He is based in Brooklyn, his name is Jarrett Cherner, he is a pianist, and he entered the jazz scene in 2006 with an album, Burgeoning, that did not dazzle, that was not deep, and yet wasn't merely competent. On this and other recordings, there is something about Cherner's style that's hard to describe. When you hear Bill Charlap, you think: sophisticated by Hank Jones; when you hear Dan Tepher, you think: academic like John Lewis; and when you hear Brad Mehldau, you think: genius like McCoy Tyner. But Cherner is not sophisticated, academic, or a genius. This is the best way I can describe him: He plays like one who really is happy to be a pianist. Tune after tune on his albums, you get the feeling that if he did something else with his life, he would always be sad that he didn't play the piano. CM
Beginning with Love Men Ltd. (also known as L.T.D.) and cruising into his own widely acclaimed solo career, Jeffrey Osborne has spent decades weaving funk, soul, R&B, and pop into his own unique sound, the success of which has netted him five gold and platinum albums.
Earshot Jazz-acclaimed 2010 Vocalist of the Year Gail Pettis will perform a program of jazz standards that show off her silky retro vocal talents with her quartet.
Gospel-jazz impresario Lizz Wright has established herself as a powerful singer-songwriter with a remarkable alto voice and an innate ability to concoct earthy and affecting jazz interpretations.
Saxophonist Donny McCaslin and his band are best known for being featured on David Bowie's final album, Blackstar, as well as their follow-up Beyond Now, an album they dedicated to Bowie and recorded three months after Bowie's passing.
Tonight, the famous and brilliant bassist Christian McBride leads the Seattle Repertory Jazz Orchestra through the art and to the heart of his instrument, the bass. The program will include music by musicians McBride owes a debt to: Oscar Pettiford, Ray Brown, Jimmy Blanton, and, of course, Charles Mingus—the greatest jazz bassist to ever breathe the air and walk the surface of this planet. CM
Here is a confession I must make: I'm not big into jazz guitar. Indeed, I have never bought a record by a band led by a jazz guitarist, even by one of the big names in jazz history, like Charlie Christian or Django Reinhardt. Why? Because I can't help feeling that the real home for this instrument is the blues. But what breaks this dumb feeling in me every time is when a jazz guitarist performs with a jazz vibraphonist. Those wondrous, vaporous, Venusian sounds of the vibraphone seem to magically transform the licks and picks of the guitar into something that's utterly necessary and meaningful to the jazz home. For example, when Susan Pascal, Seattle's great vibraphonist, plays with Milo Petersen, a local jazz guitarist and educator, I honestly fall in love with an instrument that does almost nothing for me on all other occasions. CM
Pharoah Sanders is a tenor saxophonist who began his career in the second half of the 1960s making the kind music that many people find hard to listen to, free jazz, because they can't distinguish it from noise. But as the brother got older, he got cooler and smoother and more trad. The music he plays these days is music to the ears, and his work with William Henderson, a pianist who sounds like his fingertips are made of diamonds, has resulted in some really great and often meditative albums. Two I highly recommend are: A Prayer Before Dawn and Moon Child. Listen to those works, and you'll see why missing this show is not a good idea. CM
Ambrose Akinmusire is a brilliant jazz trumpeter who was born in 1982. His mother is from Mississippi, his father is from Nigeria, and he was raised in the Bay Area. Akinmusire has released three albums as a leader so far, two of them with the prestigious Blue Note Records. And his album, The Imagined Savior Is Far Easier to Paint, is by far his most ambitious work. He never plays the trumpet as a beam of sound, never perfectly blows the thing, but is always in the mode of suggestion and abstraction. He is not so much about the trumpet but the idea of a trumpet. Do not miss his show. CM
June 29 –July 2
Probable father of all Brazilians, Sergio Mendes has been incalculably influential on pop, jazz, and samba genres as a producer, composer, keyboardist, and vocalist. Enjoy his worldly presence as Mendes breaks out his five-decade-spanning album catalog and really throws around his old school Rio swing.
This long-standing program by Earshot Jazz invites Seattle musicians to creatively consider the future of jazz in resulting performative interpretations.
Here is what you have to do. Drive down to the ferry dock, cross the bay on a ferry, drive across the island, cross some bridges, eventually enter Port Townsend and, before heading to Fort Worden State Park, admire a number of the town's Victorian-style homes. When you finally park your car in the pretty park, roll down your window and listen to the music in the sun-brightened air. That music is jazz and it's a part of the Jazz Port Townsend Festival. CM
One of Rio's best exports, Joyce Moreno has been writing and performing solo and with popular collaborators like Paulinho da Viola and Caetano Veloso for five decades now. She'll sing her own lilting Brazilian paraiso, samba, and jazz-inflected pop works in an intimate set.
Otis Taylor still hasn't cut anything so essential since 2001's White African, when, with hints of grim humor, he reminded us that the blues came from people the rest of society had forgotten. He makes surprising, stark, frank, brutal music to remind us that the blues is alive so long as it speaks to hurtful truth. ANDREW HAMLIN
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 also honing his own brand of creative showmanship.