Seattle's jazz scene can, at times, seem a bit stuck in its ways. Is it my imagination, or is Greta Matassa performing six nights out

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Best Venue for Hearing All Sides of Seattle Jazz

Egan's Ballard Jam House

Seattle's jazz scene can, at times, seem a bit stuck in its ways. Is it my imagination, or is Greta Matassa performing six nights out of the week at Tula's? And when, oh, when will Taj Mahal play Jazz Alley again—it's been almost a month already! Thankfully, Egan's Ballard Jam House is broadening the opportunities for musicians and audiences alike. "There's not a lot of jazz clubs in town that are open to stuff that's not easily defined as jazz," says bassist John Seman, a member of several bands within the collective known as the Monktail Creative Music Concern. But Egan's books all manner of sounds, from top straight-ahead players like Bill Anschell to progressive stars like Cuong Vu. Veterans gig there, but it's also a place where Seattle's renowned high-school jazz kids can get their first taste of playing out. And the two-year-old club treats its charges well. "I've played other places where they act like they're doing you a favor," says Seman. Not at Egan's. "They always feed and take care of the musicians," he says. "They put up your posters. They're always responsive. And they're welcoming of the audience." That's for sure: The room's terrifically intimate, with an outstanding sound system, and even the food is worth a try.—Mark D. Fefer

 
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