Trio Commando DEBUT

October 1st, 2011

Trio Commando made their public debut last noght at the chapel Performance Space opening up for Eric Barber, performing improvisations, excavations and conversations through a high powered trio configuration featuring Wayne Horvitz (piano), Samantha Boshnack(trumpets), and Beth Fleenor (clarinets/voice). Unexpected and brilliant set of music with exciting electronic and vocal intermixing.

Since arriving in Seattle in 1998, clarinetist/vocal percussionist/ composer Beth Fleenor has carved a place for herself as an energetic multi-instrumentalist and dynamic generative artist. Her robust sound, organic approach, and openness to experimentation in all forms, actively fuels a long and varied list of collaborations. Ranging from shows in nightclubs, festivals, schools and galleries, to prisons, parties and concert halls, Fleenor’s work has been featured in live music, theater, performance art, recordings, modern dance, film, sound art and art installations.


Samantha Boshnack has composed and performed with a plethora of Seattle-based musicians and groups since arriving from New York in 2003. The Bard College graduate uses a broad palette in her compositions, including jazz, rock, hip-hop, Balkan, and contemporary classical music influences. Her work has received acclaim from music critics around the world, and has received support from 4Culture, Jack Straw Productions, ASCAPlus, and the Seattle Mayor’s Office of Arts & Cultural Affairs.

Wayne Horvitz is a composer, pianist, electronic musician, and producer. He has toured widely, and has collaborated with musicians such as Bill Frisell, Butch Morris, John Zorn, Robin Holcomb, Fred Frith, Julian Priester, Michael Shrieve, Bobby Previte, Marty Ehrlich, William Parker, Ron Miles, Sara Schoenbeck, Peggy Lee, Briggan Krauss, and many others. A recipient of numerous commissions and awards, his various ensembles include The President, Pigpen, Zony Mash, The HMP Trio, The New York Composers Orchestra, The 4 Plus 1 Ensemble, Sweeter Than the Day and The Gravitas Quartet.

Presented by NONSEQUITUR, which supports a wide range of adventurous music and sound art through recordings, performances, and exhibitions since 1989. They currently sponsor the Wayward Music Series in the Chapel Performance Space at the historic Good Shepherd Center in the Wallingford neighborhood.

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Another really wonderful performance by Thomas Marriott at the Chapel Performance Space on the next to last night of the 2010 Earshot Jazz Festival. What an amazing group of musicians he assembled to play his music from his 6th CD on Origin Records for which this was the release party.


Jeff Johnson on bass and John Bishop on drums

As Thomas says about this CD “After many successful recording endeavors, this is my first album of all-original music and I am happy to say it is my favorite so far. This album represents my own beliefs and thoughts on music and I am happy to be joined by some of my favorite musicians.”

Hans Teuber on saxophone

Of all the instruments associated with the “Third Stream,” the trumpet always seemed too blaring, with too many immediate blasts and incongruously declarative tendencies. In the era when post-bop melded with the post-classical, the blurring of genres seemed to need instruments that could be blurry overall. Think of Jimmy Giuffre’s clarinet, Gunther Schuller’s French horn, the way a cello can elide what a brass instrument blurts out.

Marc Seales transcendent and incandescent on piano.

Continue reading at: EarshotJazz Festival

Click here for the complete schedule for the rest of the upcoming shows at the 2010 Earshot Jazz Festival

Ambrose Akinmusire at Tula’s September 11th, 2010

As Peter Monaghan wrote for Earshot Jazz “Ambrose Akinmusire has laid down a challenge for himself, and seems set on sweeping it away. Over the last few years, he has provoked expectations that he will be among the next big things in jazz – always a risky undertaking, and of course not one that the musicians who are lumbered with the tag often invite themselves.
Akinmusire has been, indeed, somewhat reluctant to accept the mantle. But you don’t do what he did in 2007 and not acquire it. That year, he won both the Carmine Caruso International Jazz Trumpet Solo Competition and the Thelonious Monk International Jazz Competition.

The Monk competition, open to any musician without a record release, has become a much-publicized bellwether of impending jazz stardom, with such winners as pianist Marcus Roberts, vocalist Jane Monheit, and saxophonist Joshua Redman. And Akinmusire steps along that path.

Before he was 18, the Oakland, California-raised Akinmusire (whose name is pronounced “ah-KIN-moo-SEE-ray,” and who was born in 1982) had already performed with saxophone legend Joe Henderson, Joshua Redman, saxophonist Steve Coleman, and drum legend Billy Higgins. After graduating from Berkeley High School, he moved to New York to attend the Manhattan School of Music, where he studied on a scholarship. He then completed a master’s degree at the University of Southern California, and next studied at the Thelonious Monk Institute, where his instructors included Terence Blanchard and Billy Childs. Through his attendance there, he also played with some of the biggest names in jazz, including Jimmy Heath, Jason Moran, Ron Carter, Wallace Roney, Herbie Hancock, and Wayne Shorter.

Not bad, all before one’s mid-20s. Akinmusire counts the Monk Institute as crucial to his development. “It really changed my life,” he says from his New York home. “I was in the program [then at the University of Southern California, now at Loyola University in New Orleans] before I won the competition. They set the combo every two years. That’s where I got to study with [composer and arranger] Vince Mendoza, [pianist] Billy Childs, Terence Blanchard every month, and Herbie Hancock and Wayne Shorter – we went on tour with them. It was just a life-changing experience to see the behind-the-scenes of all these people I really idolized. [Saxophonist] Jimmy Heath came, and [saxophonist] Benny Golson came. [Bassist] Ron Carter came twice, and I got to sit down with these masters, and really get to just observe them for a week straight.

It’s an amazing program. It’s turning out people like [vocalist] Gretchen Parlato and [guitarist] Lionel Loueke. [Saxophonist] Walter Smith [who is in his current quintet] was in it, with me.”

With all that experience already under his belt, it is no wonder that Akinmusire’s 2007, debut album, Prelude … to Cora (Fresh Sounds), was a cut above the pack. It won him praise as “a resourceful player with a fat, crackling tone and a plethora of ideas” (San Francisco Chronicle) and a reputation as a “fiercely gifted young trumpeter” (New York Times).

Variety found him “fond of languid, rippling patterns that emerge, echo, and gradually fade into the distance. They certainly don’t fade from memory, however. Despite their lack of showiness, compositions like ‘Aroca’ … manage to work their way under the skin, delivering a tickle one moment and an electric jolt the next.”
During his still-ongoing apprenticeship, he has also recorded as a sideman with Steve Coleman, pianist Vijay Iyer, bassist/vocalist Esperanza Spalding, and two rising Seattle-reared musicians, pianist Aaron Parks, his close friend from the Manhattan School of Music, and vocalist Sara Gazarek, whom he praises as a “ball of positivity.”

Akinmusire has been, indeed, savvy in his selection of musical companions. His quintet’s pianist is Gerald Clayton, the Netherlands-born son of LA bassist John Clayton, who at 26 is another up-and-comer. He is winning renown for his seamless embrace of everything from stride piano to 21st-century neo-soul. The DownBeat 2008 Readers’ Poll named him one of the top up-and-coming pianists to watch. The Jazz Gallery in New York City has commissioned a composition from him, while the BBC Orchestra has performed another. He has been honored with a Level 1 award by the National Foundation for the Advancement of the Arts (NFAA), the title “Presidential Scholar in the Arts,” and second place in the Thelonious Monk Institute Jazz Piano Competition.

Also in the Akinmusire quintet is the drummer in Clayton’s band, Justin Brown, who comes with a reputation as a killer player; as one reviewer put it, “He is a phenomenal drummer; a ‘simple’ press roll can be a shock to the listener, like a spike of electric current through a circuit.”

The saxophonist in the Akinmusire quintet is Walter Smith, a tenor saxophonist who was Akinmusire’s classmate at the Thelonious Monk Institute and has toured with Herbie Hancock and Wayne Shorter. Bassist Harish Raghavan graduated from the University of Southern California where he studied with Gerald Clayton’s father.

The tour that brings the quintet to Seattle is in preparation for his second album, his first on a major label, and the culmination of almost three years of playing together. The band will go into the studio in September to record for Blue Note, which will near guarantee that he will become a prominent jazz musician, world wide.
The selections on the recording will all be his own originals, but he’ll also include interludes by Osso, a New York-based string quartet, and he says it might have “some treats for the ears, like I’m thinking of having a couple of tracks with celeste or harp, or something else, to cleanse the palate between the tracks, or something like that.”

Akinmusire says his first album was in some senses the closing of the first part of his career. Prelude … to Cora included tunes he was playing regularly, and “I just wanted to record them, and put them to rest,” he says.
The albums reception, however, was so positive that the tunes did not lie down: “One day we went into the studio and played, and next thing you know, everybody had the album.”

He was 25 at the time and unaware, by his own admission, of what making a recording could mean in terms of presenting himself to the public.

That will be to his fans’ benefit when his second album appears, because he says that by comparison with his first outing, “I’m going to play, on this one.”

The popularity of Prelude was driven by Akinmusire’s wins in the 2007 Caruso and Monk competitions, and it took him completely by surprise. “It was a little shocking, a little scary, really,” he says.

He admits that he didn’t really know how to take the acclaim: “Me, on a personal level, I’m kind of to myself. I have a few friends who know me well, but I don’t like attention, and I definitely don’t play music for attention, or any of that other stuff. So, to have people all of a sudden calling me and wanting to interview me, and getting calls from labels, it was really weird. I actually stopped returning emails and phone calls.”

But, he chuckles, “then I got a manager to help me out with it.

“If it wasn’t for her, I wouldn’t be gigging; I’d rather just stay in my house and practice and play with my friends.”
But he adds: “I’ve come to terms with it, now, being a little bit older. I find that somehow people out there get something from me, and it would be selfish of me not to give it to them.”

Is he consciously looking for new directions in his craft?

“I’m just trying to be honest. It sounds like a very hippie ideal, but we’re all different, we’re all individuals, and if we tap into who we really are, and express that 100 percent, then we all would be doing something new. I think people get caught up in wanting to impress others or wanting to be accepted. I don’t really have that, I’m sort of myself, and I don’t really apologize for that.

“Some people come up to me and say, ‘Ambrose, you’re the next innovator,’ and I just tell them, ‘Man, I’m just being myself.’ We’re all different; we all have different backgrounds, and that’s what I try to do.”
What are his ongoing influences?

“Everything influences me. This also sounds hippyish, but I learn resilience from trees, the importance of stillness from the flicker of a flame. People who enter and exit my life: from Jimmie Heath, the importance of maintaining your inner child; from Herbie Hancock and Wayne Shorter, I’ve learned the importance of realizing that you’re a human being, first; I learned from Terence Blanchard that it’s OK for me to be myself.

“I just came back from Denmark, from being around all the best musicians in Denmark, teaching at a camp – their love for music was something that I’d forgot, or that I’ve been yearning for and I didn’t realize I was yearning for it. And I just felt like crying for a week, to see a culture where they were playing music just for the pleasure of playing music.

“I learned that from them.

“All of these things go into my music.”

Thomas Marriott At Tula’s

June 25th, 2010

Here are some more pictures from last night’s performance of the Thomas Marriott CD RELEASE: “East-West Trumpet Summit”.

Matt Jorgensen

Phil Sparks on bass

Vern Sielert

Bill Anschell


Matt Jorgensen

Thomas Marriott

Thomas Marriott celebrated the release of his new CD, “East-West Trumpet Summit“, which is currently #1 on the JazzWeek National Airplay Chart and was recently featured on NPR’s Morning Edition. The “East” portion of the Trumpet Summit is usually Ray Vega, but because of family commitments Vega wasn’t able to make this performance. In his absence, Vern Sielert (still “East” of Seattle as Sielert is now teaching in Idaho), joined the band which also featured Bill Anschell on piano, Phil Sparks on bass and Matt Jorgensen on drums. A great sound on a summer evening. Strange to see jazz in a club with daylight pouring in the window. More pictures to come soon.


Tomasz Stanko performed Monday night at the Triple Door as Earshot Jazz Spring Series rolls on.
Tomasz Stanko and his quartet, featuring pianist Alexi Tuomarila,  drummer Olavi Louhivuori, Anders Christensen on bass, and Jakob Bro, on guitar, put on a cool, mesmerizing and memorable performance. Playing smouldering Slavic soul music with a grainy-toned trumpet, the tunes were from his newest album Dark Eyes including the title track, The Dark Eyes Of Martha Hirsch. It was inspired by a painting by expressionist Oskar Kokoschka, Stanko saw in a New York art gallery. Stanko and Bro start the song by playing a muted jutting harmony, building up an intense tension which Tuomarila then exploits in a softly subversive solo. Echos of Miles Davis and Chet Baker his inspirational models were evident here and in a number of the other songs they played tonight, but there was a distinct Nordic influence surrounding their style of playing as well.

More photos will be posted later this week.

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Ralph Towner and Paolo Fresu put on a beautiful concert last Sunday night at the Triple Door as part of the Earshot Jazz Spring Series. I especially appreciated the sound of the classical guitar and the trumpet mingling together it was so sweet. Here are the rest of the pictures I wanted to share from the performance.






Best known as the lead composer, guitarist, and keyboardist of the classic jazz ensemble Oregon, Ralph Towner has led a storied four decade career in improvised music. Towner’s blend of jazz, folk, and contemporary classical music offered a compelling alternative to the jazz-rock that ruled much of the 1970s (interestingly enough, however, Towner was also a valuable contributorto some vintage Weather Report line- ups). Towner’s first unaccompanied twelve-string guitar recordings were received as an entirely new musical idiom, and if one artist came to represent that classic ECM sound – spacious, rural, European or classical in design – it was Towner. His working relationship with ECM producer Manfred Eicher led to numerous fruitful collaborations, including recordings with Gary Peacock, Jack DeJohnette, Jan Garbarek, and Gary Burton. Towner is a true innovator, presenting ever fresh ideas while maintaining his rich, “pianistic” approach to guitar.

As one critic has remarked, “his ability to work simultaneous lines, sustain rich harmonics and drones and even get a percussive counterpoint out of the snap of the strings and the thud of the sound-box is what makes his solo playing so rich and multi-dimensional.” A generation removed from Towner, Sardinian trumpeter Paolo Fresu is a premiere exponent of the new Italian jazz. Indebted to Enrico Rava, Kenny Wheeler, and mid-50s Miles Davis, Fresu creates a gorgeous sound on both trumpet and flugelhorn. Fresu has long admired Towner’s work for solo guitar, and paired together the duo creates sparse music of great melodic subtlety. Though they first met some fifteen years ago, Fresu and Towner recently released their first album as a duo, Chiaroscuro (ECM), a masterful exploration of the colors and opportunities afforded by the unique instrumental pairing. The duo’s live performances are augmented by some tasty electronics, and taken altogether Towner and Fresu create a music quite unlike any other.


Jazz Photography by Seattle photographer Daniel Sheehan who covers jazz performances, and creates portrait photography for publications and corporations and a Seattle Wedding Photographer at A Beautiful Day Photography, a wedding photographer with an artistic photojournalist style. Visit his newest website EYESHOTPHOTOS.COM to see samples of all of his work as a Seattle Photographer.

Ralph Towner and Paolo Fresu performing at the Triple Door Sunday night as  the Earshot Jazz Spring Series continues.

The duo of Towner and Fresu put on a beautiful concert. The sound of the classical guitar and the trumpet mingling together so fluidly was especially compelling. I will post some more pictures of the performance by these two in the coming week.

Best known as the lead composer, guitarist, and keyboardist of the classic jazz ensemble Oregon, Ralph Towner has led a storied four decade career in improvised music. Towner’s blend of jazz, folk, and contemporary classical music offered a compelling alternative to the jazz-rock that ruled much of the 1970s (interestingly enough, however, Towner was also a valuable contributorto some vintage Weather Report line- ups). Towner’s first unaccompanied twelve-string guitar recordings were received as an entirely new musical idiom, and if one artist came to represent that classic ECM sound – spacious, rural, European or classical in design – it was Towner. His working relationship with ECM producer Manfred Eicher led to numerous fruitful collaborations, including recordings with Gary Peacock, Jack DeJohnette, Jan Garbarek, and Gary Burton. Towner is a true innovator, presenting ever fresh ideas while maintaining his rich, “pianistic” approach to guitar.

As one critic has remarked, “his ability to work simultaneous lines, sustain rich harmonics and drones and even get a percussive counterpoint out of the snap of the strings and the thud of the sound-box is what makes his solo playing so rich and multi-dimensional.” A generation removed from Towner, Sardinian trumpeter Paolo Fresu is a premiere exponent of the new Italian jazz. Indebted to Enrico Rava, Kenny Wheeler, and mid-50s Miles Davis, Fresu creates a gorgeous sound on both trumpet and flugelhorn. Fresu has long admired Towner’s work for solo guitar, and paired together the duo creates sparse music of great melodic subtlety. Though they first met some fifteen years ago, Fresu and Towner recently released their first album as a duo, Chiaroscuro (ECM), a masterful exploration of the colors and opportunities afforded by the unique instrumental pairing. The duo’s live performances are augmented by some tasty electronics, and taken altogether Towner and Fresu create a music quite unlike any other.



Josh Rawlings, Fender Rhodes, Evan Flory-Barnes, double bass, Ahamefule J. Oluo, trumpet, and D’Vonne Lewis, drums performed at the CD release party at Electric Tea Garden Saturday night, up on Capital Hill. It was a great scens and the music was smokin.

All photographs on this website are by Daniel Sheehan © 2010. All Rights Reserved. Please inquire for permission to use.

Thomas

Thomas Marriott playing at Tula’s with Mark Taylor

The Earshot Jazz Festival presented the Seattle trumpet ace  Thomas Marriott who brought a brilliant lineup – Mark Taylor, Matt Jorgenson, Jeff Johnson and Travis Shook – to bear on some of his favorite, though seldom performed, compositions. A six-time Golden Ear award winner, Marriott is always seeking to expand the boundaries of jazz music in all its forms. He has performed with Maynard Ferguson’s Big Bop Nouveau band, Rosemary Clooney, Joe Locke, The Tito Puente Orchestra, Eddie Palmieri, Kenny Kirkland, and many others. His diverse interests and skills are reflected in the range and success of his albums. His album Crazy: The Music of Willie Nelson was released in early 2008 to wide critical acclaim. Jazz Times declared Marriott a “first-tier trumpet player” with “serious chops and a luxuriant trumpet sound. … This album is a kick in the pants.” His fourth album on Origin Records, Flexicon, was released in April of 2009 and made it to number 10 on the national jazz-radio airplay charts in its first few weeks of release.
Thomas-Marriot-group