What an amazing treat this evenings performance was. 2012 Earshot Jazz Festival presented  Tatsuya Nakatani at the  CHAPEL PERFORMANCE SPACE. Tatsuya Nakatani is a creative percussionist originally from Osaka, Japan. The intuitive, versatile percussionist uses drums, gongs, cymbals, singing bowls and much else to create organic, intense music. Nakatani approaches improvisation from the visceral, non-linear and intuitively primitive, creating via extended percussion techniques. A free improviser, experimenter, rocker and noisemaker, Nakatani is, essentially, a folk musician, performing countless solo percussion concerts and surprise collaborations during his travels.
Consult the 2012 Earshot Jazz Festival schedule and prepare for your next Earshot performance.

Nakatani plays solo and in a first-time duo improvisation with special guest violist Eyvind Kang at tonight’s performance.

Currently based in Easton, PA, Nakatani tours extensively – Japan, China, Canada, Mexico, France, Germany, England, Scotland, Belgium, Netherlands, Portugal, Poland, Ukraine, Denmark, Sweden, Norway, Argentina, Chile, Israel, the U.S. – fostering a raw and fresh quality in his music, which can only survive through an open willingness to share energy, culture, music and self on a global human scale, he says.

Nakatani has released over sixty recordings and has worked with Ken Vandermark, Assif Tsahar, Peter Brotzmann, Frank Gratkowski, Billy Bang, Reuben Radding, Joe Morris, Joe McPhee, Jack Wright. While touring, he also conducts master classes and workshops at schools and universities, emphasizing his unique musical approach and philosophy.

– Schraepfer Harvey

Check out the 2012 Earshot Jazz Festival schedule

Last Thursday night at Tula’s Earshot Jazz Festival presented the Beat Kaestli Group. Very nice evening by a wonderful jazz vocalist. Beat Kaestli is an internationally acclaimed vocalist, songwriter, arranger and producer. Germany’s Jazz Thing eloquently described him this way: “With his unique voice, flowing between a dark timbre and fragile brilliance, he easily joins the ranks of the modern jazz crooners [Harry Connick Jr., Michael Buble, Kurt Elling], but his distinct principle of sparseness sets him apart from the rest.” Kaestli has forged jazz, R&B, gospel, musical theater, and Latin jazz into a personal style based in European song.
See who will be playing this week in upcoming concerts in the Earshot Jazz Festival Schedule.

n 1993 he moved from Switzerland to New York, leaving behind a promising singing career in his homeland, and was awarded a scholarship to the Manhattan School of Music. While honing his craft alongside noteworthy jazz performers, such as Jane Monheit, Jason Moran and Stefon Harris, he immersed himself in Manhattan’s fiercely competitive music scene, emerging as a seasoned performer. He performs with artists like Esperanza Spalding, Jon Hendricks, Gregoire Maret, Joel Frahm, Billy Drummond, Magos Herrera and Hendrik Meurkens.

n 2005, Kaestli was the chosen vocalist for the Glenn Miller Orchestra, thrilling audiences in concert halls across the USA. Since the release of his acclaimed CD Happy, Sad and Satisfied in 2006, he is touring the world extensively with his own projects, showcasing his music in renowned clubs and at festivals across the US, Europe, Mexico, Central America and Canada. In 2007 he earned the Ella Fitzgerald Foundation Scholarship to complete his master’s degree from the Aaron Copland School of Music, which was followed by the release of his lauded 2009 European song tribute Far From Home. Last year was highlighted by his major jazz label debut, an eclectic array of American standards, Invitation, on the Chesky label.
– Danielle Bias from the Earshot Jazz Festival Schedule.

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Emi Meyer’s Japan Trio

October 16th, 2011

Performing at Tula’s tonight as the 2011 Earshot Jazz Festival continues in its first weekend was Emi Meyer and her Japan Trio. I was taken aback with how wonderful she played and sang. The Kyoto-born, Seattle-raised pianist and vocalist, who won the Seattle-Kobe Jazz Vocalist Competition in 2007 and has topped Japanese jazz charts, appeared with Motoki Yamaguchi (drums) and Masanori Hattori (bass). In addition she had local guitarist MILO PETERSEN sit in and join them. Emi and Milo met last spring at a benefit performance raising funds for Japanese victims of the earthquake and hit it off. I wish I could have stayed for the entire set but I had to cover Eric Vloeimans’ Gatecrash at SAM. See the rest of the Earshot Jazz Festival Schedule

Born in Kyoto, Japan, and raised in Seattle, Emi Meyer’s culturally rich heritage has shaped the unique jazz-inspired pop sound heard on her three albums to date, including one recorded entirely in Japanese. Meyer began her musical career early in life, starting with classical piano at the age of 6 and eventually expanding to jazz “for the spontaneity it offered.”

It was her jazz background that paved the way for her win at the 2007 Seattle-Kobe Jazz Vocalist Competition – a contest between residents of Seattle and its sister city of Kobe, Japan. Following her win, Meyer had the first of many performances in Japan, where she has subsequently enjoyed a great deal of success, and she credits the competition with giving her the courage to ultimately pursue her musical ambitions. With the release of her first album, Curious Creature, Emi was invited to perform at the legendary Sundance Film Festival and shot to the very top of the Japanese jazz charts after her single “Room Blue” was chosen Single of the Week on iTunes.

She continues to evolve as an artist, and her latest work, Suitcase of Stones, is a refreshingly unique blend of jazz, pop and soul, using powerful lyrics carried effortlessly along by her signature melodies. The record was mixed and mastered by Husky Huskolds, who has worked with the likes of Norah Jones and Yael Naim. Japan Times praised Meyer’s performance on Suitcase of Stones, citing Meyer’s “gift for belting out warm, wistful songs with a hint of nostalgia.”

Fresh from a string of charity concerts to support the country that has given her so much, Meyer is joined for this Earshot Jazz Festival performance by Motoki Yamaguchi (drums) and Masanori Hattori (bass).It was her jazz background that paved the way for her win at the 2007 Seattle-Kobe Jazz Vocalist Competition – a contest between residents of Seattle and its sister city of Kobe, Japan. Following her win, Meyer had the first of many performances in Japan, where she has subsequently enjoyed a great deal of success, and she credits the competition with giving her the courage to ultimately pursue her musical ambitions. With the release of her first album, Curious Creature, Emi was invited to perform at the legendary Sundance Film Festival and shot to the very top of the Japanese jazz charts after her single “Room Blue” was chosen Single of the Week on iTunes.

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With these pictures of Gretchen Parlato I am trying catch up with photos from the now completed Earshot Jazz Festival which ended a week ago. I was quite busy shooting during the festival and still have some pictures that I never had time to upload. They will be all get posted here shortly.

Young vocalist Gretchen Parlato is widely respected and loved by her peers – other musicians – and has received rave reviews for her distinctively original recordings. According to Billboard Magazine: “Parlato’s time has arrived…the most alluring jazz vocal album of 2009.” Her CD In A Dream also “belongs in the 4-5 Grammy nominations for Best Jazz Vocal Album,” said critic Don Heckman. It was chosen #1 Best Vocal Jazz Album of the Year by the Village Voice. Fans, fellow musicians, and the press all seem to be on the same page when it comes to Ms. Parlato’s burgeoning career, poised on the brink of super-stardom as some have stated.
Few improvising singers have her combination of a lovely natural voice, wide range, willingness to take chances, seemingly unlimited imagination in her original songs, wise choice of music written by others, and innate soulfulness less any artifice or posturing.
These numerous talents are evident on her first self-titled CD, the stunning recordings with Lionel Loueke (Virgin Forest from 2007 in particular), collaborations with Helen Sung and Ambrose Akinmusire, and the 2006 performance of “Journey” with Kendrick Scott Oracle from The Source. Parlato has quickly amassed an impressive discography.

Photography by Seattle photographer Michael Craft.

It was so good to see and hear Gail Pettis again this time at Tula’s as part of the Earshot Jazz Festival on one of its last nights for 2010. She is an amazing singer and performer and wonderful to watch on stage.

“As I experience it, the currency of jazz is emotion,” Gail Pettis explained in a 2005 interview with Earshot Jazz. “That’s what you give and hopefully get back. Many of my song selections are a result of how I feel after listening to a particular song for the first time. Several of the tunes I perform [are] chosen after hearing only an instrumental version and discovering the lyrics much later.”

Pettis is a four-time nominee and 2007 winner of the Earshot Golden Ear Award for “Northwest Vocalist of the Year.” Born in Henderson, Kentucky, Pettis grew up in Gary, Indiana. Her grandfather Arthur Pettis was a blues singer and guitarist who recorded for Victor Records in Memphis in 1928 and for Brunswick in Chicago in 1930. In spite of her musical heritage, Pettis’ road to jazz was indirect. She taught and practiced orthodontics full-time for 15 years, before moving to Seattle in 1996 by way of Memphis.

Continue reading at: EarshotJazz Festival

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


February 22nd, 2010

Jay Clayton, vocals, Jerry Granelli, drums, Anthony Cox, bass and Julian Priester, trombone, performed in a special reunion concert at Cornish College Saturday night part of the Earshot Jazz Spring Series.

Originally from Chicago, Julian Priester’s performing career is long and varied, beginning with stints in his teens playing with blues and R&B legends Muddy Waters, Dinah Washington, and Bo Diddley. In the early 1950s Priester was also a member of Sun Ra’s big band, and recorded several albums with that group before leaving Chicago in 1956 to tour with vibraphonist Lionel Hampton. Priester subsequently settled in New York, and between 1961 and 1969 appeared as a sideman on albums by Max Roach, Freddie Hubbard, Stanley Turrentine, Blue Mitchell, Art Blakey, Joe Henderson, John Coltrane, McCoy Tyner, Charles Mingus, Johnny Griffin, and Sam Rivers. In 1969 he accepted an offer to play with Duke Ellington’s big band, then left in 1970 to join pianist Herbie Hancock’s fusion sextet. Since settling down in Seattle and joining the Cornish faculty in the late 1970s Priester has continued to perform as both a bandleader and sideman including tours with Sun Ra, Gary Peacock, the Dave Holland Quintet, Lester Bowie’s New York Organ Ensemble, and Charlie Haden’s Liberation Music Orchestra. His compositions have been recorded by Sun Ra, Ray Charles, Herbie Hancock, Philly Jo Jones, Lee Morgan, Max Roach, Abbey Lincoln, Clifford Jordan, and Dave Holland. His own music can be heard on the Riverside, ECM, and Conduit record labels.

Jay Clayton has gained worldwide attention as both performer and teacher. She has appeared at major venues including Lincoln Center, Sweet Basil, Town Hall, the Kennedy Center, Jazz Alley, and the North Sea and Montmartre Festivals. She has taught at Universitat fur Musik in Austria, Bud Shank Jazz Workshop, and at City College and the New School in New York City. She co-taught with Sheila Jordan at the Vermont Jazz Workshop, and at the Banff Centre for the Arts in Canada, and was on the faculty of Cornish College of the Arts for twenty years. Her book Sing Your Story: a Practical Guide for Learning and Teaching the Art of Jazz Singing is published by Advance Music. Jay has performed and recorded throughout the U.S., Canada, and Europe with leading jazz and new music artists including Muhal Richard Abrams, Steve Reich, Stanley Cowell, Kirk Nurock, Gary Bartz, George Cables, and Jane Ira Bloom as well as with the a cappella group Vocal Summit comprised of Urszula Dudziak, Bobby McFerrin, Jeanne Lee, and Norma Winstone. Her current projects integrate poetry and electronics into her music. Her projects reflect the diversity of her art and her live performances, which range from duo to sextet, and are unique events that draw from all of these collaborations.

Bassist Anthony Cox has recorded with Arthur Blythe, Dewey Redman, Geri Allen, Mike Cain, Uri Caine and many others.

Halifax-based percussionist-composer Jerry Granelli grew up in San Francisco where he studied with Joe Morello and drummed for pianists Denny Zeitlin and Vince Guaraldi (on many a Charlie Brown television specials). He pioneered world jazz fusion and electro-acoustic percussion during the ‘60s, established the music department at Naropa Institute in Boulder, Colorado in the 1970s, and has taught continuously since then in Boulder, Seattle, Halifax and Berlin. In the early ‘80s he performed and recorded in a trio with Ralph Towner and Gary Peacock for ECM records. He has recorded as a leader for Evidence, Intuition, ITM, and the Koch labels, and performed and recorded with longtime musical associates Mose Allison, Jay Clayton, Jane Ira Bloom, Glen Moore, Anthony Cox, Dave Friedman, and Jamie Saft, as well as projects with Bill Frisell, Robben Ford, Julian Priester, Charlie Haden, Kenny Garrett, and Buck 64.

All photographs on this website are by Daniel Sheehan © 2010. All Rights Reserved. Please inquire for permission to use.

Photographing Danilo Perez in concert at ast weekend’s 2009 Bellevue Jazz Festival was a lot of fun. He was so unpredictable as he moved around a lot as he played the piano and sometime like here he played on the side of the piano. His music was serious but he made the performance feel fun. This just about wraps up my coverage of the 2009 Bellevue Jazz Festival. Hope you enjoyed it as much as I did.

Dianne Reeves Redux

May 28th, 2009


Here is another shot of amazing jazz vocalist Dianne Reeves from last weekend’s 2009 Bellevue Jazz Festival. This one was made during the sound check and I love her expression of emotion as she sings even with the huge hall empty of an audience.

Kurt Elling Redux

May 28th, 2009


Here is another shot of Kurt Elling from last weekend’s 2009 Bellevue Jazz Festival.

Greta Matassa Quartet

May 28th, 2009


Here is a shot of jazz vocalist Greta Matassa who appeared last weekend at the 2009 Bellevue Jazz Festival.