Bellevue Jazz & Blues Festival


Davina Lozier by Garett Born.

May 29–June 2
Various Venues

Late spring is an auspicious time, when the Northwest blooms with a plethora of events, not least among them the Bellevue Jazz & Blues Festival. Started in 2007, the popular and multi-faceted event fills the sidewalks east of the Emerald City with scorching notes from May 29 to June 2.

Jazz lovers and dabblers feast on a packed schedule of showcases that dot Bellevue’s cultural centers and venues Wednesday through Sunday. The 12th Annual Bellevue Jazz & Blues Festival brings together more than 40 local and national acts, as well as a bevy of school-aged talents. The Bad Plus and Davina and the Vagabonds will headline the event with concert spots at Meydenbauer Center Theatre.

The Bad Plus and Davina and the Vagabonds exemplify the complex range of jazz music today. The Bad Plus, famous for its tight, prog rocklike intricacies mixed with smooth melodic movements, is riding the release of its latest album Never Stop II, and its first with their new pianist Orrin Evans. The New York Times called the album an “exhilarating document” of the band. Evans represents the first and only line-up change in the band’s 19 years. Each band mate in the trio contributed original compositions to the album. Bassist Reed Anderson and drummer Dave King maintain that while things have evolved, the musicians blend harmoniously, representing a “new unity,” according to a review in Rolling Stone.

Davina and the Vagabonds, hailing from Minneapolis, came onto the scene in 2005 as a blues jazz band. Singer and pianist Davina Lozier’s sultry, playful vibrato is unique and classic all at once, infused with a vintage sensibility. Zack Lozier (trumpet and vocals), Steve Rogness (trombone and vocals) round out the bluesy band, with alternating upright bass players and drummers. Pulling from various musical influences, including Tom Waits and Fats Domino, their music reveals a timeless quality that is sure to tingle spines.

Other featured artists include the Darelle Holden Quartet with special guest Kelly Ash; Bake & Friends; and Kiki Valera with special guest Carlos Cascante.

Darelle toured and performed as a professional background singer for musical legends Tom Jones, Stevie Wonder, and Elton John before striking out her own path as a lead. Multiinstrumentalist Kiki Valera is a Seattle-based performer of Son Cubano, a Cuban style of music made famous by the Buena Vista Social Club and part of the famous La Familia Valera Miranda septet.

The Mark DuFresne Band will once again perform. DuFresne has received more awards from The Washington Blues Society than any other artist for best vocalist, songwriter and harmonic.

As with every year, local middle and high school jazz ensembles from around the Puget Sound will play sets over the weekend. Participating schools for 2019 include Tyee Middle School, Edmonds-Woodway High School, Mercer Island High School, Eckstein Middle School, Bellevue High School, Mountlake Terrace High School, Auburn High School, and Ingraham High School.

There will be something for everyone at this eclectic and well-rounded line-up. Headliners are collaboratively chosen with input from Earshot Jazz Executive Director, John Gilbreath.

City of Bellevue officially sponsors the event, with additional support from Microsoft, Washington Federal, KNKX 88.5, Eastside Jazz Club, 425 Magazine, Bellevue Reporter, Bellevue Arts Museum, and Gravity Creative.

Whitney Bashaw

For full schedule and tickets visit bellevuedowntown.com.


Posted on

April 29, 2019