Wayne Horvitz performs at The Royal Room. Photo by Daniel Sheehan.
March 16 & 23, 7:30pm
The Royal Room
5000 Rainier Ave S
Since its opening in 2011, part of The Royal Room’s mission has been to provide quality instruments to its performers. At the top of that list is a Steinway B piano, something very unusual for a club of this size, and especially a club focused on local musicians.
That piano has been the focus of the venue’s ongoing series, Piano Starts Here, now in its third year. Hosted and curated by pianists Alex Guilbert, Tim Kennedy, and Wayne Horvitz, Piano Starts Here highlights the work of some of the most prolific and talented jazz composers and pianists to ever tackle the instrument. Every other month, on the third Wednesday, the Royal Room brings together a “who’s who” of local piano talent to perform compositions that showcase the featured artist’s work; past performances have highlighted the work of Sonny Clark, Thelonious Monk, Duke Ellington, Sun Ra, and Fats Waller.
Over ten percent of the Royal Room’s startup costs was the purchase of the piano, and, after five years, that piano needs some serious love. For two nights, twenty-two of Seattle’s finest pianists perform standards and originals in a benefit to raise funds for the piano.
“There are just too many great pianists in Seattle, it’s kind of phenomenal,” says Horvitz. “[This event] gives us a chance to highlight them.”
Each artist will play one piece from a composer previously featured in Piano Starts Here, and then will play either an original composition or another piece of his or her choice. The two evenings feature: Ray Skjelbred, Ryan Burns, Robin Holcomb, Jake Svendsen, Dawn Clement, Tim Kennedy, Dave Peck, Jovino Santos Neto, Nelda Swiggett, Aaron Otheim, Sumi Tonooka, and Alex Guilbert on March 16, and Carolyn Graye, Bill Anschell, Randy Halberstadt, Eric Verlinde, Michael Owcharuk, Marina Albero, Ron Weinstein, Josh Rawlings, Gus Carns, and Wayne Horvitz on March 23.
“People are just encouraged to come support piano, support the pianists, support The Royal Room,” says Horvitz, “and above all, we’ll get to do some major work on the piano.”
Tickets are $10 in advance, or $12 at the door/$8 students (door only with student ID). Visit theroyalroomseattle.com for tickets and more information.
– Ed., courtesy of The Royal Room