Pretty as a picture, brimming with creative spirit, and immensely walkable, Edmonds has been waiting for a jazz festival to light up the night — for far too long.
Coming right up.
Hello, Edmonds Jazz Walk 2022!
Talented Northwest artists appear live at eight venues downtown, May 21, 6 p.m. to midnight, with 6 p.m. and 9 p.m. shows.
The line-up: organist Reuel Lubag Trio, with tenor saxophonist Rich Cole and drummer Ed Littlefield, and guitarist Jean Chaumont Trio with bassist Julian Wiseman and drummer Greg Campbell at Cole Gallery; Pearl Django and trumpeter/vocalist Jake Bergevin & the Jazz Punishments big band, featuring Jack Hillman on lead trombone — Masonic Lodge; vocalist Johnaye Kendrick — Kelnero; saxophonist Kareem Kandi Trio with upright bassist Lamar Lofton and drummer Jacques Willis, and Boxley Quintet, featuring pianist Danny Kolke, drummer Greg Williamson, trumpeter Jared Hall, saxophonist Jackson Cotugno, and CWU bassist Nate Sharp — Graphite; drummer Taryn Zickefoose Project and Brazilian vocalist Adriana Giordano and her band — American Legion; bassist Paul Gabrielson with saxophonist/WSU grad Brandt Fisher — Café Louvre; saxophonist Neil Welch Trio — Gallery North; and saxophonist Steve Treseler Trio — Engel’s Pub.
The day before, Edmonds-Woodway High School’s big band will perform at Edmonds Waterfront Center for a free kickoff event, the Generations Community Outreach Dance and Jazz Concert, 6 p.m.-9 p.m. The event is a part of Edmonds Daybreakers Rotary’s Jazz Connection.
Washington’s first Certified Creative District already boasts two major art walks — Art Walk Edmonds and Edmonds Summer Wine Walks. Why not jazz?
“I’ve always thought it would be really cool, and I hope it’s a smashing success,” Bergevin says.
The award-winning trumpeter and band director for Edmonds-Woodway High School has been collaborating on this project with longtime jazz advocate and attorney Pete Bennett, as well as one of Bergevin’s star alumni and recent UW graduate, trombonist Hillman.
The Jazz Walk is the first of many projects for their newly formed Jazz Colony.
Bergevin then reached out to co-organizer Kolke, who has some experience with line-ups and wristband tickets.
The man just happens to be the brains behind successful jazz walks in North Bend, Tacoma, and Olympia, founder of JazzClubsNW, a powerhouse curator of gigs and educational showcases for professionals and students, and coach of the Mount Si High School Jazz Band 1, this year’s Essentially Ellington finalist, thank you very much.
“When Jake asked if we'd consider helping start an event in Edmonds, we jumped at the chance,” Kolke says. “I am so excited to see the first Edmonds Jazz Walk coming together. I grew up in downtown Edmonds, my dad was the pastor at the church on 4th and Bell, and I played piano with the Edmonds Community College Big Band and [award-winning vocal group] Soundsation under Kirk Marcy and Dave Barduhn. My wife and I were married at that church on 4th and Bell, 28 years ago. Edmonds has so much charm, so many great local businesses. It's going to be a great time.”
Bergevin credits Kolke with realizing a dream, for everyone who loves Edmonds. “We’ve got volunteers from different walks of my life — friends in Everett, church, my students, community people stepping up. But, I couldn’t have done it without Danny. He has so much technical skill [and experience with these jazz walks], setting up the website, contacting the city for permits, helping to firm up the acts and sponsors,” Bergevin enthuses.
The pandemic kept many from enjoying live performances altogether — in all the arts. But now, it’s time, he says.
“I feel like live music is what society could really use right now, after so much division, pain, and suffering from the pandemic. Jazz has a way of bringing everyone together.”
Bergevin envisions the Jazz Walk as a diverse, far-reaching, generational platform, uniquely Edmonds. “For my students, that’s my real interest. It’s hard for them to hear live jazz in Seattle and it’s a bit of a hike. If they go, they have to arrange to bring their parents. Now, we’re talking about a huge price tag [to get in the clubs], too. This Jazz Walk will be in their own backyard, and most venues are all ages.”
Bergevin also wants the Jazz Walk to catch on as a fun, annual event, as popular as Art Walk Edmonds/Summer Wine Walks — a flourishing extension of Jazz Connection, a community fundraising student festival he helped put on with the Edmonds Daybreakers Rotary 20 years ago.
“My first experience with a jazz festival was in Port Townsend when I was 19. I thought it was the coolest thing ever,” he explains.
He always thought Edmonds — with its artisan boutiques and restaurants, strong arts and culture, and picturesque views — could put on its own cool jazz festival.
“Jazz has always been a nighttime activity, why not have one in Edmonds? So, I ran the idea by Rich Cole, whose wife Denise is involved in Art Walk Edmonds and the Summer Wine Walks… Everybody’s on the same song.”
It’s about time, he agrees.
For his first Edmonds Jazz Walk, Bergevin gets to ride shotgun with his new big band, the Jazz Punishments, formed during the pandemic and comprised of former students, colleagues, and industry veterans, like drummer Ed Littlefield, trombonist Greg Schroeder, lead alto Neil Welch, and bassist Paul Gabrielson.
Basically, “a nice mix of kids who are 23, 25, and people my age, in their 50s…alumni and mentors. The younger crowd will come to hear us, and the older crowd will feel young again.”
Today, Jazz Walk…. Tomorrow, even more exciting, diverse, and generational jazz gigs throughout Edmonds. That’s the plan.
Scenes from Edmonds' first sold-out Jazz Walk — Jake Bergevin & The Jazz Punishments do justice to "My Funny Valentine," big-band style, live at the Masonic Lodge... Saxophonist Kareem Kandi, upright bassist Lamar Lofton, and drummer Jacques Willis trip the melodic, swinging side of jazz at Graphite... Drummer Ed Littlefield, tenor Rich Cole, and band leader, organist Reuel Lubag go on an artful safari at Cole Gallery...
Edmonds Jazz Walk 2022 co-organizers — Jake Bergevin swings the standards, backed by the Seattle Women’s Jazz Orchestra | photo by Jim Levitt... Pianist Danny Kolke makes the scene at Manhattan’s Mezzrow last Tuesday | photo by Lisa Glynn.
Additional photography c/o Edmonds Jazz Walk, Denise Cole of Cole Gallery, and artists.
Jake Bergevin would like to thank pastor Nick Loyd from Pathways Church for creating the cool Jazz Walk graphic, EW student Francine Nguyen for the Jazz Walk poster, Coldwell Banker Bain for printing, and community organizer Candy Gaul for helping coordinate volunteers.