Saxophone in an antique library. Fusion vibraphone in a spa. A singer in a ballet studio. All with plenty of nibbles and drinks. This weekend is the second annual Tacoma Jazz Walk, which puts local jazz groups in out-of-the-box spaces for a single, walkable evening in Tacoma’s Theater District. And this year is promising an even bigger crowd.
“Everyone enjoyed it and wanted to have it again,” says Kareem Kandi, a Tacoma saxophonist who organizes the event as a fundraiser for the nonprofit Tacoma Jazz Association. “It brought a lot of people into the downtown footprint.”
Last year’s Jazz Walk, the first, saw more than 800 people flood Antique Row and the Theater District. This year, Kandi’s hoping for more than 1,000 attendees.
It’s not just jazz lovers who liked the chance to hear traditional to gypsy and modern fusion in intimate venues such as cafes, antique stores and spas. The musicians loved it too.
“It was great,” says Tracy Knoop, whose quintet played last year with guest sax Bill Ramsay against a backdrop of tall antique bookshelves in the Sanford and Son basement library. This year, Knoop will take the stage at Urban Grace, allowing a bigger audience. “It felt like downtown was alive again.”
Pianist David Deacon-Joyner, meanwhile, will be moving from one gallery to another. His trio played last year in B2 Fine Art Gallery, now closed. This year the group will fill Matty Photography on Opera Alley.
“I think it’s fantastic,” says Deacon-Joyner, a national performer who also runs the jazz department at Pacific Lutheran University. “It’s like going to the Puyallup Fair, or like a wine-tasting thing, where you just walk around, hearing music coming out of windows, people wandering around.”
Other performers on the walk include husband-and-wife duo Pete Christlieb and Linda Small, who recently moved back to Parkland from the Bay Area, Seattle gypsy jazz combo Pearl Django, Tacoma trumpeter Rich Wetzel, and pianist Danny Kolke, who runs sister organization Jazz Clubs Northwest (and its annual Jazz Walk) in North Bend.
Venues range from popular jazz hangout B Sharp Coffee House to the ballroom at Tacoma City Ballet, and intimate corners at Stink cheese shop, Serenity Spa and Union Salon. All spots are family-friendly, and many include nibbles and drinks.
All proceeds from the evening go to help Jazz Clubs Northwest and the Tacoma Jazz Association with local workshops, performances and scholarships.
“Anytime you get people out to hear live music is good for the (music) business,” says Knoop. “And it’s good to promote downtown businesses too.”
Tacoma Jazz Walk
Who: More than 50 musicians from the Puget Sound region.
When: 6 p.m.-midnight Saturday. See website for schedule.
Where: B Sharp Coffeehouse, 706 Opera Alley, Court C; Sanford and Son Antiques, 743 Broadway; Tacoma City Ballet, 508 Sixth Ave.; Good Karma Center, 711 St. Helens Ave.; Serenity Spa, 706 Market St.; Union Salon, 712 Opera Alley; Stink, 628 St. Helens Ave.; Matty Photography, 708 Opera Alley; and Urban Grace Church, 902 Market St., all in Tacoma.
Tickets: Advance $20 adult, $10 for 14 and younger. $30 and $15 at Grand Lobby of Urban Grace Church, 902 Market St., the day of the event..