The Westerlies return to Seattle with their student-focused festival
Based in New York, The Westerlies were born in Seattle ten years ago. Next week, the two-trumpet, two-trombone quartet celebrates a decade together with a pair of concerts and the return of their education-focused Westerlies Fest at the Royal Room next Thursday and Saturday nights.
During a recent visit to the KNKX studios, trumpeter Riley Mulherkar said the festival's goal is to engage with students to show them the possibilities of their instruments and the world of music.
"Just as much as we try to give back to the city that raised us, we find so much joy and inspiration in hearing what the students are up to," Mulherkar said.
With fellow trumpeter Chloe Rowlands, Willem de Koch and Andy Clausen on trombones, The Westerlies augment their workshop schedule with two concerts at Seattle's Royal Room.
Thursday, June 16 the Westerlies welcome guest singer and guitarist Haley Heynderickx from Portland, Oregon. Backed by the four horns, Heynderickx's music combines classic '60s and '70s folk with a love of jazz radio. Her voice ranges from smoky soul to powerfully symphonic, as heard on her striking debut album "I Need to Start a Garden" from 2018.
June 18 is The Westerlies official 10th anniversary party at the Royal Room, with a retrospective concert featuring songs from the quartet's earliest days.
The Westerlies' latest albums "Songbook, Vol 1" and the just released "Songbook, Vol 2" bring the band back to their roots on the folk music end of the vast jazz spectrum.
"Vol. 1" includes their versions of songs by John Prine, Randy Newman, Aphex Twin, and Jason Moran point to The Westerlies' diverse influences on their unique musical style.
The original songs on the second volume were recorded separately in pandemic isolation by each individual musician, then arranged together. It's a testament to the quartet's resolve in difficult circumstances, and a beacon of hope for listeners.
Now, The Westerlies have announced an upcoming digital collection of some of the group's earliest recordings. "Archives Vol 1" features previously unreleased live recordings, rare musical collaborations and even snippets from the group's first rehearsal in 2011.
The band members are still based on the East Coast, but their strong Seattle roots are finally blowing them back home. Don't miss these two chances to hear them play for their hometown fans next week.
The New Cool airs Fridays at 9 p.m., hosted by Abe Beeson and produced by KNKX Public Radio in Seattle, Wash.