SPEAK in Ballard. Color version of the inside photo from the July Earshot Jazz profile on the group featuring Aaron Otheim, Cuong Vu, Luke Bergman, Chris Icasiano, Andrew Swanson
From Earshot Profile: By Peter Walton
For many, introductions to the band Speak came with last April’s Andrew D’Angelo benefit concert at the Chapel Performance Space at the Good Sheperd Center. Concluding a night of emotional performances from Wayne Horvitz, Bill Frisell, Cuong Vu, Robin Holcomb, and Eyvind Kang, the band, then billed as Cuong Vu’s University of Washington Student Ensemble, was one
of the evening’s great surprises. Speak’s sprawling and unpredictable performance featured complex , spirited improvisations, and a genuine reverence for D’Angelo. (And in many ways, it made perfect sense that a benefit for the saxophonist, a Seattle native and graduate of Roosevelt High School, would feature a young, closely knit, and enormously promising band of fellow Seattle natives.) The performance would later be remembered as a turning point for Speak, marking Vu’s arrival as a regular performing partner and peer. Yet it surely also marked the arrival of a new generation of committed, thoughtful, and immensely talented young improvisers on Seattle’s creative arts scene. More straight-ahead and swinging than you might hear them today, the band in its early stages lacked a clear musical focus. Under Vu’s mentorship, however, Speak began to develop a cohesive and unique identity. As Chris Icasiano explains, “Cuong brought with him his experience with his own trio and the Pat Metheny Group, both of which are bands with very distinct
spirit and commitment with which they attacked these musical approaches and problems that I presented.” struck by the sheer talent of his students (whom he now considers “on par with some of the most talented people that I’ve come across in my career”), as well as how quickly and thoroughly they absorbed and applied the ideas and theories which he introduced.”
Go to Earshot Jazz publication to continue reading.
Seattle photographer Daniel Sheehan, a portrait photographer specializing in jazz photography, and editorial photography for publications and corporations and portrait photographers Seattle with an unobtrusive, story-telling approach creating award winning wedding photojournalism ranking him among the best wedding photographers blog.
Jerry Dodgion was in town this weekend playing in a big band making a recording with Phil Kelly. He told me he needed a new portrait for publicity since he has some gigs coming up in the San Francisco Bay area. He grabbed his sax and we got together and made this portrait. Jerry is a jazz saxophonist and flautist.
Jerry Dodgion, alto saxophone, flute, arranger and composer, hails from Richmond, California on San Francisco Bay. He gained early experience in 1950s with bay area bands of Rudy Salvini, John Coppola/Chuck Travis and Gerald Wilson as well as brief appearances with the Vernon Alley quartet which included backing Billie Holiday in 1955.
Dodgion joined Benny Carter, on Gerald Wilson’s recommendation, for the opening of the “Moulin Rouge” in Las Vegas ‘55. Jerry joined the Red Norvo quintet [`58-’61] which included long stints in Las Vegas at the “Sands Hotel.” Many tours accompanying Frank Sinatra ‘59-’60 plus touring as part of the Benny Goodman groups of ‘59-’61 which incorporated the Red Norvo quintet into Goodman’s ten piece band (including Flip Phillips, Bill Harris and Jack Sheldon) and subsequent versions which included Zoot Sims, Carl Fontana and Charlie Shavers.
After a long career as a side man, Dodgion’s first release as a bandleader arrived in 2004 with his ensemble The Joy of Sax, featuring saxophonists Frank Wess, Brad Leali, Dan Block and Jay Brandford, pianist Mike LeDonne, bassist Dennis Irwin and percussionist Joe Farnsworth.
I shot this photo of Robert Knatt last year and it appeared on the cover of the first issue of Earshot Jazz magazine for 2009. It is Volume 25 Number 1. A pretty good milestone for any publication. Robert Knatt has an outstanding reputation as a jazz educator. Here are a couple of excerpts from the profile Molly Conant wrote for Earshot. Read the whole story at Earshot Jazz.org
September 3, 2008, marked the beginning of yet another school year at Washington Middle School, but in Room 8, this was also the start of a new era, for legendary teacher and jazz band director, Robert Knatt, retired last June after a 36-year career.
Bob Knatt is nationally recognized as the director of one of the country’s best middle school jazz programs. During his 18 years at Washington his ensembles have earned that reputation, claiming top honors at local, regional, and national
competitions. They have consistently dominated the Lionel Hampton Jazz Festival and Reno Jazz Festival. Appropriately,
Knatt ended his career on a high note, so to speak, as the Washington Jazz Band captured first place at the 2008 Reno Jazz Festival in April.
Knatt has, in his teaching career, had many honors bestowed upon him. For three years in a row, 1994-1996, he was named “Outstanding Music Educator” by the Metro Region of the Washington Music Educators’ Association. In 2000, he became the first recipient of Earshot’s Jazz Award for jazz educators, and in 2004, Earshot honored him again, presenting him with a Golden Ear Award for his “dedication to excellence in jazz education.” The following year, he was inducted into the Seattle Hall of Jazz Fame, and in 2007, he was the first middle school band director ever given an Achievement Award for Jazz Education from Down Beat.
“I think he was the first person to really show me that the only thing keeping any of us from accomplishing what we are really capable of accomplishing is ourselves. We all make excuses for ourselves. Bob calls us out on that…always.”
– Darin Faul
“There were so many students so excited about playing and listening to jazz, that it was infectious, and before long it had become my primary focus.”
Photograph by photojournalist Daniel Sheehan specializing in portrait photography for publications and corporations and a photographer in Seattle with an unobtrusive, story-telling approach creating award winning wedding photography.
At the same December session in the studio I made this portrait of Wayne Horvitz .
Photograph by Seattle Editorial Photographer and Seattle photojournalist Daniel Sheehan. Daniel specializes in portraits and photojournalism for publications and corporations. At night he shoots jazz musicians on assignment for Earshot Jazz. Please respect his work and ask for permission to use any pictures.He photographs weddings with an unobtrusive, story-telling approach and creates artistic documentary wedding photojournalism.