So to catch up on my festival coverage,  last night’s show  was the wonderful Eric Vloeimans as Earshot Jazz Festival 2014 rolls on. Eric Vloeimans was as wonderful as ever playing with a new group and  a delightful set of music. Always a great dresser I was most impressed with his shoes last night.

“Jazz trio instruments that come to mind typically aren’t trumpet, accordion and cello. Nor was it necessarily so for Dutch trumpet sensation Eric Vloeimans (pronounced “Flooeymans”), who concocted the present ensemble by combining an instrument he loved (cello) with one he formerly hated (accordion) and added himself. The initial gig proved electrifying for audience and performers alike and, thus, Oliver’s Cinema (the name is an anagram of the trumpeter’s name) was born. Rounding out the trio are accordionist Tuur Florizoone from Belgium and cellist Jörg Brinkmann from Germany.

Regarded as one of Europe’s best performers, Vloeimans has been active in a wide variety of ensembles. He has toured the U.S. twice with his acoustic chamber jazz group, Fugimundi Trio, whose repertoire ranges from contemporary jazz, hymns, and world music to standards. He also leads Eric Vloeimans’ Gatecrash, which has earned a reputation as one of Europe’s top cross-over bands. Vloeimans has played with an array of international artists, among them Mercer Ellington, Peter Erskine, the Rotterdam Philharmonic Orchestra, Wayne Horvitz and Joey Baron.

Jörg Brinkmann studied at the college of Arnheim, Netherlands, and is renowned for his ability to play with jazz and pop bands. Tuur Florizoone is one of the most beloved musicians from Flanders, and has performed with a wide range of contemporary artists, including Carlos Nunez, Manu Chao, Zahava Seewald, and more.

The group’s 2013 CD takes the cinema theme seriously, and includes music written for film, including themes like Rosemary’s Baby and Cinema Paradiso, music with a cinematic quality, Ennio Morricone-like soundtracks and new, original and evocative compositions for imaginary films.”

Here is a link to the 2014 Earshot Jazz Festival Schedule






Last Saturday night at the Chapel Performance Space, Earshot Jazz Festival presented two distinctive composers in Seattle, clarinetist Beth Fleenor and trumpeter Samantha Boshnack, to showcase their works for large ensembles in one of the city’s finest concert rooms.

Fleenor’s Workshop Ensemble (WE) presents exploratory scores grounded in Fleenor’s 20 Etudes for Blindfolded Musicians; WE also performs conduction, sonic meditation and Fleenor’s cross-stitched graphic scores. WE are Michele Khazak (voice), Kate Olson, Brian Bermudez, Chris Credit (reeds), Boshnack (trumpet), Naomi Siegel (trombone), Michael Owcharuk (piano), Paul Kemmish, Evan Flory-Barnes (bass), Campbell (percussion/horn), Adam Kozie (drums) and Fleenor (clarinet, voice, composition).


Here is a link to the Earshot Jazz Festival website  schedule for the rest of the Festival.


beth-fleenor-workshop-ensemble-04 beth-fleenor-workshop-ensemble-05 beth-fleenor-workshop-ensemble-06 beth-fleenor-workshop-ensemble-07 beth-fleenor-workshop-ensemble-08

Last Saturday night at the Chapel Performance Space, Earshot Jazz Festival presented two distinctive composers in Seattle, clarinetist Beth Fleenor and trumpeter Samantha Boshnack, to showcase their works for large ensembles in one of the city’s finest concert rooms.

Alt-chamber orchestra B’shnorkestra
 recently released Go to Orange (Present 
Sounds Recordings). The group’s bold
 and undulating blend of horn lines,
strings and percussion is conducted by
 Joshua Kohl, co-founder of the Degen
erate Art Ensemble. The B’shnorkestra
 features Alex Guy, Paris Hurley, Jherek Bischoff, members of Jim Knapp and Eyvind Kang’s Scrape, members of the SRJO, bassist Tim Carey and drummer Greg Campbell.

Here is a link to the Earshot Jazz Festival website  schedule for the rest of the Festival.





Here is a link to the Earshot Jazz Festival website  schedule for the rest of the Festival.


Following Steve Lehman’s trio, on Friday night at the Royal Room, Earshot Jazz Festival 2013 presented an exciting new ensemble premiered all new repertoire. Cellist Peggy Lee is a fixture on the fertile music scene in Vancouver, BC. She is, for example, a first-call band member for visitors to the city’s famed annual jazz festival, including trumpeter Dave Douglas, guitarist Nels Cline and Seattle-based keyboardist Wayne Horvitz. Raised in Toronto and trained in classical music at the University of Toronto, Lee is a dynamic match for tenor saxophonist Skerik and improvised music innovator Horvitz.






Here is a link to the Earshot Jazz Festival website  schedule for the rest of the Festival.

Roscoe Mitchell – Nonaah

June 12th, 2013

Roscoe Mitchell performing Nonaah in Seattle


Roscoe Mitchell performed last weekend at a concert put on by Table and Chairs at Benaroya Hall. Table & Chairs, a New Music record label located in Seattle, brought the legendary saxophonist and composer ROSCOE MITCHELL to Benaroya Hall, where he was featured in a concert dedicated entirely to his landmark composition, “Nonaah” [no-NAY-uh]. The performance  featured a rare, extended solo saxophone performance by the composer himself, as well as several different arrangements of “Nonaah” spanning the length of Mitchell’s career. Starting off the musical performances was a Cello Quartet version of Nonaah featuring David Balatero, Natalie Hall, Brad Hawkins and Lauren McShane, conducted by Marcin Pączkowski. Then Roscoe Mitchell played his solo version of Nonaah, followed by an Alto Saxophone Quartet of Jacob Zimmerman, Ivan Arteaga, Andrew Swanson, and Neil Welch. Bad Luck, Neil Welch, tenor saxophone and Christopher Icasiano, drumset then played their version,  Nonaah Reimagined.

The concert finished with the large group ensemble Lawson doing a version.
Roscoe Mitchell performing Nonaah in Seattle


Roscoe Mitchell performing Nonaah in Seattle
Roscoe Mitchell performing Nonaah in Seattle
Roscoe Mitchell performing Nonaah in Seattle

Jazz photography of Cyrus Chestnut Trio with Stefon Harris

Saturday night at the Bellevue Jazz Festival was a special treat of Cyrus Chestnut Trio with Stefon Harris. I love to watch Cyrus play and this trio was really good, but when Stefon Harris came out and joined them it was a whole new ball game. Cyrus Chestnut on Piano, Eric Wheeler on Bass, Evan Sherman on Drums, Stefon Harris on Vibes.

Virtuosic and playful, pianist Cyrus Chestnut’s hard swinging, soulful sounds have become a staple in the jazz community. Blending contemporary jazz, traditional jazz and gospel, plus the occasional seasonings of Latin and samba, Chestnut gives himself plenty of freedom to explore different emotions, while keeping his music in recognizable form.

Chestnut has played with many leaders in the music scene including Wynton Marsalis, Freddie Hubbard, Branford Marsalis, Chick Corea, Dizzy Gillespie, Jon Hendricks, and Betty Carter, recording and performing live around the world. An extremely versatile pianist, Chestnut has also collaborated with Vanessa Williams, Brian McKnight, Kathleen Battle, Freddy Cole, Bette Midler, Jimmy Scott, Isaac Hayes, and Kevin Mahogany. His leadership and prowess as a soloist has also led him to be a first call pianist in larger ensembles including the Lincoln Center Jazz Orchestra, Dizzy Gillespie Big Band, and Carnegie Hall Jazz Orchestra.



Chestnut’s new album, Journeys, is his most compelling to date. His compositions are more mature than ever. Drawing from all facets of his life experiences, the result is a very unique musical journey for all to enjoy. Almost 20 years into his impressive career, Chestnut is further developing his musical voice: lyrical, timeless, and always deeply.
Jazz photography of Cyrus Chestnut Trio with Stefon Harris
Vibraphonist-composer Stefon Harris is heralded as “one of the most important young artists in jazz” (The Los Angeles Times). He is unquestionably developing what will be a long and extraordinary career.

Harris’ passionate artistry, energetic stage presence, and astonishing virtuosity have propelled him into the forefront of the current jazz scene. Widely recognized and lauded by both his peers and jazz critics alike, he is committed to both exploring the rich potential of jazz composition and blazing new trails on the vibraphone.

His 2004 project Blackout, featuring a hybrid of acoustic music and progressive sounds, was praised for “pursing jazz on its own terms” (Washington Post), and was taken on tour to perform to sold out crowds at The Kennedy Center and North Sea Jazz Festival.

Jazz photography of Cyrus Chestnut Trio with Stefon Harris Jazz photography of Cyrus Chestnut Trio with Stefon Harris Jazz photography of Cyrus Chestnut Trio with Stefon Harris

In addition to leading his own band, Mr. Harris has recorded as part of The Classical Jazz Quartet, a series of jazz interpreted classics with Kenny Barron, Ron Carter, and Lewis Nash. He has also recorded and toured with many of music’s greatest artists, including Joe Henderson, Wynton Marsalis, Cassandra Wilson, Buster Williams, Kenny Barron, Charlie Hunter, Kurt Elling, Cyrus Chestnut, Steve Coleman, and Steve Turre among many others.

At the Kirkland Performance Center, one of America’s greatest living composers, trailblazer Philip Glass performed last night, with African kora virtuoso Foday Musa Suso, and percussionist Adam Rudolph in an evening

of  wonderful and masterful music.

The 2012 Earshot Jazz festival continues. Click on the schedule here 2012 Earshot Jazz Festival 

Born in 1937, raised in Baltimore, Glass went on to study at the University of Chicago, the Juilliard School and in Aspen with Darius Milhaud. Finding himself dissatisfied with much of what then passed for modern music, he moved to Europe, where he studied with the legendary pedagogue Nadia Boulanger (who also taught Aaron Copland, Virgil Thomson and Quincy Jones) and worked closely with the sitar virtuoso and composer Ravi Shankar.

He returned to New York in 1967 and formed the Philip Glass Ensemble – seven musicians playing keyboards and a variety of woodwinds, amplified and fed through a mixer. Glass’ new music, eventually dubbed minimalism, worked with extended reiterations of brief, elegant melodic fragments that wove in and out of an aural tapestry.

n the last 25 years, through his operas, his symphonies, his compositions for his own ensemble and his collaborations with artists ranging from Twyla Tharp to Allen Ginsberg, Woody Allen to David Bowie, Glass has had an extraordinary and unprecedented impact upon the musical and intellectual life of his times.

The 2012 Earshot Jazz festival continues. Click on the schedule here 2012 Earshot Jazz Festival 


Saturday night was my second time to see and hear a performance of  Evan Flory-Barnes Acknowledgement of a Celebration. Earshot Jazz Festival 2011 presented it at the Kirkland Performance Center. What a wonderful achievement. As a  reprise of the 2009 Earshot Golden Ear performance of the year, Evan brought back his Earshot- and Meet the Composer-commissioned work for large-ensemble fusion of jazz, hip-hop, and classical music with dancers and break-dancers. I was taken with how much fun he seemed to be having this time. Here are some pictures from the performance. ans some of the words from the Earshot Jazz program guide by Steve Griggs

Check out the Earshot Jazz Festival Schedule to see what’s next in the 2011 Festival lineup.

“Evan Flory-Barnes stands six foot three, in suit and tie, in front of a thirty-five member chamber orchestra at Seattle’s Town Hall. He scans the musicians. Left. Right. He rubs his palms together. No baton. He smiles broadly and adjusts his jacket. He glances down at the score. His head tips back. His eyes close. He whispers in a slow tempo, “One, two, three, four …” as he conducts with both hands, fingers gently closed. The count off is more like a jazz ensemble leader starting a familiar ballad than a conductor launching a symphony debut.”

“Violas and cellos sway back and forth in unison between two notes. A celeste chimes like an old fashioned clock. Glissandos rise from a harp. Dense chords drift in from wind instruments. An oboe moans. French horns herald an opening melody. Acknowledgement of a Celebration, a ten movement, fifty-five minute opus commissioned by Meet the Composer, rises into the air.”

“The commission for Celebration requires four public performances. It premiered November 8, 2009, at Town Hall and was restaged in 2010 at Benaroya Hall. Flory-Barnes’ alma mater, Garfield High School, is being considered for the final yet to be scheduled performance. We will let you know when it will be performed next.”

“Celebration combines rhythmic loops, orchestral instrumentation, and melodic improvisation to propel a group of male break dancers and female modern dancers in spontaneous choreography. In the second movement, dancers lie on the ground while an oboe and cello solo over a slow drum pulse and bowed chords. One by one, feet and legs rise, twist slow motion in the air, bodies upended on heads and hands. Another movement matches a break dancer with a modern dancer in a contact version of Brazilian capoeira. Yet another section has side-by-side break dancers hypnotically stepping in unison then breaking into solos.”

“The scale of this work transcends the leadership of a single artist. While Flory-Barnes cultivates a growing reputation as composer, collaborator and catalyst, violist Brianna Atwell handles personnel and logistics for Celebration. Dancer Emma Klein organizes the gravity defying sliding, tumbling and spinning performers. Ryan Price leads the technical direction for the Kirkland performance space.”

“The full title of the piece is Acknowledgment of a Celebration: Inheritance, Authenticity and Healing. Flory-Barnes explains the autobiographic title as the inner process to open one’s heart to life, family and self. This enables a compassionate, loving response to negativity. “My mother provided lessons of unconditional love and my father provided a way to practice those lessons.” Flory-Barnes father, a Vietnam veteran, struggled with substance abuse and died when his son was sixteen. “There were times I wanted to remove ‘Barnes’ from my last name,” he says.”

“Hints of the narrative arc in Celebration can be traced by the movement titles – Please Know This, A Boy’s Dream A Man’s Majesty, Dance of the Girl Obscured, The End of Old Days, Letting Go of What Isn’t Yours to Begin With, Marching Towards the Now, An Alarm Call to Presence, A Hero Driven by His Tears, Requiem for a Love Misunderstood, Return to a Home Unseen.”

“Chances to hear Flory-Barnes in the Pacific Northwest are becoming more precious as his career begins to take flight. Frequently on the road with Meklit Hadero, recent tours took him from Bumbershoot all the way to Kenya and Ethiopia. “Meklit’s music is deep and simple. We can stretch it and grow. She’s like Nina Simone, Joni Mitchell, and Nora Jones – a modern song writer through an Ethiopian filter.” Deep throated, dark and musky vocals croon of flirty love and loss to catchy grooves.” – Steve Griggs Read more in the Earshot Jazz Festival Schedule

Near the end of the  performance,  Evan jumped down from the conductors podium and picked up a standup bass and dove into the music. After handing off the bass he moved stage center and joined in with the dancers.

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Trio Commando DEBUT

October 1st, 2011

Trio Commando made their public debut last noght at the chapel Performance Space opening up for Eric Barber, performing improvisations, excavations and conversations through a high powered trio configuration featuring Wayne Horvitz (piano), Samantha Boshnack(trumpets), and Beth Fleenor (clarinets/voice). Unexpected and brilliant set of music with exciting electronic and vocal intermixing.

Since arriving in Seattle in 1998, clarinetist/vocal percussionist/ composer Beth Fleenor has carved a place for herself as an energetic multi-instrumentalist and dynamic generative artist. Her robust sound, organic approach, and openness to experimentation in all forms, actively fuels a long and varied list of collaborations. Ranging from shows in nightclubs, festivals, schools and galleries, to prisons, parties and concert halls, Fleenor’s work has been featured in live music, theater, performance art, recordings, modern dance, film, sound art and art installations.

Samantha Boshnack has composed and performed with a plethora of Seattle-based musicians and groups since arriving from New York in 2003. The Bard College graduate uses a broad palette in her compositions, including jazz, rock, hip-hop, Balkan, and contemporary classical music influences. Her work has received acclaim from music critics around the world, and has received support from 4Culture, Jack Straw Productions, ASCAPlus, and the Seattle Mayor’s Office of Arts & Cultural Affairs.

Wayne Horvitz is a composer, pianist, electronic musician, and producer. He has toured widely, and has collaborated with musicians such as Bill Frisell, Butch Morris, John Zorn, Robin Holcomb, Fred Frith, Julian Priester, Michael Shrieve, Bobby Previte, Marty Ehrlich, William Parker, Ron Miles, Sara Schoenbeck, Peggy Lee, Briggan Krauss, and many others. A recipient of numerous commissions and awards, his various ensembles include The President, Pigpen, Zony Mash, The HMP Trio, The New York Composers Orchestra, The 4 Plus 1 Ensemble, Sweeter Than the Day and The Gravitas Quartet.

Presented by NONSEQUITUR, which supports a wide range of adventurous music and sound art through recordings, performances, and exhibitions since 1989. They currently sponsor the Wayward Music Series in the Chapel Performance Space at the historic Good Shepherd Center in the Wallingford neighborhood.

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James Moody 1925-2010

December 9th, 2010

International jazz star and acclaimed saxophonist, flutist, composer and band leader James Moody died today in San Diego. Above picture was made at the Earshot Jazz Festival in 2008 when he played with the SJRO and came out on stage with Bill Cosby.

“Mr. Moody died at 1:07 p.m. at the San Diego Hospice, according to his wife, San Diego Realtor Linda McGowan Moody, who was by his side. His death came after a 10-month battle with pancreatic cancer.

“He couldn’t have gone more peacefully,” said Mrs. Moody, who on Monday had her husband moved from their San Carlos home to the San Diego Hospice.”

Continue reading at San Diego Union-Tribune