Jazz For All Ages


La Dame Blanche performs at the Century Ballroom as part of the 2023 Earshot Jazz Festival. Photo by Lisa Hagen Glynn.


For anyone looking to learn about jazz, there’s no substitute for full immersion. From all-ages concerts and jam sessions to music and dance lessons, Seattle offers young performers a wealth of opportunities to experience one of America’s great art forms up close.


Chapel Performance Space
4649 Sunnyside Ave N

Located on the fourth floor of the Good Shepherd Center, Wallingford’s Chapel Performance Space is one of the most beautiful venues in Seattle. Graced with stained glass windows, tall columns, and wooden floors, the chapel houses concerts produced by the adventurous non-profit Nonsequitur, which shines a light on the outer fringes, focuses on free improvisation, sound art, and contemporary classical music. Alongside the ongoing Wayward Music Series, since 2022, the Chapel has been home to the NonSeq concert series, in which Nonsequitur entrusts the programming of a dozen concerts annually to a rotating team of four local musician curators. Suggested donations of $5-20 at the door. waywardmusic.org

Dimitriou’s Jazz Alley
2033 6th Ave

Situated spitting distance from the Amazon Spheres, the 43-year-old Jazz Alley is a stalwart presence in a changing downtown. The Seattle equivalent to classic clubs like New York’s Village Vanguard, the 400-capacity venue presents local and national touring acts in an intimate setting. Students receive half-price admission to the Wednesday, 7:30pm and Thursday, 9:30pm sets. Reservations and a current student ID required. jazzalley.com

Globe Building
109 S Main St

The brainchild of trumpeter Thomas Marriott, the Seattle Jazz Fellowship kicks off the new year in a new space—in the historic Globe Building in Pioneer Square. Now presenting live jazz several nights per week, Fellowship events were and continue to be all-ages, $20 suggested donation. The Seattle Jazz Fellowship also sponsors occasional all-ages jams & workshops as well as Saturday afternoon listening sessions led by legendary trombonist Julian Priester, a retired member of the Cornish College of the Arts faculty and trusted collaborator of Herbie Hancock, Sun Ra, and Dave Holland. Priester guides the audience through his discography as a leader and sideman, recounting stories from his sixty-plus years in jazz. Julian Speaks is free and presented at the Central District’s Langston Hughes Performing Arts Institute. seattlejazzfellowship.org

The Royal Room
5000 Rainier Ave S

Inspired by his years as a regular in downtown New York hybrid spaces like the Tin Palace and the Mudd Club, The Royal Room co-founder Wayne Horvitz designed the Columbia City venue to be both a workshop for performing musicians and a neighborhood hangout. Open to listeners of all ages until 10pm, The Royal Room hosts the Piano Starts Here series, wherein local pianists interpret the works of jazz masters, as well as New Music Mondays, featuring performances by Horvitz’s Royal Room Collective Music Ensemble and an open jam session led by trumpeter Thomas Marriott. theroyalroomseattle.com

The Triple Door
216 Union St

Once home to the Embassy Theatre vaudeville house and movie palace, downtown Seattle’s Mann Building now houses The Triple Door dinner theater and its sister restaurant Wild Ginger. For the past two decades, The Triple Door has boasted an eclectic slate of performances ranging from jazz to stand-up comedy. While the Musiquarium Lounge is strictly 21+, the main stage is an all-ages space for shows starting at 8pm or earlier. thetripledoor.net


Jazz Night School
5415 Rainier Ave S

Initially born out of founder Erik Hanson’s South Morgan Street home, Hillman City’s Jazz Night School provides instruction to students of all ages and abilities, featuring online and in-person classes in all aspects of jazz theory and performance. Under the supervision of top local players, students share bands with classmates of similar skill levels, offered in styles ranging from classic hard bop to tango and funk. Jazz Night School also offers private instruction in individual instruments. Costs for combos and group classes range from $295-595, while private sessions range from $100-150. Tuition assistance available. jazznightschool.org

Seattle Drum School
12729 Lake City Way

Founded in 1986 by drummer Steve Smith, the Seattle Drum School offers private instruction and weekly band classes and hosts summer music camps for students aged 10–17; offerings include rock and jazz bands, a stylistically omnivorous wind-and-rhythm focused contemporary band class, and hands-on opportunities for students to learn the basics of music production on the Ableton Live digital audio workstation. The Drum School’s Georgetown location is also home to the LAB at 1010, an all-ages performance space featuring youth music showcases in which at least one member of each band must be under the age of 21. On second Sundays the LAB hosts a youth-focused open mic night and jam session. Thirty-minute lessons $175 per month, sixty-minute lessons $330 per month. Band classes $110 per month for currently enrolled students, $130 per month for new students. Band camps $450 for currently enrolled students, $550 for new students. seattledrumschool.com

Seattle JazzED
380 Boren Ave N

Geared to students from grades 4–12, Seattle JazzED offers in-person and private Zoom lessons for a variety of instruments, together with initiatives like the girls and gender-expansive Girls Ellington big band and Femme Jazz Summer Camp and the JazzED Messengers, wherein students gain real-world performance experience playing paid gigs at community events. JazzED also offers free guided practice videos, as well as listening guides to classic jazz albums hosted by Seattle scene luminaries. Sliding scale tuition and payment plans are available. seattlejazzed.org


Couth Buzzard
8310 Greenwood Ave N 

A classic neighborhood “third place,” the Greenwood café and bookstore Couth Buzzard hosts game nights, Girl Scout meetings, conversation clubs for students of French and Spanish, and of course, music. Saxophonist Kenny Mandell leads open jazz jam sessions at 2pm on the second and fourth Sundays of the month and free improvisation jam sessions at 2pm on third Sundays. buonobuzzard.com

Egan’s Ballard Jam House
1707 NW Market St

A jazz club and restaurant by night, Egan’s offers its dining room during the day as a space for rehearsals and music workshops. The Ballard space is also home to the rare jam session tailored to the needs of vocalists, providing them the opportunity to hone their skills fronting the crack house band. First Thursdays at 7pm, $12 cover. ballardjamhouse.com

Racer Sessions
1412 18th Ave

A fixture of the Seattle underground since 2004, Racer Sessions is Seattle’s premiere showcase for the jazz avant-garde and free improvisation. Nestled in its new, intimate space in the Central District’s Gallery 1412, the Racer Sessions invite local, national, and international musicians to give performances and lectures demonstrating their creative process, after which all are invited to participate in jam sessions based on that artist’s concepts. Sundays at 7pm, check the website for scheduled artists. racersessions.com


Century Ballroom
915 E Pine St

Located in the former home of the Oddfellows fraternal order, Capitol Hill’s Century Ballroom is one of Seattle’s premiere dance halls. While most dances are 21+, the Century also hosts all-ages private lessons, classes, and workshops in styles ranging from the foxtrot to the wildly acrobatic balboa swing. All ages social dance nights range from $10-20, depending on style and night. Private lessons for individuals range from $100 per hour for one instructor, $150 per hour for two instructors. Private lessons for couples $130 per hour for one instructor, $180 per hour for two. Group classes are $80 for a four-week series, $25 for a single drop-in lesson. Workshops range from $30-50. centuryballroom.com

Savoy Swing Club
628 11th Ave E

Based in Capitol Hill’s Lowdown Ballroom, the Savoy Swing Club (SSC) has spread the joy of jazz dancing since 1993. SSC hosts Friday night socials preceded by dance lessons, while Tuesdays are reserved for dancers looking to practice their moves surrounded by other enthusiasts. SSC members receive free admission to all events. Memberships $10-25, Friday dances $8-15 sliding scale, Tuesday practice $5 drop-in. savoyswing.org

Swing Dance SCT
211 N 36th St

The sister club to Tacoma’s T-Town Swing and Spokane’s Woodside Swing, Swing Dance SCT offers classes and private lessons in the Lindy Hop, the original form of swing dancing. Curious dancers may attend beginner drop-in lessons prior to the weekly Saturday social, while motivated students have the opportunity to graduate from novice-level classes to more advanced dance teams and workshops. Drop-in lessons free with $20 cover, $15 for University of Washington students. Private lessons $95 per hour for up to two people, group classes $130 per person. Workshops $30, $24 for members. Dance team membership $185 per month, $145 per month if the student joins multiple teams. swingdancesct.com



Posted on

December 29, 2023