November 11th, 2015
Last night at Cornish Earshot Jazz Festival presented once again Anat Cohen. Conversant with modern and traditional jazz, classical music, Brazilian choro, and Argentine tango, the Israeli clarinetist has established herself as a leading voice in jazz moving forward. And with it, she “reaches a state of musical ecstasy…as her clarinet moans, sighs, soars and wails with passion and emotion,” wrote All About Jazz.
Nat Hentoff observed that Anat Cohen “tells stories from her own experiences that are so deeply felt that they are very likely to connect listeners to their own dreams, desires, and longings.”
With her touring quartet – keyboardist Jason Lindner, bassist Tal Mashiach, drummer Daniel Freedman – she demonstrated this year on Luminosa, her seventh album, why DownBeat would call her “a woodwind revelation of dark tones and delicious lyricism, but also a dynamic bandleader.”
The Tel Aviv-born US transplant began clarinet studies at 12, also plays tenor saxophone, and studied at Berklee College. In New York, she joined Brazilian ensembles like Duduka Da Fonseca’s Samba Jazz Quintet, and performed the music of Louis Armstrong, Bix Beiderbecke, Sidney Bechet, and their pan-American contemporaries. Her reputation spread as one of the most engaging of modern jazz musicians, and one of a group of Israelis spicing the New York scene.
Recognized with nine consecutive Jazz Journalists Association awards for clarinetist of the year and multiple DownBeatcritics and readers polls honors, she achieves a rare accomplishment in jazz: seamlessly merging early and recent styles, and geographically diverse forms, into personal expression.
Co-presented with Cornish Presents.
November 10th, 2015
James McBride was a professional saxophonist for decades before he took up writing. His most recent work of historical fiction, The Good Lord Bird, was the winner of the National Book Award for Fiction in 2013. His landmark memoir, The Color of Water, was on the New York Times bestseller list for two years.
The Good Lord Bird tells the story of a boy named Henry Shackleford, an enslaved 12-year-old who winds up traveling with John Brown during the abolitionist’s most tumultuous years. “Many books have been written about [Brown], but I wanted to write a book that people like me would read,” he tells Kurt Andersen. While faithful to the outlines of history, McBride’s account of Brown offers ample comic relief. “He was seen as a nut. He’s still seen as a nut,” McBride explains. “I don’t want to write depressing books. Books cost a lot of money. If people are going to invest that kind of money in your work, they should at least be moved to some semblance of happiness, even if briefly.”
Like McBride, the young protagonist loves to break out into song. McBride created a catalogue of fictional songs for him, but also relies heavily on the spirituals of the era. McBride and the Good Lord Bird Band is a gospel jazz quintet that will perform original and historical spirituals interspersed with brief, lyrical readings from the novel.
The Good Lord Bird Band consists of Show Tyme Brooks on drums and vocals, Trevor Exter on bass and vocals, Adam Faulk on piano and vocals, Keith Robinson on guitar and vocals, and McBride on saxophone and vocals.
Co-presented by Seattle Arts & Lectures and the Seattle Times.
November 9th, 2015
Last night at Cornish College, vocalist Jay Clayton returned to perform originals, standards, electronics, poetry, plus a tribute to Ornette Coleman, with fellow Cornish players Julian Priester and Dawn Clement.
An impressive vocalist, composer, and educator, Clayton has performed and taught across the world. She has collaborated with many big names, including: Fred Hersch, Norma Winstone, Bobby McFerrin, Steve Reich, Muhal Richard Abrams, and Jane Ira Bloom.
Clayton is known and respected for her experience with free jazz and improvisation. “More than 20 years after her debut recording All Out, Clayton is still the most adventurous singer in jazz, a specialist in wordless improvisation who’s also expert in distending and finding new meanings in the melodies and lyrics of classic popular songs,” writes Francis Davis ofThe Village Voice.
Her work, incorporating both jazz and new music, is creative and demonstrates her extreme vocal prowess. JazzTimes’ Fred Bouchard says, “As far as vocal innovation goes, Jay Clayton is precariously on the cutting edge.”
November 6th, 2015
Last night at the Nectar Lounge was Seattle jazz favorites Industrial Revelation. The local quartet of D’Vonne Lewis, Ahamefule J. Oluo, Evan Flory-Barnes & Josh Rawlings has received several regional accolades including The Stranger Genius Award for Music, Seattle Weekly Best Jazz Group, and numerous Earshot Golden Ear Awards.
November 6th, 2015
Last night at the Triple Door was the Jacob Fred Jazz Odyssey (JFJO) the acclaimed, road-sharpened trio of Brian Haas (piano/Fender Rhodes/bass Moog/synth), Chris Combs (electric guitar/lap steel guitar/synth), and Josh Raymer (drums). Beginning in 1994 as a funky octet, JFJO has performed in both large and small ensembles and journeyed through 16 members, 25 albums, and countless global tours.
In 2013, the band downsized to a trio setting to release the first of three albums on the revered Brooklyn record label Royal Potato Family. Last October, the JFJO trio dropped an electronic, expectation-defying album Worker. Now, the trio embarks on another tour to celebrate their album release The Battle for Earth – a psychedelic musical exploration paired with an original, sci-fi jazz epic comic book.
November 5th, 2015
“Tremendous, powerful and inspiring!” says Gabriel Alegria, President of La Asociación International Jazz Perú, of the Seattle Women’s Jazz Orchestra. With its contingent of many of the finest female jazz artists in the Pacific Northwest, SWOJO is joined by world-renowned guitarist/recording artist/composer Mimi Fox in this festival appearance. The evening also features the world premiere of “Cat Dreams,” by Nelda Swiggett, winner of SWOJO’s third annual composition contest.
Performing since 2000, SWOJO is known for creating an “energy and environment” that is “magnetic…both musically and emotionally” (Dr. Michael Caldwell, Editor, International Trumpet Guild Journal).
Along with their own core of “burning, swingin’” (Alegria) arrangements of jazz, they are dedicated to performing original music with regional and international composers. This night with Fox will continue their vision of sharing the wealth of music created by women in a genre historically dominated by men.
Fox, herself a dominant force and leader in the guitar world, has recorded and played with many of the greats: fellow guitarists Charlie Byrd and Stanley Jordan, instrumentalists Branford Marsalis and David Sanchez, and vocalists Diana Krall and Janis Siegel.
SWOJO, united with Fox’s “firm control, clarity and concept” (AllAboutJazz.com), will provide an evening of rich texture, excitement – a musical joyride.
November 4th, 2015
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.
November 3rd, 2015
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).
November 2nd, 2015
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.
November 2nd, 2015
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.