Tag Archives: Sudden Valley Jazz

Sudden Valley Jazz – Boffo Bossa Nova

   A quartet with no horns kept 177 spectators enthralled for over 2 hours yesterday at the Dance Barn in Sudden Valley playing the sultry Brazilian music of the bossa nova. Attached is a photo taken by Jim Ollette of Marco Carvalho backed by bassist, Jeff Johnson. As Johnson stated during the concert, “Lots of jazz groups are now playing the bossa nova, but Marco is the real deal.”  Our next concert is a salute to the 60th anniversary of Dave Brubeck’s seminal jazz album, Time Out, with a quartet led by Dave’s son, Dan Brubeck on drums, Miles Black on piano, Miles Hill on bass and Steve Kaldestadt on reeds. Get your tickets early. – K.C. Sulkin

Sudden Valley Jazz: Greta Matassa, Julian MacDonough, & Thomas Harris – bring back JATP

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.

Tribute to Jazz at the Philharmonic – Opens Sudden Valley 2019 Jazz Series


By K.C. Sulkin, producer Sudden Valley Jazz

In the mid-’40’s, jazz producer Norman Granz, looked at the empty stage of Los Angeles’ Philharmonic Hall, and saw a great opportunity to fill a musical void. The swing era was winding down and there were a lot of great jazz musicians looking for work. To add to that, be-bop, the new jazz style, was not grabbing the attention of the general public the way swing dancing had done and that meant more great jazz jazz musicians looking for jobs. Back East in New York City, big auditoriums like Town Hall were drawing large audiences to see dixieland and trad jazz musicians under the leadership of Eddie Condon and Mezz Mezzrow, get together and play, without any pre-rehearsal, whatever they decided to play at that moment.
Granz decided to rent Philharmonic Hall in L.A. for the same kind of jam session concert, but using swing and be-bop musicians instead of dixie cats. To his delight, they were a huge success and he later decided to tour the group, utilizing appropriate halls in different cities across the U.S. Later tours went to Europe and the far East.
Bellingham drummer, Julian MacDonough and I decided to pool our talents to re-create this free, jam session concert as part of the 2019 Sudden Valley Jazz series. Budget restraints meant that he would not be able to open the doors to large amounts of players, but Julian felt that we could recreate the atmosphere of the original with 7 jazz players from the region and I suggested that we must get a vocalist to fill the spot usually taken by Ella Fitzgerald or Billie Holiday. Who better to fill the bill than Seattle’s Greta Matassa. With Greta on board, Julian wracked his brain to think of jam session musicians from the Pacific Northwest who were comfortable in both the swing and be-bop modes. He enlisted sax men, Thomas Harris and Jonathan Doyle, trombonist Brad Shigata, trumpet player Michael VanBebber, pianist, Tony Foster and bassist Michael Glynn.
The concert is planned to feature all horn players playing a solo number to begin the concert with a jam session ending the first half. Greta will do a set backed by her trio including Darin Clendenon, Clipper Anderson and Mark Ivester that will feature vintage jazz standards and will then join the ensemble for a final jam on that 40’s jazz classic, “How High The Moon”.
The fruits of all this labor will be on display at the Dance Barn in Sudden Valley on Saturday, March 30th at 3pm. Don’t miss it (or as they said in the 40’s, “be there or be square”!
Tickets are available at Village Books, the main office at Sudden Valley in Gate 2 or on-line at www.fswl.org. Cost is $20 for adults and $10 for students. For further information, call K.C. Sulkin at 360-671-1709.

2019 Sudden Valley Jazz Season Announced – Special Ticket Price at November 10th Concert

The 9th season of the Sudden Valley Jazz series promises to be as exciting as past seasons with both new and old jazz acts added to the mix. An all four concert package, with a face value of $80, will be on sale for the special price of $60 at the final concert of this season, the Salute to Miles Davis on Saturday Nov. 10th at the Dance Barn in Sudden Valley. That’s equal to one free concert.

The 2019 season is as follows:

March 30th- The Pacific Northwest salutes Jazz At the Philharmonic starring Greta Matassa and the Julian MacDonough All-Stars. Jazz At the Philharmonic (or JATP as it was referred to by hip fans), was the creation of legendary jazz impresario, Norman Granz. Granz saw the availability of a number of great jazz musicians after World War 2 (caused mainly by the collapse of the swing band era and the failure of be-bop to capture the public’s imagination) as an opportunity to feature great musicians in a jam session format for a reasonable price. He put on shows at the Philharmonic Hall in Los Angeles that were a tremendous hit and always featured a set with a leading female jazz vocalist of the day, usually Ella Fitzgerald. We have hired the Pacific Northwest’s answer to Ella, Greta Matassa, to fill that spot in the program. She’ll be backed by Julian MacDonough’s trio, including Tony Foster on piano and Michael Glynn on bass. Musicians who may be included in the jam sessions are Jonathan Doyle, Thomas Harris, Brad Shigeta and Michael VanBebber although there may be personnel changes.

April 27th – Bossa Nova Brazil starring two Brazilian natives, Nilza Lessa and Marco de Carvalho playing and singing bossa nova songs backed by Jeff Johnson on bass and Jeff Busch on drums. Although we have devoted concerts to swing, dixie, be-bop and gypsy jazz, we have never given the full spot light to bossa nova, Brazil’s greatest contribution to the jazz lexicon. We’ll correct that at our April 27th concert. Marco is a Brazilian musician, originally from Rio de Janeiro. He graduated from the prestigious Music Conservatory of Rio de Janeiro under Juarez Carvalho and Sergio Vale. Nilza Lessa, a vocalist originally from Brazil, recently took part in Seattle’s Salute to the music of Carlos Jobim.

Oct. 12th- Brubeck Plays Brubeck honors the 100th anniversary of the birth of Dave Brubeck with a concert of his music led by his son, drummer Dan Brubeck, saxophonist Steve Kaldestad, bassist Miles Hill and the return to Sudden Valley of Miles Black on piano. The current plan is to recreate Dave’s Time Out album, one of the biggest selling albums in jazz history, from top to bottom.

Nov. 9th- Ron Jones’s Jazz Forest 12 piece jazz recordings orchestra. Jones is a Los Angeles arranger who has worked extensively in television and movies and has recently moved to Stanwood and set up a recording studio. He convinced fellow Los Angeles based musicians, the husband and wife team of tenor sax player Pete Christlieb and trombonist, Linda Small, to move to the area with him. He then recruited the best talent from Seattle, including vibes player, Susan Pascal, to fill out his 12 piece ensemble.This band, with special guest soloist, the drummer/vocalist, Dave Tull, will close out our 9th year.

For further information, contact Mr. K.C. Sulkin at 360-671-1709.

October 6th, 2018 Jazz Concert by Magic Circle at the Sudden Valley Dance Barn

Magic Circle Brings Jazz from South Africa to Sudden Valley

Since jazz was born in the miasma of the Mississippi Delta after the Civil War, it has migrated to foreign lands and transformed itself according to the preferences of the locals. The group that will be playing a concert at the Sudden Valley Dance Barn on Saturday, Oct. 6th, pays tribute to the transmutations of jazz in 3 of those foreign climes – Brazil, Cuba and, most importantly, South Africa. This music was popularized in the States by Hugh Masakela and Ibn Ahbrahim (better known as Dollar Brand). The Magic Circle Sextet has taken on a heavy load in paying tribute to the musical genres of those 3 nations but they’re more than up to the task.
The band features a killer front line, featuring Alex Dugdale on both saxophone and tap dancing,Steve Mostovoy on trumpet and Jerome Smith (who most ably backed up La Von Harrison at our last concert) on both trombone and sousaphone. They’re all anchored by a great rhythm section featuring Eric Verlinde (who was also featured with La Von Harrison) on piano, Dean Schmidt on bass and Sudden Valley veteran Jeff Busche, on drums.
Their concert at Sudden Valley takes place in the Dance Barn at 3pm on Saturday, Oct. 6th. Tickets are $20 in aid of the South Whatcom Library and can be purchased at Village Books in Fairhaven, the Sudden Valley Association Office, on-line at www.fswl.org or by called K.C. Sulkin at 360-671-1709.