Gary Peacock Trio At SAM

February 29th, 2016

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A true legend of modern jazz, seldom seen outside of his work with Keith Jarrett, Gary Peacock returned to Seattle with his sparkling trio of Marc Copland, piano, and the great Joey Baron on drums on Feb 20th to the Seattle Art Museum in an Earshot jazz presentation.
The senior statesman Peacock has traveled far and wide in the realms of jazz, playing key roles in some of the art form’s most meditative as well as the most daring explorations. Early on he played with West Coast stars like Art Pepper, then accompanied Miles Davis, but also found his way into the soaring, sometimes torrid experimentation of Albert Ayler. He also worked with great innovators like Jimmy Giuffre, Bill Evans, Roland Kirk, George Russell, Tony Williams, and Paul Bley.
Peacock has always been known as a player of rare ability in the most heady of jazz, but also the most heartfelt. He expanded his abilities not only technically but aesthetically, hearing his way on the bandstands and off into idiosyncratic resonances. In Japan, he studied eastern religions and medicine; in Seattle, in the early 1970s, he studied biology at the University of Washington. By then, he was ready to begin his long association with pianist Keith Jarrett and drummer Jack DeJohnette; it occurred on Peacock’s ECM debut Tales of Another, in 1977. Peacock then spent four years in Seattle teaching at Cornish College of the Arts until 1983 when ECM guru Manfred Eicher asked Jarrett, DeJohnette, and Peacock to come together formally as the Standards Trio, which for 25 years would transcendentally define the jazz trio.
Since 2000, in the Standards Trio’s last decade, Peacock began a string of other stellar associations – with Bley, drummer Paul Motian, pianist Marilyn Crispell, saxophonist Lee Konitz, guitarist Bill Frisell, and others – and then formed in 2015 the Gary Peacock Trio that performs this month in Seattle. It sees him join forces with two earlier colleagues: drummer Joey Baron, with whom he, Konitz, and Frisell recorded Enfants Terribles: Live at the Blue Note, in 2012; and pianist Marc Copland, whom he has often accompanied in recent times.
The trio’s Now This appeared last summer, timed to the bassist’s 80th birthday, with Peacock compositions old and new as well as pieces by Baron, Copland, and Peacock’s fellow bass giant and late Bill Evans accompanist, Scott LaFaro. All the pieces, Thomas Conrad wrote in making the album an Editor’s Pick in JazzTimes, are like Peacock’s solos: “spare, self-contained figures of mysterious expectancy. In his haunting high bass lines, melodies linger, resolve, and disappear.”
Conrad had high praise for Copland, calling him “the right pianist for an album about atmosphere and mood. But his quietude is deceptive. His scattered fragments and his counterintuitive chords create continuous subtle diversions. Baron is also subtle and provocative, and essential as a colorist.”
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Garfield High School’s jazz culture is so strong that it maintains multiple levels of jazz bands in its curriculum for over 75 students. Under the leadership of Clarence Acox, Garfield continues to bring to young people the jazz traditions of such big bands as Duke Ellington, Count Basie, and Woody Herman.

The program’s Jazz Ensemble I has won every major competition on the West Coast, including the Reno Jazz Festival, Lionel Hampton Jazz Festival (named Outstanding Festival Band six times), Clark College Jazz Festival (seven-time Sweepstakes Award winner) and Mt. Hood Jazz Festival. Jazz Ensembles II and III have also competed successfully in events around in the Northwest.

Garfield is a frequent participant in the Essentially Ellington National Jazz Band Competition and Festival at Lincoln Center in New York City, the most prestigious high school jazz competition in the United States. Since 1999, Garfield has been selected as one of the 15 Essentially Ellington finalists thirteen times, including an unprecedented four first-place trophies (in 2003, 2004, 2009 and 2010), as well as second place finishes in 2002 and 2008 and third place in 2006.

Graduates of the Garfield jazz program have gone on to study at leading music schools throughout the country, such as the Berklee College of Music, The Juilliard School, Eastman School of Music, Manhattan School of Music, The New England Conservatory of Music, USC Thornton School of Music, Oberlin Conservatory of Music, and Cornish College of the Arts.

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Last night at The Chapel Performance Space at Good Shepherd Center l to r: Patrick Booth, Kate Olson, Jessica Lurie, and Brad Linde.

Brad Linde’s straightHORN, a soprano-saxophone quartet, celebrates the centennial of Billy Strayhorn with new arrangements and free improvisations on compositions of Duke Ellington’s three-decade collaborator. The quartet is a trio – Kate Olson of Seattle’s Ask the Ages, and many other bands; Patrick Booth, a jazz-classical improviser based in Traverse City, Mich.; and Brad Linde, who in Washington, D.C. collaborated often with the great Freddie Redd – that imports a fourth, “stray” horn from each city it performs in. For its Earshot festival performance, the fourth horn is Jessica Lurie, who for many years was a fixture of Seattle’s progressive-jazz scene with the Tiptons and Living Daylights (see 10/25 Jessica Lurie Ensemble).

 

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A prodigiously talented trombonist, composer, and bandleader, Seattle native son (and Roosevelt High School graduate) Andy Clausen has been making quite a splash in recent years. A graduate of the prestigious jazz program at The Juilliard School in New York, the former recipient of Earshot Jazz’s Emerging Artist of the Year Award has kept busy performing with a broad range of jazz and adventurous rock and pop royalty, including Bill Frisell, Wynton Marsalis, Ron Carter, Kurt Elling, Joe Lovano, Dave Douglas, Feist, and My Brightest Diamond.

Composition is also a central element of Clausen’s activities, and as a founding member of the brass quartet The Westerlies (also in this year’s festival lineup), he has been exploring and defining a vibrant intersection of jazz and contemporary chamber music. Their 2014 debut Wish The Children Would Come on Home: The Music of Wayne Horvitz was met with broad acclaim, being named NPR Jazz “Best Debut of 2014.”

Clausen’s latest unit is called Shutter Project, and the quintet will be performing new music from a forthcoming album. Along with Clausen, Shutter Project features The Westerlies’ trumpet ace Riley Mulherkar, the deep classical roots of cellist Mitch Lyon, and the eclectic, exploratory twin guitar tandem of Gregory Uhlmann and Seattle’s Gregg Belisle- Chi.

Shutter Project aims to present a new spin at outlining what defines a cutting-edge chamber music ensemble in 2015, exploring the notion of individual expression in a written structure. Strings and brass combine in collective compositional and improvisatory interplay, as hints of folk music blend with classical and indie rock into a cinematic Americana soundtrack, all without the conventional structure of linear solos. Check out Shutter Project live and hear what makes Andy Clausen an essential new voice in contemporary music.

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Seattle-based composer and alto saxophonist Jacob Zimmerman, with roots at the greatly respected Garfield High School, attended the New England Conservatory of Music, in Boston, as well as Mills College, in Oakland, where he studied with Roscoe Mitchell. The promising young alto saxophonist holds a long-standing monthly gig – classic 40s and 50s bebop – at Egan’s Ballard Jam House and frequently plays traditional jazz for swing dances all over the world – recently South Korea, for example. Recognized as Earshot’s Emerging Artist of the Year in 2013, Zimmerman leads with a tasteful, versatile voice on saxophone and clarinet.

His sextet’s lineup includes the captivating drummer Evan Woodle, prolific trumpeter Ray Larsen, ferocious acoustic bassist Nate Parker, and crackerjack pianist Jake Svendsen. On top of this bombastic group of players, vocalist Katie Jacobson, winner of the Ella Fitzgerald Vocal award at the Essentially Ellington competition in New York and songwriter and leader for band Honey Noble, song-birds her way through various accompaniments.

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To recast expectations of jazz vibes is no mean feat, and to do it while still a teenager is truly remarkable. In the spirit of Thelonious Monk, Chicago newcomer Joel M. Ross, a stand-out at the last two years’ Seattle Jazz Experiences, plays with an edgy, surprising, hugely likable style. He appears with similarly highly anticipated pianist Jeremy Corren, as well as Jalon Archie (drums) and Ben Tiberio (bass).

With styles comparable to that of the great Lionel Hampton, up-and-coming vibraphonist Joel Ross has begun to take the jazz scene by storm. Playing off reinterpreted styles of classic jazz structures, Ross has provided listeners with insight into the face of jazz to come.

Born and raised in Chicago, Ross was highly involved within his high school music program, and received much notoriety for his playing ability at an early age. Some of his many accomplishments include: being named a national All Star of the Thelonious Monk Institute of Jazz in 2012 and 2013; becoming a jazz finalist in the 2013 Young Arts program; and performing with musicians such as Christian McBride and Herbie Hancock.

This talented young blood has no intention of holding back anytime soon, and continues to perform catchy arrangements that are easily applicable to any demographic. In the words of Ross, “I’m a young jazz lion, on the hunt.”

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Last night was a most special event at Benaroya Hall. What does the evocative work of African American painter Jacob Lawrence have to do with jazz, have to do with the Seattle Symphony, have to do with the Roosevelt High School Jazz Band? It’s all about influences.

Jacob Lawrence, a longtime professor at the University of Washington, created a body of work called The Migration Series, depicting the Great Migration of African Americans out of the South. Derek Bermel, a noted composer and clarinetist, saw Lawrence’s work and wrote a piece that was hailed by the New York Times as “riveting” and “wondrous.” Now, add the performers, acclaimed Roosevelt High School Jazz Band and the Seattle Symphony, and you have the cornerstone work for this Sonic Evolution.

More influencing: the renowned jazz guitarist and Seattle transplant Bill Frisell, along with the Seattle Symphony Orchestra (directed by Ludovic Morlot), took on a wonderful new work by the prolific jazz pianist and composer Wayne Horvitz. Seattle-born, nationally rising vocalist Shaprece closed the evening with new orchestral arrangements of her soulful blend of modern jazz, R&B and electronica.

Presented by the Seattle Symphony Orchestra.
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Mimi Fox

October 29th, 2015

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Joe Pass, one of the greatest 20th-century guitarists, once said that Mimi Fox “plays with tremendous fire” and “can do pretty much anything she wants on the guitar.”

Fox’s “firm control, clarity and concept” (AllAboutJazz.com) will provide an evening of both rich musical texture and passion. Winner of six consecutive DownBeat Magazine’s international critic’s polls, Fox is not only a world-renowned guitarist but composer and recording artist as well. Her introduction to the international jazz scene in the 1990s with a pair of CDs on Monarch records was followed by eight more, many critically acclaimed. Perpetually Hip, a 2006 double CD, was called a “masterwork” by the San Francisco Chronicle. Of her most recent album, Standards, Old & NewGuitar Player Magazine proclaims, “Beyond her passion and virtuosity, Fox plays with a profundity that only comes from a lifetime devotion to ones art.”

Touring extensively throughout the Caribbean, Japan, Thailand, Australia, New Zealand, and Europe, her schedule includes major festivals from Tokyo to New York, including Montreal, Guinness Cork, Perth International, and Monterey Jazz Festivals. In addition to her breakneck performance calendar, Fox has composed and performed original scores for orchestra, documentary films, and dance, and has received prestigious grants from organizations including the California Arts Council and the William James Association.

“A remarkably accomplished straight ahead player with flawless time, pristine execution, serious chops…and an inner urge to burn” (JazzTimes), Fox will provide a profound evening of both rich virtuosity and passion.

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Reared in Cadiz, steeped in his father’s passion for flamenco, and remarkably fluent in a number of styles, this flamenco-jazz pianist has become a favorite of European audiences for his earthy, flamenco- and bolero-infused style. Now a Seattle-area resident, Chano Domínguez debuts a new ensemble featuring percussionist Jose Martinez, bassist Jeff Johnson, and special guest musician on woodwinds, Hans Teuber.

Renowned pianist and composer Domínguez has pursued expression of his flamenco origins in jazz from his youngest days, on guitar and then piano. After 25 years on the piano, he has dazzled all kind of audiences and great musicians including Wynton Marsalis, Paquito D’Riveria, Herbie Hancock, Paco de Lucia, Tomatito, and many others. His compositions have been played by WDR Big Band, Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra, Latvia Symphonic Orchestra, and Ballet Nacional de Espana. Domínguez won a Latin Grammy for the soundtrack of the movie Calle 54 (2001), directed by Fernando Trueba, as well as a Grammy nomination for best Latin Jazz Album category with Flamenco Sketches (Blue Note Records 2012).

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Last night Earshot Jazz presented trumpeter Nate Wooley teamed up with free jazz percussionist Paul Lytton to form a textural, avant-garde duo. Wooley uses amplifying effects on his instrument, and impresses with virtuoso playing, using experimental registers and sentimental phrasing. Lytton creates lush, minimalistic sounds with electronics and obscure tones. The adventurous percussionist incorporates a clutter of objects like water, a flour sifter, and wooden blocks into his kit playing. While British Lytton and American Wooley have a 27-year age gap, the musicians have found a commonality in their improvising styles, making for a collaboration that organically avoids a repetition of ideas.

Lytton has worked extensively on the London free improvisation scene in the 1970s and was a founding member of the London Musicians Collective. The percussionist has appeared on over 40 recordings and worked with Roscoe Mitchell, Barry Guy, and the London Jazz Composers Orchestra.

Wooley has released multiple records under his own name since 2009 and has been gathering international acclaim for his playing for the last three years. The “iconoclastic trumpeter” (Time Out New York) has had his compositions featured in art festivals in New York, Copenhagen, and Poland. Wooley also acts as the curator of the Database of Recorded American Music.

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