Most people wouldn’t think of going to church for quality live jazz. A nightclub or casino maybe. But quality live jazz has been a growing church trend, especially in Western Washington. Some of the best working jazz musicians and singers also go to worship the best way they know how, by providingworship outside the confines of strict gospel, Gregorian chants, and hymnals. Churches have stepped up, attracting more of a diverse following and giving the usual musical merchants a run for their money.
Everett’s Soteria Church regularly perks up its 10 a.m. Sunday service with some Pat Metheny and some original jazz tunes performed by its Northwest Jazz Collective. The Collective of talented jazz/blues/rock artists – who’ve done national tours with famous names and commanded the stage in other well-known bands – also gigs monthly at nearby Alligator Soul.
Jazz singer Sue Nixon – who can be found performing most weekends at Eastlake eatery/club Serafina and is a part of the successful Steely Dan tribute band, Nearly Dan – is devoted to her University Presbyterian Church in Seattle as an important part of the worship team.
Northshore Christian Church and New Life Church in Everett both boast outstanding worship choirs and bands, with many of its members a veritable who’s who in jazz – drummers Brad Boal, Bryon Atterberry, pianists Eric Popowicz, Don Garberg, bassist RJ Whitlow, vocalist/trumpeter Jake Bergevin, etc.
Lynnwood, WA’s Trinity Lutheran Church last month featured special jazz vocalese on its marqueeone night.
One of the horn players on Darren Motamedy’s Icicle Ridge Winery’s summer concert series last August usually has to worry about making it back home to his church early enough the next morning for worship service.
The list goes on and on.
So it’s no surprise to hear that Marine View Church in Tacoma has made a name for itself as a great live jazz venue. Its monthly Jazz LIVE at Marine View concert series – going on now – gives many Puget Sound musicians and singers a chance to entertain the congregation and neighboring communities. Past artists have included Motamedy, Greta Matassa, Gail Pettis, Pearl Django, Scott Lindenmuth, and David Keys.
Coming up on October 24th at 5 p.m. is Hook Me Up and special guest vocalist Keely Whitney. Hook Me up is comprised of some of Seattle’s finest session musicians and sidemen. By sidemen, I mean gigging and recording with the big boys.
Tracey D. Hooker (trumpet, flugelhorn, vocals) is often called on to back the O’Jays, Frankie Valli, Tony Rivera and Bobby Shew, when he’s not out on his own, with the Olympia Jazz Senators, the Rich Wetzel Groovin’ Higher Jazz Orchestra, and Hook Me Up.
Versatile bassist/composer Osama Afifi has worked with everybody and then some. Able to spin his own indelible stamp on almost any kind of music, Afifi has backed international New Age artist Yanni, Kurt Elling, the Fifth Dimension, Mindi Abair, Jeff Kashiwa, Debbie Boone, Eric Reed, and on and on. He distinguished his musical career with some lucrative TV shows and jingles, such as Wild Bill’s Adventure, the new Newlywed Gameand Lizzie McGuireDisney, not to mention commercials for Tropicana, Hyundai and Barbie.
Drummer Aaron Hennings keeps himself busy with area performers, including Lance Buller and the Monarchs, Groove Box, and the Reino Moisio Jazz Orchestra. And, he’s been in bands accompanying Doc Severinsen, Pete Christlieb, Bud Shank, Phil Woods, and Woody Woodhouse.
Keyboardist James C. Cochran also has played with the Groovin’ Higher Jazz Orchestra, as well as Oasis, Legends in Concert—Muckleshoot Casino, and the Randy Linder Band.
Guest vocalist Keely Whitney has been active on the music scene for a long time, whether it was with the Cosmopolitans or Type A!. She even spent some time on the Nearly Dan band with then-lead singer, the late Tim Garon, when the Steely Dan tribute band first got on its feet in Seattle in the early millennium.
Earshot Jazz’s 2009 “Golden Ear” award winner, Cocoa Martini, will hit the stage next on November 28th, and R&B/jazz powerhouse guitarist Michael Powers on December 19, for the 2nd annual Christmas Jazz show.
Marine View Presbyterian Church is located on 8469 Eastside Dr. NE, Tacoma, WA. All Jazz LIVE concerts are from 5 p.m. to 6:30 p.m., usually the last Sunday of every month, and is free for all ages. Call (253) 927-0557 for more info.