2nd Century Savage

July 30th, 2009


A lot of you missed a really good show tonight at the final concert of the July concert series Jazz: The Second Century at the Good Shepherd Center in Wallingford. It turned out not to be as hot as it was last night. There was a cool breeze drafting in the windows as the Good Shepherd Center sits on top of a hill and the space is on the 4th floor with a view of the sun setting over the Olympics.
The duo put on an interesting program mixing live instruments with electronic. I recommend checking them out the next time.

2nd Century Savage is saxophonist, flutist, and composer John C. Savage with electronica artist, vusac (aka Isaac Peachin). Their mission, they say, is to expand the definition of jazz to include electronic instruments and live production techniques in tandem with contemporary jazz improvisation. The results are haunting, transporting, and strikingly novel. Their performances give the impression of swirling planes of sound, some melodic and familiar, some protean and mysterious, folding through untold dimensions of space and the mind.

They say: “Although we are a duo, we have the potential to suspend a single note in space, or to summon the power of an orchestral wall of sound. We achieve this dynamic range with interactive software sampling, effect processors, and virtuosic instrumental technique.”
Vusac, who arrived in Seattle recently from Brooklyn, was a founding member of the electro-rock combo Lution where he developed a transporting style of acoustic collage locked down by drum-and-bass grooves. He pulled material from TV and online media and created a trance-inducing sense of collective unconscious.

John C. Savage has won high praise for his performances from his performances from such publications as Down Beat, which called his flue sound “yearning”; The Guardian (UK), which praised his “exquisite” soloing; and Willamette Week (Portland), which called him “an extremely thoughtful and rigorous improviser” and “a badass, knock-down-drag-out force.” A PhD candidate in flute performance and improvisation at New York University who also teaches at Western Oregon University, Savage collaborates often with musicians, poets, dancers, painters, and technologists. He has performed and recorded with the late, great jazz pianist, Andrew Hill, and with the Kitsune Ensemble, his duo Cartridge with Will Redmond (aka BlipVert), Groove Revelation, The Savage 3, and poet Claudia F. Manz.

More photos to come in a day or two.

Photo from the Earshot Jazz cover of August 2009 issue  featuring WACO. WACO is Al Keith, Mark Taylor, Stuart MacDonald, Thomas Marriott, Phil Sparks,Steve Treseler, Jim Dejoie Byron Vannoy, Greg Sinibaldi, Samantha Boshnack Chris Stover, Robin Holcomb, Tom Varner, Brad Allison, Eric Barber (and not present in photo Nelson Bell and Wayne Horvitz)
From the Earshot Jazz article by Peter Monaghan:
Fourteen or more jazz players at full throttle is an unmatched musical thrill, to be sure. And that’s not where the joy of big-bands ends. You may experience breathtaking precision and unison of a kind that the Basie band perfected, or the exquisite voicing of Ellington’s men. At the least, you’ll hear a lot happening, and cop an uncommon musical clout. It is our good fortune, as Seattleites, then, that our city offers as much in the way of big-band variety as any American city. A healthy jazz ecology, with several high schools turning out shoals of accomplished players, ensures that those large ensembles, in their considerable numbers, maintain an impressive level of musicianship. The region’s ace high-school bands play superbly in Basie and Ellington modes. Jay Thomas’s Friendly Fire sparks what its name implies. Jim Knapp’s big band takes on the compositional complexity of pieces such as its leader’s own. The Seattle Repertory Jazz Orchestra can rightly boast of an all-star local lineup that performs, as its name suggests, the great music of the art form’s yesteryears. Several other spirited ensembles surely make this city ranks second to none in this powerful, driving form of jazz. But what the scene has missed is a large ensemble that plays a truly modern repertoire. Into this breach has stepped the Washington Composers Orchestra (WACO), which three top musicians with extensive New York experience formed last year. It was then that plans came to fruition between wife-and-husband team Robin Holcomb and Wayne Horvitz, who had been in Seattle for a decade, and French horn master Tom Varner, a much more recent arrival in the Northwest.
Go to Earshot Jazz publication to continue reading.

WACO in performance at TOST in Fremont on Sunday June 28th, 2009

Photos by Seattle Photographer Daniel Sheehan specializing in portraits and photojournalism for publications and corporations and a Seattle wedding photographer, shooting weddings with a photojournalistic style creating artistic documentary Seattle wedding photography.


July 28th, 2009


SPEAK in Ballard. Color version of the inside photo from the July Earshot Jazz profile on the group featuring Aaron Otheim, Cuong Vu, Luke Bergman, Chris Icasiano, Andrew Swanson
From Earshot Profile: By Peter Walton
For many, introductions to the band Speak came with last April’s Andrew D’Angelo benefit concert at the Chapel Performance Space at the Good Sheperd Center. Concluding a night of emotional performances from Wayne Horvitz, Bill Frisell, Cuong Vu, Robin Holcomb, and Eyvind Kang, the band, then billed as Cuong Vu’s University of Washington Student Ensemble, was one
of the evening’s great surprises. Speak’s sprawling and unpredictable performance featured complex , spirited improvisations, and a genuine reverence for D’Angelo. (And in many ways, it made perfect sense that a benefit for the saxophonist, a Seattle native and graduate of Roosevelt High School, would feature a young, closely knit, and enormously promising band of fellow Seattle natives.) The performance would later be remembered as a turning point for Speak, marking Vu’s arrival as a regular performing partner and peer. Yet it surely also marked the arrival of a new generation of committed, thoughtful, and immensely talented young improvisers on Seattle’s creative arts scene. More straight-ahead and swinging than you might hear them today, the band in its early stages lacked a clear musical focus. Under Vu’s mentorship, however, Speak began to develop a cohesive and unique identity. As Chris Icasiano explains, “Cuong brought with him his experience with his own trio and the Pat Metheny Group, both of which are bands with very distinct
spirit and commitment with which they attacked these musical approaches and problems that I presented.” struck by the sheer talent of his students (whom he now considers “on par with some of the most talented people that I’ve come across in my career”), as well as how quickly and thoroughly they absorbed and applied the ideas and theories which he introduced.”
Go to Earshot Jazz publication to continue reading.
hoto by Seattle Photographer Daniel Sheehan specializing in portraits and photojournalism for publications and corporations and a Seattle wedding photographer, shooting weddings with a photojournalistic style creating artistic documentary Seattle wedding photography.

Seattle Phonographers Union

July 26th, 2009


Seattle Phonographers Union in performance at the Chapel Performance Space, Good Shepherd Center, Wallingford on July 23.

The Seattle Phonographers Union
, a collective of Seattle sound artists who improvise from their libraries of field recordings from around the world gave an interesting performance Thursday night as part of the Earshot jazz  July series of concerts devoted to “Jazz: The Second Century”

The Seattle Phonographers Union credo is to forego processing their raw sound materials with software and hardware, and instead to strive to create compelling juxtapositions of everyday and esoteric sounds to arrive at surreal soundscapes. So, they say, “a flock of pigeons may alight near water and distant temple bells while a long wire fence shimmers and thwaps in the wind.”
The members of the group are Steve Barsotti, Pete Comley, Christopher DeLaurenti, Doug Haire, Susie Kozawa, Dale Lloyd, Perri Lynch, Robert Millis, Toby Paddock, Steve Peters, and Jonathan Way. Barsotti explains the group’s relation to jazz: “While the SPU may sonically sound distant from the traditional jazz intrumentarium, our unusual approach honors the core of jazz and all improvised music: listening.” They proceed without a predetermined format, scores, charts, or even cues. “Collectively, we wait and listen,” says Barsotti. “Without conferring, we trust our ears to listen to ourselves and each other, fashioning immediate juxtapositions, gradual contrasts, and subtle layers.”The uncanny results are strangely provocative. And, as Barsotti says, “some members do not believe what we make is music; others within the SPU stoutly do.” More: http://accretions.com/catalog/phonographersunioin.asp
Photo by Seattle Photographer Daniel Sheehan  specializing in portraits and photojournalism for publications and corporations and a Seattle wedding photographer,  shooting weddings with a photojournalistic style creating artistic documentary Seattle wedding photography.


I know it is not jazz, but he was a major force and influence in popular music. As Michael Jackson’s memorial service is being held in L.A. as I write, I felt moved to go to the files and pull up an old negative from the time I got to see him perform and photograph him. We were all so much younger, and his music was a dominant note on the soundtrack of our lives. He was everywhere on the radio and MTV. It is almost incredible to remember how really big he was then. Seeing him and photographing him on assignment was a big deal. It is so sad to see him gone.

Michael Jackson performed at the Gator Bowl Stadium in Jacksonville Florida before 45,000 people for every night for three nights  July 21, 22, 23rd 1984.  I was there on July 23rd on assignment to photograph him for the Black Star Photo agency.  It was a big news story everywhere Michael went.

He was on his Victory tour at the top of his game. He performed with his brothers Jackie, Jermaine, Tito, Marlon, and Randy. The tour reunited all Jackson brothers including Michael, who had just released the highly successful Thriller album in 1982, two years previous to the tour, and Jermaine, who had not recorded or toured with his brothers since they left Motown in 1975. The Jacksons’ Victory Tour was the group’s final concert tour of the United States and Canada.