Earshot Jazz Festival Previews

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Thursday, November 3, 8pm | The Royal Room

Matt Savage / Dawn Clement & Mark Taylor

Welcomed by 88.5 KNKX
$16 general / $14 members & seniors / $8 students & military

The Boston Globe calls him “The Key Master.”

And having already toured the world and played on such stages as the Kennedy Center, Carnegie Hall, Birdland, and festivals too numerous to count, 24-year-old Matt Savage is indeed a master – and possesses the bio of one.

Savage’s professional jazz career started at the ripe old age of 10 and has involved music-making with the likes of Chick Corea, The Ellington All Stars, Chaka Khan, Wynton Marsalis, and John Pizzarelli, to name a few. Famed tenor sax player Jimmy Heath says that Savage is “the future of JAZZ.” With 11 recordings under his belt, he also can lay claim to being a Bösendorfer piano artist, which puts him on the same roster as piano greats Quincy Jones, Vladimir Ashkenazy, and even Franz Liszt.

A prolific composer, he wrote the majority of the music on his albums, much of which has been used commercially. He scored the music for the full-length documentary film, Sound of Redemption: The Frank Morgan Story, chronicling the life of alto player Frank Morgan.

He has appeared in news shows and documentaries worldwide, including the well known Marian McPartland’s “Piano Jazz,” NPR’s All Things Considered, “Late Night with Conan O’Brien,” “The Late Show with David Letterman,” the “Today” Show, and ABC’s “20/20.”

Diagnosed with autism as a child, Savage involves himself in fundraising and advocacy efforts like Autism Speaks’ “Light Up the Blues” concert event in Hollywood, and dedicates a portion of his time to teaching at a school for children and adults with autism and other developmental disabilities.

Also on the bill this evening are local legends-in-the-making Dawn Clement and Mark Taylor, who parse their celebrated LineUp! ensemble down to piano-sax duo.

Friday, November 4 & Saturday, November 5, 7:30pm | Tula’s Restaurant & Jazz Club

Denise Donatelli & Anton Schwartz Quintet

Welcomed by 88.5 KNKX
$24 general / $22 members & seniors / $10 students & military

For fans of smooth, sultry vocals with an instrumental jazz sensibility, don’t miss Denise Donatelli, playing with Anton Schwartz (sax), Randy Porter (piano), Michael Glynn (bass), and Matt Jorgensen (drums).

Vocalist Denise Donatelli has an impressive resume of recordings and award wins/nominations. Her last three recordings were nominated for Grammys in the Best Vocal Jazz Album category. In 2012, she was voted Jazz Vocalist of the Year by the Los Angeles Jazz Society and has been featured in the DownBeat Critics Poll as a Rising Jazz Vocalist for the last four years. After establishing herself as a musician to be reckoned with on the Atlanta scene, she moved to Los Angeles, where she has worked ever since. Her confidence, slightly smoky tone, and rhythmic sensibility remind one of vocalists like Diana Krall, Ella Fitzgerald, and Carmen McRae. One of her trademarks is performing songs that are typically off the beaten path. JazzTimes writer Christopher Loudon describes her repertoire as “bolder and more interesting, both in terms of material and interpretation.”

The “virtually impossible to resist” (Buffalo News) saxophonist, composer, and educator Anton Schwartz, who splits his time between Seattle and the Bay Area, performs regularly up and down the West Coast. His latest album, Flash Mob, surged to the sixth spot on the jazz radio charts and earned a coveted four-star review in DownBeat magazine. Schwartz is acclaimed for his “warm, generous tone, impeccably developed solos, and infectious performance energy” (San Francisco Chronicle).

Saturday, November 5, 8pm | The Moore Theatre

STG Presents Bill Frisell “When You Wish Upon a Star”

Presented by Seattle Theatre Group

It’s hard to imagine a more disarmingly authentic major artist than Bill Frisell. It is also kind of refreshing to know that a distinctive individual, like Bill, can continue to unveil new artistic output, with remarkable collaborators all around the world – especially on an instrument as ubiquitous as the guitar – and retain the purity and heart of his own artistic identity. It is entirely right that Bill Frisell should live here in Seattle. We’re happy to call him a friend, and pleased to join STG in presenting music from his recent recording, When You Wish Upon a Star.

Born in Baltimore and raised in Colorado, Frisell studied music at both the University of Northern Colorado and Berklee College of Music. His first big break came when Pat Metheny recommended him for a recording session that he was unable to attend. Following that successful session, Frisell became an in-house guitar player for the prestigious ECM Label, where he released his thoughtful debut record, In Line, with Norwegian bassist Arild Andersen, in 1983.

Since then, he has released over 30 albums as a leader, and has continually increased his list of remarkable collaborators to include Elvis Costello, Yo-Yo Ma, Bonnie Raitt, Allen Toussaint, Lucinda Williams, Joe Henry, Buddy Miller, and many more.

Released in early 2016 on Okeh Records, When You Wish Upon a Star pays tribute to “the countless, anonymous, uncredited, unsung, extraordinary musicians” of the films and TV shows that are “embedded so deeply into the fabric of what fires up my musical imagination.” Featuring Petra Haden (vocals), Thomas Morgan (bass), and Matt Chamberlain (drums), the album was given 4 ½ out of 5 stars on All About Jazz, who called it “music that will likely assume even greater freedom and collective/collaborative expansion in a live context.”

Saturday, November 5, 7:30pm | Benaroya Hall, Illsley Ball Nordstrom Recital Hall
Sunday, November 6, 2pm | Kirkland Performance Center

Seattle Repertory Jazz Orchestra presents Miles Ahead: Miles Davis & Gil Evans

Presented by SRJO

Seattle Repertory Jazz Orchestra performs a rousing tribute to the seminal 1957 collaboration between Miles Davis and Gil Evans, Miles Ahead. The album merged Davis’ brassy bravado with Evans’ novel orchestral instrumentations to create one of the most celebrated jazz albums of all time. This concert will highlight several trumpeters from SRJO, including Jay Thomas, Thomas Marriott, Michael Van Bebber, and Andy Omdahl, as they bring works such as “Maids of Cadiz” and “My Ship” to life, along with other works rarely performed.

The SRJO, founded in 1995, is a 17-piece big band jazz ensemble dedicated to preserving and celebrating the unique American art form of large ensemble jazz. Its performers consist of some of Seattle’s most passionate and experienced jazz musicians, playing an extensive repertoire drawn from all across jazz’s 100-year history. Along with highlighting the greats, such as Count Basie, Duke Ellington, Dizzy Gillespie, and others, they also perform rare works that had previously not been published.

Sunday, November 6, 8pm | Seattle Art Museum (Plestcheeff Auditorium)

Dee Daniels Trio

Welcomed by 88.5 KNKX
$24 general / $22 members & seniors / $10 students & military

There are few in the Northwest who have not fallen in love with the engaging range and passionate performances of Dee Daniels. Born in the Bay Area, and with gospel and R&B roots, Daniels is a music leader, augmenting the performances and teaching quality of the Jazz Port Townsend Festival, Lionel Hampton International Jazz Festival in Boise, and the Frank De Miero Jazz Festival in Edmonds.

As a younger singer, Daniels honed her style over a five-year period living in the Netherlands and Belgium. Back in the States and in Canada, attention to Daniels increased quickly, resulting in appearances and recordings with jazz greats Toots Thielemans, Houston Person, Clark Terry, Lionel Hampton, Monty Alexander, John Clayton, and others.

The range of her international work includes performing throughout Africa, Europe and the United Kingdom, Australia, Hong Kong, and Japan. But a focus on the Vancouver, BC, area brought opportunities to teach, and even an honorary Doctorate Degree from Capilano University, where she established a vocal scholarship. She’s been a lead performer in symphony pops programs with many major city orchestras, in “Great Ladies of Swing” and “The Soul of Ray: The Music of Ray Charles,” and has delivered stirring performances with the Jazz Vespers at St. Peter’s Church in New York City, as well as Newark and Saskatoon.

Her album work over the years, including her 2007 album JAZZINIT and more recent album Choose Me, simultaneously reflects strength, versatility, and creativity.

Tonight, she performs with an ensemble of local talent: Tony Foster (piano), Chuck Deardorf (bass), and Greg Williamson (drums).

Monday, November 7, 7:30pm | Triple Door

Rokia Traoré

Presented by Triple Door

Defying the conventions of world music, Malian singer/songwriter Rokia Traoré dismisses the notion of genre, effortlessly blending the sounds of Mali with blues, rock, jazz, and folk. One of the most inventive artists in Africa today, Traoré is remarkable not just for the range of her powerful and emotional voice but also for her stunning live performances that range from up-tempo guitar-led pop to haunting and melancholy ballads. On her 2016 release, Né So, Traoré turns to friends John Parish (PJ Harvey, Eels), John Paul Jones (Led Zeppelin), and Devendra Banhart to help her express her deep sadness at the state of turmoil in her native Mali. Lamenting her homeland’s loss of life, culture, and traditions, Traoré will draw audiences in with a striking translation from emotion to song, including transcriptions of some of Toni Morrison’s prolific writings. With her unmistakable vocals, stunning stage presence, and deep West African well of music, the Malian singer provides a dazzling concert experience. A Seattle favorite, she returns with the testimonies to the soul and endurance of her homeland.

Wednesday, November 9, 8pm | Benaroya Hall, Illsley Ball Nordstrom Recital Hall

Vijay Iyer & Wadada Leo Smith Duo

Co-presented with LIVE @ Benaroya Hall
$28 general / $26 members & seniors / $12 students & military

This concert promises to be a stunning, not-to-be-missed highlight in the festival. The brilliant Vijay Iyer is a Grammy-nominated pianist, composer, bandleader, electronic musician, educator, and writer whose artistic vision redefines jazz and creative American music. Iyer’s career has bridged the arts, humanities, and the sciences, and his compositions reach across genres and disciplines. Fueled by his impassioned explorations of varied musical communities, practices, histories, and theories, his creative work rewards the listener with richly varied, improvisation-driven music.

Iyer’s compositions feature elaborate melodic constructions and intricate rhythmic techniques influenced by South Indian classical music, West African drumming, contemporary European composers, and 20th century African American piano masters. He creates a unique voice in diverse musical contexts while reaffirming the place of music not just as entertainment but as an essential part of human society.

The recipient of a Ph.D. from the University of California at Berkeley, Iyer performed at dozens of music festivals and jazz clubs nationally and around the world. In January 2014, he joined the Harvard University Department of Music as the Rosenblatt Professor of the Arts. Recent honors include a 2013 MacArthur fellowship and the 2015 DownBeat Critics’ Poll award for Jazz Artist of the Year.

The legendary trumpeter and composer Wadada Leo Smith exemplifies creative vitality as an ongoing force, setting new directions in innovative contemporary music. A boldly original figure in American jazz, he was a founding member of the Association for the Advancement of Creative Musicians. His compositions have been performed by the AACM Orchestra and the Kronos Quartet.

Smith received the prestigious 2016 Doris Duke Artist Award, was recognized as “Composer of the Year” at the 19th Annual Jazz Journalists Association Jazz Awards, and was honored with 2016 Mohn Career Achievement Award by the Hammer Museum at UCLA.

The latest collaborative work by Iyer and Smith, A Cosmic Rhythm with Each Stroke (ECM), is dedicated to the late Indian artist Nasreen Mohamedi, known for her drawings and photography.

“Iyer and Smith may represent two different generations of artists but both are at their creative peaks,” says All About Jazz of their collaboration.

Thursday, November 10, 5:30pm | Seattle Art Museum (Brotman Forum)

Art of Jazz: Eugenie Jones

Co-presented with Seattle Art Museum
Free and open to the public

This year’s 2016 Golden Ear Award, Vocalist of The Year winner, Eugenie Jones, teams up with pianist Peter Adams, bassist Greg Feingold, guitarist Cole Schuster, and drummer Brian Smith for a night of original compositions, standards, and even a tribute to the late Ernestine Anderson.

Jones’ debut album Black Lace Blue Tears won the Golden Ear Award for “Recording of the Year” in 2013. Of her second album, Jazziz Magazine says, “Seattle-based vocalist Eugenie Jones may have been a latecomer to the jazz world, but she displays the seasoned sensibilities of a jazz lifer on her sophomore release, Come Out Swingin.’”

She has attracted positive attention from DownBeat, Jazz Weekly, All About Jazz, and many more jazz journals. Critical Jazz reviewer Brent Black says that Jones is “full of passion and raw emotion….[she is] that rare breed of artist that sidesteps pretentiousness and allows the music to take center stage.” Another must hear.

Friday, November 11, 7:30pm | Tula’s Restaurant & Jazz Club

Tarik Abouzied, Joe Doria, Dan Balmer, Damian Erskine

$20 general / $18 members & seniors / $10 students & military

In a rocking Northwest grouping, renowned Seattle drummer Tarik Abouzied calls on old friends Joe Doria on Hammond B-3, Portland guitar legend Dan Balmer, and badass bassist Damian Erskine for a memorable close to this year’s festival.

Renowned for his taut, tough backbeats, Abouzied is a veteran of such celebrated Seattle jazz-funk outfits as McTuff and Happy Orchestra. Abouzied has produced six albums collectively between his groups, which also include instrumental funk septet Pocket Change, and modern jazz-fueled Hardcoretet. Currently, the drummer produces new big band Happy Orchestra, which was awarded 4Culture’s 2015 Arts Project Grant and nominated as Earshot Jazz’s 2015 Alternative Jazz Group of the Year.

With roots together in Seattle’s hallmark funk/jazz Hammond organ trio McTuff, Abouzied pairs up again with organ icon Joe Doria. The go-to keys master is hardly in need of an introduction, continually stunning his audiences with his ability to add depth and dimension to every song he performs. Doria is a backbone member to a handful of groups including his own Joe Doria Trio, The Drunken Masters, Skerik’s Syncopated Taint Septet, and Spellbinder featuring renowned drummer Michael Shrieve of Santana.

Two of Portland’s most acclaimed music educators and master disciples of their instruments – Damian Erksine and Dan Balmer – complete the quartet. Balmer impresses as one of only five Oregonians to be honored with membership in both The Oregon Music Hall of Fame and the Jazz Society of Oregon Hall of Fame, and has been hailed as “the model of what a contemporary guitarist should be” (Los Angeles Times).

Friday, November 11, 8pm | Benaroya Hall, S. Mark Taper Foundation Auditorium

Seattle Symphony: Sonic Evolution

Presented by Seattle Symphony

The Seattle Symphony presents the perfect collaboration to close out Seattle’s jazz festival. This evening of orchestral and ensemble works celebrates Seattle’s jazz legacy with an homage to iconic producer Quincy Jones, who began his stellar career in jazz and popular music at Garfield High School and appeared as a trumpeter and band leader on Seattle’s fabled Jackson Street. Appropriately, the award-winning Garfield Jazz Band, under Clarence Acox, joins the orchestra for tunes from the Jones “book.” The phenomenal Seattle-resident trumpeter Cuong Vu plays a new composition with the symphony. And, because November 11 is the birthday of Jones’s contemporary, the much-loved and recently departed treasure Ernestine Anderson, vocalist Grace Love sings some of “Stine’s” favorites.

And don’t miss an opening performance by a Seattle JazzED combo, in the Benaroya Hall lobby!


Posted on

November 2, 2016