Review- Jazz Vocalist, Kenny Washington Plays Salon Style House Concerts in the Seattle Area, November 21st and November 22nd, 2009
Review by E. Joyce Glasgow
(Photo credit/copyright: E. Joyce Glasgow- Pictured: Kenny Washington, vocalist, with Bill Anschell, piano)
Bay area jazz vocalist, Kenny Washington, has been making waves lately with his high profile appearances with top jazz vibraphonist, Joe Locke, at Dizzy’s Club Coca-Cola in New York, which has given him a great forum to display his talent. They were performing the songs of Henry Mancini off Locke’s recent CD, “Cinema Paradiso”. Seattle area audiences were given a chance to enjoy Washington’s musicianship as well this past weekend in two intimate house “salon” style duo concerts featuring Washington, with Seattle jazz pianist, Bill Anschell. Both performances were produced by local jazz vocalist, Nich Anderson, who told me that he started this on-going vocal series to support jazz vocalists and give opportunities for people in outlying areas, outside of Seattle, to have easy access to great, live jazz. One performance was in Auburn, Wa. on November 21st and the other, which I attended, was in a beautiful home, overlooking the water, on Camano Island, on November 22nd.
These informal, monthly concerts are open to the public, with a maximum of thirty people and the suggested donation of $30.00 for these events, which feature a different, well known, visiting jazz singer, with accompaniment, also include a delicious, home-cooked, casual buffet dinner. The experience created is one of a lovely, warm, cozy, inviting music party at a good friend’s house and offers a supportive atmosphere for the performing artists. House concerts have become all the rage in the Seattle area lately and I can see why. They really give the very needed opportunity for people to gather pleasantly together in celebration, with a spirit of community and friendship.
Kenny Washington performed a number of jazz standards in two sets, with Anschell, a very creative, accomplished pianist, who also embodies a musical sensitivity and compliment to vocalists that he performs with. Washington has a relaxed, hip and comfortable vocal style and expressive, soulful and rich voice. Highlights of Washington’s vocal performance were on tunes where he “stretched out” and improvised, scat- singing and exploring his considerable range, including his falsetto, on tunes including, “Bewitched”, a lively, swinging “Route 66”, “Do Nothing till You Hear From Me”, the Brazilian, Bossa Nova tune, “Desifinado”, Miles Davis’ “All Blues” and Duke Ellington’s “A Train”, and “Lover Come Back to Me”, with special guest, Andy Carr, sitting in for the tune, on piano. I like Washington most when he takes on ballads, giving the audience more of a chance to journey with him into his inner, reflective self. He sang a wonderful rendition of the ballad, “Everything Happens to Me”.
These concerts are a special way to enjoy yourself, either alone, or as a satisfying get together with friends or family for an afternoon or evening of terrific music.Up-coming concerts include: fabulous vocalist, Jackie Ryan with Randy Halberstadt, piano, on December 13th; Typhanie Monique with Neal Alger, guitar, on December 18th and Jo Lawry with Bill Anschell, piano, on January 23rd and 24th, 2010. For more information, reservations and musical samples of the vocalists performing on the series visit: www.jazzvox.com.