Emblazoned with a commanding "NOMINATE," a Day-Glo yellow postcard shot through my mail slot recently. The postcard exhorts readers to nominate artists "making a difference in Seattle's communities through arts and culture" for a Mayor's Arts Award.
Most of the winners since 2003 are well-known, mainstream art makers and institutions: Sub Pop Records, Seattle Children's Theatre, Gerard Schwarz, Seattle Art Museum, the Folklife Festival, and so on.
As a remedy, my own wish list leans toward those championing experimental, avant, and other wayward musics: The Nonsequitur Foundation, which revived the Good Shepherd Center's chapel as the premier performance space for experimental music in Seattle; Davey Schmitt, who for a over a decade has variously served as a radio show host, label co-owner, and co-honcho of the HARSH series; Doug Haire and Jack Straw Productions, whose weekly Sonarchy program at midnight on KEXP remains one of the last bastions of the avant on local radio; and other essential entities like the beloved Gallery 1412, Seattle Improvised Music, On the Boards, and the Washington Composers Forum.
Let's not forget longtime performers who enrich the scene such as Amy Denio, Seattle Chamber Players, Stuart Dempster, Climax Golden Twins, Wally Shoup, Bill Horist, Sun City Girls, and Tom Baker. Add hidden though crucial folks like Eric Lanzillotta, Dennis Rea, and Eric Banks, and the list grows long; many are missing.
The Mayor's Arts Awards fills a vital role, yet Seattle still needs a visionary to step forward and buy an old building, renovate it, and, acting as an arts commissar, award free space and a guaranteed annual income of $35,000 for a decade to a handpicked collection of provocative artists. Such brave, radical patronage would deserve an award, too.
The deadline to nominate an individual or organization for the Mayor's Arts Award is Monday, April 7. Download the nomination form at www.seattle.gov/arts.
Music by Palestrina on live, looped repeat: The Tudors sing five pieces three times amid the bustling ambience of the First Thursday art walk. Seattle Art Museum, 1300 First Ave, 654-3100, 6—8 pm, free.
HOLLOW EARTH RADIO
A benefit for Hollow Earth, curators Amber Morgan and Garrett Kelly team up with Olie Eshleman and Jason Kopec to mix field recordings and found sounds live. Windows Art Gallery, 4131 Woodland Park Ave N, 6 pm, donation requested.
SEATTLE PRO MUSICA
Karen Thomas leads this very fine vocal ensemble in a tribute to J. S. Bach. Along with a clutch of Bach motets—the essential "Jesu, meine Freude," "Fürchte dich nicht," and my favorite, "Komm, Jesu komm"—SPM traverses "Drei Psalmleider nach J. S. Bach" by Peter Cornelius (1824—1874), Knut Nystedt's "Immortal Bach," and more. Also Sat Mar 8 at 8 pm. St. James Cathedral, 804 Ninth Ave, 781-2766, 8:15 pm, $12—$22.
The pianist, composer, and music writer proffers an evening of tangos by Astor Piazzolla and new compositions. Sound/video artist Hugo Solis, a winning presence at the Seattle Latin American Music Festival last year, joins Rubin's ensemble in the premiere of "The Hidden Life of Flowers." Fourth floor Chapel Performance Space, Good Shepherd Center, 4649 Sunnyside Ave N, 8 pm, $5—$15 sliding scale donation.
SEATTLE REPERTORY JAZZ ORCHESTRA
In jazz, the best suites act as a sequence of snapshots, a stepwise accumulation of impressions similar to the pictorial tone poems of Richard Strauss; Duke Ellington, who favored the term "tone parallel" instead of "tone poem" penned a pile of suites; other jazz composers did too, notably Benny Carter, whose Kansas City Suite was made famous by Count Basie. Here, the SRJO revives the Kansas City Suite, a musical portrait in 10 snappy movements. Also Sun Mar 9 at the Kirkland Performance Center at 3 pm. Recital Hall at Benaroya, 200 University St, 523-6159, 7:30 pm, $15—$36.
KELLEY JOHNSON QUARTET
Back from a State Department—sponsored tour of Central America and the Caribbean, this elfin-voiced singer and her quartet perform standards and overlooked tunes. A vocal delight, Johnson coltishly scampers through the most treacherous, word-clogged lyrics with ease. Anyone who covers the Ellington throwaway ditty, "Tulip or Turnip" and suavely sells "Do I get the booby prize/Or will I be the hero?/Am I heading for blue skies/Or is my ceiling zero?" is tops in my book. Tula's, 2214 Second Ave, 443-4221, 8:30 pm, $15.
ONYX CHAMBER PLAYERS
Sure, Brahms's four symphonies are mighty, great, titanic, etc. But to truly hear the German master's ear for texture and counterpoint, you must delve into his chamber music, which sparkles with an energy sometimes absent from the symphonies. For this early evening concert, the OCP tackle the Horn Trio in E-flat, op. 40 with hornist Rodger Burnett and, for good measure, the Piano Quartet in C Minor with guest violist Thane Lewis. Town Hall, 1119 Eighth Ave, 652-4255, 5 pm, $10—$18.