As your humble New Cool host, I'm out and about catching live jazz on a regular schedule. In fact, when I miss a show I feel a little guilty. So, while I'm out of town for a couple weeks, do me and yourself a favor. Enjoy some of the fantastic modern jazz concerts, featuring a ton of heavy-hitting drummers, heating up mid-winter in the Northwest.
45th St Brass and Spekulation at the Clockout Lounge Saturday, Feb. 15: I wrote in last week's post about the collaboration, but it's just the beginning of a wild stretch of amazing shows. Make your plans and buy your tickets now before you're out in the cold like me.
Jaimie Branch at The Royal Room Tuesday, Feb. 18: One of Chicago's finest avant-garde trumpeters, Branch brings her ghostly brass sounds to Seattle. It's an intoxicating blend of jazz influenced by electronica, hip-hop, indie rock, modern classical music and punk daring. You'll hear a song from her 2017 album, Fly or Die, with cellist Tomeka Reid on The New Cool this Saturday.
Mark Guiliana's Beat Music at The Triple Door Wednesday, Feb. 19: The rhythmic sophistication of this drummer and band leader has made him one of the world's most admired beat engineers. This electric band ventures into sharp, ambient grooves with twisted vocals and manipulated percussion.
Ghost Note at Nectar Lounge Friday, Feb. 21: Snarky Puppy drummers Robert "Sput" Searight and Nate Werth lead this group back to Seattle, hopefully previewing new music following their triumphant modern melange from the Swagism album. Listen for a tune from that 2018 release on the show Saturday.
Polyrhythmics fourth annual Poly-Gras at Nectar Lounge Fat Tuesday, Feb. 25: Seattle continues to reclaim its status as a great city to celebrate Mardi Gras, and the hometown Polyrhythmics crew have been a big part of that with their annual February blowouts in Fremont. The group have been on a tear with lots of live shows lately, so their groove is tighter than ever. Guests from the west side of town, the Pulsations (aka West Seattle Soul) open the show on the heels of the release of their fantastic debut single featuring singer Maurice Caldwell.
True Loves with Birch Pereira & the Gin Joints at the Tractor Tavern Tuesday, Feb. 25: A few miles west in Ballard, two very different Seattle groups whoop it up from different sides of the jazz spectrum at the Tractor Tavern on Fat Tuesday. The True Loves are the soundtrack to the coolest person in the world walking down the street with copious funky attitude. Birch & the Gin Joints revive the good time vibes of the swinging confluence of vintage jazz, early rock and first-rate Americana.
KNKX presents an Evening with Stanton Moore and his trio at The Triple Door Thursday, Feb. 27: The New Orleans drummer hits Seattle with pianist David Torkinowsky and bass player James Singleton, and we're giving away tickets to the show! You'll hear Stanton's drumming with Skerik and Mike Dillon in their band Garage A Trois on the show this week, and you can catch those two top musicians in their own gigs later this month.
Wil Blades, Mike Clark and Skerik at the Royal Room Friday, Feb. 28: See? Here's Skerik, teaming up with keys man Wil Blades — as they did for the amazing Amendola Vs Blades concert at The Triple Door last year. Drummer Mike Clark built his massive reputation working with Herbie Hancock's Headhunters in the '70s. (You can see Skerik and his McTuff pal Joe Doria — and friends — at Nectar Lounge Feb. 20.)
Mike Dillon Band at The Royal Room Saturday, Feb. 29: And here's Mike Dillon! The vibraphonist, singer, composer, band leader and punk provocateur joins forces with bassist Brad Hauser (both members of the Dead Kenny G's and Critters Buggin' with Skerik) and pianist Brian Haas. Dillon's celebrating his new solo album Functioning Broke, and you'll hear his Go-Go Jungle on The New Cool this weekend.
Duende Libre at the North City Jazz Bistro Saturday, Feb. 29: The Seattle trio brings singers Frank Anderson and Chava Mirel to a party in Shoreline to preview music from their upcoming third album. That release is expected later this spring, and KNKX welcomes Duende Libre back to our studios for a session in June.
Kassa Overall at The Triple Door Sunday, March 1: I'm going to try to change my flight home to catch this show from the New York-based Seattle native, whose new album I Think I'm Good will be released just two days before this hometown concert. Time Out New York has called him "a Renaissance man: part chopsy, super-funky jazz drummer, and part rising producer-MC." I know Kassa will be pulling out all the stops for this show for his friends and family in the Jet City.
Sure, I need a vacation and will have a great time off. But just writing this article has me jealous of the New Cool fans back home. Get your tickets, you'll have a great time, too.
The New Cool airs Saturdays from 3 to 5 p.m., hosted by Abe Beeson and produced by KNKX Public Radio in Seattle, Wash.