Festival Previews, Week One

Seattle Jazz resident artist Jacob Zimmerman

Jacob Zimmerman photo by Amber French

Old School / New School – All School Jazz Jam

Friday, October 9, 7pm | The Vera Project
$10 general | $8 members & seniors | $5 students & military

The Earshot Jazz Festival 2015 kicks things into high gear with a party at the famed Seattle Center all-ages club, The Vera Project. Seattle saxophonist, composer, and educator Jacob Zimmerman leads an ensemble of the city’s youngest crop of jazz educators as they hand over the keys to Seattle’s newest blast of top school-aged players.

Please join us at 6pm for our opening reception, complete with light refreshments and serious music from a student ensemble. Jacob Zimmerman and friends (Steve Treseler, sax; Michael Van Bebber, trumpet; Dawn Clement, piano; Carmen Rothwell, bass; Julian MacDonough, drums) take the stage at 7pm to burn through a set of music before inviting an all-school amalgam of new and experienced Seattle jazz players to the jam. This will be a night to inspire.

Thomas Marriott with McTuff

Friday, October 9 & Saturday, October 10, 7:30pm | Tula’s Restaurant & Jazz Club
$18 general | $16 members & seniors | $9 students & military

Tough, sinewy funk-rock-soul-jazz: Hammond organist Joe Doria, guitarist Dan Heck, and drummer Byron Vannoy join trumpeter Thomas Marriott for two nights of downhome Seattle jazz.

Seattleite trumpeter Marriott relocated to New York in 1999 after winning the prestigious Carmine Caruso Jazz Trumpet Competition. From there, he embarked on three world tours with Maynard Ferguson’s Big Bop Nouveau Band and worked in New York and on the road with the likes of Rosemary Clooney, The Tito Puente Orchestra, The Chico O’Farrill Orchestra, Eddie Palmieri, and many others. Since his return to Seattle in 2004, Marriott has been the featured trumpet soloist with the Seattle Repertory Jazz Orchestra and has been a catalyst on the Seattle jazz scene. Marriott records on local label Origin Records.

Organist Doria learned piano from Randy Halberstadt and Dave Peck at Cornish College, plus some select lessons from Jerome Grey. Generally, he taught himself Hammond organ from listening to Jimmy Smith and Jack McDuff. Uplifted by a regular gig with Heck and drummer John Wicks at the erstwhile Art Bar in downtown Seattle, Doria developed his Hammond mastery. He’s been a regular feature in Michael Shrieve’s Spellbinder, a first-call local organist, and gigging mentor to local drummers D’Vonne Lewis and Tarik Abouzied, guitarist Andy Coe, and many others, in his weekly Tuesday hang with band McTuff at the Seamonster in Seattle’s Wallingford neighborhood.

Drummer Vannoy has performed and recorded with Julian Priester, Jovino Santos Neto, Wayne Horvitz, Ernestine Anderson, and Hadley Caliman. He holds an Associate Certificate in Professional Music from Berklee College of Music, a Bachelor of Music degree in Jazz Performance from Cornish College, and a Master of Fine Arts degree in Jazz and African American Music Performance from California Institute of the Arts.

Guitarist/composer Heck currently lives and works in Naples, Florida. He was born in Philadelphia and raised in eastern Long Island, NY. A graduate of Berklee College of Music, he has performed in Boston, New York, Paris, and Seattle, where he co-founded the award-winning ensemble Bebop and Destruction, of Seattle’s turn-of-this-millennium Owl n’ Thistle jam sessions.


Saturday, October 10, 8pm | Seattle Art Museum, Plestcheeff Auditorium
$24 general | $22 members & seniors | $12 students & military

An emerging artist with a fresh musical vision and a steadily growing fan base, Somi has been described as having “the earthy gutsiness of Nina Simone blended with the vocal beauty of Dianne Reeves” (JazzTimes). Her band features Liberty Ellman (guitar), Toru Dodo (piano/keyboard), and Ben Williams (bass).

Born in Illinois to parents from Rwanda and Uganda, Somi grew up surrounded by a multitude of musical styles. She “combines the sounds of jazz and soul with the musical depth of her African heritage” (SoulTrain.com). This blend of styles creates a new genre she refers to as New African Jazz.

Somi is a two-time recipient of the Doris Duke Foundation’s French-American Jazz Exchange Composers’ Grant and is currently developing a jazz opera about the life and legacy of South African singer and activist Miriam Makeba. She also shares her music through New Africa Live, a non-profit music organization that she founded in 2008. According to their website, the foundation “aims to carve out a cultural space of belonging for contemporary African artists by producing multidisciplinary arts events that entertain, educate and create awareness of the value of African culture in a globalized world.”

After an 18-month sabbatical in Lagos, Nigeria, Somi created the music that makes up her most recent album, The Lagos Music Salon. Released in August 2014, her Sony Music/Okeh debut reached #1 on the US jazz charts. According to her website, the album takes “material from the tropical city’s boastful cosmopolitanism, urgent inspiration, and giant spirit – straddling the worlds of African jazz, soul, and pop with a newfound ease.” It also features contemporary luminaries such as Ambrose Akinmusire, Common, and Angelique Kidjo. New York Times writer Jon Pareles says, “Somi’s songs gracefully fuse African-tinged grooves, supple jazz singing, and compassionate social consciousness; they’re both serious and seductive!”

Wayne Horvitz: Some Places Are Forever Afternoon

Saturday, October 10, 8pm | PONCHO Concert Hall, Cornish College of the Arts
Sunday, October 11, 6pm | White Center Fieldhouse, 6pm
$28 general | $26 members & seniors | $14 students & military | White Center performance is free
Co-presented with Cornish Presents

Wayne Horvitz’s Some Places are Forever Afternoon (11 Places for Richard Hugo) is the first of three events marking Horvitz’s 60th birthday and his considerable contributions to Seattle jazz culture.
In Seattle for more than 20 years, the keyboardist/composer has led and inspired a host of groundbreaking musical projects, and mentored a generation of innovators.

In the summer of 2014, Horvitz traveled throughout the Pacific Northwest to places where the poet Richard Hugo, who was born in White Center, had created his verse. Hugo lived throughout the Northwest before settling in Missoula, where he taught poetry at the University of Montana until his death in 1982. He cherished small towns and odd places, from West Marginal Way to La Push to the Union Bar Grill in rural Montana. He sat in cafés and bars for hours before going home to write. And he was a great lover of jazz.

Horvitz has taken 11 of Hugo’s poems inspired by place as inspiration for 11 musical pieces. Each poem is read following the performance of the corresponding composition.

Horvitz is on piano with members of his Gravitas Quartet and Sweeter Than The Day groups: Ron Miles (trumpet), Peggy Lee (cello), Sara Schoenbeck (bassoon), Timothy Young (guitar), Keith Lowe (bass), Eric Eagle (drums), with Francis McCue reading the poems.

Funding for the creation, recording and touring of “Some Places Are Forever Afternoon” has been provided by: The Shifting Foundation, Chamber Music America, and 4Culture. Additional support provided by The Prop Foundation, WESTAF, The Southwest Seattle Historical Society, and Linda Breneman.

Wayne Shorter Quartet

Sunday, October 11, 8pm | Benaroya Hall, S. Mark Taper Foundation Auditorium
$25-65, with discounts available for members, seniors, students & military
Presented by Earshot Jazz and 88.5 KPLU

One of the most influential saxophonists and composers in the pantheon of modern music, let alone jazz, Wayne Shorter has an outstanding record of professional achievement in his historic career as a musician. Regarded as a pioneer since his emergence in the 1950s, his trajectory has restlessly embodied continual exploration and unencumbered momentum. A generation of musicians and fans see and hear him as a humble master who created a timeless vocabulary – as vital as it is unbound.

His long-running quartet features pianist Danilo Pérez, bassist John Patitucci, and drummer Brian Blade. Reviews of the group’s live performances are exercises in superlative overload. Calling it “the most skillful, mutually attuned and fearlessly adventurous small jazz group on the planet,” The Guardian said that the quartet “celebrates humanity’s hope for harmony.”

Shorter won in three categories of the 2014 Jazz Journalists Association Jazz Awards, taking honors for Musician of the Year; Record of the Year for his quartet’s searing Blue Note release, Without A Net; and the Wayne Shorter Quartet was named top Midsize Ensemble of the Year.

If the prolific composer had never written a single tune, his signature sound and choice of notes, sense of economy and unparalleled expression on both tenor and soprano saxes would have earmarked him for greatness. Combine the writing prowess with the fragmented, probing solos and the enigmatic Buddhist philosopher presence and you have the makings of a jazz immortal.

Ornette Coleman Tribute: Action Figure / Focus on Sanity

Tuesday, October 13, 7:30pm | The Royal Room
$16 general | $14 members & seniors | $8 students & military

On June 11, 2015, an important innovator of the music world passed away. Ornette Coleman changed the way we hear, play, and think about music forever, and as a celebration in this year to his life, two talented groups of inspired musicians will perform various works and music influenced from the late, great provocateur’s legacy.

Action Figure is comprised of Seth Alexander (alto saxophone), Birch Pereira (bass), and Dave Abramson (drums). The trio will be focusing on the earlier stages of the early Ornette Coleman small groups, where harmonic instruments, such as the guitar and piano, were excluded to leave more room for melodic and compositional freedom. Action Figure was featured in Earshot’s “Jazz: The Second Century” juried series earlier this year.

Focus on Sanity, named after the Ornette Coleman tune from the masterpiece The Shape of Jazz to Come, is a nine-piece double-quartet format, albeit with different instrumentation, with an extra voice. The group’s instrumentation follows a similar path found on such records as Coleman’s Free Jazz. Focus on Sanity’s performance will look to Coleman’s Prime Time years where he began featuring electric guitars in his ensembles and frequently performed through group improvisational methods. They are comprised of James DeJoie (alto saxophone), Jim Knodle (trumpet), Dennis Rea (guitar), Ken Masters (guitar), Ryan Berg (bass), John Seman (bass), Stephen Thomas Cavit (drums), Don Berman (drums), and Matt McCluskey (keyboards).

Edmonds-Woodway High School w/ Kathy Kosins

Tuesday, October 13, 7:30pm | Edmonds-Woodway High School Little Theater
$12 general admission
Presented by Edmonds-Woodway High School Music Boosters

Edmonds-Woodway High School Music Boosters present the EWHS Jazz Ensemble I and Mello-Aires with special guests Kathy Kosins (vocals) and David Goldblatt (piano). Edmonds-Woodway, under the direction of Jake Bergevin (bands) and Charlotte Reese (choirs), has distinguished itself as a thriving community of jazz musicians, in turn helping to establish Edmonds as a jazz town.

The intimate theater at Edmonds-Woodway boasts a prime location for a great night of vocal and piano jazz. Kosins and Goldblatt both bring a combination of artistry and craftsmanship.

A four-time finalist in the Essentially Ellington competition, last year the band received Gold Commendations at the Loyola Jazz Festival in New Orleans. EWHS Jazz One is a regular participant in the annual Starbucks Hot Java Cool Jazz.

The Mello-Aires Jazz Choir has won the Columbia Basin Community College Jazz Festival and regularly rates among the best of the Northwest Jazz Vocal groups.

Graduates of the Edmonds-Woodway Jazz Program have attended such prestigious colleges as Berklee College of Music, the Manhattan School of Music, Eastman School of Music, USC Thornton School of Music, and many more.

Ted Poor Quartet / UW Scholarship Ensemble

Thursday, October 15, 7:30pm | Meany Studio Theater
$20 general | $10 students & seniors
Presented by UW School of Music

UW Artist-in-Residence Ted Poor, on drums, is joined by New York-based musicians Bill McHenry (tenor saxophone), Josh Roseman (trombone), and the great Eric Revis on bass in a concert devoted to Our Man in Jazz, the 1962 album by Sonny Rollins. An ensemble of top UW jazz students opens the program.

Jazz Review writes, “Ted has an uncanny ability to shape the music and a refreshingly unique, organic approach to playing the drums.” This unique approach has caught the ears of many of jazz’s most established musicians.

Poor graduated from the Eastman School of Music in 2003 and subsequently became a significant force in New York’s improvised music scene. Described by Modern Drummer as an “adventurous, truly dynamic, and forward-thinking” drummer, he is in high demand as a player and has performed and recorded with Kurt Rosenwinkel, Bill Frisell, Mark Turner, Chris Potter, Kenny Werner, Maria Schneider, Aaron Parks, and Ralph Alessi.

McHenry has been heralded by the New York Times as a “fresh new voice: He can play with un-orthodox structure and get as free as you want, but he maintains a ripe, lovely tone straight out of the 1950’s.”

Roseman is well-known in the New York jazz scene as a participant in the Knitting Factory heyday of the early ‘90s. Roseman was acclimated quickly as a co-founder of the acid-jazz dance band the Groove Collective and the less appreciated Giant Step. A born experimentalist, Roseman also plays tuba, euphonium, bass, drums, piano, and his Mac.

Revis, Grammy Award-winning bassist and distinguished bandleader of experimental group Tarbaby, is an exciting new addition to the group. A veteran to large jazz stages, he has been a solid member of Branford Marsalis’ ensemble since 1997.


Posted on

September 29, 2015

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