Jazz Under the Stars


Nancy Erickson photo courtesy of the artist.

Thursdays, July 11–August 15, 7–9pm
Mary Baker Russell Outdoor Amphitheater
Pacific Lutheran University,
Tacoma, WA

Now in its 21st year, the cherished Jazz Under the Stars concert series launches on July 11, to be continued every Thursday evening through August 15.

Originally conceived by Pacific Lutheran’s Department of Music faculty as an opportunity to showcase the region’s top jazz players, Jazz Under the Stars (JUTS) comprises six outdoor performances for listeners of all ages. It is a loyally attended summer highlight, set in a charming, intimate outdoor venue with state-of-the-art sound. Guests are invited to visit the campus observatory for stargazing after the final three performances in August. In the unlikely event of uncooperative weather, concerts are moved into Lagerquist Concert Hall.

The first show on July 11 brings pianist David Deacon-Joyner and his trio to the stage. Joyner is a composer, arranger, lecturer, and professor with over 30 years’ experience at the University of North Texas and Pacific Lutheran University. Having performed all over the world, he collaborates frequently with saxophonist Pete Christlieb, award-winning vocalist LaVon Hardison, and the Tacoma-based Grit City Jazz Octet.

Saxophonist Dmitri Matheny and his group reveal their magic on July 18. Celebrated for his warm tone, soaring lyricism, and masterful technique, Matheny has received several prestigious

music awards, including the 2016 NW Instrumentalist of the Year Golden Ear Award as well as Best New Artist in the 1999 JazzTimes Readers Poll. Joining Matheny are Northwest favorites Randy Halberstadt (piano), Phil Sparks (bass), and Mark Ivester (drums).

On July 25, it’s The Dan Duval Good Vibes Quartet. Vibraphonist Duval, with Steve Yamasaki on saxophone, Trent Leurquin on bass and Nonda Trimis on drums, cook up their own fresh sound of jazz favorites and creative originals. Expect to hear something for everyone to enjoy.

Two vocalists are featured in early August, with award-winning singer and composer Eugenie Jones appearing on August 1, followed by Kobe Jazz Award winner Nancy Erickson on August 8.

The Vienna/Bergeron Brazilian Quintet concludes the program on August 15. A native of Rio de Janeiro, Cassio Vianna is the Director of Jazz Studies and Assistant Professor of Music at PLU. The composer, pianist, arranger, and educator has participated as a performer and clinician at festivals and conferences in Brazil, Paraguay, China and the United States. Saxophonist and co-leader Tom Bergeron has performed with Ella Fitzgerald, Anthony Braxton, among many others, in concerts across the globe. Vocalist Rosi Bergeron, bassist Clipper Anderson, and drummer Mark Ivester join them for this final concert in the series.

As an additional highlight, Associate Professor of Music Paul Tegels offers an intermission performance on the world-famous Fuchs pipe organ in the Lagerquist Concert Hall.

Pack your lawn chairs, picnic blankets, and picnic food. Coffee will be available. Wine, beer, and snacks are also available for purchase. All concerts are free and open to the public. –Marianne Gonterman

For more information, visit plu.edu.


Posted on

July 1, 2019