Skerik is a saxophone virtuoso who has crafted a sound so rare they gave it a name: Saxophonics. As a founding member of Critters Buggin and staple in Les Claypool's Fancy Band, Skerik absolutely shreds the idea of what live saxophone should sound like. SEAN JEWELL
Nectar, 8 pm, $10/$15
Two-time Grammy-winning bassist and multi-instrumentalist Marcus Miller will perform with a full backing band of Alex Bailey on drums, Caleb McCambell on keys, Alex Han on sax, and Marquis Hill on trumpet.
Jazz Alley, $40.50
Delvon Lamarr Organ Trio: Definitely old-school Hammond B-3 funk! Rediscover the world through the surprisingly varied palette offered by the grand machine itself, complete with its gently psychedelic rotating Leslie speakers. ANDREW HAMLIN
Tula's, 7:30 pm, $12
When Susan Pascal, Seattle's great vibraphonist, plays with Milo Petersen, a local jazz guitarist and educator, I honestly fall in love with the jazz guitar, an instrument that does almost nothing for me on all other occasions. Pascal, an artist who really knows her instrument and handles her sticks in the way that all masterful vibraphonists do (like wands casting warm spells), also frequently performs with Bill Anschell, an established and very productive pianist. CM
Tula's, 7:30 pm, $18
Grammy winner Leslie Odom, Jr. is an acclaimed singer and dancer who has found mainstream recognition through his star turn as Aaron Burr in the hit Broadway musical Hamilton.
Moore Theatre, 7 pm, $27-$37
Don't know Fred Wesley? I'm sure you have heard him play the trombone without knowing it, because he is on a lot of James Brown records. But if you want to know his own music, I recommend you begin with the Southern funk classic "Breakin' Bread," which is by the legendary The J.B.s. The funk on that record is so joyful, so earthy, so American. Tonight, Fred Wesley plays with Pee Wee Ellis, a composer, arranger, and saxophonist who helped build the sound we now associate with the late and great James Brown. CM
Jazz Alley, 7:30 pm, $34.50
Ted Wilson is one of the founders of modern jazz, and Hank Jones is one of the greatest musical minds of the modern jazz period (1942 to 1969). Both were pianists with a great sense of not only their art but its technical sophistication. Hank Jones, for example, often expressed unhappiness at the fact that the music he played was called "jazz." He thought the word was too trite, too whimsical for a musical form that was so demanding. Jones saw himself and his art as the height of his civilization. And he played the piano like a person who has concentrated an enormous amount of learning in his fingers. The word jazz just didn't cut it for Jones. CM
The Royal Room, 7:30 pm, $8-$12
Take 6, made up of Claude McKnight, Mark Kibble, Joel Kibble, Dave Thomas, Alvin Chea, and Khristian Dentley, is a six-piece vocal harmony group noted for their jazz, gospel, funk, and a cappella flourishes. They have been heralded by Quincy Jones as the "baddest vocal cats on the planet."
Jazz Alley, $34.50
Wachira's understatedly powerful songs of resilience, identity, and empowerment would seem to be the perfect fit for a night about internal strength, without ever getting preachy or melodramatic about it. It doesn't hurt that she's got a wallop of a voice, all the better to deliver her casually catchy ballads. KYLE FLECK
Jazz Alley, 7:30 pm, $28.50
Oct 8–Nov 12
The most prestigious jazz festival in the Pacific Northwest is certainly the Earshot Jazz Festival. And this year it features some of the contemporary giants of the art: Brad Mehldau, Brian Blade, and Wycliffe Gordon. Also in the lineup is Satoko Fuji (a star in the avantgarde universe), and the Burnt Sugar Arkestra (a group founded by the great hiphop and culture critic Greg Tate—BSA is all about Miles Davis fusion period). CM
Lauded bassist Christian McBride has been a force in the jazz world for over 20 years and has played with musicians including Herbie Hancock and Sting.
Jazz Alley, 7:30 pm, $34.50
Celebrate the Day of the Dead with contemporary Mexican ensemble the Villalobos Brothers, who blend rich Mexican folk music with mesmerizing jazz and classical harmonies.
The Royal Room, 7 pm, $10/$12
Oct 31–Nov 1
Leo Kottke isn't as guts-crazy as his sometime mentor, the late John Fahey. But who would want to be? Fahey first rewrote the book, and then wrote his own book, when it came to six-string steel-string guitar on planet Earth, but didn't seem to like Earth much. Kottke could outpace Fahey by a few decisive concert moves: (a) showing up, (b) showing up on time, and (c) not spending most of the gig talking and giggling with people who are not there. On the positivity flip, though, Kottke's got pep, verve, nerve, and a dry sense of humor when he decides to sing. And he can get to the darkness inside of happiness. Even without words, he can evoke the void behind joy. Dark brightness. AH
Jazz Alley, 7:30 pm, $38.50
Gregory Porter's voice is a baritone that makes you feel right at home; as for his style of phrasing, it feels very familiar (Lou Rawls, Johnny Hartman, Nat King Cole), but it is also like nothing you have heard before. And this is why the greatness of Porter is not easy to describe. If you listen to him one way, he seems to be rooted deeply in the tradition of jazz song, but if you listen to him another way, you hear a big, warm, blue voice that moves about the music like some liberated balloon rising and falling in the wind. Porter is not conventional, yet he is, and for some reason he easily manages to be both without settling on one or the other. CM
Moore Theatre, 7:30 pm, $52.50
Led by a mentoring faculty team of professional musicians, UW student jazz ensembles will pay homage to the many varied icons of jazz and tackle new and progressive orchestral jazz compositions.
Brechemin Auditorium, 7:30 pm, free
So. The Apocalypse. I didn't get much sleep, either. The Walking Dead's squish crunch munch still stung mean if no longer fun, but didn't quite finger the zeitgeist. The Leftovers hit harder with nothing to grab onto—everything looks the same, including the cops, but nobody knows exactly what the rules, or if the rules, might be. So anyone anytime can throw a punch. Anyone might fall bloodied. Listen to Taj Mahal sing "Celebrated Walkin' Blues," which he lifted from Robert Johnson. He starts out with nothing but shoes and proceeds to survey the landscape in those lyrics and a great deal about the universe with that mandolin. Macrocosm in microcosm. Joy from deep in a rut. We'll need those. AH
Jazz Alley, 7:30 pm, $41.50
Every first Thursday
This is an excellent venue for open and experimental music. CM
Vermillion, 7:30 pm, free
Capitol Hill haunt Barca hosts a lovely no-cover jazz night every Thursday, with $10 bottles of house wine, and performances by Adam Kessler, Phil Sparks, and special guests.
Barca, 9 pm, free
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. When your composition is performed by JCJO, it's validated by the authority of 15 or so professional musicians. JCJO also performs classics by the great Stan Kenton and the greater Gil Evans. CM
Tula's, 7:30 pm, $10
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
Vito's Restaurant & Lounge, 9:30 pm, free
Every second Saturday
You cannot separate these parts: Kareem Kandi, jazz saxophone, and the Pacific Northwest. Each part is tied closely and complexly interacts with the other parts. All three parts make a whole career that began in Pierce County, was consolidated at Cornish College of the Arts, and has long been at the center of the region's vibrant jazz scene. Kandi currently teaches jazz composition at Tacoma School of the Arts, and he performs free jazz, trad jazz, modern jazz, funk, and blues. To get a good idea of his talent (he has a smart, swift, agile sound), download the album See What I'm Saying. CM
Vito's Restaurant & Lounge, 9:30 pm
Every second Wednesday
The jazz label Tables & Chairs curates every second Wednesday at the Vermillion Gallery. The label, which is based in Seattle, and was established by "musicians for musicians," is about the production of jazz that cannot be easily commodified or described. This is not to say it is noisy or hard on the ears; it's just that the music on this label is indifferent to the market. Even when the musicians play pop beats, it is done with interest in the music, not in the market value of the music. CM
Vermillion, 8 pm, $5-$15 Suggested Donation
Every third Wednesday
Gibson collaborates with other Northwest jazz luminaries for acoustic and electro jazz that doesn't take itself overly seriously (one of Gibson's albums is called Poontet and is much better than you'd think). Join them for a new take on American songbook classics.
Vito's Restaurant & Lounge, 9 pm