Kate Olson photo by Ernie Sapiro
July 5, 12, 19 & 26, 8pm
Chapel Performance Space
4649 Sunnyside Ave N
Earshot’s annual juried series, Jazz: The Second Century, returns this July at the Chapel Performance Space with four evenings of innovative music.
32 years ago, the newly founded Earshot Jazz organization presented its first programming initiative, a concert series called New Jazz/New City, hosted in the New City Theater on Capitol Hill. Since then, the program has continued each year. While its name has evolved—from New Jazz/New City, to the Earshot Spring Series, to Voice and Vision, and now Jazz: The Second Century—it has always remained true to one of our core values of cultivating community. The winning Seattle artists are selected by a peer panel through a blind jury process to perform original work that is questioning and expanding the conventions of the jazz form.
This year’s panel of four gathered in early June to review the entries. After careful consideration and deliberation, the jury whittled down the submissions to eight winning ensembles. Their selections reflect our city’s current dialogue surrounding the art form, in all its nuances and subtleties.
Thank you to all of the enterprising musicians who submitted work, to our panel for their thoughtful curation, and to the audience members who support the series.
Chris McCarthy’s Sonder
Chris McCarthy – Piano
Thomas Campbell – Drums
Greg Feingold – Bass
Seattle native Chris McCarthy has compiled a rock-solid trio for his project Sonder, featuring Greg Feingold (bass) and Thomas Campbell (drums). While the musicians are no strangers to the Seattle jazz scene, the Sonder project stretches their talents into new territory as they reimagine rock and pop songs from an expanded Great American Songbook. Sonder, which debuted in Seattle last December, performs covers of songs from the 21st century that they assert “are malleable enough to be effective vehicles for improvisation,” from indie-rock band Deerhoof to punk band Birthing Hips. Their aim is to expand the jazz art form’s reach to a broader audience while breaking down the limiting barriers of the genre, both real and perceived.
Kate Olson – Saxophone
Ruby Dunphy – Drums
Tarik Abouzied – Electric bass
Ryan Burns – Keyboards
Kate Olson came to Seattle in 2010 and has since made a name for herself in the improvised music scene. She is a regular collaborator with Syrinx Effect, Seattle Rock Orchestra, the Royal Room Collective Music Ensemble, and Electric Circus, among others. For the 2018 2nd Century Series, Olson presents her group, KO Electric. Joining her for this project is Tarik Abouzied, who is most well-known as a drummer, working with McTuff and his own project, Happy Orchestra. For KO Electric, he switches it up by appearing on electric bass, delivering funky grooves that are sure to stoke smiles. Fellow Royal Room Collective collaborator Ryan Burns joins on keyboards, while Ruby Dunphy of Thunderpussy brings her energetic and powerful drumming to the mix.
Cathedral of Trees
Matthew Anderson – Guitar
Solo guitarist Matthew Anderson draws upon the work of Brazilian jazz master Egberto Gismonti and other post-1960s New World composers. Armed with a 10-string classical guitar, Anderson explores the intersections between jazz, classical, and world music with spontaneity and dynamism. A native to the Northwest, Anderson is a graduate from the Classical Guitar Performance Program at Cornish College of the Arts and an educator with an emphasis on Baroque and Latin American styles.
Ronan Delisle – Guitar
Abbey Blackwell – Bass
Thomas Campbell – Drums
Daniel Salks – Piano
Ray Larsen – Trumpet
Composer and bandleader Ronan Delisle is interested in disrupting the tired, tried-and-true jazz formula of opening head, improvisation, and return to theme. His compositions employ traditional jazz elements in new ways, as he re-examines the roles of instruments, actively re-working how themes and languages are presented. The music calls on the individual talents of the young, up-and-coming band members, including the 2015 Golden Ear Emerging Artist of the Year, Raymond Larsen, and 2017 2nd Century participant Thomas Campbell. The group has nurtured a rapport that allows the music to flow freely, painting between reference points with wide swathes of rhythmic and melodic colors.
New Series One
Simon Henneman – Guitar
Troy Schefelbein – Unamplified acoustic bass
Mike Gebhart – Hand drums & hand percussion
New Series One takes their name from a reference on Charles Mingus’ record, Mingus Presents Mingus. The trio plays in an uninterrupted flow, comfortably moving between melodies, rhythms, and chord changes. The result harkens to the roots of jazz as a very intimate folk music. Henneman sees New Series One as a space for each performer to interact on a shared platform, to interact and listen deeply, finding new places to explore. In an ever-expanding world with multiplying distractions, the group’s search for commonplace and closeness offers a refreshing antidote. The Chapel stage is an apt setting to promote their desired togetherness.
Christian Pincock’s Scrambler
Christian Pincock and Friends
Christian Pincock (Soundpainting), Evan Smith (saxophones), Jacob Zimmerman (woodwinds), Haley Freedlund (trombone), Heather Bentley (viola), Geoff Traeger (electronics), Carol Levin (harp), Ryan Kotler (bass), Kelsey Mines (bass), Remy Morritt (drums), Evan Woodle (drums), Greg Campbell (French horn and percussion)
Trombonist and composer Christian Pincock describes his Scrambler project as a “musical mash” that combines large quantities of jazz, several cups of classical music, a tablespoon of folk and a dash of sound effects, whisked together with Soundpainting, a conducted improvisation sign language created by performance artist Walter Thompson. In his Scrambler project, Pincock calls upon some of Seattle’s most innovative improvisers using physical gestures to communicate to them in real time to create a unique feedback loop. Each performance becomes an experiment for the performers and the spectators, who are invited to reconsider traditional roles and hierarchies between the conductor, musician, and audience relationships.
Rob Pumpelly – Percussionist
Eli Wallace – Pianist
Piano and drum duo Dialectical Imagination integrate the creative spirit of free-improvisation with the emotional expressionism of chamber music, which they call “ecstatic music.” After playing together in a number of other groups, Eli Wallace and Rob Pumpelly formed a tight musical partnership that explores the full spectrum of expression. Nothing is off limits to these two, from cathartic swells to iconoclastic breaks to resplendent waves. Their ecstatic expressionism does not fit squarely into a musical box, but rather embraces and celebrates the great paradoxes inherent to all art forms.
Jeremy’s Pyramid Scheme
Jeremy Shaskus – Woodwinds and composer/arranger
Will Lone – Drums
Joel Bean – Organ
Nathan Breedlove – Trumpet
Jeremy’s Pyramid Scheme, composed by woodwinds performer Jeremy Shaskus is, in his words, “another pebble dropped in the stream of what is classified as music.” Featuring two-time Grammy nominee Nathan Breedlove on trumpet, Joel Bean on organ, and improvising artist Will Lone on drums, Jeremy’s Pyramid Scheme is comprised of established Seattle musicians who can seriously play. While the project shows deference to the music, it also injects it with humor, igniting a sense of playfulness á la John Cage. The group embraces all musical influences, drawing heavily from the American Improvised Genre.
Tickets and more information available at earshot.org