Pearl Django photo courtesy of the artists
BY NADYA BARGHOUTY
Fall is a transitional time for all of us. We start consuming copious amounts of pumpkin and craving cozy indoor activities. The Bellevue Jazz & Blues Music Series is the ideal activity for those chilly October days and nights. From October 4-8, you can catch over 20 jazz and blues performances in several venues across downtown Bellevue.
The Bellevue Downtown Association’s (BDA) mission is to support Bellevue’s economic growth and cultural vitality. The Bellevue Jazz & Blues Music Series has been uplifting the downtown community and making live jazz music accessible for over 15 years. The series originally began as The Bellevue Jazz Festival, adding blues in 2015 citing an interest in diversifying the performances. The two genres build well off each other and gives artists more opportunity to showcase their work on the eastside.
BDA president, Patrick Bannon, puts an emphasis on the wanderer. “You could just create your own calendar and figure out what works for you.” The series is set up in a way where passersby can interact with music wherever they go in downtown Bellevue. From Bake’s Place to The Bellevue Collection, jazz and blues will permeate through city spaces. “It’s almost spontaneous and serendipitous that they come across the live music being played in a place where they may not expect it,” Bannon says.
Bannon emphasizes this year’s focus on local and regional talent. The student showcase is a yearly favorite. Students from local high schools and middle schools will be able to show off their talents at the Bellevue Arts Museum on Sunday, October 8. Student showcases are always fun, especially so when local youth get to be part of something much larger than their school district.
In the spirit of accessibility, all performances are all-ages and free, with the exception of the headliners. The Stacy Jones Band and Pearl Django with Gail Pettis will be headlining on Friday and Saturday, respectively, at the Meydenbauer Center Theatre. The Stacy Jones Band, a Northwest blues group, is composed of Stacy Jones, her father Tom Jones who accompanies Stacy on bass, Rick J. Bowen on drums, and the newly added Eric Rice on guitar. The group hones in on a classic blues honesty with some Americana flare. Pearl Django pride themselves on bringing jazz Manouche to the masses. Quick and precise string work combined with Pettis’ warm soulful vocals will have the audience on their feet.
This year’s series occurs during the same month as the Earshot Jazz Festival. The BDA hopes to create a month of jazz and blues for western Washington. “Get ready and go out and do as much as you can to experience live music during the month of October! It’s there for you,” says Bannon with a smile on his face.
More acts will be announced soon! Visit bellevuedowntown.com/events for ticketing and the most up-to-date schedule.