Kareem Kandi, the Tacoma-based saxophonist’s funk- and blues-drenched style was showcased to fine effect in this trio with organist favorite Delvon Lamarr and drummer Adam Kessler last night at Tula’s, as the 2015 Earshot Jazz festival goes on.

Tenor saxophonist Kareem Kandi teaches 35-40 private lessons per week and gigs three to five nights a week, from Bellingham to Olympia and beyond. He’s in his 14th year as artist-in-residence at the Tacoma School of the Arts and his ninth at Pierce College, where he teaches saxophone and, until this year, directed its big band ensemble. He also plays and tours with the folk super-group The Paperboys, from Vancouver, BC. In recent months, Kandi has expanded his bandstand leadership and teaching into a south Sound venture with Boxley’s proprietor Danny Kolke. Together, the two have launched the non-profit Tacoma Jazz Association. Kandi is a class act and a great, gigging bandleader who charms on the microphone and astounds audiences with long, muscly tenor runs, riffs, and hits: an excellent trio instrumentalist.

Organist Lamarr learned the instrument by watching bandleader Joe Doria, while subbing as a drummer on the gig. Today, the fluidity of his feet on the foot pedals, his left hand handling the walking bass lines, and his right hand oscillating between comping and soloing – he’s like a well-rehearsed chamber ensemble unto himself. Lamarr was born in 1978 and grew up in a house where his mother listened to gospel and blues while he and his older brother spun hip-hop and Van Halen records. Today, he works in his own funky groove trio, Rippin Chicken, and works regularly with saxophonist Kandi.

Drummer Kessler is a leader in his own right, from the drum throne at club Barca’s weekly Thursday jazz hang. Tight, clean chops and a mastery of the grammar of the jazz trio allow Kessler to sit deep in the pocket. The percussionist and educator was born in Seattle, 1982, and learned about swing in the Roosevelt High School Jazz Band. He received a BA in Music from Cornish College of the Arts, where he studied jazz, Brazilian, electronic, Middle Eastern, and gamelan music, as well as musicianship and composition training with multi-instrumentalist Denney Goodhew.






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