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Meet the 2015 Seattle Jazz Hero: Mack Waldron

Daniel Sheehan
Mack Waldron in front of Tula's

On April first, the Jazz Journalists Association announced its list of 2015 Jazz Heroes: advocates, altruists, activists, aiders and abettors of jazz who have had significant impact in their local communities.

The 'Jazz Hero' awards, made annually on the basis of nominations from community members, are presented in conjunction with the JJA's annual Jazz Awards honoring significant achievements in jazz music and journalism and with the month-long celebration of JazzApril.

Elliott “Mack” Waldron is the proprietor of Tula’s Restaurant and Jazz Club in Seattle, which for two decades has featured local and regional jazz musicians seven nights a week, filling an important cultural niche here.

"It had always been my dream to own a jazz club,” he’s said.

He acknowledges difficulties in keeping Tula’s open for the past 21 years, but has always accepted them as a personal challenge. He’s quick to credit the support of his family and abundance of highly talented players in the region for the club’s success.

Wynton Marsalis has ranked Tula’s among his top 10 clubs in the nation for USA Today, saying “This is a cool place.” Tula’s has been featured in DownBeat’s guide to the world's “150 Great Jazz Rooms,” too. Mack has been honored with Seattle’s Earshot Jazz Golden Ear Award for providing a key showcase for our local musicians.

And he’s trying to make sure there are more of them to come. In support of music education, Mack invites high-school bandleaders to bring their bands to the club. “Seattle has a wealth of good high-school band directors and music teachers,” he believes. “The parents are also very supportive of music education. We have a wonderful education system here. It’s very exciting to participate and I feel like I’m contributing something to further young musicians in the Seattle area.” Which makes Mack Waldron a Jazz Hero for everyone in hailing distance, and even further.

Please join Seattle's jazz community for the Jazz Hero award presentation and appreciation of Mack Waldron at 6:30pm on Thursday April 30 at Tula's. This event is free and open to the public. If you wish to stay for dinner and an evening of great music featuring the Bill Anschell Trio, please make a reservation:


2214 Second Avenue

Seattle, WA  98121


Originally from Detroit, Robin Lloyd has been presenting jazz, blues and Latin jazz on public radio for nearly 40 years. She's a member of the Jazz Education Network and the Jazz Journalists Association.