On the Scene: Jam It Up!

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On the Scene: Jam It Up!

Mo Jam Mondays photo by Daniel Sheehan

As fast as dandelion seeds catch the wind, land and sprout, jazz jams in the Seattle area are taking root and flourishing.

Intrepid musicians slosh it out in the rain, blow off glorious sunshine, stay out late – all to get that welcome shot of community music making that inspires the next day’s practicing, teaching, and creating.

In these times, it is encouraging to see how constant music unites people of all ages and backgrounds. Braving the angst of the unknown, new arrivals on the scene mix with Seattle veterans, young meet old, and all join in the renewing humanity of playing together.

What strikes both participants and listeners alike is how courageous jammers are. Some are confident masters and some visibly shake with nerves, a sheen of perspiration at their brow. But all of them still leap up to the stage when their name is called. The mélange of pro musicians with less mature players never fails to both inspire the jaded and challenge the eager.

A few sessions were missed, simply because there aren’t enough hours in the day. But hopefully this list will serve as a resource for the Seattle jazz community to continue the work of creating beauty, experiencing joy, and improving everyone’s musical life and skills.

– Jean Mishler


All Ages Jams

Racer Sessions
Sundays, 8pm

Cafe Racer
5828 Roosevelt Way NE (Ravenna)
206-523-5282, caferacerseattle.com; racersessions.com

Menu: $ Coffee, Beer, Wine, Cafe Menu / Outdoor seating
Cover: No
Host: Rotates every week
Sign up: Get there around 8pm to sign up, or sign up at racersessions.com/about
Players/Listeners Ratio: 50/50
Notes/Observations: Attended by mostly instrumentalists. Emphasizes open improvisation/avant-garde. Musical focus, but presenters often include dance, poetry, film, etc. Jam started six years ago by members of the Table & Chairs label.

Couth Buzzard Jams
1st Sunday: Blues Jam, 7pm
3rd Sunday: Improv/Experimental Jam, 7pm
2nd & 4th Sundays: Jazz Jam, 2pm

Couth Buzzard
8310 Greenwood Ave N (Greenwood)
206-436-2960, buonobuzzard.com

Menu: $ Coffee and Cafe Menu
Cover: No
Host: Kenny Mandell
House band: Often includes Lance Lu or Brad Papineau (drums), Will Stump (bass), Al Pignataro (guitar/piano/bass)
Players/Listeners Ratio: 95/5
Notes/Observations: Attended by mostly instrumentalists, but singers are welcome. Lots of opportunity to play, especially encourage teens and players of all abilities. Kenny’s goal is to be welcoming and include everyone.

Bob Strickland Jazz Night
3rd Sundays, 5pm

Anchor Pub
1001 Hewitt Ave (Everett)
425-374-2580, facebook.com/Anchor-Pub

Menu: $ Standard pub fare
Cover: No
Host: Bob Strickland
Notes/Observations: All ages welcome, student to professional, as well as families.

Queen Anne Jam Session
1st Tuesdays, 8pm

Paragon
2125 Queen Anne Ave N (Queen Anne)
206-283-4548, paragonseattle.com
All Ages until 10pm

Menu: $$ Southern Inspired NW Pub Menu / Outdoor seating
Cover: No
Host: Paul Miranda
House band: Kevin McCarthy, bass; Paul Miranda, drums; Jonas Myers, keys
Sign up: Starts at 8pm; players rotate in with house band
Players/Listeners Ratio: 50/50
Notes/Observations: Attended equally by instrumentalists and singers; lots of opportunity to play; affable, inviting host. House band plays a few, then jam starts.

Paragon Hang
Wednesdays, 8pm

Paragon
2125 Queen Anne Ave N (Queen Anne)
206-283-4548, paragonseattle.com; facebook.com/GJamJazz/
All Ages until 10pm

Menu: $$ Southern Inspired NW Pub Menu / Outdoor seating
Cover: No
Host: Dave Desrochers
House band: Seattle Jazz Quartet: Osama Afifi (bass), Zeppy Zittle (drums), Jonas Meyers (piano), Dave Desrochers (woodwinds, EWI)
Sign up: Informal, introduce yourself to Dave the sax player.
Players/Listeners Ratio: 40/60
Notes/Observations: Attended equally by instrumentalists and singers. Lots of opportunity to play. Jam is fairly new; started this last spring at Pono Ranch in Ballard.

Jazz Jam
1st Wednesdays, 7:30pm

North City Bistro & Wine Shop
1520 NE 177th St (Shoreline)
206-365-4447, northcitybistro.com

Menu: $$ Mediterranean Menu/Wine Bar
Cover: $10
Host: Darin Clendenin
House band: Clipper Anderson (bass), Mark Ivester (drums), Darin Clendenin (keys)
Sign up: Get there at 7:30 to sign up
Players/Listeners Ratio: 80/20
Notes/Observations: Attended by mostly singers, but instrumentalists welcome. Singers should bring charts in correct keys, but excellent and accommodating house band.

Vocal Jam
2nd & 4th Wednesdays, 9pm

Egan’s Ballard Jam House
1707 NW Market Seattle (Ballard)
206-789-1621, ballardjamhouse.com

Menu: $$ NW Style Cafe Menu
Cover: $10
Host: Dan Czaran
House band: Rotates
Sign up: Get there around 8:30 pm to sign up.
Players/Listeners Ratio: 90/10
Notes/Observations: Attended by mostly singers, but instrumentalists welcome. Singers should bring charts in correct keys, but excellent and accommodating house band.

Jazz Jam w/ the Ground Up Trio
2nd & 4th Thursdays, 8pm

B Sharp Coffee House
706 Opera Alley Ct. C (Tacoma)
253-292-9969, bsharpcoffeehouse.com

Menu: $ Coffee, Tea, Deli/Cafe Menu
Cover: No
Host: Marc Harper
House band: Joe Zak (trumpet), Marc Harper (bass), Peter Adams (piano), Brian Smith (drums)
Sign up: Get there early to sign up
Players/Listeners Ratio: 25/75
Notes/Observations: Focus on jazz standards. Young musicians encouraged to attend.


21+ Jams

Darrell’s Tavern Jazz Jam
Sundays, 8pm

Darrell’s Tavern
18041 Aurora Ave N (Shoreline)
206-542-6688, darrellstavern.com

Menu: $ Pizza
Cover: No
Host: Rotates: 1st Sunday, Christian Smith Quartet; 2nd: Kevin McCarthy Quartet / Al Lindbom Trio; 3rd, Miranda Syndicate; 4th, David George Quartet
Sign up: Informal, introduce yourself to the band
Players/Listeners Ratio: 40/60
Notes/Observations: Attended by mostly instrumentalists, but singers are welcome. Lots of opportunity to play. Quirky atmosphere; Dr. Wonderbread there with his percussion instruments.

The Beaver Sessions
Sundays, 9pm

The Angry Beaver
8412 Greenwood Ave N (Greenwood)
angrybeaverseattle.com

Menu: $ Canadian & American pub fare
Cover: No
Host: Max Holmberg
House band: Rotates, but is usually Max Holmberg (drums), Greg Feingold (bass), and Cole Schuster (guitar), with rotating keyboard player
Sign up: Informal, introduce yourself to Max
Players/Listeners Ratio: 80/20
Notes/Observations: Attended by mostly instrumentalists, but singers are welcome. Lots of playing opportunities. Jam is about a year old; temporarily closed after Greenwood explosion when bar underwent remodeling, but back up and running.

Brian Nova’s Pro Jazz Jam
Mondays, 8pm

Triple Door Musicquarium
216 Union St (downtown)
206-838-4333, thetripledoor.net

Menu: $$$ Wild Ginger Restaurant
Cover: No
Host: Brian Nova
House band: Dan O’Brien, bass; Brian Kirk, drums; Brian Nova, guitar
Sign up: Sometimes a sign up, but mostly introduce yourself to Brian, he invites players up
Players/Listeners Ratio: 20/80
Notes/Observations: Attended by mostly instrumentalists. Excellent house band. Jam is pretty new; started last winter. House band plays for about an hour; jam starts around 9pm.

Mo Jam Mondays
Mondays, 8:30pm: Doors / 9pm: Featured Comic, 10pm: House band w/ featured artist, 11pm: Jam starts

Nectar Lounge
412 N 36th St (Fremont)
206-632-2020, nectarlounge.com; facebook.com/MoJamMondays

Menu: $ Food truck
Cover: No
Host: Organized by Mo Gilkeson, hosted by rotating MC: 1st Monday: Tiffany Wilson, 2nd: Michelle Searle, 3rd: Joey Walbaum, 4th: Heather Thomas, 5th Roc Phizzle
House band: Morganica Quartet: Dylan Hughes (bass), Mo Gilkeson (drums), Ian Hughes (guitar), Travis Fisher (keys), Davy Nephos (percussion)
Sign up: Sign up with Mo or use “Gig Town” App to check in
Players/Listeners Ratio: 60/40
Notes/Observations: Attended by about a third singers, two thirds instrumentalists. American Music provides backline. Big stage, overhead big screen adds to atmosphere. Percussion instruments provided by Dr. Wonderbread. Jam is about grooves and improv. All players rotate in onstage. Videographer Josh Diltz and photographers Shar and Antsu every week. Jam has been going for two-and-a-half years. Mo’s dog Kuja is there as mascot.

Triangle Pub Jam
Mondays, 9pm

Mac’s Triangle Pub
9454 Delridge Wy SW (White Center)
206-763-0714, macstrianglepub.com

Menu: $ Standard pub fare
Cover: No
Host: Linda Anderson, Pavel Shepp
Sign up: Informal; everyone is immediately included who wants to play
Players/Listeners Ratio: 50/50
Notes/Observations: Attended by mostly instrumentalists, but singers are welcome. Lots of opportunity to play as all sit in for whole jam. Very welcoming, diverse crowd.

Entremundos Jam
Mondays, 9:30pm

Capitol Cider
818 E Pike St (Capitol Hill)
206-397-3564, capitolcider.com

Menu: $$ Hard Ciders, GF Menu
Cover: No
Host: Adriana Giordano
House band: Entremundos (Dean Schmidt, bass; Jeff Busch, percussion; Eric Verlinde, keys; Adriana Giordano, vocals)
Sign up: Get there early to sign up. All players rotate in; Adriana mixes them up.
Players/Listeners Ratio: 20/80
Notes/Observations: Attended equally by instrumentalists and singers. Latin influence; lots of percussionists. More opportunities for instrumentalists to play than singers, since more instruments comprise band. Jam has been going for about two years.

Owl ‘n’ Thistle Jam
Tuesdays, 10pm

Owl ‘n’ Thistle
808 Post Ave (downtown)
206-621-7777, owlnthistle.com

Menu: $$ Standard pub fare
Cover: No
Host: Eric Verlinde & José Martinez
House band: Rotating Bass and Horn Players join Eric Verlinde (keys) and José Martinez (drums)
Sign up: Get there early to introduce yourself to hosts.
Players/Listeners Ratio: 30/60
Notes/Observations: Attended by mostly instrumentalists. Excellent house band; very bop. Jam has been going for 19 years since 1997. House band plays for about a half hour, then breaks; jam starts at 11:30pm and goes until 1:30am.

EuroJam Session
Thursdays, 8:30pm

Euro Pub
109 Broadway E (Capitol Hill)
425-209-1695, europub.us

Menu: $ Large variety of beer; Pizza
Cover: No
Host: Alex Dugdale
House band: Rotates, but often Trevor Pellitier (bass), Remy Morritt (drums), Dave Erickson (sax/vocals), David Sandman (guitar)
Sign up: Informal, introduce yourself to the band
Players/Listeners Ratio: 80/20
Notes/Observations: Attended by mostly instrumentalists, but singers are welcome. Lots of opportunity to play.