Nels Cline Singers – Nels Cline on guitar, right with bassist Trevor Dunn and drummer Scott Amendola, performing at the Chapel Performance Space on Saturday Jan 29th at the 2011 Is That Jazz?, Seattle’s avant-jazz music festival. Don’t let the name fool you. There is no singing with this band.  “Instead, Cline creates spacious and highly textured, simultaneously beautiful and discordant instrumentals. They’re also wholly original. To an untrained ear, these jazz-inflected songs could sound like formless improvisations and bursts of noise. But amidst the sharp single-note runs and occasional feedback, there’s a lot of complexity and structure to these dynamic compositions.


Yet it’s Cline’s nimble guitar work on his Fender Jazzmaster that commands the most attention. It’s hard not to get transfixed in his spidery fingerings, or to try to parse his melodic phrasing. Joined here on keys by multi-instrumentalist (and Cibo Matto co-founder and his new bride) Yuka Honda, Cline and company performed original pieces, including a couple from their superb new double-album Initiate.” Continue reading and see clip on NPR

2011 Is That Jazz? is one of the most consistently quirky and interesting festivals around.

Thanks to  Seattle photographer Michael Craft for providing coverage of the Nels Cline Singers and the second week of the 2011 Is That Jazz? festival.

Tripet 2011 Is That Jazz?

February 7th, 2011

Tripet – Michael Monhart (saxophones and percussion), Tom Baker (guitars and effects), and Greg Campbell (percussion, french horn and cheap electronics) performed at the Chapel Performance Space opening on Saturday Jan 29th for the Nels Cline Singers at the 2011 Is That Jazz?, Seattle’s avant-jazz music festival.
2011 Is That Jazz? is one of the most consistently quirky and interesting festivals around.

Formed in 2009 by three members of a Sun Ra Tribute Band, Triptet has performed shows in New York and Seattle, and has been the headliner of the Boise Creative and Improvised Music Festival.

Thanks to  Seattle photographer Michael Craft for providing coverage of Triptet and the second week of the 2011 Is That Jazz? festival.

Once again the all-star dectet Sun Ra Tribute Band reunited and paid tribute to the inspirational iconoclast Sun Ra by playing many of his compositions from the late 1950s and early 1960s. There were sparkly robes, processions, group vocals, flying objects and planetary alignment. The cast of characters included Stuart Dempster: trombone, Bill Smith: clarinet, Tom Baker: guitar, Greg Sinibaldi: saxophone, Michael Monhart: saxophone, Jim Knodle: trumpet, Lynette Westendorf: piano, Greg Campbell: percussion, horn, Dan O’Brien: bass, Bill Moyer: percussion. performed at the Chapel Performance Space last Friday Jan 21st.

Empty Cage Quartet kicked off the opening of the 2011 Is That Jazz, Seattle’s avant-jazz music festival on Friday night to a great crowd and a wonderful set.

2011 Is That Jazz is one of the most consistently quirky and interesting festivals around and did not disappoint this opening night. Try and catch some of the remaining 2 nights this weekend at the Chapel Performance Space.Festival Website for further information. All performances at: The Chapel Performance Space

4639 Sunnyside Avenue North, Seattle – SW corner of 50th and Sunnyside in Wallingford

Dana Reason | Is That Jazz?

January 23rd, 2011

Dana Reason, solo piano.

As the the 2011 Is That Jazz, Seattle’s avant-jazz music festival continues into it’s second night at the Chapel Performance Space, Dana Reason put on a beautiful solo set on the great grand piano there. I had not heard her before tonight and enjoyed her inspired improvising which reminded me of performances by Keith Jarrett.

PAUL KIKUCHI drumset/percussion, IVAN JOHNSON contrabass, JASON MEARS saxophones/clarinet,and KRIS TINER trumpets/flugelhorn, performed at the Chapel Performance Space.
Empty Cage Quartet kicked off the opening of the 2011 Is That Jazz, Seattle’s avant-jazz music festival on Friday night to a great crowd and a wonderful set. They were the opening act and were followed by the Sun Ra Tribute band. They are as NPR called them “a thoroughly modern and multifaceted jazz ensemble that stakes out a singular voice.”
2011 Is That Jazz is one of the most consistently quirky and interesting festivals around and did not disappoint this opening night. Try and catch some of the remaining 3 nights at the Chapel Performance Space.


The Sun Ra Tribute Band on stage at the Chapel Performance Space last Friday night.


This all-star dectet reunited and paid tribute to the inspirational iconoclast Sun Ra by playing many of his compositions from the late 1950s and early 1960s. There were sparkly robes, processions, group vocals, flying objects and planetary alignment. The cast of characters included Stuart Dempster: trombone, Bill Smith: clarinet, Tom Baker: guitar, Greg Sinibaldi: saxophone, Michael Monhart: saxophone, Jim Knodle: trumpet, Lynette Westendorf: piano, Greg Campbell: percussion, horn, Dan O’Brien: bass, Bill Moyer: percussion.


Michael Monhart: saxophone, Bill Smith: clarinet, Greg Sinibaldi: saxophone,

Jim Knodle on trumpet


Brian Heaney, out in front of Sunship, last Friday night.

SUNSHIP
Sunship reunited Brian Heaney, one of Seattle’s most creative guitarists, with the amazing New York saxophonist Michael Monhart, both formerly of the band Stinkhorn. Along with a fantastic rhythm section – David Revelli on drums and Andrew Luthringer on bass – and top it all off with the inimitable Stuart Dempster (trombone, didjeridu, conch, etc.) this swinging “intergalectric” ensemble lifted-off for a tour of the galaxy and it was a lot of fun. The packed house loved it too judging from the great reception they got.



Brian Heaney, guitar, saxophonist Michael Monhart, and Stuart Dempster on trombone.

Maybe I will see you there this weekend. The line up looks great here is the schedule for the rest of the festival:

The second weekend of: Is That Jazz?

Friday, January 29
JESSE CANTERBURY’S VERTIGO
Seattle clarinetist Jesse Canterbury leads an all-acoustic ensemble in a strikingly original mix of chamber music, improvisation, and tune-oriented melodic material informed and inspired by the music of clarinetists Louis Sclavis and Michael Moore. The group includes guitarist Tom Baker, cellist Joanne DeMars, and trombonist Chris Stover.

BAD LUCK
Co-led by drummer Chris Icasiano and saxophonist Neil Welch, Bad Luck is about sound art, slowly developed loops and pedals used to propel the music into new aural fields. Tight-knit original compositions meet sonic mosaics in a musical relationship cultivated by years on the bandstand.

Saturday January 30
CUONG VU TRIO
The brilliantly creative Cuong Vu brings his trio mates (Stomu Takeishi and Ted Poor) from New York to headline and close out the 2010 Is That Jazz? Festival. If you haven’t heard this scorching ensemble, do not miss this opportunity. In the words of one critic: “It’s pure art. There’s dark-darkenss, joyful lament… and everything about anguish and despair in flat, naked beauty… it will shake you.”

TOM BAKER QUARTET
Led by Seattle guitarist and composer Tom Baker, this quartet (with clarinetist Jesse Canterbury, bassist Brian Cobb, and drummer Greg Campbell) weaves modern avant-jazz tunes with beautiful and haunting improvisations. Their music blurs the boundaries between notated music and free improvisation; the unique soundscapes that result are grounded in history, while pushing at the boundaries of jazz.

Festival Website for further information:

www.isthatjazz.org

All performances at: The Chapel Performance Space
(4639 Sunnyside Avenue North, Seattle – SW corner of 50th and Sunnyside in Wallingford).

is that jazz? 2010 – Sunship

January 24th, 2010


Sunship, Brian Heaney- guitar, Michael Monhart- saxophone, David Revelli- drums, Andrew luthringer- bass, Stuart Dempster- trombone, performing Friday Jan 22.

I made it over to the Chapel Performance Space on Friday to catch some of the is that jazz? festival. It was really great music. The place was packed and both groups Sunship and the Sun Ra Tribute Band were palying some fine music. I will post more photos in the coming week.

Sunship reunites Brian Heaney, one of Seattle’s most creative guitarists, with the amazing New York saxophonist Michael Monhart, both formerly of the band Stinkhorn. Add in a fantastic rhythm section – David Revelli on drums and Andrew Luthringer on bass – and top it all off with the inimitable Stuart Dempster (trombone, didjeridu, conch, etc.) and this swinging “intergalectric” ensemble is ready for lift-off.”