Find a complete list of jazz concerts in Seattle this spring on our Things To Do calendar.
Seattle native and Grammy-nominated pianist David Lanz will return to Seattle to play solo work from his latest album, Norwegian Rain. His wife and co-composer Kristin Amarie may join him for a song or two on vocals.
Armenian folkloric pianist and composer Tigran Hamasyan employs extensive jazz improvisation in a living fusion of heritage music from his homeland.
Art of Jazz: Kiki Valera
You can never go wrong with Kiki Valera, a band that performs one of the most vibrant, soulful, and infectious forms of music in the world, Cuban jazz. CM
Bob James Quartet
If you know nothing about the history of beloved hiphop samples, then you will not know a damn thing about the great and funky jazz keyboardist, arranger, and producer Bob James. CM
In 2010, Jane Monheit snagged the greatest reward to which any singer can aspire. That’s right, she played a singer who’s very big in a parallel universe—the otherwise nonexistent Judy Bridgewater, who “furnished” the title song for Never Let Me Go. Now she’s reversed thrusters to tackle a singer who was, at least for a while, very big in this universe—the latest album, Songbook Sessions: Ella Fitzgerald, should be self-explanatory. Trodding where Ella Fitzgerald trod will be tricky, especially since Fitzgerald herself never let anyone see her sweat. But Monheit is packing heat, spark, and a special delicacy in scat singing. I’m eager to hear her try. ANDREW HAMLIN
Joey Alexander Trio
In my review of Don Cheadle's recently released biopic of Miles Davis, Miles Ahead, I complained that it was very disappointing to see one of the most brilliant American musicians "characterized as a gangster and not an intellectual." My point is that the mastery of jazz takes years upon years (what I call aristocratic time), which is why the 13-year-old jazz pianist Joey Alexander is so freaky. How did he pack into himself so much information in such a short amount of time? But one of the things that jazz does is transform musicians into intellectuals. An intellectual is simply someone who has absorbed a large body of knowledge—such a body is jazz. CM
Although fate was obviously kinder to one of us, Kenny G and I had the same saxophone teacher. John P. Jessen, aka Johnny Jessen, taught sax out of the Sixth and Pine building downtown for ages. Kenny G used to play two saxophones at once, back at Franklin High School. And his early records were funk. Maybe not great funk, but funk. And we used to say, “Hey, local kid makes good.” I am not at all sure about his new bossa-nova album. I am not at all sure about anything of Kenny G’s after 1989. But I sure do miss Johnny Jessen. ANDREW HAMLIN
Louis Armstrong: A New Orleans State of Mind
There are many who believe, and this belief is not incorrect, that the jazz and American icon Louis Armstrong did his best work in the 1920s. After that decade, it was downhill. Sure, he became more popular in the following decades, but the music he made was inferior. Tonight, the Seattle Repertory Jazz Orchestra performs the jazz of Armstrong’s peak period. CM
Bill Charlap Trio
To fully appreciate what refinement means when it comes to the art of jazz, you must listen to the New York-based pianist Bill Charlap. More importantly, you must listen to him in the intimate setting of a trio—piano, bass, and drums. The piano was made for the jazz trio. CM
Stanton Moore with Guests
Stanton Moore brings the funk—and lets the funk go rolling down the road. As it rolls, the funk waves hello to people on the street, jumps the curb a few times trying to get people to dance, and then rushes along like it’s got other equally-but-not-more-important things to do. He’s a drummer, and his fairly simple kit puts forth participatory populism. ANDREW HAMLIN
Led by trumpeter Cuong Vu, pianist Mark Seales, saxophonist/composer Greg Sinibaldi, and drummer Ted Poor, UW student jazz ensembles will pay homage to the many varied icons of jazz and tackle new and progressive orchestral jazz compositions.
Ballard Jazz Festival 2017
The 15th Annual Ballard Jazz Festival is happening again this year at various locations around the neighborhood, including New York Fashion Academy, Conor Byrne Pub, and the Nordic Heritage Museum. Enjoy live sets from local and national acts, to be announced soon, a jazz walk down Ballard Avenue, and colloquial treats like the Swedish Pancake Jazz Brunch on the last day.
Jazz at Barca
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.
Jim Cutler Jazz Orchestra
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
The Ron Weinstein Trio
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
EVERY FIRST WEDNESDAY
Tarik Abouzied's First Wednesdays
Drummer Tarik Abouzied brings his talented friends to the stage every first Wednesday at Conor Byrne for a jazz session. Guests have included saxophonist Skerik, bassist Evan Flory-Barnes, and many other bigwigs of the Seattle jazz scene.
EVERY FIRST THURSDAY
First Thursdays at Vermillion
This is an excellent venue for music that is open and experimental. In March, KO Ensemble will headline, which features saxophonist Kate Olson, about whom Dave Segal once wrote, "Olson is renowned for her deeply expressive and mesmerizing virtuosity in both band and solo formats in experimental and jazz idioms. Her solo work especially will appeal to fans of pioneering minimalist composers like Terry Riley and Pauline Oliveros." CM
EVERY SECOND WEDNESDAY
Tables & Chairs Presents
The jazz label Tables & Chairs will be curating 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
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