True jazz stars I-5 ALLSTARS AT ARTHOUSE DESIGNS IN OLYMPIA, WASHINGTON: I hadn’t been to Arthouse Designs in several years, mostly because I was out of the country until 2014; after returning to Olympia from my last assignment in beautiful Hawaii, it took me a while to get back in touch with the local scene here… my first visit to the gallery after those many years was on 26 August, 2017, and it clearly showed that this ultra-cool space is ripe & ready for putting on some super shows – & the I-5 Allstars featuring Bassist Essiet Okon Essiet was a perfect introduction to the new happenings there… in addition to Essiet’s fabulous bass work, we also got to hear Rob Scheps on tenor sax, John Hansen doing piano, and Steve Bentley on drums, with a guest appearance by drummer Sylvia Cuenca (who also plays in Essiet’s group IBO). When I first stepped into the gallery, only Essiet was there, warming up his bass and getting all the “techie” stuff out of the way… perfect, as it gave me a chance to “get the feel” of the space again.
After he finished, Essiet gave me a warm welcome, & in our brief conversation (Sylvia came over & joined us, too), we found out that we had a mutual friend in the great jazz guitarist Ron Jackson (who I worked with for a year or so after I came back to Olympia)… wow, the world just gets smaller every day eh?
One of the reasons I was so happy I was invited to this event is that I had to miss Essiet’s performance at last weekend’s Montavilla Jazz Festival, so getting the nod from Rob to cover this gig was truly a Godsend! Rather than me rambling on, let’s get right down to the nitty-gritty, just like the I-5 Allstars did… watch a few of the clips I captured during their stellar performance…
I 5 Allstars featuring Rob Scheps
I 5 Allstars laid back
I 5 Allstars with Sylvia Cuenca
I 5 Allstars smoked it
As you can see from those videos, these players were RIGHT ON TOP of it during the entire performance… they are each STARS, and gave us some of the hottest jazz I’ve ever witnessed in Olympia… I’m looking forward to many more great sessions at ARTHOUSE DESIGNS and am eagerly anticipating any material these great musicians have in need of review (present, past or future).