Festival Previews, Week 3

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Brad Mehldau performs at the 2017 Earshot Jazz Festival

Brad Mehldau photo by Elizabeth Leitzell

Johnaye Kendrick Quartet

Sunday, October 22, 7pm | Bake’s Place
21+ only
$20 adults | $18 Earshot members & seniors | $10 students & military

Reservations available at Bake’s Place

Since arriving in Seattle, Johnaye Kendrick has enriched the Seattle jazz community with her performances and recordings, and as Associate Professor of Jazz Voice at the Cornish College of the Arts. Her vocal style is centered in the jazz and blues tradition, but is embellished by her own interpretation based on her diverse and unique musical and life experiences.

After receiving a Bachelor of Music from Western Michigan University, Kendrick attended the prestigious Thelonious Monk Institute of Jazz. While there, she worked with such outstanding artists as Terence Blanchard, Wayne Shorter, Herbie Hancock, Danilo Peréz, and Brian Blade. She received an Artist’s Diploma from the Thelonious Monk Institute of Jazz, and a master’s degree in Jazz Studies from Loyola University in 2009.

After graduating, Kendrick began performing with Nicholas Payton, and engaged in weekly performances with Ellis Marsalis. Of Kendrick, Payton stated, “Johnaye has the potential to be a vocalist of the highest order, the likes of which we have seen seldom since the grande dames of the golden era of jazz roamed the earth. She’s got it!”

Johnaye Kendrick is a musician, and that dedication to her craft guides her approach as a singer. Her original compositions are a personal glimpse into her life, and as with her interpretations of jazz classics, possess amazing range, accurate intonation, and a feel that swings and reflects the deep soul of the blues tradition. In 2014, she recorded, produced, and released here debut album, Here (Johnygirl, 2014). The album, featuring pianist Dawn Clement, bassist Chris Symer, and drummers Byron Vannoy and D’Vonne Lewis, is a reflection of her personal approach to her music and her life. It reveals a woman, mother, and musician who deeply understands the impact of her work in her community, and in the timeline that is the American musical heritage.

Kendrick will grace the festival with her appearance at Bake’s Place, with familiar mates Dawn Clement on piano, Chris Symer on bass, and Byron Vannoy on drums. Don’t miss this opportunity to see a great vocalist with musical vision, and an amazing penchant for original interpretation.

Ballaké Sissoko & Vincent Segal

Sunday, October 22, 7:30pm | Seattle Art Museum
$30 adults | $28 Earshot members & seniors | $15 students & military

An unexpected and satisfying duo, Ballaké Sissoko and Vincent Segal bring their unique and powerful hybrid of traditional West African songs and Baroque music to the Seattle Art Museum. These two individuals, masters of their instruments, have created a sonic duet consisting of the traditional West African harp, or kora, and cello, a pairing that allows for music that intrigues and enchants.

Malian kora player Ballaké Sissoko forms half of this special duo. The son of renowned griot and musician Djelimady Sissoko, Ballaké is a virtuoso of this unique instrument. Known for his collaborations with Taj Mahal, Ludovico Einaudi and other legendary kora player Toumani Diabaté, he is a versatile musician who is able to pair and blend the kora to match with an array of styles from classical piano to voice and violin. It is no wonder he was able to find magic in a pairing with cellist Vincent Segal.

Respected for his variety of collaborations and unique projects, French cellist Vincent Segal is a force to be reckoned with. He has worked with many musicians covering a variety of styles and mediums, including Elvis Costello, Franck Monnet, and the groups Tryo and Mujeres Encinta, as well as film composer Alexandre Desplat. To say he is an adaptable musician is an understatement; one just has to listen to his group Bumcello, an electronica duo that won the Victoires de la Musique award and was named Electronic Artist of the Year in 2006.

Ballaké Sissoko and Vincent Segal’s first album Chamber Music captivated the music world’s attention in 2009; their follow-up 2015 album Musique de Nuit was as strong as their debut, defining what a collaboration between two consummate musicians can do.

Marc Seales Band

Monday, October 23, 7:30pm | Jazz Alley
$24  (Includes a $6 service fee)

Pianist Marc Seales has been an impactful figure in the history of jazz here in Seattle, both as a performer and educator. The first-call pianist for many international superstars, Seales has performed with Ernie Watts, Benny Carter, Joe Henderson, Art Pepper, and Bobby Hutcherson, to name but a few. Teamed with bassist Doug Miller and drummer John Bishop, he founded the now-legendary trio New Stories, which has produced nine albums on the Origin Records label. Aside from New Stories, he has recorded 10 albums as a leader and appeared on many others as a sideman. Seales is currently the professor of jazz piano at the University of Washington.

Playing a style steeped in post-bop and Herbie Hancock-inspired modernism, Seales acknowledges his style is directly attributable to two of his mentors: Seattle saxophone legend Don Lanphere and iconic trumpeter Floyd Standifer, two historic musicians who personified the Seattle sound from its Jackson Street roots to its current 21st-century acclaim. His personal style is both contemplative and energetically inspiring. He maintain a regular performing schedule in and around Seattle, regularly featured at Belltown’s storied Tula’s Jazz Club. His ensembles routinely feature the best players on the Seattle jazz scene, including Thomas Marriott, Evan Flory-Barnes, D’Vonne Lewis, Steve Korn, and Gary Hobbs.

Earshot Jazz is proud to present the Marc Seales Band onstage at yet another historic pillar of the city’s proud jazz lineage, Jazz Alley. From the original intimate bistro in the University District, to its current, plush Belltown location, the club has seen the best the world of jazz has to offer since 1979. Joining Seales will be his brother Jesse Seales on guitar, drummer Moyes Lucas Jr., ace trumpeter Thomas Marriott, and double-bassist extraordinaire Evan Flory-Barnes. This will be an evening where Seattle musical forces are in perfect alignment for an unforgettable performance.

Matt Mitchell: Music of Tim Berne / Dawn Clement Duos

Tuesday, October 24, 7:30pm | Chapel Performance Space
$18 adults | $16 Earshot members & seniors | $10 students & military

Playing solo, the much-in-demand Matt Mitchell—“an indispensable fixture of the contemporary vanguard” (NY Times)—performs the music of saxophonist/composer Tim Berne.

Recipient of the 2015 Doris Duke Impact Award, pianist and composer Mitchell has shown a deep understanding of contemporary trends in music through his interdisciplinary approach to the keyboard.

Mitchell performs in a dizzying array of star-led ensembles, including Rudresh Mahanthappa’s Bird Calls, the Dave Douglas Quintet, and Snakeoil, whose leader, Tim Berne, is honored tonight. Berne’s music trades on the tradition of bandleaders such as

James Brown, Sam Rivers, and Henry Threadgill, though follows its own multi-paneled course: with the pace of a thriller and the momentum of a page-turner, the plot of sequenced episodes twists and turns, settles on cliffhangers, and bucks back on course.

Expect a riveting solo program this evening as Mitchell weaves his prodigious, surprising, highly nuanced playing into Berne’s compositions.

Opening is Resident Artist, pianist Dawn Clement, in duo with Marina Albero. Whether on piano, psalterium (hammered dulcimer), or vibes, Albero—a dynamic, wide-ranging musician from Barcelona—merges influences from jazz, flamenco, tumbao, and the Middle East in a transporting, seamless, personal style.

Garfield High School Jazz Band

Tuesday, October 24, 7:30pm | Seattle Art Museum
$20 adults | $18 Earshot members & seniors | $10 students & military

Earshot Jazz is thrilled to present Garfield Jazz in its festival roster once again. Led by Clarence Acox for over 45 years, Garfield’s music program has defined itself as a powerhouse within Garfield High’s greater dynamic fine arts department right here in Seattle. Since Acox’s founding of the program in 1979, he has led the Jazz Ensemble into four first-place victories, (2003, 2004, 2009, 2010) at the Essentially Ellington National Jazz Band Competition and Festival at New York City’s Lincoln Center—the country’s most prestigious high school jazz competition. Under Acox’s direction, the jazz ensemble has won almost every major competition on the West Coast, including the Lionel Hampton Jazz Festival in Moscow, Idaho, and Oregon’s Mt. Hood Jazz Festival.

Beyond his success with Garfield, Acox’s portfolio includes Seattle University, Centrum’s Jazz Port Townsend, and non-profit jazz education organization JazzED. His extensive work in jazz education earned him the national Educator of the Year Award from DownBeat Magazine in 2002. As a musician and drummer himself, Acox co-founded the Seattle Repertory Jazz Orchestra in 1995 with co-director Michael Brockman, and has performed with the Floyd Standifer Quartet (now known as The Legacy Quartet and led by Acox) for more than 20 years.

Seattle Women’s Jazz Orchestra

Wednesday, October 25, 7:30pm | Shorewood Performing Arts Center
$20 adults | $18 Earshot members & seniors | $10 students & military

In concert and on CD, Seattle Women’s Jazz Orchestra has thrilled audiences with special guests of the highest caliber. With a host of leading soloists, the band performs compositions from its 5th Annual Jazz Composition Contest for Women Composers: winner Roots and Rhyzomes by Christina Fuchs, and honorable mention After Hours by Stephanie Urquhart.

Fuchs is a German saxophonist, clarinetist, conductor, and composer in diverse ensembles that cover new music, theater music, improvised music, and jazz. She is a founder and co-leader of the United Women’s Orchestra in Germany, and has received numerous scholarships, composition awards, and commissions around the world.

Urquhart is a Canadian jazz pianist and composer based in Edmonton, Alberta. Both composers will be in attendance at this performance, which also features special guest Sherrie Maricle of DIVA, an “incredibly gifted drummer who has superhuman technique combined with first-class musicianship” (Saxophone Journal).

Brad Mehldau

Wednesday, October 25, 8pm | Nordstrom Recital Hall
+12% fee for phone & internet purchases, or +3% fee for in-person purchases

A solo concert by Brad Mehldau can be one of the sublime and transporting musical experiences of a lifetime. He is prodigiously inventive, and equally compelling whether exploring formal structures or improvising with abandon. His skills are otherworldly; in solo performance, as he’s demonstrated at legendary Earshot recitals, his artistry can travel to other worlds—breathtaking and unforgettable.

One of the most lyrical and intimate voices of contemporary jazz piano, Brad Mehldau has forged a unique path, which embodies the essence of jazz exploration, classical romanticism and pop allure. From critical acclaim as a bandleader to major international exposure in collaborations with Pat Metheny, Renee Fleming, and Joshua Redman, Mehldau continues to garner numerous awards and admiration from both jazz purists and music enthusiasts alike. His forays into melding musical idioms, in both trio (with Larry Grenadier on bass and Jeff Ballard on drums) and solo settings, has seen brilliant re-workings of songs by contemporary songwriters like The Beatles, Cole Porter, Radiohead, Paul Simon, Gershwin and Nick Drake; alongside the ever-evolving breath of his own significant catalogue of original compositions. With his self-proclaimed affection for popular music and classical training, “Mehldau is the most influential jazz pianist of the last 20 years” (The New York Times).

Robin Holcomb Trio / Mikolaj Trzaska

Thursday, October 26, 7:30pm | Chapel Performance Space
$18 adults | $16 Earshot members & seniors | $10 students & military

The music of Robin Holcomb is imbued with a detailed sense of the poetic image-making possible in music. From the country and mountain siren in her singing, to the impressionistic air of her piano playing, to the Dylanesque intertwining of the personal and the popular in her songwriting, Holcomb has imbued a special magic into chamber ensembles and rock groups. October 26 at the Chapel Performance Space, she will debut a new trio including JP Carter (trumpet) and Dylan van der Schyff (drums), with saxophonist Mikolaj Trzaska and special guests opening.

Holcomb’s career began in New York, co-founding the New York Composers Orchestra and working with John Zorn, Elliott Sharp, and Eugene Chadbourne, before moving to the Emerald City in 1988 with husband Wayne Horvitz and releasing a series of acclaimed records on Elektra and Nonesuch. Her vast and diverse projects as a composer, performer, and librettist includes co-founding the Washington Composer’s Orchestra, her most recent song cycle, We Are Failing Them, which premiered at Seattle’s Northwest Film Forum, and even playing on Bill Frisell’s Nashville and Kaddish.

Her new trio featuring two of Vancouver’s top players is indicative of Holcomb’s continuing ties with local improvising scenes. Johannesburg-born Dylan van der Schyff, who studied at the University of Victoria and McGill Univeristy in Montreal, is known for his work with Ron Samworth’s group Talking Pictures and playing with his wife, and Holcomb’s longtime collaborator, cellist Peggy Lee. He has continued to work with the likes of Eyvind Kang, Mark Helias, and Myra Melford.

Vancouver native JP Carter is an acoustic and electric pathbreaker on his instrument, and his resume reads like a cross section of contemporary Canadian music, including work with Destroyer, Dan Mangan, the Tony Wilson 6tet, and Gordon Grdina’s Haram.
Gdańsk-born composer, saxophonist, and clarinetist Mikolaj Trzaska is well-known for his compositions for film, but also happens to be one of Poland’s foremost improvisers, showing in his reed playing an illustrative use of extended techniques and a mischievous sense of humor. A self-taught player, he was, along with bassist Tymon Tymański, a founding member of the epochal group Miłość. His astonishing international career includes literary collaborations with Ukrainian poet Yurii Andrukhovych,

Roosevelt High School Jazz Band w/ Matt Wilson

Thursday, October 26, 7:30pm | Roosevelt High School Auditorium
$18 adults | $12 students | $50 family package (2 adults & 2 children)

One of the nation’s top-flight school jazz programs takes to the stage with Grammy-nominated drummer Matt Wilson, who performed at the White House for Barack Obama. Renowned as a natural teacher, the DownBeat, JazzTimes, and Jazz Journalists poll winner promises to take these students to grad school in one night.

New York-based drummer, composer, and bandleader Matt Wilson is a celebrated drummer whose resume speaks for itself. Wilson’s connection to the Northwest has been greatly enhanced while teaching for many years at Centrum’s Jazz Port Townsend.

His first appearance at this year’s festival is tied to his prowess as an educator, appearing with the nationally renowned Roosevelt High School Jazz Band under the direction of Scott Brown. The Roosevelt Jazz Band is a group of advanced music students who uphold a long tradition of excellence in big band jazz, and, with its perennial appearance in festivals and competitions throughout the US, it is considered one of the nation’s top high-school jazz bands.

Tonight’s concert, to be played on the ensemble’s home turf in North Seattle, is sure to be an energetic, enlightening brand of mentorship for the students, and a thrilling performance of young jazz up-and-comers, enhanced by the radiant positivity and musical adventurism of Wilson.

Matt Wilson’s Big Happy Family & Friends

Friday, October 27, 7pm & 9:30pm | The Royal Room
$20 adults | $18 Earshot members & seniors | $10 students & military

In jazz, the role of the drummer has evolved beyond the traditional role of keeper of time, brooding in anonymity behind renowned soloists and singers. The crop of albums released by drummers in recent years have highlighted a new, liberated role of leader and composer, demonstrating just how diverse and exciting the art of contemporary drumming is, and how musically innovative its exponents have become.

Matt Wilson began his personal journey with the likes of saxophonist Dewey Redman and in Charlie Haden’s Liberation Music Orchestra. Along the way he has become the first-call drummer for piano trios led by luminaries like Denny Zeitlin, Bill Mays, and Paul Bley. In the various formations of his own groups, usually quartets, Wilson has fashioned music that runs from hard-bop to the avant-garde, with his music always retaining an inherent sense of joy and celebration of life, a Wilson trademark.

Wilson will be joined by friend and musical colleague, 2017 Earshot Jazz Festival Resident Artist, Dawn Clement for two performances on consecutive evenings, October 27 and 28. On the 27th, Columbia City’s Royal Room will host Wilson’s ensemble, Big Happy Family & Friends, a band sure to produce an evening of rollicking, magical, and musically intuitive fun. With Ron Miles (cornet), Jeff Lederer (reeds, voice, harmonium), Martin Wind (bass), Matt Wilson (drums, voice), and Clement (piano), this band provides musically insightful virtuosity, while celebrating the joy and humor of life itself.

Briggan Krauss Strings & Reeds

Friday, October 27, 8pm | PONCHO Concert Hall
$18 adults | $16 Earshot members & seniors | $10 students & military

Co-presented with Cornish Presents

Saxophonist, guitarist, and experimental composer Briggan Krauss has taken his own defiantly extraordinary path in music. From his solo saxophone recordings in the Mt. Baker I-90 pedestrian tunnel, to a surround sound electronic piece “Singularity” as Artist in Residence at the Harvestworks Digital Media Arts Center in NYC, to his acclaimed trio 300 with Kenny Wollesen and Wayne Horvitz, Krauss has steadfastly challenged the conditions of his playing, creating music that consistently reinvents itself.

This festival season he returns to his alma mater, the Cornish College of the Arts, playing guitar and saxophone with his Strings and Reeds quartet featuring Wayne Horvitz (piano), Beth Fleenor (clarinets), and Greg Campbell (percussion). The quartet will be playing CLAP, a suite of seven compositions by Krauss.

After studying music theory and electronic music at Cornish, Krauss played in the Seattle scene, working with Brad Shepik and Aaron Alexander in the trio Babkas, as well as with Wayne Horvitz. Moving to New York in 1994, he played in the avant-garde ensemble Sexmob, and established working relationships with artists including Satoko Fujii, John Zorn, Nels Cline, Robin Holcomb, and Elliott Sharp, which he continues to this day. He has recorded as a sideman on over 50 albums, including Bill Frissell’s Grammy-winning Unspeakable. To his work in his own ensembles, including the Briggan Krauss Jazz Quartet and the trio H-Alpha with Ikue Mori and Jim Black, can be added his work in sound design, having received an MFA from Brooklyn College’s Performance and Interactive Media Arts program.

Based in Seattle since 1988, Beth Fleenor has a voice all her own, whether through her compositions, vocals, or the clarinet. She has collaborated with artists including Butch Morris, David Byrne, Terry Riley, Eyvind Kang, John Tchicai, and Skerik. She leads Crystal Beth & the Boom Boom Band, and is a member of the Sam Boshnack Quartet, the Seattle Jazz Composers Ensemble, and Wayne Horvitz’ Electric Circus. A graduate of Cornish College, she has received numerous commissions as a composer and won the 2007 Golden Ear Award for Performance of the Year as a member of Monktail’s Raymond Scott Project.

Seattle-based pianist, composer, and electronic musician Wayne Horvitz has received numerous awards for his playing and compositions, including the NEA American Masterpieces Award. A professor of composition at Cornish, music programmer at The Royal Room, and co-founder of the New York Composers Orchestra, Horvitz has collaborated with artists such as Bill Frisell, Carla Bley, Fred Frith, George Lewis, and Julian Priester. He leads the Royal Room Collective Music Ensemble, as well as Zony Mash, the Gravitas Quartet, Sweeter Than the Day, and the Four plus One Ensemble. According to the Wire, his playing “is economical yet lyrical, never venturing far from the strong melodic hooks which characterize his compositions, but constantly working small surprises.”

Greg Campbell is also well-studied in music; now a teacher for South Seattle College, Campbell received his doctorate in percussion from the University of Washington and has a master’s degree in jazz performance from the New England Conservatory of Music. His projects include collaborations with Dave Holland, Cecil McBee, Tom Collier, Stuart Dempster, and the Ficus Trio with Gust Burns and Gregory Reynolds, as well as membership in the Ghanaian traditional drumming collective Anokye Agofomma.

Ivan Arteaga’s CMD (Computers Music Dance)

Friday, October 27 & Saturday, October 28, 8pm | Velocity Dance Center
$18 adults | $16 Earshot members & seniors | $10 students & military

CMD, a collaboration between saxophonist Ivan Arteaga, digital artist Marcin Pączkowski, and choreographer Allison Burke, explores movement and sound through the use of live music and artists wearing accelerometer sensors. Greg Sinibaldi (sax), Ray Larsen (trumpet), Carmen Rothwell (bass), Katie Jacobson (vocals), Chris Icasiano (drums), and dancers Khadijah Lindo and Fenja Abrams expand the core band in two nights of performance.

The group, orchestrated by Arteaga and Pączkowski, both long-standing pillars of the local improvisational scene, performs compelling graphic scores that are emotive and unafraid to envelop the spaces in which they are performed. Arteaga and co. bring their jazz and improvising backgrounds into a world of electronic sounds (by way of Pączkowski) and movement for a unique multidisciplinary approach that celebrates the exploratory and inventive spirit of the art form.

Since his studies at the University of Washington, Arteaga has shot to the forefront of Seattle’s creative and improvised music scene. He is a founding member of Table & Chairs and The Racer Sessions, and a regular performer in The Royal Room Collective Music Ensemble. The composer/saxophonist is primarily involved in the creation and performance of new works by current musicians and composers, as well as his own personal projects, including CMD, which premiered at the 2016 Jazz: The Second Century series at the Chapel Performance Space. His work spans the worlds of contemporary art music, avant-pop, and free improv.

Trombone Insurgency: Joe McPhee, Steve Swell, Dick Griffin / Wayfaring

Saturday, October 28, 8pm | PONCHO Concert Hall
$20 adults | $18 Earshot members & seniors | $10 students & military

Co-presented with Cornish Presents

“Trombones,” composer Hector Berlioz once wrote, “can chant like a choir of priests, threaten, utter gloomy sighs, a mournful lament, or a bright hymn of glory; they can break forth into awe-inspiring cries and awaken the dead or doom the living with their fearful voices.”

Few words could better describe veteran players Joe McPhee, Steve Swell, and Dick Griffin’s Trombone Insurgency, an adventurous trombone trio sharing a double bill with James Falzone and Katie Ernst’s folk-, hymn-, and jazz-influenced clarinet and bass duo Wayfaring.

Multi-instrumentalist McPhee plays tenor, alto, and soprano saxophone, flugelhorn, and valve trombone, as well as his first instrument, the trumpet. He has been on the cutting edge of modern and avant-garde music since his recordings for Hathut records in the ‘70s, developing his inclusive vision of music in concert and recordings with artists such as Matthew Shipp, Evan Parker, and Ken Vandermark, and ensembles including Trio X, with Dominic Duval and Jay Rosen.

Swell is a trombonist, composer, and educator based out of New York who has played and recorded with such composers and improvisers as Lionel Hampton, Anthony Braxton, Bill Dixon, and Cecil Taylor, as well as performed over 50 dates to his name with groups including Fire Into Music, featuring William Parker, Jemeel Moondoc, and Hamid Drake.

Griffin, a prolific painter, trombonist, and composer, got his start playing with Sun Ra in his Arkestra, and has played and recorded with Charles Mingus, Muhal Richard Abrams, Brother Jack McDuff, McCoy Tyner, Ella Fitzgerald, and Rahsaan Roland Kirk. The latter’s influence led Griffin to the development of “circularphonics,” a method of circular breathing incorporating chordal playing through multiphonics, which can be heard on his many dates as a leader.

Wayfaring is Chicago-based composer bandleader Katie Ernst (bass, vocals) and Cornish College of the Arts’ new Chair of Music James Falzone (clarinet). Their debut recording, I Move, You Move, will be released this year on Allos Documents.

Matt Wilson Honey and Salt

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

One of the most inventive and generous spirits in today’s jazz, drummer Matt Wilson’s new project is inspired by the poetry of American poet Carl Sandburg (1878–1967). Wilson and colleagues have performed his compositions, rich in heart and variety, all around the US. His remarkable band tonight again features Ron Miles (cornet), Jeff Lederer (reeds, voice, harmonium), Martin Wind (bass), and special guest, Festival Resident Artist Dawn Clement (piano) alongside the ever-jocular drummer, composer, and bandleader.

Wilson’s positive energy, sense of humor, and ability to explore a broad range of musical settings keeps him in constant demand in today’s world of jazz. His dedication to the art form has helped establish him as a beloved world ambassador for the music, on and off the bandstand.



Posted on

September 30, 2017