Michael Blake in an Earshot Jazz Festival performance at Cornish Poncho Concert Hall Thursday night with Soren Kjaergaard keyboards. and Godske Lindenov on bass and Ben Perowsky, drums.

Michael Blake’s Nordic ensemble, Blake Tartare, and their tribute to Lucky Thompson, the peripatetic tenor and soprano genius who went from the bands of Don Redman, Billy Eckstine, and Count Basie, to a world without improvising, without playing publicly, after he abandoned playing in the 1970s. It’s a fitting locale for Blake’s tribute, given Thompson’s final days here in Seattle and his death in 2005 after a bout with Alzheimer’s.

Blake Tartare will certainly indulge Thompson’s lyrical side, but they’ve also got a broader view of the tradition, one where the avant-garde and tradition aren’t separate kingdoms; it’s instructive in this light to herald Thompson’s soprano playing, which was more Steve Lacy and John Coltrane, not completely avant but certainly tinged with plenty of post-bop thought patterns even when the horn was barely being dusted off. Blake has a similar ear, a likeminded sense of the tradition, and when it came time to record Thompson’s tunes, Blake added cello and bass clarinet and more, scaling some Thompsonian bop staircases and adding color and depth along the way. Paired with Horvitz as a double-bill, Blake’s Thomson reveries touched that classic nerve center in the annals of experiencing improvisation: mutual discovery simultaneously with the audience.

Click here for the complete schedule for the rest of the upcoming shows at the 2010 Earshot Jazz Festival

What a treat to see Bill Frisell play again in Seattle with Eyvind Kang and Rudy Royston as the Earshot Jazz Festival heads for its last 4 days.

In the Beautiful Dreamers trio, Frisell and violist Eyvind Kang join arms with drummer Rudy Royston to take a rustic, wind-blown repertoire (Blind Willie Johnson’s “Nobody’s Fault” sits alongside Little Anthony and the Imperials’ “Goin’ Out of My Head”) and infuse it with, well, dreamscapes and ethereality and percussive grit and tussle. In the studio, the band played things rather straight – minimal electronic manipulation and samples.

But the spacing and textures of Beautiful Dreamers live recalls the slightly later, at times warpy and tipsy Bill Frisell Quartet. Put simply, Frisell, a veteran if there ever was one, flourishes in a small, compact setting where he can create a spacious, three-way trio-logue that allows everyone their say, whether it’s clustery, open-ended, and stringy, or pile-driving and forward-leaning.

(Note: Bartlett’s full-length preview will appear in the November Earshot Jazz.)

Click here for the complete schedule for the rest of the upcoming shows at the 2010 Earshot Jazz Festival

Jazz Photography by Seattle photographer Daniel Sheehan creating portraits for publications and a Seattle Wedding Photographer.

Tia Fuller tenor saxophonist and flutist, another rising young star who has performed with Ralph Peterson, Jon Faddis, T.S. Monk, Rufus Reid Septet, Nancy Wilson, Sean Jones and Wycliffe Gordon performed at the Triple Door last Sunday opening for Gretchen Parlato.

In addition to her two albums as leader, Healing Space and Pillar of Strength, she is featured extensively on Sean Jones’ four Mack Avenue CDs. A high profile job has been with Beyoncé’s all-female band. Her jazz quartet will perform at The Triple Door.

Also respected as an educator, Ms. Fuller has lectured and taught ensemble and masterclasses at the Lionel Hampton Jazz Festival, Stanford University, IAJE Jazz Convention, New Mexico State University, Duquesne University, the Panama Jazz Festival and Purchase College.

Click here for the complete schedule for the rest of the upcoming shows at the 2010 Earshot Jazz Festival

Photography by Seattle photographer Michael Craft.

Here are some photos of the Roosevelt High School Jazz Band in performance last week at the Triple Door as Earshot Jazz Festival continues. I have been meaning to add these but have been swamped lately.Thanks to Michael Craft for covering this and some other performances I was unable to catch this year.

The Roosevelt High School Jazz Band remains a titan of big band excellence. Praised far and wide for their strong ensemble playing, they returned to the Triple Door for their annual Earshot Jazz festival performance.

The band performs under the direction of Scott Brown, above,  a dedicated teacher and accomplished jazz artist. Brown is himself a trombonist with the Seattle Repertory Jazz Orchestra and recipient of the 2007 KCTS Golden Apple Award for Excellence in Education.

Click here for the complete schedule for the rest of the upcoming shows at the 2010 Earshot Jazz Festival

Photography by Seattle photographer Michael Craft.

The Portland based group Blue Cranes performed with a string section at the Tractor Tavern Tuesday night in the third week of the Earshot Jazz Festival.

Part of the recent movement of jazz musicians to bring an indie-rock ethos to their post-bop chops and harmonic sensibilities (think a West Coast version of the Bad Plus), The Blue Cranes work a fine line between avant-garde improvisation and toe-tapping catchiness. Regarded as “a welcome addition to a scene that too often tries to define itself as straight ahead” (Kyle O’Brien), the band members Reed Wallsmith (alto sax), Sly Pig (tenor sax), Keith Brush (bass), Rebecca Sanborn (keyboards) and Ji Tanzer (drums) have also been noted for their strong ensemble playing. “The greatest strength of Blue Cranes is their unity as a band,” All About Jazz’s Marc Meyers says, “they anticipate each other’s moves with considerable empathy.”

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Click here for the complete schedule for the rest of the upcoming shows at the 2010 Earshot Jazz Festival

Jazz Photography by Seattle photographer Daniel Sheehan creating portraits for publications and a Seattle Wedding Photographer with a photojournalist style.

The duo Ballrog, from Norway, opening the bill at the Tractor Tavern Tuesday night before the Blue Cranes, performed music by Eric Dolphy, Paul Bley, Ornette Coleman, and Jimmy Giuffre in a stripped-down, contemplative manner befitting the compositions they take as subject matter. Bringing a “conception that strives for beauty without ever touching on anything lyrical, saxophonist Klaus Ellerhusen Holm and bassist Roger Arntzen create a soundscape that is atmospheric while also managing to be energetic and unpredictable.

Their sophomore outing, Insomnia, finds the duo in a space even more influenced by contemporary American and European improvisatory music than their eponymous debut. Both the young artists have garnered critical acclaim in Norway’s fertile jazz scene. Arntzen is also well-known from his playing a part in the band In The Country.

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Click here for the complete schedule for the rest of the upcoming shows at the 2010 Earshot Jazz Festival

Jazz Photography by Seattle photographer Daniel Sheehan creating portraits for publications and a Seattle Wedding Photographer with a photojournalist style.

Natacha Atlas at the Triple Door on Tuesday night in the third week of the Earshot Jazz Festival.

Natacha has been a major world music innovator since the early 1990s, first with Transglobal Underground, then her own albums commencing in 1995 with Diaspora. The Belgian singer is a mix of Moroccan, Palestinian, Egyptian, and British ancestry and has long championed the combination of Arabic musical traditions with modern popular music. Or “cha’abi moderne” in her words. She once called herself “a human Gaza Strip,” referring to her Judeo-Islamic heritage. Reggae, drum n’ bass and hip hop have all impacted her music, but the Middle Eastern roots are always deep. The mesmerizing rhythms and sinuous grooves are richly grounded in that part of the world. One can visualize belly-dancers even if none are present. She is a talented belly-dancer as well as singer, as Transglobal Underground made evident.

“There will always be two identities living within me: Arabic and European. When I was very young, I tried to ignore the Arabic side, my father’s side, because I saw it as foreign,” she said. “But something happened in my late teens. I was at a nightclub in Brussels and I heard Arabic music, and I knew then that there was something inside of me that I wanted to go back to. So I ended up going to the other extreme. But as you mature, you realize that you have both inside you…These days I dream in two languages, and not a day goes by when I don’t end up using Arabic.”

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Click here for the complete schedule for the rest of the upcoming shows at the 2010 Earshot Jazz Festival

Jazz Photography by Seattle photographer Daniel Sheehan creating portraits for publications and a Seattle Wedding Photographer with a photojournalist style.

Trumpeter Cuong Vu and alto saxophonist Andrew D’Angelo front Agogic at the CROCODILE a wonderful set opening for Dafnis Proverb Trio.

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Click here for the complete schedule for the rest of the upcoming shows at the 2010 Earshot Jazz Festival

Jazz Photography by Seattle photographer Daniel Sheehan creating portraits for publications and a Seattle Wedding Photographer with a photojournalist style.

Just got back from THE CROCODILE where Dafnis Prieto Proverb Trio performed and with Cuong Vu / Andrew D’Angelo: Agogic doing the opening set. What a night. It is late so I will post a brief and add more on Tuesday.
When the 25 year old Cuban born percussionist Dafnis Prieto’s arrived on the New York scene back in 1999 it sent shock waves throughout the jazz world. His subsequent years of performing, composing and recording have gone a long way toward cementing his place as one of the world’s preeminent percussionists. If fact, many believe he is revolutionizing the art of drumming.

Continue reading at: EarshotJazz Festival

Click here for the complete schedule for the rest of the upcoming shows at the 2010 Earshot Jazz Festival

Jazz Photography by Seattle photographer Daniel Sheehan creating portraits for publications and a Seattle Wedding Photographer with a photojournalist style.