Today Sarah Vaughan, who was born on March 27, 1924, would have been 90 years old. Of course, Sarah didn’t make it to 90 and passed away far too soon, almost 24 years ago at the age of 66. But it feels as if this vibrant artist is still very much alive and well. That her voice, legacy, and, in many respects, her soul live on.Read More
Valentine’s Day weekend marked the second annual Seattle Women in Jazz Festival, and once again, founder Jessica Davis put on a wonderful community-building event. It was the first of three similar festivals scheduled to take place this spring. This “mini-season” of women in jazz fests has gotten me thinking again about festivals dedicated to female performers. Do we still need them? Do they help or hurt the larger cause of women trying to make it in the male-dominated world of jazz? Which leads to the larger, most pressing question: How do we cultivate more female talent and build audiences for their concerts?Read More
It seems only fitting that a singer named Jazzmeia Horn would take home top honors at the second annual Sarah Vaughan International Jazz Vocal Competition. Horn, along with four other finalists, performed last night at the New Jersey Performing Arts Center in Newark, Vaughan’s hometown, with the goal of becoming the next Divine One.Read More
Friday afternoon as I eased into my long, holiday weekend, I ran across Abby Johnston’s thoughtful piece for Salon, “No women allowed: Summer music festivals are dudefests, again.” Ugh. Disappointing but not surprising. Then as I wrapped up my weekend I saw an advertisement for “The Women’s Concert for Change.” The ad was upbeat and promised an uplifting celebration of women. But, as it turns out, the concert, to be aired June 2, is part of headliner Beyonce’s new campaign to raise funds and awareness for female empowerment around the world. This is serious, more disheartening business.Read More
Today I’m excited to present an interview with Seattle-based vocalist, composer, and musical activist Elspeth Savani.For the past decade she has been the co-leader of the Cuban big band orchestra Zarabanda, which regularly performs the salsa rhythms of old Havana throughout the Pacific Northwest. And in recent years she has applied her love of Cuban music to a more intimate, small ensemble jazz setting.Read More
Today is International Jazz Day (I’m throwing virtual confetti as I write this), and that means that Jazz Appreciation Month is almost over. It’s been a busy, jazz-filled month, and once again, I’ve been reminded how lucky I am to live in Seattle. Not only do we have an amazing scene, we have an amazing scene with dozens of incredibly talented women. Many of whom performed during last weekend’s first-ever Seattle Women in Jazz Festival. This was a wonderful event, a true act of love and devotion by its founder Jessica Davis.
That said, jazz festivals devoted solely to women have their pros and cons. Celebrations of women and their accomplishments are, on the whole, a good thing. As is bringing a greater awareness to the hardworking women amongst us. But they also risk marginalizing these same women. It’s far too easy to dismissively say (or think), “Oh, she’s just a ‘woman in jazz,’” then go hear your favorite male musician instead.Read More
Today’s interview is with New York-based composer, arranger, and vocalist Sarah Elizabeth Charles. The S.E. Charles Quartet, with Jesse Elder on piano, Burniss Earl Travis on bass, and John Davis on drums, will perform at the Triple Door on Sunday, April 28, the final night of the Seattle Women in Jazz Festival. Doors open at 6:30 p.m. and the set begins at 7:30 p.m. This is Sarah’s first time singing in Seattle, so don’t miss out!Read More
She’s a relative newcomer to Seattle, arriving in 2010, but she has quickly made her mark on the jazz and improvised music scenes. In 2011 Kate appeared in the Earshot Jazz Festival and was nominated for an Earshot Golden Ear Award in the Northwest Emerging Artist category. In 2012 Kate was chosen to perform in Earshot’s Jazz: The Second Century series, which showcases the next generation of jazz musicians. And she can be regularly heard around town performing with her own projects including the Syrinx Effect and Sugarpants and as a collaborator with the Seattle Women’s Jazz Orchestra, Ask the Ages, Daniel Barry’s 2 Hemispheres, and Wayne Horvitz’s Royal Room Collective Music Ensemble. Read More
I’m excited to post the first of four interviews with musicians performing at the Seattle Women in Jazz Festival next week. We’ll begin with vocalist Jeannette d’Armand, who kindly answered questions about her singing and inspiration.
Jeannette is a familiar face (and voice!) for Fifth Avenue Theater regulars, and Seattle jazz lovers are beginning to appreciate her talents, too. Her roots in musical theater and jazz will both be on display during her vocal showcase at the Rainier Valley Cultural Center on Friday, April 26 beginning at 7:00 p.m. Backed by guitarist Troy Chapman and bassist Rick Leppanen, both from the popular gypsy jazz group Pearl Django, she’ll sing a collection of oldies but goodies from the American Songbook, jazz standards, and plenty of Joni Mitchell.Read More