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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Jacky Terrasson Trio

October 30th, 2014

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Last Weds night at Cornish College the 2014 Earshot Jazz Festival presented the Jacky Terrasson Trio.
The scintillating French pianist and 1993 Thelonious Monk Piano Competition winner performs with bassist Dave Robaire and drummer Jamire Williams. Terrasson is renowned for his carefully controlled velocity, exquisite phrasing, and affinity to everything from the French Romantics, like Fauré, to American pop icons, like Michael Jackson.

Terrasson was born in Berlin and grew up in Paris. He started to learn the piano at age 5 and, after studying classical piano in school, studied jazz with Jeff Gardner. An encounter with Francis Paudras played an important role in his initiation into jazz. Terrasson later went to the United States to attend the Berklee College of Music.

In 1993, after winning the prestigious Thelonious Monk award, he began touring with Betty Carter. One year later, The New York Times introduced Terrasson as one of the 30 artists most likely to change American culture in the next 30 years. He then signed with the Blue Note label, for which he made three trio recordings. He has collaborated with greats such as Dee Dee Bridgewater, Jimmy Scott, Leon Parker, and Ugonna Okegwo. He performs regularly in solo and trio in the great jazz and piano festivals, and in countries around the world.
Here is a link to the 2014 Earshot Jazz Festival Schedule

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The UW School of Music and Earshot Jazz presented renowned guitarist Bill Frisell in an evening of duo and trio performances with trumpeter Cuong Vu and pianist Robin Holcomb in this Earshot Jazz Festival event celebrating Frisell’s appointment as affiliate professor of music in the UW Jazz Studies program. this was the first of four appearances by Frisell in the 2013 Earshot Jazz Festival.

 

Here is a link to the Earshot Jazz Festival website  schedule for the rest of the Festival.

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Saturday night at Town Hall Earshot Jazz Festival presented the Patricia Barber Trio +1. Her sparkling trio includes bassist Patrick Mulcahy and drummer Ross Pederson. Seattle’s Kate Olson, saxophone, was asked to join the Trio for this show and was great. I really enjoyed this performance.

The “conspicuously literate and restlessly inventive” (The New Yorker) vocalist-pianist is a distinctive social observer and gifted musician who turned from classical to jazz performance. Barber has drawn extravagant accolades since her early days leading a jazz trio in small Chicago nightclubs – first for her unique arrangements and coolly composed piano improvisations; then for her intoxicating vocals; then for her lyrical, evocative compositions. Her albums Modern Cool and Nightclub made her an international star; her newest, Smash (Concord Jazz, 2013), proves that her poetry continues to search more deeply as her music grows more magical.

Here is a link to the Earshot Jazz Festival website  schedule for the rest of the Festival.

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Here is a link to the Earshot Jazz Festival website  schedule for the rest of the Festival.

Jazz photography of Cyrus Chestnut Trio with Stefon Harris

Saturday night at the Bellevue Jazz Festival was a special treat of Cyrus Chestnut Trio with Stefon Harris. I love to watch Cyrus play and this trio was really good, but when Stefon Harris came out and joined them it was a whole new ball game. Cyrus Chestnut on Piano, Eric Wheeler on Bass, Evan Sherman on Drums, Stefon Harris on Vibes.

Virtuosic and playful, pianist Cyrus Chestnut’s hard swinging, soulful sounds have become a staple in the jazz community. Blending contemporary jazz, traditional jazz and gospel, plus the occasional seasonings of Latin and samba, Chestnut gives himself plenty of freedom to explore different emotions, while keeping his music in recognizable form.

Chestnut has played with many leaders in the music scene including Wynton Marsalis, Freddie Hubbard, Branford Marsalis, Chick Corea, Dizzy Gillespie, Jon Hendricks, and Betty Carter, recording and performing live around the world. An extremely versatile pianist, Chestnut has also collaborated with Vanessa Williams, Brian McKnight, Kathleen Battle, Freddy Cole, Bette Midler, Jimmy Scott, Isaac Hayes, and Kevin Mahogany. His leadership and prowess as a soloist has also led him to be a first call pianist in larger ensembles including the Lincoln Center Jazz Orchestra, Dizzy Gillespie Big Band, and Carnegie Hall Jazz Orchestra.

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Chestnut’s new album, Journeys, is his most compelling to date. His compositions are more mature than ever. Drawing from all facets of his life experiences, the result is a very unique musical journey for all to enjoy. Almost 20 years into his impressive career, Chestnut is further developing his musical voice: lyrical, timeless, and always deeply.
Jazz photography of Cyrus Chestnut Trio with Stefon Harris
Vibraphonist-composer Stefon Harris is heralded as “one of the most important young artists in jazz” (The Los Angeles Times). He is unquestionably developing what will be a long and extraordinary career.

Harris’ passionate artistry, energetic stage presence, and astonishing virtuosity have propelled him into the forefront of the current jazz scene. Widely recognized and lauded by both his peers and jazz critics alike, he is committed to both exploring the rich potential of jazz composition and blazing new trails on the vibraphone.

His 2004 project Blackout, featuring a hybrid of acoustic music and progressive sounds, was praised for “pursing jazz on its own terms” (Washington Post), and was taken on tour to perform to sold out crowds at The Kennedy Center and North Sea Jazz Festival.

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In addition to leading his own band, Mr. Harris has recorded as part of The Classical Jazz Quartet, a series of jazz interpreted classics with Kenny Barron, Ron Carter, and Lewis Nash. He has also recorded and toured with many of music’s greatest artists, including Joe Henderson, Wynton Marsalis, Cassandra Wilson, Buster Williams, Kenny Barron, Charlie Hunter, Kurt Elling, Cyrus Chestnut, Steve Coleman, and Steve Turre among many others.

At the Kirkland Performance Center, one of America’s greatest living composers, trailblazer Philip Glass performed last night, with African kora virtuoso Foday Musa Suso, and percussionist Adam Rudolph in an evening

of  wonderful and masterful music.

The 2012 Earshot Jazz festival continues. Click on the schedule here 2012 Earshot Jazz Festival 

Born in 1937, raised in Baltimore, Glass went on to study at the University of Chicago, the Juilliard School and in Aspen with Darius Milhaud. Finding himself dissatisfied with much of what then passed for modern music, he moved to Europe, where he studied with the legendary pedagogue Nadia Boulanger (who also taught Aaron Copland, Virgil Thomson and Quincy Jones) and worked closely with the sitar virtuoso and composer Ravi Shankar.

He returned to New York in 1967 and formed the Philip Glass Ensemble – seven musicians playing keyboards and a variety of woodwinds, amplified and fed through a mixer. Glass’ new music, eventually dubbed minimalism, worked with extended reiterations of brief, elegant melodic fragments that wove in and out of an aural tapestry.

n the last 25 years, through his operas, his symphonies, his compositions for his own ensemble and his collaborations with artists ranging from Twyla Tharp to Allen Ginsberg, Woody Allen to David Bowie, Glass has had an extraordinary and unprecedented impact upon the musical and intellectual life of his times.

The 2012 Earshot Jazz festival continues. Click on the schedule here 2012 Earshot Jazz Festival 

 

Vijay Iyer Trio

October 18th, 2012


So after a break at ILLSLEY BALL NORDSTROM RECITAL HALL AT BENAROYA HALL, Vijay Iyer came on with his trio and i was transported away on a journey I know not where but it was another Earshot Jazz monent.

Earshot Jazz Festival continues and tonight completes the first week. It goes on until Nov 4th.
Grammy-nominated composer-pianist Vijay Iyer’s recent accolades include the Jazz Journalists Association 2012 Pianist of the Year award and a sweep of the DownBeat International Critics Poll – Jazz Artist of the Year, Pianist of the Year, Jazz Album of the Year (Accelerando), Jazz Group of the Year (Vijay Iyer Trio) and Rising Star (Composer categories). No other artist in the sixty-year history of DownBeat’s poll has ever taken five titles simultaneously. Earlier in 2012, Iyer also received a Doris Duke Performing Artist Award and the Greenfield Prize. The year has been remarkable for Iyer.

2012 Earshot Jazz Festival  continues. Click on the schedule.

Jazz Album of the Year Accelerando (ACT, 2012) is an intense, visceral and widely acclaimed follow-up to the multiple award-winning Historicity (ACT, 2009), both featuring Iyer on piano with Marcus Gilmore on drums and Stephan Crump on bass – the group featured in tonight’s performance.

The latest tide of honors is a result of Iyer’s remarkable seventeen-year track record as an artist. His sixteen albums as a leader have covered so much ground, at such a high level of acclaim, that it is easy to forget that they all belong to the same person. His work ranges from well-known collaborations with poet-performer Mike Ladd, innovations of experimental collective Fieldwork and the duo with Rudresh Mahanthappa to original compositions for the American Composers Orchestra, Yo Yo Ma’s Silk Road Ensemble, Brentano String Quartet, Bang on a Can All-Stars, Brooklyn Rider and International Contemporary Ensemble.


Across this diverse output, Iyer’s artistic vision remains unmistakable. His powerful, cutting-edge music is rhythmically intricate and highly interactive, fluidly improvisational yet uncannily orchestrated. Its many points of reference include jazz piano titans such as Monk, Ellington and Tyner; the classical sonorities of composers such as Reich, Ligeti, Messiaen and Bartok; low-end sonics from hip-hop to electronica; and the vital, hypnotic music of Iyer’s Indian heritage.

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2012 Earshot Jazz Festival  continues. Click on the schedule.

Sunna Gunnlaugs Trio

July 2nd, 2012

Pianist Sunna Gunnlaugs performed with bassist Thorgrimur Jonsson and drummer Scott McLemore at Tula’s last month in an Earshot Jazz presentation that was sublime and delightful.

 Also the trio on Gunnlaugs’ latest release, Long Pair Bond (2011), the patient and measured group works in a sonic space redolent of familiar environments – dynamic and sometime dusky Reykjavik, Iceland, bordered by sea and mountains. On her first trio album since her debut in 1997, a now more mature Gunnlaugs presents this music with a humble awareness and connectedness.

Gunnlaugs writes about her recent experience at performance hall Sendesaal at the jazzahead! conference in Bremen, Germany: “It was humbling to sit down at the Steinway D in this beautiful room and think that this was where Keith Jarrett played his solo concert (the Bremen part at least) and that Thelonious Monk had played there and also Chick Corea, Herbie Hancock, Jan Garbarek with Bobo Stenson and the list goes on. Holy moley. Humbling? Yes sir! We all just loved the sound in there.”

As a child on the small Seltjarnarnes peninsula not far from Reykjavik, Gunnlaugs began taking lessons on the organ. It was the gift of a Bill Evans trio record, You’re Gonna Hear from Me, that brought her to modern jazz. Not long after, in Brooklyn, fresh from the William Patterson University jazz program in New Jersey, Gunnlaugs featured connections with Tony Malaby, Drew Gress and drummer-cum-husband McLemore on the 1999 recordings Mindful and Songs from Iceland. Mindful was chosen as one of the top ten CDs of the year by the Virginian Pilot; Songs from Iceland, released a decade later, features Gunnlaugs’ special relationship with the material – five Icelandic folk songs that Gunnlaugs grew up with. “These were tunes that we were playing on concerts … it seemed important to document,” she says.

 

Gunnlaugs enjoys touring and has performed throughout the United States, Canada, Europe and Japan. Seven releases as a leader have consistently met critical praise. Now living in Iceland, she frequently performs with her Iceland trio featuring bassist Jonsson and drummer McLemore. More about Sunna Gunnlaugs at sunnagunnlaugs.com and sunnagunnlaugs.bandcamp.com.

Emi Meyer’s Japan Trio

October 16th, 2011

Performing at Tula’s tonight as the 2011 Earshot Jazz Festival continues in its first weekend was Emi Meyer and her Japan Trio. I was taken aback with how wonderful she played and sang. The Kyoto-born, Seattle-raised pianist and vocalist, who won the Seattle-Kobe Jazz Vocalist Competition in 2007 and has topped Japanese jazz charts, appeared with Motoki Yamaguchi (drums) and Masanori Hattori (bass). In addition she had local guitarist MILO PETERSEN sit in and join them. Emi and Milo met last spring at a benefit performance raising funds for Japanese victims of the earthquake and hit it off. I wish I could have stayed for the entire set but I had to cover Eric Vloeimans’ Gatecrash at SAM. See the rest of the Earshot Jazz Festival Schedule

Born in Kyoto, Japan, and raised in Seattle, Emi Meyer’s culturally rich heritage has shaped the unique jazz-inspired pop sound heard on her three albums to date, including one recorded entirely in Japanese. Meyer began her musical career early in life, starting with classical piano at the age of 6 and eventually expanding to jazz “for the spontaneity it offered.”

It was her jazz background that paved the way for her win at the 2007 Seattle-Kobe Jazz Vocalist Competition – a contest between residents of Seattle and its sister city of Kobe, Japan. Following her win, Meyer had the first of many performances in Japan, where she has subsequently enjoyed a great deal of success, and she credits the competition with giving her the courage to ultimately pursue her musical ambitions. With the release of her first album, Curious Creature, Emi was invited to perform at the legendary Sundance Film Festival and shot to the very top of the Japanese jazz charts after her single “Room Blue” was chosen Single of the Week on iTunes.

She continues to evolve as an artist, and her latest work, Suitcase of Stones, is a refreshingly unique blend of jazz, pop and soul, using powerful lyrics carried effortlessly along by her signature melodies. The record was mixed and mastered by Husky Huskolds, who has worked with the likes of Norah Jones and Yael Naim. Japan Times praised Meyer’s performance on Suitcase of Stones, citing Meyer’s “gift for belting out warm, wistful songs with a hint of nostalgia.”

Fresh from a string of charity concerts to support the country that has given her so much, Meyer is joined for this Earshot Jazz Festival performance by Motoki Yamaguchi (drums) and Masanori Hattori (bass).It was her jazz background that paved the way for her win at the 2007 Seattle-Kobe Jazz Vocalist Competition – a contest between residents of Seattle and its sister city of Kobe, Japan. Following her win, Meyer had the first of many performances in Japan, where she has subsequently enjoyed a great deal of success, and she credits the competition with giving her the courage to ultimately pursue her musical ambitions. With the release of her first album, Curious Creature, Emi was invited to perform at the legendary Sundance Film Festival and shot to the very top of the Japanese jazz charts after her single “Room Blue” was chosen Single of the Week on iTunes.

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Here are some more pictures from last Saturday’s Earshot Jazz Concert at Tula’s, In the Country. The trio featured pianist Morten Qvenild (formerly of Jaga Jazzist), bass player Roger Arntzen, and drummer Pål Hausken.

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