Festival Previews, Week 4

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Emmet cohen photo by Mark Sheldon.

SPL Playback w/ Hound Dog Taylor’s Hand and Lori Goldston


Presented by Seattle Public Library.

Seattle Public Library is proud to present a free concert with Earshot Jazz, featuring two PlayBack musicians: Hound Dog Taylor’s Hand and Lori Goldston.

PlayBack is the library’s streaming and downloadable local music collection launched in 2016. The online platform helps new audiences discover a wealth of today’s local music, carefully curated by a jury of music community leaders and library staff. 100 albums are made available to the public for free each year. Check out the collection at playback.spl.org.

Classically trained and rigorously detrained, possessor of a restless, semiferal spirit, Lori Goldston is a cellist, composer, improviser, writer, and teacher based in Seattle. Her voice as a cellist, amplified or acoustic, is full, textured, committed and original. Her work wanders restlessly across borders that separate genre, discipline, time and geography. She performs as a soloist and collaborator throughout the U.S. and abroad.

Her work has been commissioned by and/or performed at the Kennedy Center, Frye Art Museum, Portland’s Time Based Art Festival (TBA), WNYC, The New Foundation, Northwest Film Forum, On the Boards, Seattle International Film Festival, Seattle Jewish Film Festival, Bumbershoot, Crossing Border Festival, and more.

Hound Dog Taylor’s Hand takes its name from the six-fingered blues slide guitarist. The group creates spontaneous compositions rooted in the language of the blues and free jazz. Veterans of Seattle’s avant-garde-jazz and underground-rock scenes, Hound Dog Taylor’s Hand is guitarist Jeffery Taylor, bassist John Seman, and drummer Mark Ostrowski. Free. For details visit earshot.org.

Avishai Cohen Quartet

ADVANCE TICKET PRICES: Adult $28, Senior (60+) $26, Earshot Member $26, Student $10, Military $10
DAY OF SHOW TICKET PRICES: Adult $33, Senior (60+) $31, Earshot Member $31, Student $10, Military $10

ECM recording artist Avishai Cohen has been an impactful voice on the global jazz scene. Cohen’s approach as a bandleader brings an ensemble sense to the proceedings, with teamwork an essential and intuitive process. The weaving of harmony allows Cohen to soar as a trumpeter, unleashing his exquisite tone, and unrelenting emotion. His playing can be dark and mournful one moment, building to a dramatic swell the next, conveying an ability to express strong sentiment lyrically.

Cohen arrives with members of his Israeli quartet in tow, in the vapor trail of acclaim for their 2017 release Cross My Palm with Silver, their second on ECM. Each composition offers hope and healing to its listeners. It arrives in a time when cultural and sociological narratives are defining modern jazz composition. The quartet for the Seattle performance includes Barak Mori (bass), Fabian Almazan (piano), and Ziv Ravits (drums).

While his quartet is his main focus, Cohen also leads the trio Triveni with Omer Avital and Nasheet Waits, and was a member of the SF JAZZ Collective for six years. In September of this year, he released the album, Playing The Room, with long-time friend Yonathan Avishai. He also records and tours with The 3 Cohens Sextet, the hit family band with his sister, multireedist Anat, and brother, saxophonist Yuval. In a sense, the three Cohens from Tel Aviv are akin to the Jones family of Detroit, and the Marsalis family of New Orleans.

Festival goers will hear much of the ancestral trumpet legacy of jazz in Cohen’s playing. While his music is compositionally audacious and original, like most jazz trumpeters, there are unmistakable remnants of Miles Davis in his probing curiosity, and bold adventurism. What is striking is his ability to approach emotional content in broad terms without relinquishing a tether to beauty and colorful imagery. $10–33. For details visit earshot.org.

Egberto Gismonti

TICKET PRICES: $15–50. Prices vary depending on seat location.

Sponsored by Bainbridge Island Museum of Art.

Brazil has one of the deepest, most vibrant musical cultures on the planet, and even among Brazilians, Egberto Gismonti stands out as a singular talent.

A virtuoso on both guitar and piano, as well as an astounding composer and improvisor, Gismonti is able to seamlessly bridge many different musical realms. He’s fully at home in the classical world, having studied in Paris with the legendary compositional mentor Nadia Boulanger. Gismonti has navigated a deep immersion into the music and culture of his native Brazil’s rainforest, and the natural world forms a core element of his expressive palate.

Gismonti’s path through the worlds of modern jazz and improvised music is uniquely idiosyncratic. He first began recording in the late ‘60s and has released a long line of superb albums on the ECM label, starting with Dança das Cabeças in 1976, a revelatory duet album with a fellow Brazilian iconoclast, percussionist Naná Vasconcelos. Over the decades he has played as a solo artist, and in various configurations in groups with other ECM masters including Norwegian saxophonist Jan Garbarek, the late bassist Charlie Haden, guitarist Ralph Towner, and percussionist Collin Walcott.

As a musician, Gismonti has a unique identity, and in solo performances he often achieves a body of sound that scarcely seems like it could come from one player. He taught himself how to play guitar and, because he was accustomed to the wider range of the piano, he felt constricted by the conventional six string instrument, so he simply designed his own 8 and 10-string guitars.

Gismonti’s music is elemental: the sound of earth, sky and living creatures, rich in technical nuance and skill yet flowing with a seemingly cellular connection to the physical world. His appearances in the U.S. are rare, and not to be missed. $10–55. For details visit earshot.org. 

Options: Eric Revis, Bennie Maupin & Nasheet Waits

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.

Three jazz masters spanning two generations, Options features long-time collaborators Eric Revis (bass), and Nasheet Waits (drums), known for their work together in the trio Tarbaby with Orrin Evans. They are joined by iconic multi-reedist Bennie Maupin, whose résumé includes stints with many of the historic masters of jazz.

Maupin appeared on Miles Davis’ game changing album  Bitches Brew, and was a founding member of Herbie Hancock’s Head Hunters. Also a member of the eclectic Mwandishi Sextet, Maupin has collaborated with Horace Silver, Jack DeJohnette, Woody Shaw, and Lee Morgan, among others. 

Seattle fans are likely to be acquainted with Revis as the long-time bassist of the Branford Marsalis Quartet. He has performed with Avishai Cohen, Kurt Rosenwinkel, and Jeff “Tain” Watts to name but a few. His solo work falls on the eclectic side, with adventurous playing and composing by the compelling bassist. Revis’ most recent release, Sing Me Some Cry is a foray into improvisational adventurism. In any musical setting, his playing is bold and daring, lashing together the disparate parts of any musical journey in any ensemble setting. 

Drummer Nasheet Waits is a New York native who has been active on the scene since very early in his life. He is known for his work with pianists Jason Moran and Fred Hersch, bassist Christian McBride, as well as in the trio Tarbaby with Revis and Evans. He is the son of drummer Freddie Waits, and received an education on the Max Roach side of things coming up. Waits’ playing has evolved into a modern amalgam of jazz percussion along with the rare ability to stretch parameters and create departure points for soloists without losing sight of the journey at hand. 

Options Fall 2019 West Coast tour marks the ensemble’s debut performance. Festival goers in Seattle will bear witness to a group in full exploration mode, in search of a common center. $10–29. For details visit earshot.org.

Flat Earth Society

ADVANCE TICKET PRICES: Adult $32, Senior (60+) $30, Earshot Member $30, Student $10, Military $10
DAY OF SHOW TICKET PRICES: Adult $37, Senior (60+) $35, Earshot Member $35, Student $10, Military $10

Welcomed by KBCS.

The mammoth 18-piece Belgian juggernaut unleashes jazz of unrivaled spirit and verve with staggering chops. Wildly innovative, complex, incendiary, and as tight as a fine classical orchestra.

On this US tour, some 20 years after its founding, FES presents a special anniversary “best of” repertoire. The Flat Earth conspiracy was hatched in an Antwerp club, Cartoons, by Peter Vermeersch, who describes himself as “a no-nonsense artist, former architect, clarinettist, saxophonist, keyboard player, composer, and producer.” Before forming FES, he worked with a host of iconoclasts, from cult band X-legged Sally to guitarist Fred Frith to revolutionary choreographer Anne Teresa De Keersmaeker.

At first as a way to accompany a circus act, he hit upon the big-band format to explore his expansive musical vision. The result has been liberated and inspired. FES has become an eclectic behemoth, but one so friendly and thrilling that it has won acclaim from audiences both within and far beyond jazz circles.

As a very big big band, FES is anything but unwieldy, it follows Vermeersch’s lead brilliantly. Of 2006’s Psychoscout, Nic Jones said in All About Jazz that it “takes in a kind of homage to Kurt Weill, incidental music for old TV detective series, and perhaps a touch of Henry Cow at its most formal. All that makes for listening that could have you laughing out loud or wondering happily over the sheer bravura of it all.”

For points of comparison, think Vienna Art Orchestra, or Willem Breuker Kollektief. But also think: once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. How often do 18 rip-roaring jazz aces tour from anywhere close by, let alone Belgium? $10–37. For details visit earshot.org.

Seattle Jazz Showcase: Bill Anschell Standrads Tro / LaVon Hardison / Tarik Abouzied, Cole Schuster, Joe Doria

ADVANCE TICKET PRICES: Adult $20, Senior (60+) $18, Earshot Member $18, Student $10, Military $10
DAY OF SHOW TICKET PRICES: Adult $25, Senior (60+) $23, Earhsot Member $23, Student $10, Military $10

In the second of two Seattle showcases, three distinct groups display the art of the trio and the soul of jazz.

Bill Anschell has produced a legacy of recordings and live performances that have firmly established his star as a pianist and composer. His Standards Trio released their latest album, Shifting Standards, last year on the Origin label. Anschell favors spontaneity, eschewing a set-list, instead relying on his band’s expertise to deliver unique interpretations. Standards’ bassist Jeff Johnson has contributed mightily to the trio tradition as a member of Hal Galper’s groundbreaking rubato style trio and The Jessica Williams Trio. Drummer Byron Vannoy has no fear in leading the trio down a divergent path from which it first wandered.

Vocalist LaVon Hardison is a singer with a penchant for transforming pop classics into vehicles for her soulful approach to modern jazz. Her performances exude a positive glow and infectious excitement, which draw from her background in the theatrical arts, and opera. In 2016, Hardison won the Seattle-Kobe Sister City Jazz Vocalist audition at Jazz Alley, leading to performances in Kobe, Osaka, and Tokyo, Japan. In 2017, she was named Earshot Jazz Vocalist of the Year. In 2018, she released her latest album, There Will Be Trouble, which includes Hardison’s renditions of songs by The Clash, Katy, Perry, Simon and Garfunkel, and more.

Drummer Tarik Abouzied and B-3 organist Joe Doria have serious history together, notably in Doria’s soul jazz trio, McTuff. Drawing from their collective experiences in jazz, soul, and funk, the pair have developed an intuitive sense no matter what the musical pretense. Guitarist Cole Schuster is one third of The 200 Trio and performs with saxophonist Alex Dugdale’s group, Fade. He has proven himself over the last few years to be a first-call player around Seattle and the Northwest. His stellar performance at the 2017 Ballard Jazz Festival Guitar Summit put his trio alongside bands led by the likes of Brad Shepik and Dan Balmer. No matter where this trio ventures for this performance, the journey will be soulful and burning on the edge.

Between sets, saxophonist Stuart MacDonald’s Trace Generations project brings together Seattle veterans and up-and-comers. $10–25. For details visit earshot.org.

Seattle Repertory Jazz Orchestra: “Jazz of the Harlem Renaissance”


TICKET PRICES: $20-50. Available through Seattle Repertory Jazz Orchestra.

Presented by Seattle Repertory Jazz Orchestra.

The Seattle Repertory Jazz Orchestra continues its series celebrating the Harlem Renaissance. The orchestra honors the music by performing it as it was originally created with original instrumentation. Soulful baritone vocalist Reggie Goings and sultry alto Jacqueline Tabor join the SRJO in a special tribute to Ma Rainey, Ivie Anderson, and others.

Ma Rainey—“Mother of the Blues”—was one of the earliest African-American singers to sing blues professionally, and among the first generation of blues singers to record. Ivie Anderson is well known for her scat vocalizations and for the many years spent touring with Ellington’s band.

The program includes early hits by the Jimmie Lunceford Orchestra and work by Cab Colloway and Fats Waller.

Special guest speaker Jason Turner from the Northwest African American Museum will share insights about the history and personalities of this important period in the development of American culture.

The Seattle Repertory Jazz Orchestra includes a host of top players from the Seattle region. Co-directed by drummer Clarence Acox, a nationally recognized, recently retired director of bands at Seattle’s Garfield High School, and saxophonist/arranger Michael Brockman, a longtime faculty member at the University of Washington School of Music, the orchestra’s repertoire is drawn from the 100-year history of jazz, from turn-of-the-20th century ragtime to turn-of-the-21st century avant-garde. $20–50. For details visit earshot.org.

Gary Hamon: “In case you didn’t know”

ADVANCE TICKET PRICES:  Adult $18, Senior (60+) $16, Earshot Member $16, Student $10, Military $10
DAY OF SHOW TICKET PRICES: Adult $23, Senior (60+) $21, Earshot Member $21, Student $10, Military $10

Support provided by 4Culture. Co-presented with Langston. Welcomed by Rainier Avenue Radio.

“You gotta understand that jazz is an expression of self.”

Driven by a sense of history and purpose, Seattle jazz titan Gary Hammon debuts his brand-new project, “In case you didn’t know,” at this year’s Earshot Jazz Festival in an evening rooted in Seattle’s Central District jazz legacy.

Blending live storytelling and original compositions, this show is inspired by Hammon’s experience growing up in the CD in the ‘60s and ‘70s before his storied career in New York with key figures like Big John Patton, Ray Charles, Jaki Byard, Rahsaan Roland Kirk, Stevie Wonder, and many more. 

Learning saxophone as a student at Garfield High School, Hammon later studied under Joe Brazil, and played with many Seattle-based bands including Dave Lewis, the Black and White Affair, Chuck Metcalf, and Booker T. Williams. In 1969, he went on to attend the New England Conservatory as part of its first intake of black students.  After spending decades in the New York and Boston jazz scenes, he returned to Seattle to “give back to the community that raised him.” Hammon performed with another great Seattle based saxophonist, Hadley Caliman, eventually making a two tenors album Fangs (2005).

Continuing to enrich the local scene, Hammon often performs with seasoned Seattle stalwarts including trumpeters Nathan Breedlove and Erik Esvelt, and saxophonist Booker T. Williams Jr., among others. Passing on his knowledge to a new generation, Hammon mentors and coaches the award-winning jazz band at Ballard High School.

The festival appearance marks the project’s debut in its entirety. Hammon is joined by Carter Yasutake (trumpet), Booker T. Williams (saxophone), and special guests. As Seattle continues to rapidly change, it is more vital than ever to honor the cultural arts districts and heroes that brought the city to life: Gary Hammon’s “In case you ddn’t know,” is an illuminating work of art that does just that. $10–23. For details visit earshot.org.

Travis Laplante

ADVANCE TICKET PRICES: Adult $22, Senior (60+) $20, Earshot Member $20, Student $10, Military $10
DAY OF SHOW TICKET PRICES: Adult $27, Senior (60+) $25, Earshot Member $25, Student $10, Military $10

Travis Laplante is a saxophonist, composer, and qigong practitioner. His tornado of a performance with Gerald Cleaver at last year’s festival was one of the great Earshot shows. He returns, this time solo, for what is sure to be a breathless showing.

Laplante has made a name for himself through his imaginative compositions and fierce playing style, endlessly fueled by circular breathing. His mystifying and transporting playing qualities align with his belief that music “should be played and heard with every cell of the body.”

Heavily influenced by Daoism and the practice of qigong, Laplante seeks to empty the ego of its own desires and wants. He’ll often walk into a room with no agenda except to become one with the room and the audience.

This was the inspiration for performing live and recording seven consecutive nights of pure improvisation in southern Vermont—a brutal process of emptying to discover moments of magic and crushing vulnerability. The result are self-churning moments of humility and growth with profound new depth, compiled on Laplante’s album, human, set to be released in October on New Amsterdam Records.

Laplante returns to share the sincere joys and intimacy of solo improvisation with Earshot audiences in one of Seattle’s most sacred spaces for the experience of music, The Chapel Performance Space. $10–27. For details visit earshot.org.

Emmet Cohen Trio

ADVANCE TICKET PRICES: Adult $22, Senior (60+) $20, Earshot Member $20, Student $10, Military $10
DAY OF SHOW TICKET PRICES: Adult $27, Senior (60+) $25, Earshot Member $25, Student $10, Military $10

Welcomed by KNKX.

A young piano virtuoso and composer from New York, Emmet Cohen has emerged on the jazz scene as one of his generation’s key figures.

With his fluid technique, innovative tonal palate, and an extensive repertoire, Cohen plays with the command and passion of an artist fully devoted to his medium.

Earlier this year, Cohen received the prestigious American Pianists Awards and the Cole Porter Fellowship in Jazz from the American Pianists Association. “Favoring swinging phrasing and concise melodic arcs colored by rich harmonic vocabulary, the tasteful pianist never lets his nimble, cleanly articulated technique overflow into clutter. His music’s uplifting attitude is frequently colored with wit,” says DownBeat.

Adding to his burgeoning discography, Cohen released his latest album as a leader, Dirty In Detroit this year. The rising star’s résumé already comprises stints with some of jazz’s most esteemed elders, including drummers Billy Hart and Jimmy Cobb, and bassist Ron Carter.

When he’s not leading his trio, Cohen is an in-demand sideman, having appeared with Benny Golson, George Coleman, Jimmy Heath, Tootie Heath, and Christian McBride, among others. Connecting deeply with the music of Louis Armstrong, Duke Ellington, Earl ‘Fatha’ Hines, Fats Waller, James P. Johnson and Willie ‘The Lion’ Smith,’ Cohen says “All of [these artists] brought something different to the foundation of jazz. I love connecting with the ancestors through music.” Tokyo native and former Seattle bassist Yasushi Nakamura and New York based drummer Evan Sherman complete the trio. $10–27. For details visit earshot.org.

Yemen Blues Plays Hallel

TICKETS: $32-40. Available through the Triple Door.

Presented by Triple Door.

“Music shows us how to be a human being in this world,” says bassist Ravid Kahalani, aptly describing the universal mindset behind his globe-trotting big band, Yemen Blues.

First formed in 2010 with bassist Omer Avital in New York, Yemen Blues ignited audiences by incorporating mid-career Miles Davis’ sprawling multi-national vision, the locomotive hallelujahs of Duke Ellington, and the power of ancient Arabic and Hebrew song, all in a gumbo-beat of Yemenite and West African influences.

Called “ridiculously charismatic” by National Geographic, Kahalani leads his ensemble with boundless creativity and energy. His journey began in Israel, where he grew up in a traditional Yemenite family, learning synagogue chants, traditional Arabic music, and mastering the three-string bass, or gimbri. He was drawn to the musical diaspora of America in artists like Skip James, Blind Lemon Jefferson, and to the music of Morocco.

From opera-singing, acting, dancing, and tours with the Israeli singer-songwriter Idan Raichel, his search led him to New York, where his otherworldly chops found worldly-wise partners. Yemen Blues embodies Kahalani’s forward vision with a super group of musicians from around the world including Rony Iwryn (percussion), Shanir Blumenkranz (bass, oud), Nikki Glaspie (drums), Salit Lahav (flute, sax), Yoed Nir (Cello), Yonatan Voltzok (trombone), and Asa Kook (trumpet). The world-renowned violinist Navid Kandelousi joins them on violin and Persian four string kamancheh.

Kahlani ’ s lyrics can be heard in his language of origin, Yemenite Arabic, his mother tongue, Hebrew, as well as in Moroccan and French Creole. His newest compositions use words and images found in the Tehillim, the Hebrew-la nguage psalms. Hallel is a Jewish Prayer recitation from Psalms 113– 118, spoken by observant Jews on holy days as an act of praise and thanksgiving. “It doesn’t matter where you come from, your language is my language,” Kahalani sings in the song “Um Min Al Yaman.” True missionaries of music, Yemen Blues mixes praise, lament, and celebration in a multi-dimensional ritual held on the stage’s sacred gathering. $32–40. For details visit earshot.org.

Amendola vs. Blades w/ Skerik, Jeff Parker & Cyro Baptista

TICKET PRICES$25. Available through the Triple Door.

Presented by Triple Door.

Drummer/composer Scott Amendola, and Hammond B-3 organ master Wil Blades are long time collaborators. The two can lay down grooves with an almost telepathic bent. For this showing at the Triple Door, the duo are joined by experimental guitarist Jeff Parker, eclectic world percussionist Cyro Baptista, and Seattle’s dark lord of the saxophone, Skerik.

Amendola creates a balanced array of sounds from his drums and electronics, as his ecordings and performances with the likes of Bill Frisell, Pat Martino, and Charlie Hunter attest. He has formed over the years an uncommon alliance with Blades, creating in Amendola vs. Blades an explorative sound on the edge of the funk/soul universe.

The music is groove based, but hardly dance-centric, or for that matter, straight ahead. Incorporating guitarist Parker from the experimental rock band Tortoise pushes the sound further towards the outermost orbits of soul-jazz.

Baptista’s Brazilian and world percussion add adventurous, textural sounds. Skerik—who’s playing escapes category—is free to feel his way through the music, in an environment that flexes his core impulses as an interpreter of jazz, rock, funk, soul, and the vast unknown. Amendola vs. Blades’ newest album,  Everybody Wins, expanding upon their first release, titled simply, Greatest Hits. The band’s Earshot performance culminates a West Coast tour in support of their new release, giving Seattle fans the opportunity to hear the band at its peak.  $25–28. For details visit earshot.org.

Chick Corea Rhapsody in Blue with the Seattle Symphony

TICKET PRICES: $67-127. Available through Seattle Symphony, Benraoya Hall.

Presented by Seattle Symphony Orchestra.

NEA Jazz Master Chick Corea has attained living legend status after five decades of unparalleled creative output. He is the fourth most nominated artist in the history of the Grammys, with 63 nominations resulting in 22 awards.

Whether delving into straight ahead or avant garde, probing the intricacies of bebop or fusion, or exploring the world of children’s music, Corea has touched an astonishing number of musical bases in his career, including some forays into symphonic works both as an interpreter and composer. What is most astonishing, is the consistent standard of excellence both in the studio and in concert.

  Since embarking on a solo career in 1966, Corea has been at the forefront of jazz, both as a pianist forging new ground with his acoustic jazz ensembles and as a pioneering electric keyboardist with Return to Forever, the Elektric Band, and now the electro/acoustic Vigil.

Corea took over the piano chair in Miles Davis’ band from Herbie Hancock in 1968. Between then and 1970, he appeared on the groundbreaking Davis recordings Filles de Kilimanjaro, In a Silent Way, Bitches Brew, and Live-Evil.

Corea is a relentlessly creative spirit, continually reinventing his approach to music in the process. His foray into classical composing includes the masterful “Piano concerto #1,” an original he recorded with the London Philharmonic. In this festival performance, Corea partners with the Seattle Symphony to perform this concerto, which combines the sounds of Spain, Cuba, and Brazil, with whispers of Gershwin and Ravel.

The evening is highlighted by Corea’s interpretation of the beloved Gershwin classic, “Rhapsody in Blue.” The piece resonates from the opening clarinet trill and unfolds into the classical rhapsodic piano passage that has seen and heard interpretation from classical and American jazz masters alike.

The piece is considered the quintessential American masterpiece that bridges the worlds of European classical music and American jazz. Originally commissioned by bandleader Paul Whiteman in 1924, the piece cemented Gershwin’s reputation as a serious composer. It began the conversation of renewing improvisation as a classical element. The symphony orchestra scoring was introduced in a 1942 performance, though completed much earlier.

The Seattle Symphony will perform under the baton of guest conductor, Steven Mercurio. Innovative in its approach to programming and frequency of recording, the orchestra appears to be a prime fit for this much-anticipated partnership. $67-127. For details visit earshot.org.


Posted on

October 3, 2019