After playing with John Coltrane, pianist McCoy Tyner faced a daunting challenge when he went looking for a saxophone player for his own group. But in the early 1970s, he solved that problem by hiring Sonny Fortune (pictured). The masterful sax man is not seen often in these parts, so it’s a nice surprise that the Ballard Jazz Festival has booked him to headline its Saturday, April 19, show.
Fortune performs with sizzling Portland pianist George Colligan (who can burn like Tyner, no problem) on a double bill with the rapturous flamenco jazz pianist Chano Dominguez.
In addition to national acts, the Ballard spree hosts a smartly curated showcase of Northwest talent. The action kicks off Wednesday, April 16, with the Brotherhood of the Drum, continues Thursday, April 17, with the Guitar Summit and Friday, April 18, with the delightful Ballard Jazz Walk, which offers performances in 11 venues, mostly along Ballard Avenue, all for one ticket, a veritable Seattle Mardi Gras.
Ballard Jazz Festival
8 p.m. Wednesday-Saturday, April 16-19, in various Ballard venues; individual tickets, $13-$50; festival pass, $100-$250 (206-219-3649 or ballardjazzfestival.com).