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Seattle, Washington

Seattle: Jazz

by Tom Mohrman, Seattle Jazz blogger

While never contributing directly to a specific style of jazz (like Chicago, or New York, or New Orleans), Seattle has long been a city with a vibrant jazz scene. Greats like Quincy Jones found Seattle to be a place to grow and prosper in days gone by. Over the years, jazz has seen major popularity and relative obscurity. In the 1930s and ’40s, jazz was alive in the rainy streets of Seattle. While giving way in terms of popularity to rock, and, later, grunge, jazz never left. Today Seattle has re-discovered her roots in America’s original musical art form with many venerable jazz clubs, festivals, and renowned touring acts bringing amazing music to both new and seasoned audiences in the Emerald City.

To dig in to the jazz scene in Seattle, one must simply take a walk downtown. Visit Jazz Alley, visit The Triple Door. Stop by Tula’s or the New Orleans Creole Restaurant. You’ll find that great music, food, and drinks await. There are also several non-profits that promote jazz throughout Puget Sound. Earshot.org is a sponsor of many amazing events, and is a great way to get involved.

Seattle is a city that loves music, supports music, and draws musicians to her. It rains a lot. We need indoor activities. On any given night there is a great jazz show somewhere in the city, with musicians blowing into horns, hitting drums, and breaking hearts with pianos. All they need is you to be there, tapping your toe, enjoying the moment.

Seattle Jazz: Jazz Around Seattle

Below are our Seattle Jazz recommendations, with information on location, admission, transportation/parking, venue history and other points of interest in Seattle Art.
 

Bakes Place

Bake’s Place

Located in Bellevue, WA just east of Seattle, Bake’s Place is a jazz and supper club that features many of Seattle’s finest musicians. It distinguishes itself from most other Seattle area venues by the emphasis on its supper club atmosphere, in addition to the live music offered. The ticket price includes dinner and music, and it is often recommended to make entrée selections at the time reservations are made. The …more…

Boxley’s

Boxley’s

Yet another great venue in the Seattle area offering live jazz seven nights a week, Boxley’s is located in West Bend, WA just east of Issaquah (which itself is just east of the Seattle area). The best of Seattle’s jazz crop perform here regularly, though the musical fare is often diverse. One would be just as likely to find a blues singer, jazz …more…

Dimitriou’s Jazz Alley

Dimitriou’s Jazz Alley

Opened over 3 decades ago, Jazz Alley has carved out its niche as one of the premier jazz venues on the West Coast. Many of the world’s leading artists, in jazz and beyond, have performed here. Major artists have included Oscar Peterson, Dizzy Gillespie, Bill Evans, and Taj Mahal.  The club opened originally in the University District, where it was a popular venue …more…

Earshot Jazz Festival

Earshot Jazz Festival (Seattle, WA)

(October – November) Seattle’s annual Earshot Jazz Festival brings the finest in local and internationally-recognized talent to some of the city’s finest concert venues and clubs. Each year in late October-early November, musicians from all over the world flock to the “Emerald City” to soak up (literally, if the weather is typically Seattle) the jazz atmosphere in one of the country’s most underrated jazz hot spots. Names like Brad Mehldau, …more…

Egan’s Ballard Jam House

Egan’s Ballard Jam House

Community and tradition centered, Egan’s Ballard Jam House is owned by Suzanne Weghorst, who saw the need for a venue where the rich history and tradition of jazz could be passed on to future generations. Named for her grandfather, Jack Egan, the club hosts live jazz Tuesday-Sunday nights, often with two shows each night.

As part of its music-centered outlook, the house does not take a …more…

Is That Jazz Festival

Is That Jazz? Festival

(January) The answer to the question “what is jazz?” has always varied from person to person, region to region and across the ten-or-so decades of jazz’s existence. Only in the last few decades, however, has the answer to that question become a contentious matter of one-upmanship. Purists will rail against the more free-form, often strange interpretations of what “counts” as jazz.

Seattle’s Is That Jazz? Festival seeks to ask, though not …more…

Jazz In January/EMP Project

Jazz In January/EMP Project

(NOTE: While the EMP/SFM is alive and well, as of March 2012 it appears that the “Jazz in January” program has been discontinued.)

The Experience Music Project/Science Fiction Museum is one of the crown jewels in Seattle’s arts scene and the “Jazz in January” program strives to feature affordable concerts with some of the best in contemporary jazz in unique settings. Each year, “Jazz in January” …more…

New Orleans Creole Restaurant

New Orleans Creole Restaurant

Located in the center of Seattle’s historic Pioneer Square, the New Orleans has long been a centerpiece in Seattle’s music scene. It is housed in the Lombardy Building, the first building erected after Seattle’s Great Fire of 1889.

The New Orleans features live music nightly, with regular jazz groups performing on weeknights, usually with a Dixieland or New Orleans flavor. Wednesdays features the …more…

Seattle Jazz Vespers

Seattle Jazz Vespers

The Seattle Jazz Vespers, now in its ninth season, is a free, secular concert featuring a non-sectarian inspirational message and jazz by Seattle musicians on the first Sunday of each month. The Vespers feature everything from solo vibraphonists to seven-piece improvisational groups to all-female jazz orchestras performs, with the musicians supported by a free-will offering taken after the first set of the evening. The …more…

Serafina

Serafina

Serafina hosts great jazz Friday and Saturday 9 pm and Sunday from 11 am-1:30 pm and from 6:30 pm-9 pm, along with exceptional fine dining seven nights per week. Typically, jazz lovers just looking for drinks or dessert can get great tables, but be forewarned, the restaurant requires that its entire dinner waitlist be seated before it seats anyone just there for the music and …more…

St. Clouds

St. Clouds

Located in Seattle’s Madrona neighborhood, St. Clouds is an establishment devoted to its place in the local community.  It was begun a decade ago by two teachers/social activists, with a mission to create and nurture community around food and culture.  Local musical acts are featured on the music calendar, many of which have monthly or weekly residencies.  Many styles …more…

The Triple Door

The Triple Door

The Triple Door is the newest major addition to Seattle’s jazz club circuit, though its opening marked the continuation of a story decades old. It is located in the historic Mann building which began its life as the Embassy Theater, a vaudeville house opened in 1926. In the decades since its opening, the Embassy survived many changes in public tastes, serving as …more…

Tula’s

Tula’s

Tula’s features live jazz seven nights-a-week, with some of the absolute best in the Northwest pulling out all the stops for fantastic nightly music. Performers include the likes of Greta Matassa, Katie King and Jay Thomas. Owned and operated by Mack Waldron, a navy veteran and a seasoned jazz professional, Tula’s also provides a full dinner menu featuring Greek and Italian favorites. The cover charges …more…