Dean Schmidt (bassist, left) and Bernie Jacobs (flutist)

by Molly Gilmore for OLY ARTS

Olympia loves Arts Walk, when businesses become galleries and people who crave culture stroll the streets.

This Saturday, the city gets another walk: the first Olympia Jazz Walk, a fundraiser for JazzClubsNW, a North Bend-based nonprofit that aims to keep jazz alive and well through performance and education.

Eleven downtown venues, from jazz haven Rhythm & Rye (311 Capitol Way N) to toy store Captain Little (121 Fifth Ave. SE), will host 15 jazz bands. Nine of these venues are open to all ages.

“We’re putting jazz into venues that don’t usually showcase music, and they are absolutely delighted,” said Gregory Malcolm, executive director of JazzClubsNW, which hosted a similar event in Tacoma in March in cooperation with the Tacoma Jazz Association.

Among the performers are nationally acclaimed bassist Essiet Essiet, who’ll perform with Seattle guitarist Milo Petersen from 6 to 9 p.m. at Oly Underground; Seattle vocalist Greta Matassa, performing from 6 to 9 at Rhythm & Rye; and local legend Bill Ramsay, who played with Count Basie and Duke Ellington, performing from 9 to midnight at the Fish Brewing Barrel Room (500 Jefferson St. SE). Many of the mainstays of Olympia’s jazz scene will play, too.

See the full schedule and list of venues at

This is JazzClubsNW’s first event in Olympia, but Malcolm expects the walk will become an annual event and plans to showcase more local musicians, including students, next year.

“We’re here to enhance an already-robust scene,” he said.

What: Olympia Jazz Walk

Where: 11 venues in downtown Olympia

When: 6 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 27 – midnight sunday, Aug. 28

How much: $15-$30

Buy tickets: or at selected venues during the event