This is the season of Seattle's premier jazz event, the Earshot Jazz Festival, which is celebrating a quarter century of existence. Because the festival consumes a considerable part of the local jazz world during its long run (Oct 1–Nov 17), almost this entire calendar is consumed by what I consider to be its main (or most interesting) attractions.
Keith Jarrett, Gary Peacock, Jack DeJohnette: 30th Anniversary Concert
Back in 1983, the great Keith Jarrett (piano) joined forces with the great Gary Peacock (bass) and the great Jack DeJohnette (drums) to release two significant records, Standards, Vol. 1 and Standards, Vol. 2. The jazz on these recordings is solid, beautiful, and simply stated. There is no wizardry on these recordings, but a display of mastery not only by the players but jazz itself. This is jazz with the confidence of a major institution that has a huge institutional memory. Indeed, tonight's performance is a celebration of the memory of the recordings (Vol. 1 and Vol. 2), which happened 30 years ago. For those who do not know of Jarrett, he is famous for participating in the electrified end of Miles Davis's history-making career, for his own solo masterpiece The Köln Concert, for pretty much giving new age music its sound and flavor (check out George Winston), and, finally, for banning audiences around the world from taking pictures of his performances (check out the other Perugia controversy).
Benaroya Hall, 200 University St, 215-4747, earshot.org, 8 pm, $30–$125, all ages
Many critics praise Patricia Barber, the Chicago-born pianist/singer who has released several albums with the prestigious Blue Note, for her vocals, but the most pleasure I get out of her work is found in the way she plays the piano. Barber has a very natural and pendulum-smooth sense of swing, and yet she also does not surrender everything to the easy dominance of that swing. She often disrupts it, teases it, ghosts it, troubles it—but never ever derails it.
Town Hall, 1119 Eighth Ave, 800-838-3006, earshot.org, 8 pm, $35, all ages
Marc Seales Group
It is appropriate that Marc Seales is a professor of jazz piano at the University of Washington, because he often plays the king of instruments much like the sonar echoing/mapping of the deepest parts of American popular music. On songs like "Deep River," which is on his excellent 2004 album A Time, A Place, A Journey..., we hear not only the ghosts of early jazz, blues, and spirituals, but also the raw soil of black American music (which is to say, American classical and popular music), which is, of course, the black American voice itself. Tonight, Seales celebrates the release of a new CD.
Tula's, 2214 Second Ave, 443-4221, earshot.org, 7:30 pm, $16, all ages
Paul Kikuchi's Bat of No Bird Island
If you enter the ever-expanding universe of YouTube, you will find an enchanting video of Paul Kikuchi, a Seattle-based percussionist, composer, and sound artist, performing a drum solo in and around the Satsop nuclear power plant, a massive structure that became the ruins of the nuclear age before it was even completed (a quarter of it was never realized, as the whole project came to an end in 1983 after millions upon millions of dollars were wasted). Kikuchi plays his ghostly music—which in some ways recalls Toru Takemitsu's soundtrack for the 1960s art house horror movie Kwaidan (but Kikuchi is much less brutal and nightmarish)—in the ghostly nuclear plant. And because his music is somewhere between natural and deliberate, between wind chimes and the strict order of a composition, we get the sense of the ghost's predicament, which is to be in between being and not being.
Chapel Performance Space, 4649 Sunnyside Ave N, 800-838-3006, earshot.org, 8 pm, $18, all ages
Industrial Revelation, Overton Berry
It can be argued without much effort that the coolest band in Seattle is Industrial Revelation, a quartet that has a jazz foundation but is not musically confined by jazz. But why may IR be the coolest band in town? For one, Evan Flory-Barnes is the band's bassist; for two, Ahamefule J. Oluo is its trumpeter; for three, Josh Rawlings is its keyboardist; and for four, D'Vonne Lewis is its drummer. Those are the four solid reasons, but here is the big question: Why doesn't Seattle know that IR is probably its best and most promising band? Is it something like Edgar Allan Poe's "purloined letter"? Something that is so obvious that it is entirely missed? Hopefully, the time of the Industrial Revelation will happen sooner than later.
The Royal Room, 5000 Rainier Ave S, 906-9920, earshot.org, 8 pm, $12, all ages
Louis Hayes and the Cannonball Legacy Band
Though this performance has nothing to do with the Earshot Jazz Festival, it has everything to do with jazz history. Louis Hayes is a Detroit-born drummer who has worked with Horace Silver, Yusef Lateef, Cannonball Adderley, and the man who represents Canada's most significant contribution to the development and institutionalization of America's form of classical music, Oscar Peterson. We are lucky to live in a world that has not lost all of its history to the ghost world of the past.
Jazz Alley, 2033 Sixth Ave, 441-9729, jazzalley.com, 7:30 pm, $22.50, all ages