Susan Pascal

Originally published in Earshot Jazz October 2012

In this performance for Earshot, one of Seattle’s busiest vibraphonists, Susan Pascal, celebrates the 1960’s work of mallet masher Cal Tjader (1925-1982). Pascal will be joined by pianist Fred Hoadley and percussionist Tom Bergersen from Seattle’s Afro-Cuban jazz band Sonando. Pascal’s Soul Sauce ensemble is rounded out with bassist Chuck Deardorf and drummer Mark Ivester from Jovino Santos Neto’s Brazilian jazz band Quinteto.

Swedish American drummer Callen “Cal” Radcliffe Tjader, Jr. learned how to play the vibraphone while performing with pianist Dave Brubeck. His good vibes got him a job with pianist George Shearing. Later, Tjader sought out Cuban musicians to ply the warm waters of the late 1950’s Mambo craze. The title track of his 1964 album Soul Sauce, a cover of a Dizzy Gillespie song, climbed the radio charts and sold more than 100,000 copies.

Pascal began collecting music for this project in 2009 and the program has grown ever since. The Mambo music in the band’s book and mondo talent on stage create an embarrassment of riches.  “It's tough to decide which tunes to use,” Pascal says. “There are so many great ones to choose from. It's a balancing of mixing familiar hits with unknown gems. We start with the ground-breaking work of Mongo Santamaria and Dizzy Gillespie, then add collaborations of Cal Tjader and Clare Fischer with modern twists from Chick Corea and Don Grolnick.”

Pascal studied with Tom Collier, Director of Percussion Studies at the University of Washington since 1980 and newly appointed Chair of Jazz Studies. In addition to performances in Seattle clubs and concert stages, Pascal has toured Singapore multiple times. She appears on motion picture soundtracks for The Blind Side, The Wedding Planner and Office Space.

The audience may have a problem staying in their seats at Tula’s, especially after a few mint laced Mojitos. Pascal says, “Expect everything from solo vibraphone cadenzas to languid cha-chas and up-tempo mambo jams.

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