A crowd of nearly 200 people were treated to a bit of jazz nostalgia Saturday when a bunch of Northwest jazz musicians revived the excitement and the spirit of Norman Granz’s Jazz At the Philharmonic concerts at the opening of this year’s Sudden Valley Jazz series at the Sudden Valley Dance Barn.
The opening set paid homage to the massive jam sessions featuring some jazzdoms great musicians. Ably taking the place of the likes of Dizzy Gillespie, J.J. Johnson, Johnny Hodges, Coleman Hawkins, Buddy de Franco, Nat King Cole, Ray Brown and Buddy Rich were Michael VanBebber,trumpet; Brad Shigeta, trombone; Thomas Harris, tenor; Eric Vanderbilt-Matthews, alto and clarinet; Tony Foster, piano; Nate Parker, bass and Julian MacDonough, drums. They opened with Robbin’s Nest and closed with Lester Leaps In and played some great 40’s standards in between.
Norman Granz always closed the show with Ella Fitzgerald backed by her trio and Seattle’s Greta Matassa easily stepped into her shoes (she also shared that Norman’s ﬁrst choice was Billy Holiday, but that Ella took the spot for her own with a wild version of “How High The Moon”.) Backed by Darin Clendenin on piano, Clipper Anderson on bass and Mark Ivester on drums, Greta sang many 40’s numbers from “I Told You I Loved You Now Get Out” to “Body And Soul” and ﬁnished by calling Thomas Harris and Julian MacDonough to join in a rendition of “How High the Moon” that would’ve had Norman
Granz smiling for ear to ear and had the Dance Barn audience on its feet. (For those who want a live video, go to Meredith Ann Murray’s facebook posting and big thanks to Meredith for capturing this magic moment.) I’ve also attached some great black and white photos taken by my friend and wonderful photographer, Jim Ollett. Hope you can open them.
A great way to start the season with more great jazz to come. Brazilian guitarist, vocalist, Marco Carvalho, salutes Bossa Nova on April 27th. Get your tickets now.