Going to the Jazz Walk? Check out our NEW ONLINE Jazz Walk Program...

Tacoma Jazz Walk June 2nd 2018


Cara Francis
There is an inimitable charm to vocalist Cara Francis. She graces the stage with an easy sense of swing, a quick wit and a lyrical feel that is both playful and heartfelt. Her snappy blonde bob and vintage couture create a striking visual, and her eclectic repertoire−a tasteful mix of classics from the Great American Songbook and jazz-infused pop tunes from the 60’s and 70’s−delights audiences wherever she plays.

Cara’s approach is intentional and specific. “People did not stop writing music in 1955,” she says, “and there is an un-mined catalog of songs that can be reinterpreted through a jazz lens and presented in an entirely new way.” Her goal is to give the listener a new experience of each song, be it Burt Bacharach’s “One Less Bell to Answer” or Duke Ellington’s “Satin Doll,” while also touching a familiar emotional place. She explains, “Stories change as we change. The cautionary love song you listened to in your 20’s takes on a whole different hue when you’re 50. And music is interactive. The band and I bring the song, but the meaning blooms in the listener.”

Cara started taking piano lessons when she was in grade school. One of her earliest musical memories was when her teacher, a strident and humorless sort, proclaimed that Elton John was “not a genius.” Devastated by this information yet undeterred, the young Cara soldiered on, methodically working her way through all the John Thompson piano books. She ultimately quit lessons but continued playing. She sang in the high school choir and occasionally served as accompanist. Cara’s musical pursuits led her to a brief career in radio. After high school, she received her broadcasting license and worked as a DJ at several different radio stations, including Green River Community college station KGRG, known as the “Rock of the Valley” and country station KJUN.

Although she grew up listening to iconic vocalists such as Chris Connor and Blossom Dearie, Cara’s own immersion into jazz came much later, after seeing Greta Matassa perform with a big band at the Tacoma nightspot Jazzbones. She was struck by the improvisational and collaborative nature of the music. “It was like having a good conversation with someone smart,” she recalls. She started listening to jazz recordings, everything from Ella Fitzgerald and Carmen McRae to Dave Brubeck and Ahmad Jamal. She also began studying with Matassa and hanging out at jam sessions in Seattle and Tacoma. “I became a jazz sponge,” she says I just wanted to listen to it, absorb it, sweat it, eat it.” Cara began singing professionally in 2008.

Cara has performed at numerous festivals and venues throughout the Northwest, including Tula’s, Egan’s, B Sharp Coffee House, North City Bistro, Tacoma Jazz Walk, Bite of Seattle, Taste of Tacoma and the Second Sunday Concert Series at the Seymour Conservatory to name a few. She has worked with esteemed Northwest musicians Kareem Kandi, Darin Clendenin, Clipper Anderson, Mark Ivester, Kacey Evans and Hans Brehmer, all of whom she describes as “amazing people, friends and musicians.”

When she is not leading her band through a hard swinging set at the local jazz club, Cara teaches special education for the University Place school district. Prior to that, she worked at the Muckleshoot Tribal School. She has a Bachelor of Arts in English, a Masters in Teaching and a Masters in Education. Cara is passionate about her role as an educator and feels that her teaching career has satisfied “a calling to make a difference in the world.”

In addition to her ongoing lessons with Greta Matassa, whom she cheerfully refers to as “Sensei,” Cara also studies piano and music theory with tenor saxophonist Kareem Kandi. She makes her home in Tacoma, WA, where she lives with her husband Larry and a feline posse of three.

Danny Kolke
Danny Kolke is known for his aggressive technique, passionate voicings and hard swinging blues and gospel feel. As Jim Wilke (KNKX / Jazz After Hours Public Radio International) has said, “if you like trio’s like those of Oscar Peterson and Gene Harris, you are going to like this trio.” Danny plays piano with his trio every Sunday at the Firehouse in North Bend and he has three CD’s on the Pony Boy Records label. His most recent CD, “Danny Kolke Trio +One Featuring Pete Christlieb”, add’s Pete’s amazing legendary Tenor sound to the dynamic group. It’s a must have to any Jazz fan’s collection. Danny’s other Trio recordings are “Sunday Nights, Live at Boxley’s” and “A New Meaning”.

In 2010, Danny founded the Boxley Music Fund (now JazzClubsNW), a nonprofit 501c3 based organization committed to helping support live music performance and Jazz education. JazzClubsNW is a membership based organization that pays musicians to host clinics and workshops, public performances as well as organize Jazz & Blues festivals. For more than 7 years JazzClubsNW is turning out to be a big success supporting efforts to promote Jazz education and performance across the Northwest. JazzClubsNW has also sponsored Jazz nonprofits in Bellingham and Tacoma Washington as well as launching Jazz Festivals in Tacoma, Olympia and North Bend. Danny continues to serve on the board of the organization and volunteer at numerous events. If you aren’t a member yet, you should be. In 2012, Danny founded the North Bend Jazz Walk and in 2013, the North Bend Blues Walk.

Johnaye Kendrick
Johnaye is a vocalist & composer from San Diego, currently teaching Jazz Voice at Cornish College of the Arts in Seattle. She’s traveled and performed with the Nicholas Payton Sextet, Ellis Marsalis Quartet, the New Orleans Jazz Orchestra and many others. While attending the Thelonious Monk Institute, Johnaye worked with many outstanding jazz musicians, including Terence Blanchard, Wayne Shorter, Herbie Hancock, Danilo Perez, Kurt Rosenwinkel, and Brian Blade. She received an Artist’s Diploma from the Thelonious Monk Institute of Jazz and a Masters Degree in Jazz Studies from Loyola University in 2009. Johnaye currently performs her own original compositions as well as fresh interpretations of beloved jazz and blues compositions. She focuses on graceful renditions of jazz standards and composes music and lyrics where she often accompanies herself on harmonium, violin, viola and percussion. The legendary Jimmy Heath says that “Johnaye is not just a vocalist. She is a complete musician with a beautiful instrument and open ears.”

Kareem Kandi
A native of the Pacific Northwest, saxophonist Kareem Kandi is a performer, composer, and educator, in high demand for his talents both on and off the stage.

Kareem is a versatile saxophonist and composer with strong roots in the traditions of Jazz, Blues, Classical and Funk, and has been performing throughout the U.S. and abroad for years, gaining attention from critics and audiences alike. While staying true to musical styles of the past, he also keeps an eye towards the future by composing original music as well as new arrangements of timeless songs from the great American songbook.

Since 1996, Kareem has been performing both as a bandleader and as a sideman to enthusiastic audiences around the world at concert halls, festivals, and clubs. Over the years Kareem has performed, toured and recorded with some of the finest musicians in the music industry including: Pete Christlieb, Patti Labelle, Mark Elf, Ali Jackson, D’vonne Lewis, Bill Watrous, The Seattle Symphony, Mordy Ferber, Julian Priester, The Paperboys, The Northwest Repertory Singers, Thomas Marriott, The Tacoma Symphony, Alex Duncan, Frazey Ford, DJ Hapa, The Polyrhythmics, Bill Ramsay, The Staxx Brothers, Jay Thomas, The Sabella Consort, Greta Matassa, The Temptations, Hadley Caliman, The Four Tops, The Harry James Orchestra, Wayne Bergeron, and many others. Because of his musical diversity, his group, The Kareem Kandi Band has a sound that is fresh, innovative, and appeals to a wide variety of audiences.

Growing up in the northwest with its vibrant music scene allowed Kandi the opportunity to study with, listen to, and perform with world class jazz artists residing in the area. Artists such as Tracy Knoop, Jay Thomas, Don Lanphere, Bill Ramsay, and Pete Christlieb had a large impact on Kareem early in his musical education. After finishing high school Kareem received a full scholarship to Olympic College in Bremerton WA where he earned an Associate in Arts and Sciences Degree. While completing his degree from Olympic College he received another full scholarship to attend Cornish College of the Arts in Seattle WA. Kareem attended Cornish and continued his music studies with many renowned jazz artists that served on the faculty at the time which included: Jovino Santos Neto, Julian Priester, Hadley Caliman, Dave Peck, Randy Halberstadt, Chuck Deardorf, and Jim Knapp. Kareem completed his Bachelor’s degree from Cornish in 2002 and since then has been very active as a performer, composer, and teacher.

As an educator Kareem maintains a busy schedule teaching at The Tacoma School of the Arts as an artist in residence. He also conducts the jazz classes at Ted Brown Music, maintains a full load of forty private students, and regularly conducts masterclasses and workshops at schools around the Puget Sound area. Along with his teaching duties he is also the director of the Tacoma Jazz Association, serves on the Tacoma Arts Commission, and is a D’Addario Woodwinds performing artist.

Lance Buller and the Roadstars
Featuring a variety of jazz, swing and much more. It’s a mix of music from the early twentieth century until now with the Band that has become a tradition at such events as the Seattle Mariners home games and daily at The Puyallup Washington State Fair.

Jazz is a house with many rooms and the Roastars will take you on a musical journey visiting many those rooms along the way. From early traditional jazz with classic artists like Louis Armstrong and Bix Beiderbecke, swing music from the Big Band era to classic jazz from the 50’s 60’s and 70’s, right on up to current day. There is simply no other Band like it on the West Coast it is an experience in the traditional music of America from classic to current.

You will know you were a part of an amazing performance because the band feels like old friends who, with you, share in a love affair of exceptional music. With the Roadstars performance you will see the band is at home entertaining an audience in a theatre setting, at a festival, a concert or private event. They can play to any audience that loves a good time with humor, high energy and swinging music.

The Roadstars have been performing since 1986 making them one of the oldest continuously performing jazz combos in the Northwest. Lead by recording artist and showman Lance Buller on trumpet and vocals, the band boasts a veritable who’s who of Northwest jazz players rounding out the robust 2 horn sound of the 5 piece band with Chris Spencer, Teddy Dortch, Wayne Bliss and Andre Thomas.

Michael Barnett
Michael Barnett began studying double bass with his father, a fine musician and teacher during his high school years and was soon performing professionally in clubs in the Joplin, Missouri area. After attending Yale University, he was based for several years in Kansas City, Missouri where he worked with and learned from many of the great players from the classic era of Kansas City Jazz.

Mr. Barnett was a member of the house orchestra at the Lake Geneva, Wisconsin Playboy Resort Hotel for nearly 20 years accompanying most of the great names in jazz and pop music. He has been invited to jazz festivals throughout the United States and Canada, performing with a long roster of notable musicians. Mr. Barnett toured extensively with the late Pearl Bailey and Louie Bellson, and in recent years toured even more extensively with Peter Nero.

Mr. Barnett has been Peter Nero's principal bassist for over 18 years.

Pearl Django
“Pearl Django: The gypsy jazz of Django Reinhardt done to perfection!”
—Paul de Barros, The Seattle Times (2002)

Tim Lerch , Guitar; Jim Char, Guitar; David Lange, Accordion; Michael Gray, Violin; Rick Leppanen, Bass

Background: (very brief)
The group’s inception was as a trio in Tacoma, Washington in 1994. The focus of Pearl Django was, and is, to incorporate the music of Django Reinhardt and Stephane Grappelli with American swing music. They quickly expanded to a quintet, adding a violinist and a third guitarist. An interview on NPR’s All Things Considered in 2001 brought the group to national attention. In June 2002, Pearl Django performed at the prestigious Festival Django Reinhardt in Samois sur Seine, just outside of Paris, France. As of 2007 Pearl Django is working as both a quartet and a quintet (with accordionist, David Lange) All of the members are contributing original compositions to the band’s expansive repertoire. They have released 12 CDs to date.

“If Paris is the city of love, then Pearl Django’s music is the flirtatious accompaniment.”
—6Moons.com (review of Under Paris Skies)

Performance Highlights:
Along the West coast, Pearl Django has performed from Los Angeles to Fairbanks. Festival performances include: Festival Django Reinhardt, Samois sur Seine, France; les Rendez-Vous de l’Erdre, Nantes, France; Sacramento Jazz Jubilee; Django Festival Iceland; Django Fest Northwest, Whidbey Island, Washington; Django Fest LA, Laguna Beach, California; Django Fest SF, Redwood City & Mill Valley, California; Juneau Folk Festival, Juneau, Alaska; Capital City Jazz Festival, Madison, Wisconsin; Sweet and Hot Festival, Los Angeles, California; Great Connecticut Jazz Festival, Guilford, Connecticut; Mission Folk Festival, Mission B.C.; Bumbershoot & Folklife Festival, Seattle, Washington; Wintergrass (a bluegrass festival) Washington, Jazz Alley, Seattle, Washington; Sun Valley Jazz Jubilee, Sun Valley, Idaho.

Pete Christlieb
For years, Pete Christlieb has been heard on prime-time television shows, from Gene Roddenberry's original Star Trek to its sequel shows - Star Trek - The Next Generation, Voyager and Deep Space Nine. As part of The Tonight Show band, he performed nightly to an audience of millions. His evocative tenor saxophone sound was lauded on Natalie Cole's Unforgettable album. He began by playing in top-notch big bands and combos; his own albums have been nominated for several Grammy awards. Despite such impressive achievements, Pete Christlieb comes across as a pragmatic individual who truly enjoys music and its daily grind.

Christlieb's father Don, a bassoonist and studio musician, provided him an early introduction to music of all kinds. "I started on violin when I was about 6 or 7, then got interested in jazz and tenor saxophone at 13 and started listening to records. The first records I remember were by Chet Baker and Gerry Mulligan. Then I got more interested and bought more records, things like Zoot Sims and Stan Getz. Then came John Coltrane, Cannonball Adderley, and Miles Davis. I was especially interested in Cannonball."

Christlieb began to visit the Lighthouse in Hermosa Beach, one of the few places featuring bands to which a minor could gain admission. "I would sit there and listen to the Lighthouse All-stars, and Bob Cooper was the saxophonist that I remembered," Christlieb said. Shortly after, Christlieb began studying with Cooper. Soon he'd made enough progress to sit in for his mentor in the Lighthouse All-stars when Cooper had other jobs. "It was lots of fun then, playing at the Lighthouse with that group, at age 16 or 17."

Christlieb finished high school, attended Valley College, and then went on the road with the Si Zentner band at age 18. After that, he began a series of jobs with musicians like Bobby Bryant, where he traded saxophone licks with veteran horn men Herman Riley and Hadley Caliman.

While performing with Della Reese in Las Vegas' Flamingo Hotel, his path crossed with yet another stellar bandleader, famous for his showcasing of woodwind players - Woody Herman. Christlieb heard that Herman band member Joe Farrell was leaving: soon he was asked to join. When that job ended, he returned to Los Angeles; this time he began work with former Ellington drummer and bandleader Louis Bellson. The two formed a partnership that has strengthened and flourished for over three decades. It was the work with Bellson that led to Christlieb's appointment to The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson and Doc Severinsen. "For me, the exposure and promotion that I received there was immeasurable," Christlieb said. "As a band member on camera every night, I was always visible and being promoted. I'm sure that a lot of today's projects were made possible because of those years."

Tacoma School of the Arts
Jazz Combo Workshop -
This is a beginning and intermediate course in the art of jazz improvisation. This course reflects our belief at SOTA that whenever possible, students should be performing in small ensembles where their responsibility to the music is escalated. In this class, as opposed to the traditional jazz big band, all students will improvise! To study Jazz without improvisation is to miss the most essential element of the art form. Students will study the history of jazz, it’s legendary players and the skills required to successfully continue the tradition of jazz music. While working in small groups (combos) each student will gain performance experience in jazz and blues styles while studying the art of improvisation.

Tracy Knoop
Tracy Knoop, alto sax; A native of the Pacific Northwest, saxophonist Tracy Knoop is one of the best-known jazz artists and teachers in the region. After graduating from the Berklee School of Music in Boston, Massachusetts, he joined the world-famous Tommy Dorsey Orchestra and toured with them for ten years. Tracy has performed with such greats as Louis Bellson, Ray Charles, Natalie Cole, Bernadette Peters, Buddy Rich, and Mel Torme. He also has performed with the Temptations, Four Tops, and the Seattle Symphony. He can be heard on commercial recordings by the Charlie May All-Star Big Band, Keith Henson, Octet, Pony Boy All-Star Big Band, and the Tracy Knoop Quartet. He continues to perform and teach extensively throughout the Northwest and across the country.

Carter Experience
Growing up in a musical family, the Carter brothers (Kevan, Keith, and LaRoi Jr.) learned how to play music at an early age. They started their first band, a rock and soul band at the ages of eleven and twelve, and eventually the brothers found their way into playing jazz as teenagers and have been playing jazz ever since.

The products of a trumpet playing father (LaRoi Carter Sr.) and a music loving mother, the Carter brothers were influenced by Wes Montgomery, George Benson, Stanley Clarke, Herbie Hancock, Grover Washington Jr., and many others.

The brothers are: Kevan – bass and vocals, Keith – saxophones and vocals, and LaRoi Jr. aka Butch – guitar and vocals.

The Carter Experience will take you on a musical journey with some cool jazz, some funky jazz, a taste of the blues, and a little r&b for some extra spice. Before you know it, you'll snappin' your fingers and pattin' your feet!



Schedule - Musicians - Venues - Tickets - Sponsors

JazzClubsNW Supporting Live Jazz Performance & Education

JazzClubsNW is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization dedicated to supporting live Jazz performance and
educational opportunities across the Pacific Northwest and within the communities in which we live.

PO Box 1161 North Bend Washington 98045 USA

©2018 JazzClubsNW - All rights reserved.