Jackson cluster include two outdoor stages in the plaza of the Pratt Fine Arts Center, where patrons can also enjoy a food court, art activities for children, and a Pratt open house. Indoor stages will be hosted by the Wonder Ethiopian Restaurant Sports Bar, the Shewa-Ber Bar & Restaurant, and the Cheeky Cafe. 

Many of the artists on the Jazz Walk are familiar faces, including vocalists Kelley Johnson, Ben Black, Alma Villegas, and the Brazilian keyboard ace Jovino Santos Neto. Others, such as singer-guitarist Christina Atteberry, who goes by the single stage name, Tina, will be entirely new. An eclectic solo act, Atteberry has a bluesy tinge to her alto voice, some catchy island rhythmic inflections and a disarmingly earnest, confessional vibe. A Navy brat, she first learned to play guitar in Guam, when her mom was stationed there. 

“I feel like a lot of how I play came from the Caribbean, Hawaiian, R&B, and country music I heard there,” says the 33-year-old artist, who is retired from Navy service herself, and lives in Oak Harbor. 

A jewelry designer by trade, Tina has ambitions to become a full-time musician. She has already performed a lot in her neck of the woods – Whidbey Island, Anacortes, Bellingham, Port Townsend – but the Jazz Walk will be her first major Seattle performance. 

Some local fans also may not be overly familiar with the Joe Brazil Legacy Band, though the group played the Jazz Walk in 2019. It is comprised of musicians who played or studied with the saxophonist and educator who founded the crucially important Brazil Academy of Music in 1967, which offered music instruction to Central Area youth. The band features Michael Yasutake and Darryl Barber (saxophones), Harvey Leonard (trumpet), Dr. Antonius Mulia (keyboards) and Steve Banks (drums), some of whom no longer play professionally but enjoy keeping the tradition alive. Brazil passed on the jazz tradition to hundreds of youngsters and professional players before he died, in 2008. A tape he made of John Coltrane at Seattle’s Penthouse nightclub in 1965 turned out to contain an extended version of A Love Supreme and was released last year to much acclaim.

“We’re all indebted to Joe for everything he’s given us,” says Yasutake, who attended Brazil’s legendary jazz history class at the University of Washington and also studied saxophone with him. “And it wasn’t just music. It was about life. The biggest thing he told us was to understand the rich history of jazz. It’s a distinctly American art form and the richness comes from the African American community. We want to give it its due and honor it.”

The final day of the Jackson Street Jazz Walk takes place Sunday, September 10, at the Fountainhead Gallery, on Queen Anne Hill. The ticketed program, Seattle Sings!, features pianist Shawn Schlogel heading a trio backing up vocalists Nancy Erickson Lamont, Joan Penney, Ben Black, and Kim Maguire. 

Other bands featured on this year’s Jackson Street Jazz Walk include Todo Es, solo guitarist Charles Cunningham, Jr., Pruitt & Itson, Kim Maguire, the Comfort Food Band, the Park Evans Trio, Trifecta, the Frank Salerno Quartet, Good Company, and Maureese Itson.

For exact times and locations of all events, please visit jacksonstreetjazz.org.

JSJW Schedule

Sept 8 Red Dress Jazz Gala

The Nathan Breedlove Quartet 

Eugenie Jones

Sept 8 Blues Bash After Party

feat. Rafael Tranquilino

Sept 9 Jackson Street Jazz Walk

22 Bands | 10 Stages

Sept 10 Seattle Sings!

The Shawn Schlogel Trio
feat. Kim Maquire, Joan Penney, Ben Black & Nancy Erickson Lamont


Posted on

July 28, 2023