Festival Previews, Week 3

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Carmen Staaf, Tony Scherr, Jenny Scheinman, and Allison Miller photo by Shervin Lainez.

Anton Schwartz Sextet

ADVANCE TICKET PRICES: $18 Adults, $16 Earshot Members & Seniors, $10 Students & Military
DAY OF SHOW TICKET PRICES: $23 Adults, $21 Earshot Members & Seniors, $10 Students & Military

Saxophonist/composer Anton Schwartz presents his ideas in harmonic layers that unfold into open space for interpretation, never straying far from his hard bop roots.

Schwartz performs new compositions for sextet on this evening. Joining is in-demand, Los Angeles-based pianist Josh Nelson. He has a reputation as an accompanist for vocalists, having toured and recorded extensively with Natalie Cole, Kurt Elling, and John Pizzarelli. His keen melodic sense is a worthy fit for Schwartz’s compositions. David Marriott, Jr. is the first-call trombonist in Seattle and a fine composer and arranger. His 13-piece ensemble Triskaideka band has enjoyed a seven-year residency at the recently closed Tula’s Jazz Club in Belltown. Trumpeter and bandleader Jared Hall burst onto the Seattle scene a few years back. Hailing from Spokane, Hall spent time studying with the likes of Terence Blanchard and Brian Lynch. His 2017 release  Hallways  has been well received by jazz critics. Bassist Michael Glynn and drummer Julian MacDonough form a hard-swinging rhythm section, the necessary undercurrent for Schwartz’s contemporary take on hard bop. 

Schwartz plays tenor with an ardent, grinding style that should be well complemented by Hall’s lyrical prose. His writing is very much within the tradition of the classic bop quintet, tempered with modern flares and sophistication. While many of his contemporaries seek innovation through new rhythms, modern technology, and fusion forms, Schwartz finds spaces, and opens new doors in a post-bop sense, while still maintaining a foothold in the blues and hard bop traditions. For Schwartz and his mates, the tune is the thing. $10–23. For details visit earshot.org.

Briggan Krauss

ADVANCE TICKET PRICES: $18 Adults, $16 Earshot Members & Seniors, $10 Students & Military
DAY OF SHOW TICKET PRICES: $23 Adults, $21 Earshot Members & Seniors, $10 Students & Military

Throughout his career, saxophonist and composer Briggan Krauss has pushed the limits of acoustic performance and improvisation. An iconic performer, his approach to composition has developed into a morphology of sound, documented most recently on this year’s release Art of the Saxophone: The Lethe Lounge Sessions (Iluso).

Krauss’ connection to Seattle is strong. He studied at Cornish College of the Arts, worked with guitarist Brad Shepik, and played in pianist Wayne Horvitz’ Pig Pen quartets. Moving to New York City in 1994, he immersed himself in the downtown scene, stretching sound as part of Steven Bernstein’s Grammy-winning group Sexmob, among other projects. With a roving musical imagination that has brought him to the guitar, sound art, and media installation, Krauss has counterbalanced his critically acclaimed recordings as a leader and sideman—notably on Bill Frisell’s 2004 release Unspeakable—with academic work and installation art. Currently, he is a professor in the Performance and Interactive Media Arts [PIMA] and Sonic Arts MFA programs at Brooklyn College.

Art of the Saxophone continues a series of landmark recordings that mark his major contribution to solo-saxophone performance. Recorded over two days at the Lethe Lounge, Krauss practically manifests his experimental extension of practice. Through various forms of muting—including his signature towel-mute—he uses a repertoire of long tones and multiphonics to rigorously sculpt his sound. The product is boundary-pushing. $10–23. For details visit earshot.org.

Jay Thomas EWA

ADVANCE TICKET PRICES: $24 Adults, $22 Earshot Members & Seniors, $10 Students & Military
DAY OF SHOW TICKET PRICES: $29 Adults, $27 Earshot Members & Seniors, $10 Students & Military

Welcomed by KBCS.

As the 2019 Earshot Jazz Festival featured resident artist, Jay Thomas introduces us to friends from Japan, where he often ventures and performs, in his East West Alliance (EWA). One of the very few who plays both brass and woodwind instruments, Thomas is equally compelling on trumpet as he is on saxophone. He has performed in Seattle and around the world for the past half century, with a history in this city that dates back to teenage gigs at the Black and Tan on Jackson Street.

Thomas met his current musical collaborators in Japan while looking for a good flute. He describes his friend Yasuhiro Kohama as the “spiritual center of the group,” as well as a “monster sax player.” With Kohama on tenor, and Atsushi Ikeda on alto, Thomas is in a position to freely drift from trumpet to alto, from flugelhorn to tenor and flute. Young pianist Yuki Hirate doubles on trumpet as well, adding a dimension to arrangements by Thomas and Kohama. 

Vocalist Maya Hatch adds a special element to the performance. An alumnus of the acclaimed jazz program at Roosevelt High School, Hatch attended the New School in New York and recorded a CD with pianist Gerald Clayton. She toured Japan, where she met Kohama, who in turn asked her if she knew Thomas. That led to the three in collaboration on this special occasion.

In-demand bassist Phil Sparks has performed with the Seattle Repertory Jazz Orchestra for 25 years. He is a visible presence on the Seattle scene, with a history dating back to the New Orleans sessions with Floyd Standifer.

Drummer Daisuke Kurata lived for many years in New York, attending the New School, and receiving mentorship from Grady Tate. He has spent time in Cuba studying Latin rhythms.

This performance celebrates jazz, in a real and tangible sense, as an international music. While jazz was born from and belongs to the Black American experience, the free exchange of multi-cultural musical ideas has defined the last half century of the art form. Thomas will give a pre-concert interview with historical photos beginning at 7pm.  $10–29. For more information visit earshot.org.

Jay Thomas: 2019 Festival Resident Artist

Multi-horn player, composer, and educator Jay Thomas has been a pivotal figure on the Seattle jazz scene since the late 1960s. Jay Thomas EWA perform with the Roosevelt Jazz Band on Saturday, October 19 at 7:30pm

Larry Grenadier / Kelsey Mines & Carlos Snaider

ADVANCE TICKET PRICES: $22 Adults, $20 Earshot Members & Seniors, $10 Students & Military
DAY OF SHOW TICKET PRICES: $27 Adults, $25 Earshot Members & Seniors, $10 Students & Military

Welcomed by KNKX.

Though the bass can sometimes drop to the background, bassist Larry Grenadier has always stood out. He’s been a key part of Brad Mehldau’s trio since the early nineties and has recorded with Paul Motian and Charles Lloyd. His recent work includes the supergroup Hudson, with Jack DeJohnette, John Medeski, and John Scofield.

Grenadier’s newest album, The Gleaners (ECM) is a solo-outing that takes its title from Agnés Varda’s film, The Gleaners and I. Like the “gleaners” in the documentary—scavengers who gather the remains of crops after harvest—Grenadier finds his own way in what he calls a “search for a center of sound and timbre, for the threads of harmony and rhythm that formulate the crux of a musical identity.”

The album has been praised by DownBeat as “a purposeful artistic vision—at points melodic, athletic and gut-wrenchingly vulnerable—that explores not only the full range of the instrument’s technical possibilities, but also the emotional range of a deeply sensitive jazz artist.”

Guitarist/vocalist Carlos Snaider and bassist Kelsey Mines open with their duo, EarthToneSkyTone. The group combines the storytelling of song with fresh harmonic and rhythmic concepts, in what Snaider calls “a meditation of collectivity and community.” A graduate of Harvard University, where he studied with Vijay Iyer, Yosvany Terry, and others, Snaider’s incumbent curiosity and serious creativity has flowered in projects with performance artist Josefina Báez, percussionist Rajna Swaminathan, among others. Mines, a ubiquitous and adroit musician, plays in symphonies and teaches at the university and high school level throughout the Northwest. A recipient of the Holland Scholarship where she studied with contrabassist Sorin Orcinschi and a graduate of the University of Washington, her recent work includes recordings with Neil Welch and tours with singer-songwriter ings. $10–27. For details visit earshot.org.

Folks Project

ADVANCE TICKET PRICES: $18 Adults, $16 Earshot Members & Seniors, $10 Students & Military
DAY OF SHOW TICKET PRICES: $23 Adults, $21 Earshot Members & Seniors, $10 Students & Military

Co-presented with Dr. James Gore, Jackson Street Music Program, and Langston.

Folks Project is a local collective joined by the bonds of friendship, music, and reverence to a city’s storied past. Familiar folks make up this project—Darrius Willrich (piano), D’Vonne Lewis (drums), and Evan Flory-Barnes (bass). The project is a love letter to Seattle’s jazz history, especially Jackson Street and the Central Area artists who came of it, including Quincy Jones, Jimi Hendrix, Ernestine Anderson, Ray Charles, Dave Lewis (D’Vonne Lewis’ grandfather), Floyd Standifer, Buddy Catlett, and Anthony Ray (who many would recognize by his stage name, Sir Mix-A-Lot).

Each band member is a titan in Seattle’s music scene and beyond. Willrich’s time spent playing keys for Grammy-Award winning rap trio Digable Planets led him to perform at mega festivals including Pitchfork Music Festival and Sasquatch Music Festival. Flory-Barnes and Lewis are one half of the much-loved Industrial Revelation, who won a 2014 Stranger Genius Award for music. While Industrial Revelation has taken a step back, Flory-Barnes and Lewis have kept busy pursuing other projects. In 2018, Flory-Barnes debuted his symphonic work at On the Boards, “On Loving the Muse and Family,” a mélange of music, memoir, comedy, and storytelling. Lewis is tireless on the scene as a sought-after leader and sideman. He made an impressive showing at this year’s Jazz Port Townsend.

The opportunity to perform with big names at a national and international stage often pulls artists away to L.A. or the other coast, NYC. We’re lucky that these folks have stayed in Seattle, enriching our community and pushing the dialogue of jazz in our city ever forward.

Folks project honors the past and looks to the future at the historic Langston Hughes Performing Arts Institute in the Central District, an historically Black neighborhood facing rapid gentrification. Together they explore what it looks and sounds like to thrive and stand resilient in the face of an ever-changing city. Charles Mudede for The Stranger recommends, “If you live in and love this city, this event is like going to the church of its deepest culture and structures of feelings.”

As part of the program, Dr. James Gore will lead a discussion with these contemporary African American jazz artists on their experiences and community influences. $10–23. For details visit earshot.org.

Jenny Scheinman and Allison Miler’s Parlour Game

ADVANCE TICKET PRICES: $32 Adults, $30 Earshot Members & Seniors, $10 Students & Military
DAY OF SHOW TICKET PRICES: $37 Adults, $35 Earshot Members & Seniors, $10 Students & Military

With signature charisma and a melodious groove that’s at once fresh and rooted, Jenny Scheinman and Allison Miller’s Parlour Games explores the frenetic depths of jazz’s history and the social nature of musicians and their instruments in conversation. The name is a nod to social games and music born from parlors of the twentieth century. Enlisting the talents of Seattle-born pianist Carmen Staaf and bassist Tony Scherr, the quartet represents a confluence of top jazz artists, each bringing to the stage impressive résumés and well-honed, diverse experiences.

Staaf and Scherr subbed in Miller’s award-winning sextet, Boom Tic Boom (in which Scheinman plays the violin), for a show and according to Miller, the affinity was immediate. “Even the edgiest material swung, and we realized that we had found something really special,” Miller said. Parlour Game was born.

Jazz Times calls the group “practically flawless” in their musical relationship. Miller and Scheinman’s musical bond is nearly 20 years in the making, beginning in the early in 2000s when they met in Brooklyn.

Miller, an accomplished drummer, composer, and teacher at the New School, got her start in the D.C. swing scene and has since played with Dr. Lonnie Smith, Natalie Merchant, Ani Difranco, and Brandi Carlile.

Scheinman has made a name for herself as a critically acclaimed jazz violinist wending her way through jazz and roots Americana, collaborating extensively with Bill Frisell, and playing alongside Lucinda Williams, Jason Moran and Bruce Cockburn.

A graduate of Garfield High School, Staaf, who takes after Thelonious Monk’s explosive improvisational style, has long worked with Miller on other projects—including their release Science Fair, named a Best of 2018 album by the New York Times—as well as Herbie Hancock and Wayne Shorter. Bassist Scherr has played extensively with Bill Frisell, Sex Mob, and Maria Schneider.

The quartet “swings in its own way yet with a consistent sense of commitment, embodying what musicians call ‘the pocket’: a rhythmic feel that is firmly locked in but also relaxed to the point of elasticity,” says the Wall Street Journal. $10–37. For details visit earshot.org.

Tyshawn Sorey Quintet

ADVANCE TICKET PRICES: $30 Adults, $28 Earshot Members & Seniors, $10 Students & Military
DAY OF SHOW TICKET PRICES: $35 Adults, $33 Earshot Members & Seniors, $10 Students & Military

The prodigious drummer, multiinstrumentalist, composer, and allaround musical mind presents his quintet to demonstrate to us what jazz is now.

New Yorker critic Alex Ross says Sorey “transcends the borders of jazz, classical, and experimental music.”

Sorey, who is the Seattle Symphony’s current Composer-in-Residence, has been lauded for his breathtaking virtuosity and musical vision. New York Times says he “plays not only with gale-force physicality, but also a sense of scale and equipoise.” The Wall Street Journal notes that Sorey is, “a composer of radical and seemingly boundless ideas.”

Sorey grew up in Newark, NJ, playing makeshift drum kits and learning jazz and other musical forms from his father’s records. He taught himself to play piano in a church basement, added trombone at his middle school, and then specialized on drums at Newark Arts High School.

He attended William Paterson University as a classical trombone major, but soon was playing drums with the bands of pianist Vijay Iyer, saxophonist Steve Coleman, and another musical visionary, Butch Morris. 

In graduate programs, Sorey apprenticed with other expansive minds in jazz and related music: at Wesleyan University (where he now teaches music and African American Studies there), with Anthony Braxton; and at Columbia University with trombonist, ethnomusicologist, and electronicmusic experimentalist George Lewis.

Sorey composes for and performs with new-music ensembles, often working at the intersections of composition and improvisation. His works have premiered in settings as varied as Lincoln Center’s Mostly Mozart Festival, Ojai Music Festival, Walt Disney Hall, and the Stone music club in Manhattan. His large-scale compositions have included  a song cycle paying tribute to Josephine Baker. In 2017, Sorey was named a MacArthur Fellow through one of its “genius grants.”

Appearing with Sorey, emerging talents bassist Nick Dunston, an “indispensable player on the New York avantgarde” (New York Times); vibraphonist Sasha Berliner, winner of LetterOne’s 2018 Rising Stars Jazz Award; reeds player Morgan Guerin, who has worked with Terri Lyne Carrington, Ellis Marsalis, Esperanza Spalding, and many others; and rising piano star Lex Korten. $10–35. For details visit earshot.org.

Dreamstruck: Marilyn Crispell, Joe Fonda, Harvey Sorgen

ADVANCE TICKET PRICES: Adult $24, Senior (60+) $22, Earshot Member $22, Student $10, Military $10
DAY OF SHOW TICKET PRICES: Adult $29, Senior (60+) $27, Earshot Member $27, Student $10, Military $10

Avalanches of chords, earthquakes of hits and rolls, tsunamis of pizzicato plucks: these are the warp and woof of the improvisational trio Dreamstruck, featuring pianist Marylin Crispell, bassist Joe Fonda, and drummer/educator Harvey Sorgen.

Veterans orbiting the cosmos of the experimental scene, the three bring “a broad spectrum of moods and color…” from their instruments, released on their self-titled debut this year. All About Jazz calls it a “distinctive and fascinating interplay that explores the contours of romance, blues, free playing, and abstraction.”

Exploring the repertoire of players like Paul Motian and guitarist Bob Windbiel, Dreamstruck recombines the codes of musical genes spread across a spectrum of velocity, impact, and delay. Sorgen is a cunning timekeeper with a big heart. An educator and recipient of multiple grants, he’s played and recorded with the likes of Ahmad Jamal, Dewey Redman, Dave Douglas, and others.

Sorgen has long cultivated his interplay with Joe Fonda, a primary member of Anthony Braxton’s iconic groups from 1984-1999. Fonda, a student of the Berklee College of Music, is a commissioned composer whose creative focus has been paired most recently with Barry Altschul and Jon Irabagon in the trio 3dom Factor; with reedman Gebhard Ullmann in his supergroup Conference Call; and in his own groups, including the Off Road Quartet.

Crispell remains “one of the very few pianists who rise to the challenge of free jazz,” (New York Times). In a career that boasts six ECM albums, she has been an integral part of Reggie Workman’s group and has played with Henry Grimes, Anders Jormin, Wadada Leo Smith, Roscoe Mitchell, and others. As of recent she has expanded her bluesy sound-world with Tyshawn Sorey, and in Trio Tapestry, with saxophonist Joe Lovano, and drummer Carmen Castaldi. $10–29. For details visit earshot.org. 

Kiki Valera y su Son Cubano


Welcomed by KNKX.

Kiki Valera y su Son Cubano plays from deep within the grain of Cuba’s musical traditions. Led by Valera, a virtuoso of the eight-stringed guitar “quatro cubano,” the group conjures the tropical metropole of Havana, playing a genre of music (son cubano) merged in Eastern Cuba from the songs, instruments, and dances of Spain and Africa, and popularized by groups such as Buena Vista Social Club.

Son Cubano practically runs in Valera’s blood. The eldest son of Félix Valera Miranda, Kiki Valera took on the traditions of his ancestors—subsistence farmers of Sierra Maestra mountain region—cutting his teeth playing alongside his father in the septet La Familia Valera Miranda. Recording and touring internationally, this family group became, and remains, an important torch holder for the Son Cubano style, collecting and preserving traditional songs.

Himself a founder of the Septeto Turquino and former member of the orchestra Los Kurachi, Kiki Valera has continued the spirit of the tradition, now contributing his knowledge to the Pacific Northwest. Here he shares his incredible chops with Coco Freeman, former singer of NG La Banda and Adalberto Alvarez y su Son; Carlos Cascante, three-time Grammy winning vocalist of the Spanish Harlem Orchestra; and trumpeter Leider Chappotín, the great grandson of the famous Cuban bandleader Felix Chappotín. His band also includes Yanill Nario (bass), Pedro Vargas (bongos), Steve Mostovoy (trumpet), Joe de Jesus (congas), Alfredo Polier (maracas), and Javier Marú (guitar).

Released this October, their album Vivencias En Clave Cubana (Origin) is a memoir of stories from the streets of Havana, the rolling hills and rugged mountains of Cuba. It features original sones, songs written for the “tres,” a threecourse guitar, Cuban boleros, (not to be confused with the Spanish style of the same name), a 2/4 time vocal dance music, and guarachas, a quick-tempoed vocal music once sung in brothels and musical theaters. Valera’s creative employment of tradition continues the evolution of music almost bigger than the island it emerged from. As his strings begin to buzz, get ready to dance. $10–33. For details visit earshot.org.

Seattle Women’s Jazz Orchestra w/ Rosana Eckert

TICKET PRICES: $20 Adults, $18 Earshot Members & Seniors, $10 Students & Military

Presented by Seattle Women’s Jazz Orchestra.

The Seattle Women’s Jazz Orchestra (SWOJO) presents some of the best female jazz artists in the region and provides an invaluable avenue for female composers to showcase their creative work through an annual competition.

Commemorating its 7th annual composition contest concert, SWOJO proudly premiers the 2019 winning composition, “L’illusionniste” by Seulah Noh. Born in South Korea but now Boston-based, Noh’s musical background encompasses classical and jazz genres. She attended Ewha Woman’s University in Seoul then went on to study at Berklee College of Music where she received a degree in Jazz Performance and Jazz Composition. Noh is currently pursuing a Masters in Jazz Composition at New England Conservatory, all while performing with her own jazz ensemble, and working on her first album with her 18-piece jazz orchestra.

SWOJO welcomes special guest Rosana Eckert, an internationally renowned vocalist, songwriter, arranger, and jazz educator. She invokes an effortless blend of tradition and originality, sincerity and virtuosity, humor and heart. Her fifth solo album titled Sailing Home, produced by renowned singer/pianist/arranger Peter Eldridge, was released in June of this year to rapturous reviews. “This album should prove to all that she is a world-class artist, fluent in many genres, and absolutely compelling as a vocalist and composer.” (Jazz History Online). $10–20. For details visit earshot.org.

Thomas Marriott with Friends from Philly / Stuart MacDonald Trace Generations

ADVANCE TICKET PRICES: Adult $24, Senior (60+) $22, Earshot Member $22, Student $10, Military $10
DAY OF SHOW TICKET PRICES: Adult $29, Senior (60+), $27, Earshot Member $27, Student $10, Military $10

Seattle-based trumpeter Thomas Marriott remains at the forefront of the Seattle jazz scene. His sense of community here in Seattle, has been strengthened by paying dues in New York, and his continued travels to Philadelphia as a member of Orrin Evans’ Captain Black Big Band.

For this performance, Marriott brings in some of the Philadelphia jazz scene’s brightest stars. Bassist Mike Boone is one of the elders of the Philly scene, and has worked alongside Joe Henderson, James Moody, Clark Terry, and Donald Byrd.

Talented young drummer Mekhi Boone is Mike’s thirteen-year-old son. To Marriott, he is emblematic of jazz culture in Philadelphia. “Mekhi represents what I’ve come to love about the jazz community in Philadelphia, namely that older musicians still consider it their responsibility to educate the younger musicians, and the younger musicians still seek out and listen to the elder musicians,” says Marriott.

Tenor saxophonist Victor North rounds out the band. Born in Tacoma, North wandered into Philadelphia jazz culture by way of Alaska. He seems to be at the epicenter of jazz in Philly at all times, meeting Marriott along the way in the Captain Black Big Band.

This performance celebrates jazz culture in two great American cities, united on one stage for one evening. It is the product of musical partnerships made through Marriott’s friendship and collaborative efforts with Evans.

Veteran saxophonist Stuart MacDonald opens with a quartet of top young players, including pianist Dylan Hayes and drummer Xavier Lecouturier, who often perform together as DX-Tet, and first-call bassist Michael Glynn completes the quartet. $10–29. For details visit earshot.org.

Kassa Overall & Sullivan Fortner

ADVANCE TICKET PRICES: Adult $24, Senior (60+) $22, Earshot Member $22, Student $10, Military $10
DAY OF SHOW TICKET PRICES: Adult $29, Senior (60+) $27, Earshot Member $27, Student $10, Military $10

Co-presented with Langston. Welcomed by Rainier Avenue Radio.

Pair a Garfield High School Jazz Band drummer turned up-and-coming emcee/ producer with one of the best young pianists in jazz and what do you get? An evening of brilliant and creative duets.

Kassa Overall, whom Time Out New York has called a “renaissance man,” played drums at Garfield in the early 2000s, got a degree in music at Oberlin in 2006, came home for a while, then moved to New York, where he has collaborated with a host of creative artists, including Vijay Iyer, Terri Lyne Carrington, Das Racist, Carmen Lundy, Arto Lindsay and the late Geri Allen, as well as appearing with Jon Batiste & Stay Human on The Late Show with Steven Colbert.

Overall appeared this past summer at Capitol Hill Block Party on the heels of his well-received debut full-length, Go Get Ice Cream and Listen to Jazz, which the New York Times described as “one of the few genuine-sounding, full scope amalgams of contemporary hip-hop and jazz.” Overall came up listening to both Ornette Coleman and Public Enemy but says it took him a a while to make the connection. When he embraced both jazz and hip-hop as equal partners, he says he started to make good music.

Overall expands and improves practically everything he touches. At the 2018 Detroit Jazz Festival tribute to Geri Allen, Overall—a laptop “crate digger” par excellence—interpolated Allen’s poem, “Metaphor,” and snippets of her performing “Bemshaw Swing” and reciting a tribute to Betty Carter into a stunning performance with Carrington, Esperanza Spalding, and pianist Leo Genovese.

Fortner, who turned in a sparkling set at the Royal Room last spring; was featured to good effect on last year’s Blue Note at Sea Jazz Cruise; played in Roy Hargrove’s band for seven years and has also worked with Stefon Harris and Etienne Charles. His duets with vocalist Cécile McLorin Salvant on her album The Window won a Grammy-Award.

New- Orleans-raised, Fortner attended the New Orleans Center for the Creative Arts, then got degrees from Oberlin and the Manhattan School. He has two albums as a leader, Aria and Moments Preserved, on Impulse! with more promised from Mack Avenue. Fortner is an expansive, harmonically brilliant, virtuosic player with a crisp touch who draws a variety of influences into his playing.

Fortner appears on two of the best tracks on Go Get Ice Cream, the dark “Prison and Pharmaceuticals,” which Fortner co-wrote; and “Who’s On the Playlist,” which Overall produced. No telling what this talented, multi-directional duo might perform in Seattle, but whatever they do, it will probably include Overall’s talent with his laptop as well as his drums. $10–29. For details visit earshot.org.

DJ Nathan Womack / sunking w/ Kassa Overall; visuals by Scott Keva James

TICKET PRICES: Adult $16, Senior (60+) $14, Earshot Member $14, Student $10, Military $10

The last date of the new Earshot Jazz Festival DJ-led audio/ visual series.

International vinyl expert and record-producer DJ Nathan Womack spins before and after a one-time-only collaborative concert from elusive studio duo sunking, with guest emcee, in demand New York frontman and beatmaker, Kassa Overall. Extra magic comes in the captivating shapes and forms of monochromatic screen projections by visual artist Scott Keva James.

Sunking is the collective experimental sights and sounds of bobbygrooves and sous chef. Originally intended as a studio project to explore the crossings of avant-garde, hip-hop, jazz, and experimental music, sunking has morphed into a full fledged band featuring a rotating cast of talent. Their debut, self-titled album received critical acclaim after its release in February of 2019, “[It] sounds like it could’ve come out on the Ninja Tune or Mo Wax labels in 1998; I mean that in the most positive way possible way,” writes Dave Segal (The Stranger).

Drummer/rapper Kassa Overall is a Seattle-reared revelation on the New York scene in his own bands and with the likes of Vijay Iyer. “One of the few genuinesounding, full-scope amalgams of contemporary hip-hop and jazz.” (New York Times).

Wax Thematique label founder and music producer, Nathan Womack has spent the last few years traveling Asia digging for obscure recordings that would otherwise likely be lost forever. In between curating vinyl releases for Wax Thematique, Nathan produces for the Seattle/St. Louis instrumental hip-hop project, Paces Lift and Ben Bounce. After a year of living and traveling in Asia, Womack returns to the Earshot Jazz festival with newly discovered records and an itch to share them. $10–16. For more information visit earshot.org.

Sasha Berliner

ADVANCE TICKET PRICES: Adult $15, Senior (60+) $13, Earshot Member $13, Students $10, Military $10
DAY OF SHOW TICKET PRICES: Adult $20, Senior (60+) $18, Earshot Member $18, Students $10, Military $10

Presented by LetterOne. Welcomed by KBCS.
There must be something in the water—the Bay Area has produced a spoil of riches in the music world, each artist infused by the region’s creative and entrepreneurial spirit. At 21 years old, San Francisco-reared musician, composer, bandleader, and producer Sasha Berliner joins the ranks, blasting onto the scene as one of today’s most vibrant young artists.

Since earning the 2018 LetterOne Rising Stars Jazz Award, having convinced the jury with “her musicality, dedication [and] pushing the jazz envelope forward,” Berliner has toured the country and is now set to release her next recording project,  Azalea, this fall—all while continuing her studies at The New School of Jazz and Contemporary Music in New York.

Drawing her approach to jazz—a politically charged “multi-inspirational hybrid”—from the likes of Björk, Radiohead, Frank Zappa, the Flaming Lips, and more, the vibes and percussion phenom notes that she seeks to explore other genres and become “known as someone who can do all of it,” she tells JazzTimes.

Berliner has also proven herself to be an avid advocate for gender justice. She has put her Non Fiction Writing Minor to good use—which she earned in tandem with her Jazz BFA—publishing a series of personal essays, poems, and critiques. She gained attention with her well-received essay, “An Open Letter to Ethan Iverson (And the Rest of the Jazz Patriarchy).” Berliner is an supporter of the We Have Voice Collective–a group of musicians, performers, and scholars who have developed an accountability policy for discrimination in performing arts spaces.

Stemming from that “do-it-all” credence, Berliner has shaped her career not solely as a performer, but an arranger and bandleader in her own right. Indeed, recent performances have seen her leading ensembles through her own tight, stellar compositions while she fluidly moves her way among vibes and MalletKAT—a MIDI percussion mallet controller—producing compelling melodies and harmonies.

When she’s not leading her own group or performing solo, Berliner can be seen collaborating with musicians including trumpeter Nicholas Payton and vibraphonist Warren Wolf. On October 25 at Town Hall Seattle, Berliner appears in drummer-composer Tyshawn Sorey’s quintet, along with Morgan Guerin, pianist Lex Korten, and bassist Nick Dunston.

In her Royal Room performance, expect nothing short of sonic brilliance, as her new project,  Azalea, takes its inspiration from rock, funk, alt, and more. “There’s also a good balance of fulllength songs and interludes that will display a harmonic and rhythmic palette that’s very diverse,” Berliner tells JazzTimes. “It is definitely going to take the listener on a journey.” $10–20. For details visit earshot.org.


Posted on

October 3, 2019