Seattle Photographer Daniel Sheehan's Photo Blog

Earshot Jazz Festival Week 2

iHadley-Pano

I have been on assignment for a week and a half now covering the Earshot Jazz Festival and we are about halfway through. I feel lucky to have been able to see so many great jazz performances and photograph them too. Shooting the CELEBRATION of HADLEY CALIMAN was a highlight. Wish I could have stayed for the whole show. Here is a sample from one night of the Festival. To see more complete coverage go to my jazz photography website EyeShotJazz.com

An all-star quintet featuring renowned saxophonist Hadley Caliman, the legendary Curtis Fuller (trombone), Larry Vukovich (piano), Jeff Chambers (bass), and Eddie Marshall (drums) concluded its Pacific Northwest tour in a special tribute concert to the Seattle-based tenor master. Photographs by Seattle photographer Daniel Sheehan, a photojournalist specializing in jazz photography and portrait photography for publications and corporations and a Seattle wedding photographer with a story-telling approach creating award winning wedding photography.

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The concert caps a six-city run of performances coordinated by Singer and Simpson Productions, celebrating Caliman’s lifetime contributions to American jazz music by featuring an outstanding ensemble of artists to perform with Caliman, who has played, recorded and toured with a list of luminaries, including Gerald Wilson, Dexter Gordon, Elvin Jones, Bobby Hutcherson, and Freddie Hubbard, among many others.

HAdley-Fuller

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Marco Benevento , piano, Matt Chamberlain, drums, and Reed Mathis, bass on stage at the Triple Door as Earshot Jazz hits midpoint in its second of the three week Jazz Festival.

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Thirty-one-year-old keyboardist Marco Benevento has made his name reimagining and reshaping the music of his youth. Benevento fluidly integrates the sounds he came of age with — rock, jazz, hip-hop, and music from more distant cultures — into an organic and far-reaching sort of improvisational music. As he told David Rubien of the San Francisco Chronicle, “It’s instrumental music but it has all these elements: rock, songs, jazz, free jazz. […] I feel like I’m happily in this place among other musicians I know in this thing that sounds new yet it’s totally vernacular. People understand what we’re doing.”

In addition to past projects, such as Quartet the Killer (a Neil Young tribute) and Bustle in Your Hedgerow (Led Zeppelin), this philosophy is well represented in his new album Me Not Me(recorded here at Chroma Sound in Seattle). Mixing originals with interpretations of works by such artists as My Morning Jacket, Deerhoof, Leonard Cohen, and Beck, Me Not Me presents Benevento with his trio of bassist Reed Mathis and drummers Matt Chamberlain and Andrew Barr. Valuing the strong melodies and harmonic structure of the borrowed source material, Benevento focused primarily on innovation in his arrangements and improvisations: “I got into sculpting the sound around the original piano parts by using some of my favorite keyboards and re-amping them in interesting ways.”

Combining Benevento’s characteristic whimsy, ear for melody, and sonic ingenuity with the frenetic energy of the trio produces unexpected and thrilling results. Benevento seems capable of exploring any musical ground that interests him; with results such as these, why not?

—Peter Walton in Earshot Jazz Festival program guide.

Hardcoretet

Art Brown (alto sax), Aaron Otheim (keyboards), Tim Carey (electric bass), and Tarik Abouzied (drums) of the group Hardcoretet play Weds night at Tula’s as part of the Earshot Jazz Festival.

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Hardcoretet infuses deep grooves with plenty of heat. They had a good thing happening at Tula’s.

Hardcoretet focuses on the groove. They play funky, driving tunes that are intensely precise and warm with electricity, both literally and figuratively (their use of effects pedals allows alto saxophonist Art Brown’s gleaming tone to morph into a wavering murmur, while Tarik Abouzied’s thriving acoustic drum beats simply buzz). There is no lead instrument; the band’s voices weave in and out of each other in a swirling mix that is balanced without sounding controlled.

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The Seattle-based group’s performance is a celebration of two major milestones: the release of their first full-length album,Experiments in Vibe, and their first performance at the Earshot Jazz Festival. The former represents a recorded declaration of the band’s tight, neon playing style, while the latter is a mark of the members’ continuing maturation into their hometown’s music scene (all four of them grew up in the greater Seattle area and attended Seattle universities). It’s an exciting time to be in Hardcoretet, because on top of those pieces of good news, the group is about to embark on a West Coast tour.

Here is music that flies in many different directions, but constantly pulsates around the groove, which moves in a straight line. Tim Carey pours out strong, fluid bass lines that smoothly coast over Tarik Abouzied’s dense, ecstatic carpet of percussion. Aaron Otheim’s whirling keyboard dances its way into the rhythm sometimes as acutely placed block chords, other times in wandering single notes that fall like drops of water. Art Brown spins a smooth tone into commanding, varied phrases that gently float above his fellow band mates’ playing. The band plays as a true team; the only member who might be the leader is the fifth one, the nameless one. If there is a leader, the leader is the groove.

—Nathan Buford from Earshot Jazz Festival Program guide.

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