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In this year's issue of Seattle Weekly's Best Of, the venerable Dimitriou's Jazz Alley rightfully won Best Jazz Club. (Here's Chris Kornelis' write-up). Jazz Alley's consistently got a full schedule of the best in jazz, funk, and blues--both established legends and younger up-and-comers.
But this week, Seattle's jazz scene is all about the annual Earshot Jazz Festival, which kicks off this Friday, October 12 and runs through November 4, hosting an abundance of jazz concerts at venues all around the city. Here are some of the best places to catch an Earshot show this year; be sure to check out the full schedule and details on concert times and ticket prices on the festival's website. (P.S. This list is in no particular order).
10. The Triple Door
Triple Door's gorgeous, stately main stage might just be the best place in town to catch a show--there really isn't a bad seat in the house, and it's the ideal spot for a classy date night. Lots of venues only serve frozen wing-dings and nachos, but upstairs neighbor Wild Ginger caters the food here. You can order pan-Asian dishes--like black-pepper scallops and fresh mango pork--at bistro prices. The bartenders mix a great cocktail, and the waiters never stumble or get lost in the dark.
Earshot highlights: Bettye LaVette on 10/16; Christian Scott Band on 10/30; Robert Glasper Experiment on 11/4
9. Town Hall
With its vaulted ceiling, stained glass windows, and wooden pews, the Great Hall space in Seattle's Town Hall has a chapel-like aura (and it was originally built as a Christian Science church). Town Hall's events schedulers outdo themselves; their calendar is perennially stuffed with book readings, science lectures, family concerts, and world music from its Global Rhythms Series.
Earshot highlights: Staff Benda Bilili on 10/27; Roosevelt & Ballard High School Jazz Bands on 11/2
Seattle Art Museum curates much more than just visual arts. SAM's Plestcheeff Auditorium, located just through the hammering man entrance, is the mid-sized room where visitors attend the museum's frequent lecture series and film screenings. More rarely, it'll also host live music--mostly classical groups and, for events like Earshot Festival, eclectic jazz selections.
Earshot highlights: Matthew Shipp Trio on 10/14; Lionel Loueke Trio on 10/21, Chris Lightcap's Bigmouth on 10/28
Tula's is in a pocket of Second Avenue that's a little older and quieter than the slew of neighboring clubs. Live, local and national jazz acts are featured seven nights a week on a large, low stage that takes up most of the venue, and they even let the underage crowd in before 10 p.m. If jazz and a cocktail makes you peckish, Tula's serves Mediterranean fusion and American cuisine, everything from the lamb meatballs and pasta to souvlaki to good old bar standards like onion rings and steak fries.
Earshot highlights: Lorraine Feather & Russell Ferrante on 10/12-13; Human Spirit on 10/16-17; George Colligan Organ Trio on 10/19-20
Columbia City's newest hangout, started by jazz pianist Wayne Horvitz and partners, is at once a sophisticated music club and a cozy neighborhood bar and restaurant. Horvitz's idea is to give the city's musicians a place to try out new projects, and he books an eclectic range of artists: an Afro-funk group one night, veterans of Roosevelt High's jazz band another. There's something big-city about this sizable space's vibe; you feel somebody interesting is bound to stop by to play or listen.
Earshot highlights: B'shnorkestra on 10/23; Halloween Party with Naomi Siegel and The ODAT Band v.2 on 10/31
Every performing arts school obviously needs a great theater; Cornish College of the Arts' is the PONCHO Concert Hall, a 200-seat space picturesquely located on the college's Capitol Hill campus. Over the years, Cornish's music program, which covers chamber, jazz, world, and early music--has hosted such artists as Laurie Anderson and Philip Glass.
Earshot highlights: Elina Duni Quartet on 10/23; Tony Malaby's Tamarindo on 10/25
In 1969, this former Jewish synagogue in the Central District was converted into a cultural arts center aiming to promote African American performing arts. The imposing building is now officially a historical landmark--it went through a series of technological and architectural renovations in 2011--that hosts a diversity of arts events, like the African American Film Festival, hip-hop open mics, and flamenco dancing.
Earshot highlights: The Evan Flory-Barnes Folks on 11/1
In 2007, Nonsequitur, the nonprofit concert producer founded by Evergreen alums Jonathan Scheuer and Steve Peters, signed a long-term lease in 2007 with the Chapel Performance Space at the Good Shepherd Center in Wallingford, turning it practically overnight into Seattle's avant-music epicenter. Nonsequitur produces all kinds of sound-art performances at stunningly non-usurious terms that actually allow artists to make some money. It's hosted both traditional concerts and events and provides an umbrella for groups like Earshot Jazz and the Seattle Composers Salon.
Earshot highlights: Ab Baars & Ig Henneman on 10/13; Tatsuya Nakatani on 10/15, Jaap Blonk on 10/26
This elegant Eastside theater, set in downtown Kirkland since 1998, seats over 400 but still seems like a cozy and intimate space thanks to its curved rows of seats and graded floor, bringing every audience member closer to the stage. Kirklanders visit KPC for everything from foreign films and operas to comedy shows and Celtic music. There's always a good mix of jazz in the schedule as well, including both local musicians and nationally acclaimed acts like The Bad Plus.
Earshot highlights: Philip Glass with Foday Musa Suso & Adam Rudolph on 10/25; Branford Marsalis and The Seattle Repertory Jazz Orchestra on 11/4
The grand downtown home of the Seattle Symphony, with its luxurious interior and stellar acoustics, deserves to be utilized as often as possible, which is why it's wonderful to see non-classical acts like Rufus Wainwright, Pearl Jam, and Dwight Yoakam play its stage. The Hall also frequently hosts creative jazz concerts featuring everyone from Herbie Hancock to House TV star/jazz man Hugh Laurie.
Earshot highlights: Tribute to Clarence Acox with Garfield High School Band on 10/12; Vijay Iyer Trio on 10/17; Jake Shimabukuro on 10/24