Hardcoretet

October 31st, 2011

Hardcoretet at Tula’s

For a great treat, I got to hear a tight group last Thursday night at Tula’s. Earshot Jazz Festival 2011 presented the energetic Seattle quartet Hardcoretet who performed originals drawn from jazz, rock, soul, and improvised music, inspired by fusion supergroups as well as modern jazz outfits like Chris Potter’s Underground and Kneebody. It featured Art Brown (alto sax), Aaron Otheim (keys), Tim Carey (bass), and Tarik Abouzied (drums).

Check out the Earshot Jazz Festival Schedule to see what’s next in the last week of the 2011 Festival lineup.

With Art Brown on saxophone, Aaron Otheim on keys, Tim Carey on bass, and Tarik Abouzied on drums, Hardcoretet presents original material written by each of its members. Brown, Otheim, Carey and Abouzied have all worked on a variety of projects over the years, encompassing a broad range of genres and sounds. From the free jazz sounds of Speak to the funky rhythms of Pocket Change, each group including members of Hardcoretet has proved to be prolific in the Seattle Jazz scene. Hardcoetet members have performed both nationally and globally, and the band has shared the stage with heavy hitters such as Bill Frisell, Cuong Vu, Mike Stern, John Medeski, Bobby Previte, and Charlie Hunter.

Hardcoretet’s second album, Do It Live, to be released at Tula’s during this year’s festival, further propels Hardcoretet on their way to becoming one of Seattle’s most exciting and unique mixed-genre bands. Their debut album, Experiments in Vibe, released in 2009, started the group on that path with a nomination for Mixed Genre Album of the Year at Seattle’s Lucid I/O Awards.

Influenced by artists from Miles Davis and John Coltrane to Soundgarden and Led Zeppelin, Hardcoretet’s sound is an amalgam of the best aspects of many genres. Combining elements of jazz, rock, soul and improvised music, Hardcoretet’s sound is similar to that of fusion groups like Herbie Hancock’s Headhunters and Chick Corea’s Return to Forever. Simultaneously, their modern vibe has been likened to the works of Chris Potter’s Underground and Kneebody. Hardcoretet’s compositions, combined with their vibrant energy, make for a show not to be missed. – Abi Swanson, from the Earshot Jazz Festival schedule program

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Cory Weeds Group

October 28th, 2011

Cory Weeds Group at Tula’s

Earshot Jazz Festival 2011 presented the Vancouver BC saxophonist Cory Weeds has played with B3 master Dr Lonnie Smith, The Night Crawlers, and mellow vocalist Paul Anka while also excelling as a leader. His The Many Deeds of Cory Weeds (2010) featured organist Joey DeFrancesco, and remained in the JazzWeek charts for 10 weeks. Weeds performed at Tula’s with Mike LeDonne, guitarist Oliver Gannon and drummer Jesse Cahill.

Check out the Earshot Jazz Festival Schedule to see what’s next in the 2011 Festival lineup.

Entrepreneurial Vancouver saxophonist Cory Weeds is an experienced bandleader, producer, club owner and voice for jazz in the Northwest. His show Chasin the Train aired on Vancouver’s Co-op Radio, 102.7 FM, and he’s been heard on the popular CBC show Hot Air, a radio program covering all eras of jazz. He’s played with B3 master Dr. Lonnie Smith, with the Night Crawlers, and mellow vocalist Paul Anka. As a leader, his The Many Deeds of Cory Weeds (2010), featuring organist Joey DeFrancesco, remained in the JazzWeek charts for 10 weeks. Early work in his career with the popular Vancouver band People Playing Music enchanted Weeds to the funkier side of jazz – Maceo Parker, Grant Green, Dr. Lonnie Smith. His January 2008 debut recording as a leader featured New York heavyweights: guitarist Peter Bernstein, organist Mike Ledonne and drummer Joe Farnsworth. He’s at Tula’s with Mike LeDonne, guitarist Oliver Gannon and drummer Jesse Cahill.

Cory Weeds’ father introduced him to jazz at a young age, and Weeds played piano for 13 years before making the permanent switch to the alto saxophone in high school. He attended the music program at North Vancouver’s Capilano College for three years before moving to the University of North Texas in Denton on a scholarship. Back home, Weeds concentrated his energies as a performing musician, then branched out.

In 2000, Weeds purchased The Cellar, a restaurant and jazz club in Vancouver’s Kitsilano neighborhood, since voted four times in the Top 100 Jazz Clubs Worldwide by DownBeat. With a focus on the promotion of Vancouver and Canadian musicians and as host to the likes of Charles McPherson, Frank Wess, Mulgrew Miller, George Coleman, Lou Donaldson, Dr. Lonnie Smith, Benny Golson and David Fathead Newman, it’s become an integral part in the advance of jazz in Vancouver and the Northwest.

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Jay Thomas / Shunzo Ohno Group

October 27th, 2011

Jay Thomas performed last Saturday and Sunday at Tula’s with the Shunzo Ohno Group as part of the Earshot Jazz Festival 2011. Seattle’s multihorn great collaborated with the searing, stylish, New York-based Japanese trumpet bebopper Shunzo Ohno, a veteran of Art Blakey’s Jazz Messengers, and Phil Sparks, bass John Hanson, piano.

Here are some pictures from their performance.

Check out the Earshot Jazz Festival Schedule to see what’s next in the 2011 Festival lineup.

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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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July 2 the Wellstone Conspiracy played works from their wonderful new album “Motives” and I really enjoyed being there to hear and photograph them. Wellstone Conspiracy features  Bill Anschell on piano, Jeff Johnson on bass, and John Bishop on drums, and saxophonist Brent Jensen. “Four of the Northwest’s finest jazz artists reunite on “Motives” for a wide-ranging, adventurous recording of orignal works, including a free-wheeling tribute to drummer Ed Blackwell, and melodic pieces flavored by the modern harmonies of Herbie Hancock and Wayne Shorter. The disc closes with an impressionistic cover of Billy Strayhorn’s “A Flower is a Lovesome Thing.” The four musicians continue to refine the collective artistry displayed on their 2006 debut CD, “One More Mile” (under Brent Jensen’s name), a cohesive group sound that All About Jazz reviewer John Barron described as: “…lively, inventive and beckons for repeated listening.” Here are some pictures from the evening performance.






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Got to photograph and listen to jazz vibraphonist, Susan Pascal Quartet last Friday night at Tula’s. Susan’s Quartet has Dave Peterson on guitar, Chuck Deardorf on bass, and MArk Ivester on drums. They strike a dynamic balance between spontaneity and imaginative arrangements and it was beautiful first set of jazz classics I go to hear.put on. Here are a couple of pictures from the evening.

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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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Chuck Deardorf Quintet with Warren Rand (alto sax), Dawn Clement (piano), Dave Peterson (guitar), Gary Hobbs (drums), and Deardorf (bass) played at Tula’s before the start of the Golden Ear Awards.

Chuck Deardorf is a regular performer in the Seattle area; a full-time professor of bass at the Cornish College of the Arts, where he’s also served as music faculty chair; and a member of Centrum’s 2011 Jazz Port Townsend faculty. His quintet warmed up the Tula’s stage at 7pm, ahead of the presentation of awards at 8pm.  Celebrated jazz radio programmer Jim Wilke emceed  the event. It was a wonderful laid back evening and I congratulate all of the nominees and winners.



The Kora Band, Cascades (OA2 Records) won the NW Recording of the Year Award presented by Rochelle House, left to Andrew Oliver, Kane Mathis, and Chad McCullough.

Tom Marriott gathered the honors for NW Acoustic Jazz Ensemble of the Year for Thomas Marriott’s Flexicon

Alternative Jazz Group of the Year and NW Concert of the Year were both awarded to Speak with drummer Chris Icasiano accepting the award with Andrew Swanson

Bill Anschell, piano, was surprised  and grateful to win NW Jazz Instrumentalist of the Year

And NW Vocalist of the Year went to Gail Pettis

Chuck Deardorf was also surprised when he was inducted into the Seattle Jazz Hall of Fame

Wayne Horvitz was also Inducted into the Seattle Jazz Hall of Fame.

Another award announced but not in attendance was Paul Kikuchi for Emerging Artist of the Year

After all the awards were given out I got a photo of all of the nominees for NW Vocalist of the Year

Valerie Joyce,  Gail Pettis, Kelley Johnson and Greta Mattassa 2010 NW Vocalist of the Year Nominees.

Gerald Clayton performs as part of the Earshot Jazz Spring Series, March 1 at Tula’s.Had another photo chosen for the cover of Earshot jazz Magazine this month. This was taken last fall during the Earshot jazz Festival when Gerald was playing with Ambrose Alkinmusire at Tula’s. Plan on seeing him there again on March 1st.


Tessa Souter performing at Tula’s on October 29th as part of the Earshot Jazz Festival.

New York-based performer Tessa Souter has been critically acclaimed as much for her expressive style as for her beautiful voice. Born in London, the daughter of English and Trinidadian parents, her unique style infuses jazz with the soul and passion of flamenco, Middle Eastern, and Brazilian music.

Formerly a features journalist for the international press, Souter was cited by San Francisco author Po Bronson, in his best-selling What Should I Do With My Life, as someone who successfully transformed her life twice. After moving from London to San Francisco in the early 90’s, she established herself as a freelance journalist, initially juggling cleaning houses with writing articles on everything from the San Francisco homeless to travel, to celebrity interviews, to her own experience as a teen mother. But, she never let go of her long-held dream to be a singer.

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

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