When Arts Walk ends, Jazz Walk begins. The second-annual Olympia Jazz Walk, a fundraiser for the nonprofit JazzClubsNW, is timed to keep the festival atmosphere going late into Saturday night with live jazz throughout downtown Olympia. “The idea is to make the Arts Walk and the great spectacle that is extend a little longer,” said Gregory Malcolm, executive director of the North Bend-based JazzClubsNW, which supports both performance and education.
The lineup for the evening includes such internationally known artists as Grammy-nominated sax man Pete Christlieb of Los Angeles, who played on albums by Natalie Cole and Steely Dan, and Vancouver, B.C., pianist Tony Foster, whose work charted in the top 50 for jazz here and in Canada. Also playing are well-known locals Steven Bentley, Lavon Hardison, Dennis Hastings, Steve Luceno, Syd Potter and Joe Baque, Olympia’s elder statesman of piano, who just received an Achievement in the Arts award from The Washington Center for the Performing Arts.
Seattle’s Bernie Jacobs, who sings and plays flute and sax, will be back with his quartet. “He was probably the real surprise of last year’s walk,” Malcolm said. “There was a standing-room-only crowd.” The event will wrap up at Fish Brewing Co.’s Barrel Room with the second incarnation of the Olympia Jazz Walk Big Band, a 16-piece outfit assembled from players performing at various venues earlier in the night. “That place is going to be hopping,” Malcolm predicted.
Just as Arts Walk transforms shops and restaurants into galleries, Jazz Walk will bring music into unexpected spaces along with a few of the usual suspects. “Most of the venues don’t offer live music on a regular basis, which makes it really quirky and interesting,” Malcolm said. “They’re really excited to offer live music.” Music lovers younger than 21 are welcome at eight of the 10 total venues. Last year’s walk, held in late August, attracted about 800 people, and Malcolm expects between 800 and 1,200 Saturday night. He hopes to showcase student players as well as pros and to eventually work with local enthusiasts and musicians to expand Olympia’s already-vibrant jazz scene. “We’re looking for a family-friendly venue that would be willing to host high-school musicians,” he said.
What: Olympia Jazz Walk
Where: 10 venues in downtown Olympia
When: 6 p.m. – midnight Saturday, Oct. 7
How much: $15-$30