Dana Reason | Is That Jazz?

January 23rd, 2011

Dana Reason, solo piano.

As the the 2011 Is That Jazz, Seattle’s avant-jazz music festival continues into it’s second night at the Chapel Performance Space, Dana Reason put on a beautiful solo set on the great grand piano there. I had not heard her before tonight and enjoyed her inspired improvising which reminded me of performances by Keith Jarrett.

The amazing music of Ryuichi Sakamoto was wonderful in concert Saturday night at the Moore Theatre as the Earshot Jazz Festival presented along with the Seattle Theatre Group the Japanese musician celebrating his recent double-CD release on Decca label.  Seattle is one of only ten cities Sakamoto has selected for his rare North American tour.

“The two-volume release, Out of Noise and Playing the Piano, presents a unique insight into Ryuichi Sakamoto’s music. While it is nearly impossible to categorize Sakamoto’s work into one ganger, two threads have been ever-present in his music since his days as composition student at Tokyo University of the Arts in the early 1970’s: classical piano and experimentation.

Among Sakamoto’s early influences were turn of the 20th century French composer Claude Debussy and German electronica pioneers Kraftwerk. As a young composer Ryuichi Sakamoto was already fascinated with blending classical melodic touch with technology and electronic beats.

In late 1970’s Sakamoto himself became a force in early electronica as a member of Yellow Magic Orchestra (one of the first Japanese acts to break into European and American scenes).

Beyond Yellow Magic Orchestra, Ryuichi Sakamoto added another dimension to his music. Composing a score to 1983 film Merry Christmas, Mr. Lawrence, Sakamoto found one more way to explore music. Subsequently, he composed music for a number of films, winning a Grammy and an Oscar in 1987 for the best original score for The Last Emperor (Sakamoto co-wrote the score with David Byrne and Cong Su).

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.

At Tula’s on Thursday, Earshot Jazz Festival presented the long-time top-draw keyboardist, accordionist, and educator Murl Allen Sanders a master of many forms of music, including jazz. He made his debut performance as a bandleader at Tula’s with the saxophonist Warren Rand.
anders the accordionist is likely better known to fans than Sanders the keyboardist. No doubt his style on accordion is unique and readily indentifiable, fusing together pop, zydeco, rock, country and blues influences. However, Sanders is quick to point out that as a both a keyboardist and accordionist, he has been greatly impacted by jazz music, and that is the aspect of his diverse repertoire that will be on display tonight.

Over the years, he has studied the performances jazz accordionists Art Van Damme, Leon Sash and Tommy Gumina. However, he cites pianists Keith Jarrett, Bill Evans and Oscar Peterson as well as organists Billy Preston, Jimmy Smith, Jimmy Mcgriff, Richard “Groove” Holmes and Jack McDuff as having left an indelible mark on how he approaches music. Sanders has collaborated with such diverse artists as Chuck Berry, Etta James, Merrilee Rush, Theodore Bikel, Peter Duchin and David Matthews.

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.

Dave Peck playing solo at the Chapel Performance Space Friday night as the Earshot Jazz Festival continues.The sound was luscious and sweet. “Dave Peck’s rich, melancholic music is one of the great pleasures of Seattle jazz, and how welcome the pianist’s intensified recording and performing schedule is. Still in the afterglow of the June release of Peck’s lovely Modern Romance, Peck here performed in the intimate Chapel Performance Space in celebration of his new solo album, Songbook Volume 1. “

“Though his primary interest may be in the continued development of the piano trio – and his trio with Joe LaBarbera and Jeff Johnson is wonderful indeed – Peck at times sounds most like a solo performer at heart. In his trio recordings Peck’s deeply personal language comes to the forefront in the long, dramatic solo improvisations that introduce many of the group performances. Performing solo, Peck unfolds emotion at a perfect pace, developing sparkling, bittersweet ideas with the utmost care.”

Continue reading at: EarshotJazz Festival

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


October 21st, 2010

Nelda Swiggett performing with her trio at Tula’s Thursday night.

Seattle native, jazz pianist and composer Nelda Swiggett explores a variety of sounds and colors in her music – drawing from jazz, Afro-Cuban, gospel, blues, and more. She has arranged several of her original compositions for the Seattle Women’s Jazz Orchestra and toured extensively throughout the Pacific Northwest and Alaska with one of the Northwest’s top salsa bands, Cambalache. Her compositions and playing have been praised as “a bright palette, a sinewy execution and a powerful, assertive command.” (AllAboutJazz.com)

Her latest endeavor is performing in an intimate setting with a piano trio. Lately during her performances, Swiggett also uses her voice as an instrument, in addition to singing lyrics. “That’s really new for me and I’m looking to incorporate more singing into my original music,” she said.
“I’ve composed primarily for larger ensembles in the past — including several big band arrangements. My trio is a more intimate sound, and while I may still hear several horns in my head, I have only the piano trio and my voice for instrumentation,” said Swiggett. “It is a fun and interesting challenge to explore the possibilities for presenting my original music in this small group.”
-Jessica Davis

Charles Lloyd and his New Quartet

December 22nd, 2009

The Charles Lloyd New Quartet with Jason Moran, Reuben Rogers, & Eric Harland playing at Town Hall.

All Photographs on this website Daniel Sheehan © 2009. All Rights Reserved. Please inquire for permission before using.

It was a beautiful new group Charles Lloyd brought to town earlier this month. I have been meaning to post some more photos form this performance before the holidays. Here they are. If you missed the show it was a wonderful performance. Charles is one of my all time favorite musicians. And so is Jason Moran. I was happy to get the chance to hear Eric Harland and Reuben Rogers play as well.

These cats were very intense and yet the music was very spiritual.

“Since the 1960s, tenor saxophonist and flautist Charles Lloyd’s life has alternated between periods of musical and personal exploration. After spending a decade or so working as a sideman in different blues and jazz groups, Lloyd hit a goldmine of critical acclaim and popular support in with his quartet’s groundbreaking performance at the 1966 Monterey Jazz Festival (no small feat in a period when jazz’s audiences were largely moving in new directions). This particular group was notable not just for Lloyd’s debut as a fresh and exciting leader, but also because two of its members, Keith Jarrett and Jack DeJohnette, were themselves only a few years away from exploding as widely innovative and influential jazz musicians….

Lloyd’s New Quartet is fortified with relatively young but well-established jazz musicians who are fully capable of sharing Lloyd’s pursuits. A leader in his own right, Jason Moran (piano) brings the group a unique, mature second lead voice. He’s one of those pianists who sometimes convince you that you’re listening to 80 years of jazz piano history rolled into one set of fingers. His heavy left hand will dabble in vintage 1920s stride playing right before flowing through a sequence that breaks into advanced Andrew Hill territory, while his frank, direct solos often develop in unpredictable turns that take full advantage his repertoire’s diverse influences.

On stage, when Lloyd himself isn’t soloing, he doesn’t just stand there; he frequently can’t resist dancing to the pulsing, breathing rhythms provided by his fellow musicians. Reuben Rogers (bass) and Eric Harland (drums/percussion) form a reliable, gregarious backbone that’s perfect for bringing the exotic structures in Lloyd’s compositions to life. Whether the tune is funky, swinging, Latin, or has no definable rhythm at all, the team decorates it with outbursts that always feel natural and appropriate….”     – Nathan Bluford from the Earshot Jazz program guide. Jazz Photography by editorial photographer and photojournalist Daniel Sheehan who covers jazz performances, and  creates portrait photography for publications and corporations.


Jovino Santos Neto at Tula’s performing in the Earshot Jazz Festival lineup on Monday night with his quintet. Lots of fun watching him play with Harvey Wainapel on saxophone and Chuck Deardorff on bass.


The master pianist, flutist, composer, and arranger, beloved for his musical playfulness and stunning technique, is one of the top Brazilian musicians working today. Now based in Seattle, Jovino Santos Neto has throughout his career been closely affiliated with Brazilian master Hermeto Pascoal, working as an integral part of Pascoal’s group from 1977-1992. Santos Neto relocated to the United States in 1993 and studied conducting at the Cornish College of the Arts, where he continues to teach piano, composition, and jazz ensemble. He is a three-time Latin Grammy Award nominee, for Best Latin Jazz Album in 2004, 2006, and 2009. The Jovino Santos Neto Quinteto here features guest saxophonist Harvey Wainapel. Wainapel concentrates equally on soprano, alto, and tenor saxophones. His heavy involvement with the music of Brazil (for which he also plays clarinet) is reflected in his acclaimed releases as a leader.




October 26th, 2009


Eldar Djangirov at Tula’s Monday night He and his Trio is appearing there again tomorrow Tuesday Oct 27th.

The Earshot Jazz Festival presented the dazzling pyrotechnics and musical maturity of the Kyrgyz post-bop piano prodigy Eldar Djangirov which have awed the jazz world. His trio with Armando Gola (bass) and Ludwig Afonso (drums) is touring in support of a new CD,Virtue.

After being discovered at the age of nine, Eldar and his family moved to the United States, and just two years later he was a featured performer on Marian McPartland’s radio program, Piano Jazz. Since then he has recorded six albums, signed with a major label, and earned a Grammy nomination for his 2007 album, Reimagination. Along the way he has worked with many of the biggest names in contemporary jazz, including John Patitucci, Michael Brecker, Roy Hargrove, and Chris Botti.

Now 22, Eldar continues to impress both audiences and critics with his mature playing and forward-looking compositions.

Trio M

October 21st, 2009


Trio M throughly entertained them in a playful good way  at the Seattle Asian Art Museum on Tuesday night, as the Earshot Jazz Festival continues. Trio M is a collective of Mark Dresser (bass), Matt Wilson (drums), and Myra Melford (piano). Thanks to thrilling and unpredictable interplay, says Wilson, “the results are spiritually rewarding and remarkably fun to witness.” They were presented in association with Cornish College of the Arts.

Back in 1993, Myra Melford related a story to critic Kevin Whitehead, where she remembered living as a child in a Frank Lloyd Wright house in Illinois. She remembered “weird stuff on the ceiling” and tons of light. “I used to walk around with a mirror in my hand and pretend I was walking on the ceiling,” she recalled. And that’s what will leap out first as Melford plays piano. Your world can be reversed, up becomes down. Clustered chords become long-fingered, steady vibrations. Likewise, an elongated harmonic line can almost explode as you hold it close. She can tussle, tumble, and thunder without ever seeming to leave a melody aside. Her avant-garde outness is a lyrical construct, something that opens the eyes when in reality it’s aimed at the ears. That’s Melford’s muse, the making of space in time, the creation of a landscape out of musical motion. Continue to read at Earshot Festival Guide

Allen Toussaint Quartet

October 18th, 2009

Allen Toussaint was back at the Triple Door Sunday with his quartet and they were all in the comfortable New Orleans style rhythms and blues. It is amazing how many great songs he has put out over the years and how comfortable his feet must be in those open sandle shoes.


Composer, producer, pianist, singer, and Rock & Roll Hall of Fame inductee Allen Toussaint is a living legend. His work in the 1960s and 1970s helped define the sound of R&B, soul, and funk as we hear it today. Penning such songs as “Working in the Coal Mine,” performed by Lee Dorsey, “Ruler of My Heart,” by Irma Thomas, and “Mother-in-Law,” by Ernie K-Doe, Toussaint’s contributions to modern music extend far beyond what is commonly acknowledged. Combined with the easygoing charm and style of his home city of New Orleans, Toussaint has established himself as a true joy of song and culture.
Continue to read at Earshot Festival Guide