Tacoma jazz musician Lance Buller has a two-fold goal: to highlight quality musicians and to give local students the chance to perform with professionals. Buller’s new series, Jazz at Urban Grace, continuing Saturday night, pairs Seattle trumpeter Thomas Marriott and his quintet with a six-piece version of the Stadium Jazz Ensemble — a win-win for students, professionals and audience.
“It gives students an opportunity they don’t always have to perform with professionals,” said Buller, “and highlights the things schools are doing (in jazz). People don’t realize we have this great wealth of talent in our community.”
The series, which began in May with a KPLU fundraiser and continued with a concert featuring vocalist Eugenie Jones, will happen every other month at Urban Grace, where Buller has a teaching studio.
“Acoustically it’s wonderful — it’s better than the Rialto,” he said.
Buller hopes the series will also lead to educational opportunities for young musicians.
“There’s a gap for aspiring artists,” he said. “You go through high school and college, and people think you’re great. Then you leave, and you’re on your own. So I’m trying to put an organization together to teach young artists how to perform and promote themselves.”