Recurring Jazz Series

Austin Fields and Smacktalk rehearsing in music studio

SmackTalk photo by Austin Fields.

From the hidden nooks and intimate house concerts to the larger collaborative efforts between community busi­nesses and city arts organizations, jazz is found in abundance all over the Puget Sound. Here is a glimpse into the broad diversity of concert series available in the region, many of them free of charge. Did we miss your favorite se­ries? Let us know by emailing editor@earshot.org.

JazzLIVE at Marine View
Second Sundays 5–7pm 8469 East Side Drive NE, Tacoma

Showcasing some of the PNW’s most notable jazz musicians in Northeast Tacoma, Marine View Presbyterian Church’s JazzLIVE series enters its eleventh year under the steward­ship of longtime church member and founder of the series, Jim Foster. For over a decade on every second Sunday of the month from 5–7pm, JazzLIVE has continued to be a free, all-ages and family friendly concert series that has established itself as a staple experience of the jazz scene in the Seattle-Taco­ma area. Coming up on January 12, widely celebrated trumpeter and sev­en-time Earshot Golden Ear Award re­cipient, Thomas Marriott and quartet kick off the 2020 series. On February 9, electric violinist, the Geoffrey Cas­tle Band will blow your pew away. On March 8, jazz vocalist and one of the most remarkable artists on the scene, the Greta Matassa Quintet (Darin Clendenin, piano; bassist Clipper An­derson; Mark Ivester, drums; Alexey Nikolaev, tenor sax) will trill and croon for the eager Marine View audi­ence. With such a rich line up on the way, and more to be announced soon, be sure to stay up to date at marinev­iewpc.org for more information!

JazzVox House Concert Series
Various Dates Various Locations

Is there a better way to enjoy music than in a cozy home setting with an intimate audience, delicious food, and perhaps a glass of wine? JazzVox is the brainchild of enthusiast, Nich Anderson, on a mission to bring audiences and artists to homes across greater Se­attle, Camano Island and Bainbridge. JazzVox creates unparalleled, personal experiences by bringing jazz vocalists from around the world to the Pacific Northwest. Now in its 13th season, this year’s JazzVox series will feature performances from David Ryan Har­ris January 10–12 (sold out!), the Dar­mon Meader Trio January 25–26, Jesse Ruben on February 9, John Proulx & Champian Fulton Febru­ary 21–23, Gabe Dixon March 7–8, and Emily Scott Robinson on March 29. This wildly popular program has limited seating, so do reserve tickets in advance to guarantee a spot! For a complete list of artists and locations, visit jazzvox.com.

Art of Jazz
Second Thursdays 5:30–7:30pm 1300 First Ave, Seattle

Bringing the worlds of jazz enthusi­asts and museum-goers into one room for a special evening, Art of Jazz has presented a dynamic and versatile line-up for 25 years. Sponsored by KNKX and in partnership with Seattle Art Museum, Earshot Jazz proudly pres­ents a jazz series every second Thurs­day of the month at 5:30pm that is free and open to the public. In the heart of downtown Seattle, guests gather underneath artist John Grade’s gargantuan sculpture, Middle Fork, to bask in the illustrious sounds that waft melodiously from the Brotman Forum to the galleries above.

Come downtown after work for the first show of the New Year on January 9 with some of the freshest talent on the rise, DX-Tet, a collaborative project of pianist and composer, Dylan Hayes and drummer, Xavier Lecouturier. Saxophonist Alex Dugdale performs on February 13. Singer, songwriter, and siren Johnaye Kendrick performs on March 12. And on April 9, the su­pergroup MMJB, composed of Rick Mandyck (saxophone), Thomas Mar­riott (trumpet), Jeff Johnson (bass), and John Bishop (drums) April 9. Stay up-to-date on upcoming perfor­mances at earshot.org.

First Sundays Concerts
First Sundays 4pm
370 Brien Dr SE, Bainbridge Island

Held at Bainbridge Island’s Water­front Park Community Center, eight professional concerts of jazz and classi­cal music are presented year-round in partnership with the Bainbridge Com­munity Piano Association. Despite the First Sundays Concerts losing its fear­less founder, Darden Burns, this last summer, the series continues into its 15th year and celebrates the passion and commitment Burns poured into the series. Jazz pianist Bill Anschell takes the New Year by storm with his celebrated Standards Trio on Janu­ary 5. Harpsichordist and organist, Henry Lebedinksy and his Baroque Trio play for the island on February 9. The Greta Matassa Quintet rocks the boat on March 1. Taking a break from Ohio to come back home for a First Sunday show is classical pianist, Frank Huang on April 5. The Mark Lewis Quartet alongside, Bill An­schell on piano takes the stage on May 3, then with Kokopelli picking up from a summer break on September 6. On October 4, Seattle Symphony Musicians bring the works of Brahms & Debussy to the homes and hearts of audiences at the penultimate show of the season. Closing out the season on November 8 is Flamenco duo, Eric and Encarnación. For more informa­tion on ticketing, prices, and perfor­mance times, visit firstsundayscon­certs.org.

Vashon Allied Arts Jazz Series Various Dates
19600 Vashon Hwy SW, Vashon

2020 events have not yet been an­nounced. Check vashoncenterforthearts.org for details.

The Jazz Project
Various Dates,Various Locations, Bellingham

Bellingham’s Jazz Project was con­ceived in 1997 by drummer and com­munity leader, Jud Sherwood, who founded The Jazz Project with the goal to promote jazz from a player’s perspec­tive, linking local performers, educa­tors, and students with opportunities to listen and play jazz, with the sup­port of local businesses and the City of Bellingham. On January 8, Blues Union plays a free show at the Rock­fish Anacortes with bandleader, key­boardist, and vocalist John Carswell, Josh Cook (tenor saxophone), Brian Cunningham (guitar), and Sherwood (drums). Carswell who has shared the stage with the royalty of R&B and blues, including Aretha Franklin, B.B. King, Tower of Power, and Ray Charles. The Bellingham Youth Jazz Band has 1–2 shows scheduled every month between January and June.

Aspiring musicians can attend the Jazz Project’s weekly jam session at Illuminati Brewing, Thursdays 5:30–8pm, January through August.

The Jazz Project’s Art of Jazz series runs the last Sunday of each month (January–May and September–No­vember) with evening concerts, while their Summer Jazz series runs on the second Sundays of June, July, and Au­gust at the Samson Estate Winery.

Their annual Bellhaven Jazz Festival takes place in September. While many of the events are free (and many are so with membership), $10 donations are suggested at each show to continue to support the artists, educational opportunities, and local businesses that help forge what the Jazz Project stands for and embodies. For more information about how you can support and learn more about other projects visit, jazz­project.org.

Jazz in the City
Various Dates Various Locations

Jazz in the City celebrates the vibran­cy and longevity of jazz music in Se­attle through an annual concert series emphasizing local artists. Sponsored by Ariel Media, a multimedia compa­ny servicing Seattle, Tacoma, and Ev­erett, founded by Dr. James Gore (cre­ator of the Jackson Street Music Pro­gram); Jazz in the City partners with the Frye Art Museum to present free, bi-monthly concerts. The Songstress of the Sound, Eugenie Jones performs on February 16. Saxophonist, Kareem Kandi, captures the sounds of jazz on April 19. The summer welcomes soulful baritone vocalist, Reggie Go­ings on June 21 and Brazilian master pianist, Jovino Santos Neto on Au­gust 16. Greta Matassa concludes the 2020 season on October 18.

Jazz in the City also co-presents con­certs with the Triple Door, and the upcoming show on February 12 with The Folks Project featuring D’Vonne Lewis, Darrius Willrich, and Evan Flory-Barnes is not one to miss! For more information on upcoming Jazz in the City events, tickets, and perfor­mance times stay up to date on ariel­media.com.

Jazz Unlimited
Various Dates
12037 124th Ave NE, Kirkland

Though there are only 88 keys on a piano, the musical possibilities are unlimited; Jazz Unlimited and Stage 7 Pianos present monthly gigs to con­firm that belief. With the Steinway D concert grand always on the recital stage, local artists find the infinite mu­sical possibilities of their instruments as they connect with their audiences in an intimate listening room. Kicking off the 2020 series on January 18 with her sultry sounds is Greta Matassa at the Stage 7 Piano’s venue in Kirk­land. $15 cash cover with free parking. For information on upcoming performances, visit stage7pianos.com.

Seattle Jazz Vespers
First Sundays 6–8pm
1111 Harvard Ave, Seattle

The Seattle Jazz Vespers—now in its 18th season at the Seattle First Baptist Church—is a secular concert series for those who love jazz with an inspira­tional message. The concerts occur on the first Sunday of the month during October–June from 6–8pm and are open to the public. These donation-based performances take the form of an initial set, followed by a short non­sectarian inspirational message, and a second set, with light refreshments fol­lowing. Enveloped in the acoustics of this historic sanctuary, fans of all ages can enjoy an evening of devotion to jazz and the community it inspires. Multi-instrumentalist, Jay Thomas and his Organic Quartet (Scott Lytle, organ; Steve Griggs, saxophone; Milo Peters­en, drums) take the stage on January 5. On February 9, the Clave Gringa Quartet perform with Ann Reynolds, piano and vocals; Daniel Barry, trum­pet; Dean Schmidt, bass; Steve Smith, congas; Ricardo Guity, drums and vo­cals. Trombonist Randy Oxford leads the Randy Oxford Band on March 1. Then the young and talented Smack­Talk take the reins for a rock-jazz infused performance on April 5. The family led, gypsy jazz band Ranger and the “Re-Arrangers” will surely captivate audiences on May 3. And fi­nally, multi-genre fusionist, Rob Hart Trio (Hart, drums; Greg Sankovitch, piano; Doug Pohorski, bass) perform on June 7. For information on addi­tional concerts in the coming months, visit seattlefirstbaptist.org.

Whatcom Jazz Music Arts Center
Wednesdays 7pm
205 Prospect St, Bellingham

Connecting rising and established jazz musicians across the nation, Whatcom Jazz Music Arts Center (WJMAC) has created an environ­ment where mentorship, community, and creativity flourish harmoniously all year long. Founded in 2015 by drummer and educator Julian Mac­Donough, WJMAC hosts jazz events highlighting top Northwest musicians Wednesday evenings at 7pm at the Syl­via Center for the Arts in Bellingham.

Launching the 2020 series is jazz pia­nist, Bill Anschell and trio (Jeff John­son, bass; D’Vonne Lewis, drums) hit on January 8. Visit wjmac.org for more information on tickets and upcoming performances, including saxophonist Kate Olson’s Ensemble on January 15, the Matt Jorgensen Quintet on January 29, and the young, drum­mer exploding on the scene: Xavier Lecouturier Quartet on February 19. For more information visit wjmac.org. –Rayna Mathis


Posted on

January 2, 2020