A blog for Seattle music lovers of all stripes, from hip-hop and indie rock to jazz and world music.
December 4, 2013 at 3:27 PM
Hey, I got this fabulous email this morning from a reader named Miles Stanislaw, in response to my article today about the late Seattle organ meister Dave Lewis.
You brought back fabulous memories for this 71 year old white guy with your article about Dave Lewis. Me and a friend or two and sometimes with girl friends were regulars at Birdland at age 17-19. We would get there at about 11. By midnight, pardon the cliché, the joint was truly jumpin’. We would sit in the balcony and listen to the fabulous Dave Lewis music and watch the amazing dancers on the main floor. The evening was helped along by the beverages we brought along to mix with the Birdland served soft drinks. My friends and I were always a tiny minority in the fun loving central district crowd. Birdland was a very exciting and intriguing place all because of Dave Lewis and his spellbinding music. Never been to any place like it since. I hope his grandson is half as successful in providing the thrills and excitement his grandfather gave to me. Please pass this on to the grandson of the greatest musician in Seattle’s history.
November 15, 2013 at 11:18 AM
Michael Bublé — who, like Michael J. Fox, originally hails from our cross-border neighbor, Burnaby, B.C. — burst on the scene as an amiable, glossy Sinatra disciple, but there was always some contemporary breeze blowing through his music. In April, that breeze became a storm on the album “To Be Loved” (Reprise). It has struck a chord, topping the Billboard jazz chart now for 26 weeks — that’s half the year, and counting.
Mixing finger-popping Sinatra gems like “You Make Me Feel So Young” with 12-to-the-bar slow-dance classics like the Jackie Wilson title song, Bublé tracks the emotional continuity between swing and rock, once considered a “generation gap” apart.
Bublé performs at 8 p.m. Friday at KeyArena, 305 Harrison St., Seattle Center; $54.50-$110 (800-745-3000 or ticketmaster.com)
November 14, 2013 at 11:07 AM
Dee Dee Rainbow, known to jazz fans for her rainbow parasol, multi-colored eye-glitter and exuberant good cheer at pretty much any jazz event that happened within 500 miles of Seattle, died Tuesday. She was 81. Rainbow was an art teacher for 30 years at Meany Middle School — her students reportedly suggested “Rainbow” as her last name, which she adopted legally — but was known for her great love of jazz. At the Monterey Jazz Festival, she started leading a New Orleans style parade down the aisle on Saturday afternoons, a tradition still going on this year, though with only a few folks.
More to come.
November 13, 2013 at 1:59 PM
Is there room on your shelf (or your iPod) for another album of Yuletide songs?
It’s worth making room, if you are a fan of the ultra-cool ensemble vocal jazz purveyed by the seven-member Seattle aggregation Groove for Thought. The group releases its new holiday CD “Songs of Good Cheer” this week, and they’ll celebrate on Dec. 5 with a 7:30 p.m. concert at Kirkland Performance Center.
Groove for Thought, you may recall, made it into the finals of TV’s acapella “Sing Off” competition. They like to put their own spin on familiar tunes in distinctive vocal arrangements, so their version of “Hark the Herald Angels Sing” on “Songs of Good Cheer” has a reggae feel, “Christmas Time is Here” really swings and “Carol of the Bells” recalls The Swingle Singers’ jazz baroque settings. They have instrumental backing here, but the texture of blended voices is still the main event.
The album is available on amazon.com, iTunes and at www.grooveforthought.com.
November 4, 2013 at 9:58 AM
Sultry singer Diana Krall, who recently has added an Americana element to her jazz set with the superb, T-Bone Burnett-produced “Glad Rag Doll,” will appear in Seattle next year. Krall was in fine form at the Monterey Jazz Festival in September, though she had not by then integrated the two sides of her set very smoothly. By the time she gets here she may well have done so.
Krall appears April 16, 2014 at the Paramount Theater. Tickets: http://shorefi.re/Hjw3FM
November 2, 2013 at 12:48 PM
Friday, Manhattan Transfer opened a three-night stand to a packed house at the Triple Door and while they were down a man — Tim Hauser’s out, having back surgery — Trist Curless, whom you may remember from the group m-pact, which got its start in Seattle — did a stellar job filling in.
From the sizzling quartet’s first “Ooo-bop!” on “Tuxedo Junction,” I was reminded that despite a kneejerk aversion to the glitz of this group, the luxuriousness of its shimmering blend and its crisp delivery of scat solos are hard to resist. So why try?
It was pretty much a “greatest hits” night, from “The Duke of Dubuque,” featuring Curless on an athletic bass scat solo, and the retro-swing of “Java Jive” to a stunningly fast “Air Mail Special” (complete with Charlie Christian solo), Bird’s “Billie’s Bounce” and the megahit “Birdland.” (more…)
November 1, 2013 at 9:59 AM
The sizzling, sassy jazz vocal quartet Manhattan Transfer, featuring Mount Vernon native Cheryl Bentyne, started as a folk group inspired by vintage swing, exemplified by the wonderful, tongue-in-cheek early hits “Operator” and “Java Jive.” Glitz, bebop and doo-wop soon followed, and MT moved beyond the hippie crowd to international stardom. Ten Grammy awards down the line, the quartet’s most recent recording is “The Chick Corea Songbook.”
Note that Tim Hauser (far left), due to recent surgery, is not on this tour. He is replaced by Trist Curless of the group m-pact. The shows are part of the Earshot Jazz Festival.
7 and 9:30 p.m. Friday-Sunday, at the Triple Door, 216 Union St., Seattle; $30-$50 (206-838-4333 or www.thetripledoor.net).
October 16, 2013 at 5:02 PM
Northwest jazz lost an exceptionally talented and eccentric figure last week when bassist/pianist Jerome “Jerry” Heldman died of pneumonia.
Mr. Heldman was the proprietor and also a performer at the Llahngaelhyn, a legendary coffee house located in the fairy castle-like building just south of the University Bridge that hosted jazz from 1965 to 1968.
Mr. Heldman died Oct. 11 in Yacolt, Clark County, after being bedridden for two years with heart failure and Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease. He was 76.
The Llahngaelhyn was known for all-night jam sessions, where touring musicians such as pianists McCoy Tyner and Chick Corea and saxophonist Roland Kirk dropped by, and local players such as bassist David Friesen, guitarist Larry Coryell, saxophonist Carlos Ward and guitarist Ralph Towner cut their teeth. The late Seattle beat poet, Jesse Bernstein, was also a regular.
“The Llahngaelhyn had a very great influence on the music in this place,” recalled Friesen in a book about Seattle jazz history.
Born Feb. 24, 1937, in Fargo, N.D., Mr. Heldman was raised in Seattle, attended West Seattle High School and served in the Air Force from 1955 to 1959. After returning to Seattle, Mr. Heldman got a desk job with the Seattle Police Department, but he quit when his work came into conflict with his life as a jazz musician.
October 10, 2013 at 11:21 AM
Wynton Marsalis, Ahmad Jamal and Pat Metheny will headline the 2014 U.S. Bank Portland Jazz Festival, which takes place Feb. 20-Mar. 2.
Seattle trombonist and composer Julian Priester will also be featured as part of the festival’s For Portland Only production, which reunites Priester with two bandmates from Herbie Hancock’s fabled ’70s Mwandishi ensemble, Bennie Maupin and Buster Williams in a group called Something More.
The 11th edition of the Rose City bash also features a program of artists associated with Blue Note Records, which will celebrate its 75th anniversary next year.
Other artists include the great, Portland-bred jazz-world-fusion group, Oregon; the Spring Quartet - Jack DeJohnette, Joe Lovano, Esperanza Spalding and Leo Genovese; Bobby Watson & Horizon; Brian Blade & Fellowship; Eliane Elias; the Yellowjackets; the Kenny Werner Trio; Geoff Keezer; Aaron Diehl; the Christian McBride Trio; Cecile McLorin Salvant; Toshiko Akiyoshi, with Lew Tabackin; Bob Dorough & Dave Frishberg; Darrell Grant’s “The Territory,” with Joe Locke; Tord Gustavsen and Grace Kelly.
“Fans may recall that the 2009 edition here was the only U.S. Festival to honor Blue Note Records all the way through,” said festival managing director Don Lucoff. “For the 2014 festival we recognize a selection of artists who made an impact on the storied imprint, tagging their performances, Blue Note @ 75 which will include, Who’s on First with Bob Dorough & Dave Frishberg; the long overdue reunion of hard bop masters Bobby Watson & Horizon, featuring Victor Lewis, Terell Stafford, Edward Simon, and Portland native Essiet Essiet; Eliane Elias in a special program recasting the works of Bill Evans, Antonio Carlos Jobim and Chet Baker; Brian Blade & Fellowship, and imposing leaders who certainly made their mark on the label in the past 20 years, Jack DeJohnette, Joe Lovano, Wynton Marsalis and Kenny Werner.”
Portland Jazz Festival
Feb. 20-Mar. 2, 2014 at various Portland venues; individual tickets $15-$58, packages available (503-228-5299 or www.pdxjazz.com
October 2, 2013 at 2:48 PM
Apart from a first, revelatory encounter with Keith Jarrett in the ’70s — and that probably doesn’t count, since it was comparable to a first date with a future spouse — Tuesday night’s performance by Jarrett and his trio at Benaroya Hall surpassed anything I’ve heard in 40 years by this extraordinary pianist.
When he’s really on, Jarrett has a way of drawing listeners into his compressed realm of concentration, where the notes seem to fall like crystals in a snow globe.
Even when he was probing intensely, or flying over the keys at top speed, Jarrett’s playing had a clarity and lightness, the egolessness he famously strives for but does not always achieve. Nothing felt forced — there was little gospelish vamping — and he got in and out of his ideas quickly, as if to say, “Well, there is it is. Hope you like it.”
Boy, did we ever. The jubilant crowd cheered the trio back for an unusual four encores, which suggested that the 30-year-old trio was playing very well, indeed.
As always, Jarrett, bassist Gary Peacock and drummer Jack DeJohnette offered a mix of standards, bebop and originals in a variety of tempos, with some melodies heavily disguised. Include in that group the opening ballad, “Some Day My Prince Will Come,” which began with a long, cross-handed rumble over knocking drums, melted into swing time and a bass solo, glanced by the melody, then vamped out.
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