The New Cool: Tiptons spice up the Earshot Jazz festival


When Duke Ellington rejected genres with his famous quote: “There are only two kinds of music: the good one and the other”, he could have been talking about the Tiptons. The one-of-a-kind saxophone quartet is simply playing music – amazing music, influenced by folk music from around the world. The Tiptons return to Seattle for the Earshot Jazz Festival, performing at the Chapel Performance Space on Friday and Saturday.

In early 2020, just weeks before the pandemic put a temporary end to live concerts, the Tiptons celebrated their new album “Wabi Sabi” with a session at KNKX studios. You will hear the highlights of this performance and the interview on the KNKX Studio Session Spotlight on Friday evening at 8 p.m.

Saxophonists, composers, singers Jessica Lurie, Amy Denio, Sue Orfield and Tina Richerson spoke to me about the origins of their swing group, their global search for inspiration and their love of rhythm. Drummer Robert Kainar has joined the group for their lively studio session and new album.

The Tiptons are back in Seattle for their first gigs since that trip for a pair of gigs for this year’s Earshot Jazz Festival. This special occasion launches Mujer o Bruja ?, a new multimedia collaboration with award-winning Latin American music duo Correo Aereo – Abel Rocha and Madeleine Sosin, who directs – and creative technologist Jude Dai.

Rich sound and visual worlds examine the history of female cosmology in relation to nature and the web of life. A surreal cabaret, the Mexico-United States border, a Mayan heroine and her bees take shape in the project. It’s a natural fit for Tiptons.

The Earshot Festival continues until November 7. Modern acoustic jazz can also be found at the Langston Hughes Performing Arts Institute on Friday night with saxophonist Immanuel Wilkins and his quartet. The popular young sideman has just released his first album, Omega.

In a similar fashion, emerging trumpeter Giveton Gelin conducts a quintet at Langston Hughes PAI on Saturday night. His beginnings, True design, shows Roy Hargrove influence and angular post-fusion energy.

Best known for his years playing the piano with Cassandra Wilson, Don Byron, John Scofield and others, George Colligan plays drums with his new project, Theoretical Planets. In the conception of Ornette Coleman’s pianoless quartets, the group includes Nicole McCabe on alto saxophone, Joe Manis on tenor saxophone and Garrett Baxter on bass. The Colligan Quartet performs on November 3 at the Town Hall Forum and in a non-festival show at Boxley’s in North Bend on Friday night.

Finally, other Friday night non-festival shows include Ahamefule J. Oluo’s all-star group, The Shrine at Lo-Fi. Skerik will be there on saxophone, with former Industrial Revelation comrades Oluo Josh Rawlings and D’Vonne Lewis on keys and drums. Jerome Smith is featured on brass with bassist Marina Christopher and singer Talaya. This is the first in a monthly live music series at Lo-Fi that will move to the new Crocodile event space once construction is complete.

At the White Center, FUTURENOT led by Jason Cressey-Peter Daniel returns live to celebrate the new music presented here earlier this year. Their cinematic, jazz-inspired funky pop music leans toward a hip-hop vibe, and if that’s as confusing as it reads, then know that it’ll be a good time.

The nights are more and more busy; take the opportunity to support live music whenever you can and stay connected to The New Cool.

The New Cool airs Fridays at 9 p.m., hosted by Abe Beeson and produced by KNKX Public Radio in Seattle, Wash.


Willie J. Johnson

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