Triptet / Bloom
Bad Luck w/ Lorraine Lau /
Frank Kohl Trio /
Action Figure /
Meridian Big Band
A list of past Jazz: The Second Century artists and ensembles can be viewed at 2nd Century Series archive.
Thursdays, July 9, 23 & 30
Jazz: The Second Century
Chapel Performance Space, 8pm
4649 Sunnyside Ave N
Welcome to the 2015 edition of Earshot’s juried series, Jazz: The Second Century. Early in June, a listening-panel of four convened to review the 24 artist entries and engage in the difficult but rewarding task of selecting ensembles for this year’s concert series. Earshot Jazz thanks all the unique and enterprising musicians that submitted their work for consideration.
This series – presenting Seattle artists, selected by a peer panel, performing original work, in a concert setting – is a continuation of the very first programming initiative of the Earshot Jazz organization, and embodies one of our core values. Earshot’s first concert series, New Jazz/New City, was mounted in the New City Theater, now the Richard Hugo House, on Capitol Hill in 1986. The series has continued each year since: as New Jazz/New City, the Earshot Spring Series, Voice and Vision, and now Jazz: The Second Century.
From the core of this series – a question about the expansion of conventions of jazz – one might expect a tendency to grandiose re-invention. Instead, the series is a current, subtle, perhaps refreshing, un-sentimental look at our Emerald City’s engagement with this diffuse, vibrant art form.
Thanks again to our panelists, who helped curate these concerts, and to audience members who support them.
Triptet (Tom Baker, Greg Campbell, Michael Monhart) photo by Daniel Sheehan
Triptet (Tom Baker, Greg Campbell, Michael Monhart) writes: The essence of the music resides beyond the musical characteristics associated with any particular era of jazz history. Few music traditions have changed so quickly and so much as jazz. Underlying this rapid rate of development is a search for freedom within tradition, for improvisation within structure, for individuality within community. Rhythmic, harmonic and timbral elements of the music have always been stretched within the context of the quest for a fuller, more unique “voice.”
In our music we seek to integrate interactive electronics into the continuity of the jazz tradition. Our use of electronics and computer music programming came to us slowly and organically, growing naturally out of playing together on our respective instruments – guitar, percussion and saxophone.
Bloom (Levi Gillis, Jarred Katz, Brennan Carter, Mark Hunter)
Bloom is a brand new ensemble, making their debut this summer. This acoustic ensemble was formed to bring the compositions of trumpeter Brennan Carter to fruition. Joining him are Levi Gillis (tenor saxophone), Mark Hunter (acoustic bass), and Jarred Katz (drumset). The seed for this collaboration was planted years ago at the University of Washington School of Music, where these four musicians all studied jazz. Carter writes: From the onset there was a deep musical connection between these musicians, considering that they have all been involved with one another in a broad range of ensembles for the past number of years. However, the group in this iteration first performed in 2014 at Cafe Racer as a part of the weekly Racer Sessions. After this performance, it became clear that this group’s sound and identity needed to be fully explored.
Bloom’s aesthetic is characterized by rich and earthy timbres, playing off of and highlighting each individual’s musical personality. Bloom will take you through a program that is equally as dark and mysterious as it is lush and charming. As a listener, you can expect to hear a meeting of contrasting sounds including free improvisations that challenge standard concepts of rhythm and harmony, grooves that elicit strong imagery, and melodies that are dynamic and wistful.
Tickets available HERE
Bad Luck w/ Lorraine Lau (dancer)
Bad Luck (Chris Icasiano, Neil Welch)
Duo Bad Luck – Neil Welch (saxophone/electronics), Chris Icasiano (drums) – perform collaborative composition R.B.G. with dancer Lorraine Lau. They write: This composition is a collaboration, not a Bad Luck piece set to dance. We developed R.B.G. during lengthy rehearsals and worked to carefully construct a landscape where sound and physical motion ring in equal measure through a room. Lorraine’s dance embodies a similar artistic process to a Bad Luck composition. Some elements are carefully choreographed, while others arise spontaneously through improvisation. R.B.G. is a flexible work meant to fully interpret the room it is performed in. This composition was originally debuted at the Ballard Jazz Walk in April 2015.
Rich Man Poor Man: Frank Kohl Trio
Jeff Johnson and Frank Kohl
Guitarist Frank Kohl, originally from New York State, learned music in his high school jazz band, got inspired at clubs in New York City, studied at Berklee in Boston, and returned to New York City as a professional, recording his first CD, Reform, with bassist Michael Moore in 1981.
Kohl migrated to the Bay Area in 1983 and joined a band called Warmth, led by vibraphonist Don McCaslin. Then he met his Seattle-born wife, and they moved to the Pacific Northwest.
Kohl’s creative flame was rekindled, after a ten-year hiatus, hearing Jim Hall at Jazz Alley, reports Steve Griggs in a recent CD review of Kohl’s Invisible Man [Earshot Jazz, December 2014]. Of the recording of five Kohl originals and three standards, Griggs writes, “While Kohl clearly mastered technique, his guitar solos sing true with room for breath and emotion.”
Citizens Band is Ivan Arteaga (reeds), Chris Icasiano (drums), and Jeff Johnson (bass). The trio writes: It’s a new group that focuses on playing original jazz pieces with room for lots of improvisation and spontaneity. Icasiano and Arteaga are younger musicians in the Seattle music scene. They paired with veteran bassist Jeff Johnson to explore and foster communication through improvisation across two generations of jazz musicians. …Improvisation has always been at the forefront of every developmental step in the art form, and to continue the tradition of pushing the improvisation forward is Citizens Band’s path.
Tickets available HERE
Action Figure (Birch Pereira, Seth Alexander, Dave Abramson)
Originally formed for a single performance during bassist Birch Pereira’s Charlie Haden tribute concert in October 2014, the group received such enthusiastic reviews from the audience that they decided to continue gigging under the name Action Figure. The trio – Seth Alexander (alto), Dave Abramson (drums), and Birch Pereira (bass) – plays original music inspired by Ornette Coleman, Henry Threadgill, and Eric Dolphy. They perform unique compositions and arrangements with unexpected angles and jagged edges. Freedom to escape the cages of established norms is built in. “This is emotional music, unafraid of failure…sometimes raunchy, sometimes beautiful,” writes the trio, in their artistic submission.
Meridian Big Band
Meridian Big Band (Simon Henneman, Ivan Arteaga, Kate Olson, Geoff Harper, John Seman, Mark Ostrowski, Bob Rees, Dave Abramson) photo by Gabriel Herbertson
The Meridian Big Band is a fifteen-piece ensemble that brings together some of the Northwest’s finest creative musicians to play original compositions by Simon Henneman, rooted in classic jazz and blues with elements of free jazz, swing, exotica, 20th century classical music, and hip hop. The ensemble is Simon Henneman (director and guitar), Neil Welch, Kate Olson, Kenny Mandell, Dick Valentine, and Evan Smith (reeds), Robbie Beasley, Michael Van Bebber, Christian Pincock, and Bill Kautz (brass), Dave Abramson and Mark Ostrowski (drums), John Seman and Geoff Harper (bass), Jacques Willis (vibraphone).
Tickets available HERE