The Night That John Coltrane Played Seattle and Pushed Afro-Futurism Forward

Originally published in Seattle Weekly September 29, 2015

Fifty years ago, the hottest jazz artist in the world arrived in the Emerald City in search of a new sound. He found it.

In 1965, America was at a turning point. The Beatles played their first stadium concert, Bob Dylan went electric, Malcolm X was assassinated, Martin Luther King marched to Selma, NASA launched probes to the moon and Mars, and men first walked in space. Here in Seattle, the Space Needle had been pointing to the heavens for four years.

And on September 30, saxophonist John Coltrane and his ensemble would weave together all these threads at a 225-seat jazz club on the corner of First Avenue and Cherry Street and make history.

Thomas Marriott: Trumpeting the Scene

Originally published in Earshot Jazz May 2015, Vol. 31, No. 5

Thomas Marriott is a busy musician. But he wants to be busier. He’s a jazz trumpeter with two kids and a mortgage to cover. He pays bills by gigging locally and on the road, composing, recording, and producing shows that bring artists from other places. After attending Garfield, he boomeranged from the University of Washington Jazz Studies program, to touring with Maynard Ferguson, to working in New York, to a Seattle homecoming. He has 9 records under his belt as a leader and appears on more than 100 as a sideman.

In April, I spotted a social media post that he was leading a quartet in Seattle at the Owl and Thistle. The gig wasn’t listed on his website, but I knew his strong following would draw a crowd. I headed down to the club to take a listen and be on the scene.

Neil Welsh: Multiphonic Monk

Originally published in Earshot Jazz April 2014, Vol. 30, No. 04

By trying every day for a year, how many sounds can be made from a saxophone? What if you stayed away from conventional fingerings and melodies? What combinations of open and closed saxophone keys produce more than one note at a time? Neil Welch was determined to find out by searching through these multi-phonic textures alone, like a private meditation.

Joe Doria, Part 2: Rooted in Recording

Originally published in Earshot Jazz March 2015, Vol. 31, No. 3

Last month I dropped in to Joe Doria’s Tuesday night gig with McTuff at the Seamonster. This month, Doria answered my questions via email about mentors and recordings that shaped his musicianship. Where did he learn his craft? What did he hear that influenced his sound?

“I learned piano from Randy Halberstadt, Dave Peck at Cornish and some select lessons from Jerome Grey,” Doria said.

Joe Doria, Part 1: Tuesday Means McTuff

Originally published in Earshot Jazz February 2015, Vol. 31, No. 2

At Seattle’s Seamonster Lounge, an unblinking giant squid eye stares from the mural. Tuesday means McTuff. Named after “Brother” Jack McDuff, the 1960’s organist who gave guitarist George Benson his first break, McTuff is an organ trio led by Joe Doria that sets sail from the Seamonster at 11pm.

On a recent foggy night in January, I decided to turn off my television, get out of the house, and book passage. Outside the Seamonster, I exchanged a nod with the middleweight bouncer perched on a bar stool. His presence portended a bustling business inside but his smile said, “Welcome aboard.”