Of the many distinctive jazz musicians who came up on Seattle’s fertile 1980s scene, pianist Dave Peck — who’s got two nights at Tula’s Friday and Saturday, May 16-17 — has distinguished himself by continually refining his craft.
Firmly ensconced in the lyrical school running from Bill Evans to Keith Jarrett — and sharing their technical mastery, which makes lickety-split execution seem effortless — Peck plays pretty and swings, too, digging deeply for the sweetest notes and coming back up with surging, honest emotions.
Peck grew up in Oregon, but came into his own here, where for many years he taught at the Cornish College for Arts. He is one of the few musicians from the Emerald City to have appeared on “Marian McPartland’s Piano Jazz,” where he impressed the great hostess — no pushover — enough that she praised his “great musicality” and “sensitive touch.”
Peck worked as a sideman for a long time, most notably with the late saxophonist Bud Shank, who once put on a whole concert and then recorded an album devoted to Peck’s considerably attractive compositions, work that tends to highlight the pastoral nature of our surroundings here in the Northwest.
But his work with his own trio has set him apart. Voters in Seattle’s Earshot Jazz annual poll have regularly awarded Peck “Album of the Year.”
Peck is promising a solo album soon, but you can hear him this weekend in trio, with the estimable Jeff Johnson on bass and Eric Eagle, drums. Take the opportunity. He only performs in these parts a couple or three times a year.
Dave Peck Trio
7:30 p.m. Friday-Saturday, May 16-17, at Tula’s, 2214 Second Ave., Seattle; $15 (206-443-4221 or www.tulas.com).