The Seattle jazz scene, insofar as such a thing can be responsibly encapsulated, is the subject of this feature in Arts & Leisure, due out in print this weekend. A few days ago I also sat down for a conversation with Ben Sisario, for the NY Times Popcast (via the ArtsBeat blog).
My focus was on the high school, collegiate and post-collegiate level, where I see real changes taking place. (The photo above is from a scene depicted in the piece: Riley Mulherkar earning some comically expressive respect from a certain fellow trumpeter. Shaky video here.) I won’t expand much further on my basic thesis, since it’s all up in the piece. But some additional context might be nice. Shall we?
It’s always a little weird descending on someone else’s turf, with the understanding that you’ll eventually be generalizing it for others. The research was as exhaustive as I could make it. My timing was good, at least. I caught an Earshot board meeting, and part of a related gig by Clarence Acox; rehearsals at Roosevelt and Garfield; a University of Washington gig by Cuong Vu, with Heatwarmer, one of Luke Bergman’s bands, as the opener; a panel and concert organized by UW, with many of the folks on the scene; lunch with John Gilbreath and Michael Brockman, separately; and of course the Racer Sessions, which I had to cut short to catch my flight out. (I missed an SRJO concert, to my chagrin. Did I mention this all went down during the EMP Pop Conference, where I presented a talk about Pat Metheny? Hence the title of this post. You can still cringe, it’s OK.)
The exciting thing was that I went in with a promising hunch, and left with more pertinent material -- evidence, as it were -- than I could ever hope to convey. And then came Essentially Ellington the following month, with its fortuitous results. But I do feel some responsibility for emphasizing the more youthful aspects of the Seattle jazz ecosystem, possibly at the expense of the other parts. Here are some thoughts on the subject from Thomas Marriott, the trumpeter:
Intriguingly, given his comments about segmentation within the scene, Marriott’s Flexicon band recently played a double bill with Speak, at the Sunset Tavern in Ballard. That bodes well for some crosstalk among factions. And speaking of Marriott and crosstalk: next Sunday he’ll be playing Bumbershoot with the Matt Jorgensen Quintet, which also includes saxophonist Mark Taylor. The headliners? Um, how about Bob Dylan, Drake, Mary J. Blige, Weezer and Hole?