Festival Previews, Week 2

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Hudson performs at the 2017 Earshot Jazz Festival

HUDSON photo by Nick Suttle

Jason Moran: In My Mind

Sunday, October 15, 7:30pm | Neptune Theatre
General admission $40 + fees

Presented in partnership with Seattle Theatre Group

“Thelonious Monk is the most important musician, period. In all the world. Period!”
That’s pianist and jazz auteur Jason Moran, speaking to NPR about his Thelonious Monk tribute, In My Mind, a rarely performed, must-see event at the Neptune Theatre, which the New York Times called a “stunning project – connecting with Monk beyond the surface of his music.”

Jason Moran is one of the most important artists of his generation, a riveting and prodigiously talented pianist and conceptualist as well-versed in hip-hop as he is in Monk. He is a MacArthur Fellow and the Artistic Director for Jazz at Washington D.C.’s Kennedy Center (a position previously held by Dr. Billy Taylor), where he directs numerous programs and spearheads initiatives to spread the music to new audiences. Moran has, in a few short years, dramatically expanded the vision of jazz at the Kennedy Center and nurtured an intensely creative scene at the iconic performance facility.

Clearly, Moran is an artist who thinks large-scale, so when he created a tribute to Monk, he wanted to educate and illuminate, as well as play some of the greatest music of the 20th century. Moran has an expansive, interdisciplinary vision as an artist, and he has created an evening-length, rigorously researched multimedia production, inspired by Thelonious Monk’s 1959 legendary Town Hall concert, which featured Monk’s music performed by a large ensemble.

With In My Mind, Moran explores Monk’s music and creative process through video projections, recorded samples of Monk’s voice and rehearsals, and live music performed by his longtime trio, Bandwagon, which features Tarus Mateen on bass, and Nasheet Waits on drums, supplemented with a three-piece horn section.

True to the source material and imbued with the spirit of Monk, Moran’s project is reverent, but it’s not a museum piece or a mere tribute—the music is alive and vital, changing and expanding with the perspective of the many years of jazz history that have accumulated since the original 1959 concert. Don’t miss this unique opportunity to experience a new perspective on some of the most important jazz ever created.

Roxy Coss Homecoming / Syrinx Effect

Sunday, October 15, 7:30pm | Columbia City Theater
$18 adults | $16 Earshot members & seniors | $10 students & military

The last time Seattle born and bred saxophonist Roxy Coss took the stage at the Earshot Jazz Festival was 2010, celebrating her first release, the independently produced Roxy Coss. Seven years later, she is not only now a fixture on the New York scene, but a rising star internationally. Now 10 years into her sojourn from Seattle to New York, Coss has produced two critically acclaimed albums in the last two years: Restless Idealism (Origin, 2016) and the adventurous Chasing the Unicorn (Posi-Tone, 2017). She has headlined internationally at major festivals and venues including the Newport Jazz Festival, Melbourne Big Band Festival, Ballard Jazz Festival, Jazz Standard, Smoke, and Jazz Showcase, and appears frequently at Small’s in New York’s Greenwich Village.

Roxy Coss’ understanding of the jazz language, of identifying her personal approach as a leader continues to progress, or rather advance, utilizing giant strides rather than short, measured steps. Coss’ original compositions are worthy palettes for musical interpretation, seemingly fleeing the constraint of her ever evolving hard bop notions of uniformity.

Coss’ return brings with it a true sense of homecoming. She grew up in the Columbia City neighborhood where she will perform at the historic Columbia City Theater.

“The fact that there are venues in Columbia City now is really special,” she says. “When my family first moved to the neighborhood, it was a really rough area in a lot of ways, so it’s great to be a part of the rejuvenation of the arts scene in my hometown neighborhood of Columbia City.”

She adds: “Now I’ll be celebrating music from my third album, and playing with my childhood musical heroes and mentors. I also always enjoy performing for the Seattle crowd, because I feel like it’s a big family in the audience, and it allows me to share my adult professional and musical life with people who were my ‘village’ growing up and knew me in such a different context.”

She appears leading an all-star Seattle lineup of Randy Halberstadt (piano), Michael Glynn (bass), and D’Vonne Lewis (drums).

Opening will be the interstellar folk-punk-jazz phenomenon, Syrinx Effect, featuring saxophonist Kate Olson, trombonist Naomi Siegel, and an eclectic, electronic bag of tricks. Syrinx Effect is self-releasing their first full length LP this fall, A Sky You Could Strike A Match On. The title comes from the poem The After by Seattle poet and educator Melinda Mueller. The duo will welcome drummer/percussionist Eric Eagle to join them in performing compositions from this commissioned new release.

Naomi Moon Siegel Band / Dawn Clement Duos

Tuesday, October 17, 7:30pm | PONCHO Concert Hall
$18 adults | $16 Earshot members & seniors | $10 students & military

Co-presented with Cornish Presents

The trombonist and educator, with the stellar ensemble of Wayne Horvitz (keys), Sean Woolstenhulme (guitar), Geoff Harper (bass), Eric Eagle (drums), and special guest Thione Diop (percussion), creates “intensely lyrical and expressive” (Jazziz) music that transfixed the audience at the Upstream festival.

Naomi Moon Siegel has become a solidly appreciated educator and performer in Seattle’s vibrant music scene since moving here in 2008. So much so, that her move to Missoula last year caused ripples of surprise, sadness, and genuine support through the community.

A versatile and productive player around the Pacific Northwest, Siegel was known for her own Sun Chaser band, the Syrinx Effect duo she developed with soprano sax player Kate Olson, and an impressive list of globally oriented large ensembles playing African and Latin music. She received the Golden Ear Award for Emerging Artist in 2012 and has been solid part of Wayne Horvitz’s Royal Room Collective Ensemble. She is constantly working on new recording and music education projects.

Siegel’s music is informed as much by her international travels as her Northwest roots. As heard on her 2016 release Shoebox View, Siegel and her band deliver a “warm and welcoming post-genre mélange of trance-inducing global timbres and cinematically rustic textures” (Earshot Jazz).

Opening the program is Resident Artist, pianist Dawn Clement, in duo with her mentor and collaborator, trombonist Julian Priester.

Omar Sosa Quarteto AfroCubano

Tuesday, October 17, 8pm | Seattle Art Museum
$30 adults | $28 Earshot members & seniors | $15 students & military

Join us at Island Soul Restaurant in Columbia City at noon day-of-show for  “The Muse Within” — a demonstration of clave rhythmic patterns and discussion of traditional African music cultures. Free and open to the public.

Support provided by Washington State Arts Commission; WESTAF, the Western States Arts Federation; and the National Endowment for the Arts.

Deeply rooted in AfroCuban music, pianist and bandleader Omar Sosa is a genre-bending musical icon, much lauded for his recordings fusing Latin jazz, African traditions, avant-garde improvisation, classical music, hip-hop, and electronic elements. A native of Camagüey, Cuba’s largest inland city, the Afro-Cuban pianist and bandleader moved to the Bay Area in the mid ‘90s and quickly invigorated the Latin jazz scene with his adventurous writing and percussive style. He travels the world, annually performing upwards of 100 concerts on six continents with his virtuosic, mercurial electro-acoustic sound. Sosa received a lifetime achievement award from the Smithsonian Associates in Washington, D.C., for his contribution to the development of Latin jazz in the United States. In February 2017, the multi-instrumentalist released a new studio collaboration between with London-based Senegalese kora master and singer Seckou Keita. Titled Transparent Water, the recording is the latest example of Sosa’s never-ending intent to seek new combinations, a manifestation of improvisatory freedom wherein the musical destination is subordinate to the extemporaneous joy of shared artistic expression.

Fellow Camagüey native Leandro Saint-Hill on saxophones, flute, and vocals, now living in Germany, ranks among the most acclaimed sax players in the Latin-funk scene in Europe due to his unique style and funky sound. Saint-Hill was nominated for a Grammy alongside Omar Sosa in 2008.

Multiple Grammy nominee Ernesto Simpson (drums, vocals) is one of the most in-demand drummers of his generation, associated with many of the marquee artists on the jazz/world international scene, starting out his musical career with jazz royalty Dizzy Gillespie, and collaborating with Carmen McRae, Arturo Sandoval, Ray Baretto, Mark Murphy, Michael Brecker, Herbie Hancock, Mike Stern, Richard Bona, and numerous others. Mozambican Childo Tomas completes the band on bass, kalimba, and vocals. This concert will embody a unique and inspiring experience expanding boundaries and incorporating spiritual traditions from across the globe.

T. S. Monk: Monk on Monk

Wednesday, October 18, 7pm & 9:30pm | Triple Door
$30 advanced | $35 day of show | $40 front row

Presented by Triple Door

Extending the celebration of his father Thelonious Monk’s 100th birthday on 10/10, drummer T. S. and his hard-swinging band nurture the legacy. In a program that includes Monk compositions that T. S. rediscovered, the band tributes his father’s legendary Town Hall concert.

Eight days after what would have been Thelonious Monk’s 100th birthday, his son T. S. carries on his father’s legacy in the groundbreaking Monk On Monk ten-piece configuration. Whether newly discovered compositions by his father or the legendary songs such as “‘Round Midnight,” the music is overpowering, swinging, and timeless. T. S. Monk’s tribute to his iconic father, Monk On Monk, garnered numerous awards, critical praise, and fan acclaim. Guest artists came from around the world to celebrate Monk paternis and pay homage to the man who many have claimed as the “High Priest of Bebop” and the “Father of Modern Jazz.” In his ten-piece ensemble, taken with the instrumentation Thelonious himself employed in his legendary Town Hall concert, T. S.

Monk performs unknown compositions he discovered several years ago, as he documented his father’s material. Like the family approach T. S. took in assembling the tribute, this material finds its deepest and most loving expression in the tight-knit ten-piece ensemble that has, in itself, become a musical family, the core of which is T. S.’s sextet.

Elliott Sharp plays Monk / Greg Sinibaldi

Wednesday, October 18, 7:30pm | The Royal Room
$20 adults | $18 Earshot members & seniors | $10 students & military

A central figure in the avant-garde and experimental music scene in New York City for over 30 years, Elliott Sharp comes to Seattle to interpret the eternally eclectic world that is the compositions of Thelonious Monk. This constitutes fertile ground for the multi-genre guitarist in terms of Monk’s unique approach to harmony and melodic structure.

Sharp has released over 85 recordings ranging from orchestral music to blues, jazz, noise, no wave rock, and techno music. He leads a plethora of projects, including Carbon and Orchestra Carbon, Tectonics, and Terraplane. He has pioneered the use of algorithms and Fibonacci numbers in experimental composition, and has cited literature as an inspiration for his music. His compositions have been performed by a variety of artists, including Kronos Quartet and Grammy-winning violinist, Hilary Hahn.

Opening is the quantum trio of saxophonist Greg Sinibaldi. Joined by Ted Poor (drums) and Ryan Ferreira (guitar/electronics), Sinibaldi delves into the free-flowing images and characteristically menacing psychic landscapes of the poems of Sylvia Plath, the sonic subject of the trio’s upcoming release, Ariel. Titled for the Plath collection of the same name, Sinibaldi will perform these new compositions on the EWI, or electric wind instrument,.

“It’s more a reflection on her poems rather than a direct interpretation of the narrative of the poems,” says Sinibaldi. “I wanted to capture particular feelings, visions, and dreams that affected me while reading the poems.”
The Seattle-based artist has established himself as one of the city’s most inventive musicians, embracing a diverse musical world, and developing an original approach to improvisation. His sonic landscape includes projects with Cuong Vu, Dave Douglas, Bill Frisell, and the metal band, Uncle Pooch. This trio removes any remaining tethers to musical conformity for the intrepid saxophonist.

“I feel so fortunate to be playing with Ted and Ryan. Each time I play with them I’m struck with how easy it is to just play. Rather than constantly thinking about what the music needs in the moment, making sure cues are clear, etc. I can just play with them. It’s very refreshing.”

An Evening with McTuff featuring Will Bernard & Skerik

Wednesday, October 18,  8pm | Nectar Lounge
21+ only
$10 advance | $15 day of show

Presented by Nectar Lounge

Will Bernard, a San Francisco guitarist now Brooklyn-based, welds guitar playing “full of sly twists” (Guitar Player) to the deep grooves of Seattle-based favorites, sax rebel Skerik and McTuff, with Hammond B-3 monster Joe Doria and drummer Tarik Abouzied.

Bernard, a Berkeley native and Brooklyn transplant, studied guitar and piano from an early age with Dave Creamer, Art Lande, and Julian White, later developing an interest in classical music composition. He received a degree in music from UC Berkeley where he studied with Andrew Imbrie and others. He began playing and recording on an international level as a member of Peter Apfelbaum’s Hieroglyphics Ensemble, who made their recorded debut with Don Cherry on Multikulti (A&M, 1989). Since then, Bernard has participated in a host of boundary stretching groups, ranging from jazz, hip-hop, and world music to experimental music, with many stops in between.

Hammond organist Joe Doria brings together some of the best of the Northwest music scene to create a powerful and jaw-dropping funk and jazz sound like you’ve never heard, exhibiting a mix of stellar musicianship, seasoned songwriting, and deep groove where no musical stone gets unturned. McTuff is a movin’ and groovin’ adventure that you will not soon forget, featuring the impeccable Andy Coe on guitar and the incredible Tarik Abouzied on drums.

Seattle’s “Dark Lord of the Sax” Skerik joins the night’s festivities, ensuring a raucous, grooving performance.

HUDSON: Jack DeJohnette, Larry Grenadier, John Medeski, John Scofield

Thursday, October 19, 7:30pm | Moore Theatre
$39–61 + fees

Presented in partnership with Seattle Theatre Group

Though the term “supergroup” may get overused, when you combine the talents of Jack DeJohnette on drums, John Scofield on guitar, John Medeski on keyboards, and Larry Grenadier on bass, the term is pretty hard to argue with. Scofield and NEA Jazz Master DeJohnette are jazz royalty at this point, and Medeski and Grenadier are the next generation in line, but well on their way. As Hudson (named after the Hudson River Valley north of New York, where all four members reside), the four coalesce into a quartet with deep and lasting collective contributions to a significant cross-section of the finest in modern creative jazz, and a tremendous amount of performing experience.

As explored on their superb eponymous debut album, Hudson’s repertoire consists of an intriguing combination of swinging and rocking originals, bending seamlessly from blues warmth into darkly angular harmonies, crossed with a sly and funky selection of choice covers loosely associated with the Hudson Valley region. The quartet conjures a mysterious and yearning vibe from Joni Mitchell’s “Woodstock,” evokes the spirit of The Band’s Levon Helm with the funky “Up on Cripple Creek,” and offers deeply inspired interpretations of a couple of classic Bob Dylan tunes.

Jack DeJohnette is celebrating his 75th birthday this year, and indeed, there is a celebratory and joyful spirit to the music. His drumming is as elemental and powerful as ever, and remains one of the most distinctive rhythmic voices in jazz history. Scofield is at his slippery and melodic best, deploying bracingly intricate strings of notes and simple, heartfelt melodies with equal aplomb. Medeski, widely revered for his eclectic groove trio Medeski Martin & Wood, plays a wildcard role—his timbral and harmonic versatility are a powerful element in the band, ranging from assured acoustic jazz piano to distorted electronic abstractions on electric piano and organ. Grenadier (renowned for his work with Pat Metheny, Joshua Redman, and his long-running association with Brad Mehldau) is the indispensably earthy anchor on bass.

The individual all-star accolades wouldn’t be as impressive if the music itself didn’t live up to the hype, but Hudson is much more than a combination of its considerable individual talents, and far surpasses expectations. To some degree, Hudson hearkens back to an era when jazz bands shared festival stages with rock icons, and audiences were tuned into eclectic stylistic and genre blends. The four masters sound as if they have been playing together forever, improvising and grooving with a focused freedom and joy that will satisfy and inspire a wide range of music fans of many inclinations.

Marquis Hill Blacktet

Friday, October 20, 7pm & 9:30pm | The Royal Room
$20 adults | $18 Earshot members & seniors | $10 students & military

Now a prominent voice on the national scene, South Side native Marquis Hill has brought the communal, industrious spirit of Chicago’s monumental jazz community to his music. Driving, dancing, dapper, and deep, Hill’s smartly nuanced trumpet playing won him the 2014 Thelonious Monk Competition, and has formed the heartfelt core his groove-grounded quintet, playing October 20 at The Royal Room.

Hill has named players such as Donald Byrd and Lee Morgan as influences, but takes his cues as much from contemporary hip-hop as the Great American Songbook, reflecting both his formal education at Northern Illinois and DePaul universities, and his informal one playing with Willie Pickens, Ron Perillo, Benny Golson, and others.

Peoria-born Greg Ward (sax) completes the Blacktet’s wind section, adding a thoughtful, searching sound which has joined William Parker, Mike Reed, Andrew D’Angelo, and others. And while Hill and Ward’s interplay stands out for its impressive arc from tradition to today, it is the Blacktet’s rhythm section, featuring Joel Ross (vibes), Jonathan Pinson (drums), and Jeremiah Hunt (bass), which “keeps mutating the groove toward subtly complex, light-framed funk,” according to the New York Times.

Whether finding the R&B pocket in standards like “My Foolish Heart” or polishing off nuggets from deep within the Blue Note catalogue, Hill and the Blacktet know cool. About their last release, 2016’s The Way We Play, DownBeat magazine wrote, “Sultry and swaggering, it’s a poignant example of modern jazz done the Chicago Way.”

Kassa Overall Quartet featuring Aaron Parks

Saturday, October 21, 8pm | PONCHO Concert Hall
$20 adults | $18 Earshot members & seniors | $10 students & military

Co-presented with Cornish Presents

On October 21, Earshot hosts a quartet consisting of four esteemed graduates of the Seattle jazz scene. From New York, Kassa Overall brings an evening with his electric drumwork alongside a star lineup of UW jazz alumni.

Since his move from Seattle to New York, Kassa Overall has kept himself busy. His work with Grammy-nominated Vijay Iyer, spoken word artist Mike Ladd, and the late Geri Allen are testament to his enormous ability as a drummer and collaborator. But he doesn’t define himself as only a drummer; he has done extensive work by infusing his passion and training in drumming with contemporary electronic music. The pairing has led him further into the realms as a producer, rapper, and singer.

Overall will be joined onstage by three of Seattle’s finest. On double bass is multiple Golden Ear Award-winner Evan Flory-Barnes. The composer and bassist is a treasure of the Seattle jazz scene with his bands Industrial Revelation, The Teaching, and Threat of Beauty. On the piano is Aaron Parks, who began his jazz career at a young age, joining the University of Washington at 14 before moving to the Manhattan School of Music two years later, where he received competitive achievements including the 2001 Cole Porter Fellowship. By 18, he had joined Terence Blanchard’s ensemble, with whom he has recorded four albums, including the 2007 Grammy-winning A Tale of God’s Will. Last, but in no way least, is the renowned Seattle-based trumpeter and seven-time Golden Ear Award-winner Thomas Marriott. His achievements are numerous, as are the legendary jazz players and ensembles he has collaborated with, including, The Tito Puente Orchestra, Brian Lynch, and Les Brown. His innovation and diverse interests in jazz have kept him in the spotlight, keeping people engaged in his work for years. With a lineup of this caliber of hometown talent, it will be a night to remember.

Pandit Debi Prasad Chatterjee & Neil Welch

Saturday, October 21, 8pm | Chapel Performance Space
$20 adults | $18 Earshot members & seniors | $10 students & military

Earshot presents an evening at the intimate Chapel Performance Space with the distinguished sitarist Pandit Debi Prasad Chatterjee. From Calcutta, Chatterjee is joined by the spectacular Seattle-based saxophonist Neil Welch.

Pandit Debi Prasad Chatterjee is a distinguished and respected name among Indian musicians, a highly regarded teacher whose devotion to and mastery of his craft has garnered him many honors, among them the President’s Award in 1962 from the President of India. With over 35 years of performance experience he is a musician who has shared Indian classical music across the globe.

He will be joined by the outstanding saxophonist Neil Welch, one-half of the Seattle group Bad Luck, which has received numerous Golden Ear Awards. Welch’s solo work in experimental and avant-garde music supplies the perfect dynamic pairing with the sitar. Interestingly, Welch was a student of Chatterjee for several years studying north Indian classical music, allowing the audience to witness the special relationship of student and master.

The evening features solo performances by each artist: Chatterjee opens, performing on sitar, tabla, and tanpura drone, with Welch following on saxophone, tabla, and drone. After a brief intermission, the two musicians are joined by tabla player Chaz Hastings, for a full ensemble performance of sitar, saxophone, tabla, and tanpura.


Posted on

September 30, 2017