SEPT 29-OCT 2
Two-time Grammy-winning bassist and multi-instrumentalist Marcus Miller plays six shows over four nights with a full backing band of Alex Bailey on drums, Caleb McCambell on keys, Alex Han on sax, and Marquis Hill on trumpet.
Chick Corea's fantastically funky, rococo inventions with Miles Davis' electric bands still makes heads reel, and their stint leading Return to Forever elevated fusion to unprecedented heights of creativity and popularity. This deft septuagenarian will likely finesse less fiery pieces from their fingers, but you can expect serpentine streams of beautiful virtuosity all night. DAVE SEGAL
Lauded by the Wall Street Journal as "the best jazz and blues singer going today," Catherine Russell takes the stage at Jazz Alley for four straight days, with six shows worth of genre-blending elegance.
Jazz and blues legend and top '60s freak-a-leek Dr. John showcases his lifelong embodiment of New Orleans' musical heritage with his band The Nite Trippers, headlining at the Pantages Theater.
OCT 7-NOV 11
This is the season of Seattle's premier jazz event, the Earshot Jazz Festival, which includes more than 50 distinct concerts and events in venues across town. One of the big names at this year's festival is veteran pianist Freddy Cole, who will present with his trio a performance tied to the legacy of his late brother, Nat King Cole. There will also be a tribute to Charlie Parker, helmed by the award-winning saxophonist Rudresh Mahanthappa. Local ubiquitous talent D'Vonne Lewis will curate a series of concerts with his groups Limited Edition and Industrial Revelation, the Roosevelt High School Jazz Band, and special jazz festival collaborators, as this year's Resident Artist.
The big event of this year’s Earshot Jazz Festival is certainly the brilliant and famous trumpeter Wynton Marsalis. He will perform with Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra. We can expect nothing but greatness from this event. And not just greatness but black greatness. And not just black greatness, but a history of that greatness. What do I mean by this? Remember, Wynton Marsalis once criticized black Americans for not aggressively supporting America’s classical (black based) music, and continuing the tradition of greatness that’s exemplified by recordings like Coltrane’s A Love Supreme, Charles Mingus’ Black Saint and the Sinner Lady, and Duke Ellington’s Black Brown and Beige. His massive and gorgeous Blood On the Fields—which was released in 1997 and won a Pulitzer Prize—represented his Herculean effort to continue this black-neglected tradition of black greatness. But as a jazz critic at Amazon.com, Andrew Barlett, put it: “Marsalis won the Pulitzer Prize for Blood in 1997, decades after Ellington should've won for any of two or three suite-length works.” In short, the project was not about continuity or even the revival of a tradition. It was instead condemned to be an archeology or history of black greatness. Wynton Marsalis is great, and so is the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra, but the age of black greatness is, sadly, in the past. Nevertheless, you must not miss this show. CM
His full name is Alfred McCoy Tyner, he was born in 1938, he is one of the greatest pianists that any American century has produced. He began formal training at the age of 13, and his first hero was his neighbor, Bud Powell, who, along with Thelonious Monk (Tyner's second hero), helped determine the direction that the piano would take through the daunting terrain of modern jazz. Philadelphia, the city that shaped Tyner's early development, is where he first met and befriended, in his late teens, the great (no, the god) John Coltrane. By 21, Tyner was a member of Coltrane's quartet. The solo Tyner provided for Coltrane's over-interpretation of "My Favorite Things" (1961) is startling. How could someone so young (23 at the time), whose formal experience of the piano had just reached the decade mark, bring out of this very difficult instrument emotions that very few artists are lucky enough to articulate near the end of a long life. The solo said "autumn in a big city," "falling leaves in a central park," "short and early dusks," "those shimmering stars," and "my lover's grey and brown sweater"—all of these ephemeral things were communicated with impeccable ease. Under his fingers, the wild piano was tamed and seemed to obey the exact course of his musical thoughts. The solo officially announced the arrival of a new genius to the already genius-packed world of post–World War II jazz. After Tyner left Coltrane's quartet in the mid '60s, he embarked on a solo career that has produced way too many great recordings. Opening his body of work is like opening an unabridged dictionary. Everything is in there: solo recordings; performances with trios, combos, and orchestras; experiments with Latin, African, and Asian rhythms. And through it all, Tyner, who is the last living member of the classic quartet, has not lost the substance of his approach, which has been defined by a sense of adventure. CM
Soulful saxophonist Maceo Parker has spent decades exploring and rewriting the history of funk in collaborations with icons like James Brown, George Clinton, and Prince, while simultaneously honing his own brand of creative showmanship. He'll be performing alongside the Jones Family Singers.
Indian American pianist/composer Vijay Iyer has worked with a dizzying array of artists (including Amiri Baraka, Greg Tate's Burnt Sugar, Dead Prez, and Das Racist) and has proved to be one of jazz's most interesting iconoclasts; few in his field would dare to cover M.I.A.'s "Galang," let alone turn it into a tour de force with acoustic instruments. Iyer's own compositions are vibrant and intriguing, and his playing is nimble and full of delightfully surprising phrasing and subtly dissonant melodies. Iyer's album, Tirtha, for example, features electric guitarist Prasanna and tabla master Nitin Mitta, who incisively fuse Indian classical music with avant-garde jazz. It's an unusual blend of elements that coheres thanks to Iyer's flair for challenging song structures and understated virtuosity. Tonight, he performs as part of the Earshot Jazz Festival with Wadada Leo Smith, a trumpeter and composer who has made his mark in a field of jazz that Wynton Marsalis (the star of this year’s festival) does not much care for, the avant-garde. Whatever, this show should be phenomenal. DS
The annual genre-blending Sonic Evolution concert celebrates two Seattle musicians: the composer, record producer, conductor, and humanitarian Quincy Jones, who will be honored with a new work by composer Kenji Bunch, and Jones’ Garfield High classmate, the iconic jazz and blues singer Ernestine Anderson. The performance will be orchestrated by Seattle Symphony Music Director Ludovic Morlot, the Garfield High School Jazz Band, and powerful soul singer Grace Love.
Eternal roots and blues cornerstone and national treasure Taj Mahal has been crafting tales for almost fifty years with the musical traditions of the American South. He graces Jazz Alley with his trio for an eight day Thanksgiving stretch, showcasing decades of iconic lyricism, expert guitar work, and warm rust-imbued vocals.
The Jim Cutler Jazz Orchestra, which was formed in 2004 and meets on Sundays at Tula's, mostly performs compositions by locally known and unknown musicians. Do not underestimate the importance of this. It not only helps to keep the works of local artists in circulation—works that might be overlooked or never see the light of the public—but it provides our regional tradition with a sense of seriousness and legitimacy. CM
Weinstein, a local pianist, is a perfect fit for Vito's, a First Hill venue that cultivates a specific mode and mood — jazz melancholy, after-hours blues, world-weary dandyism. When Weinstein plays, he really goes for the soul, goes to the bottom of things, but not in a rootsy or earthy way. This is music for the type of souls who are sad when walking down a busy city street but soon bored when hiking in the woods. CM