Racer Sessions

Sundays, 8-10pm at Cafe Racer in Seattle, WA

Thomas Marriott Group this Sunday

Greetings, Racers!

This Sunday, we are pleased to present trumpeter and composer Thomas Marriott on the Racer stage. Tom is deeply imbedded in the Seattle jazz scene, having grown up here and later returning after a period in New York and gaining initial acclaim through his work with Maynard Ferguson. He is known for his diverse interests and skills, his innovative spirit and his broad musical scope, continuing to perform in jazz clubs and concert halls locally and throughout the world. This weekend he will be joined by Rick Mandyck (saxophone), Jeff Johnson (bass), John Bishop (drums), and Tim Kennedy (keyboards). In other words, this bill is stacked, and it will be a real treat to see this combination of musicians in the setting of our collective improv environment.

So make sure to come out to Cafe Racer this Sunday at 8pm for their set, and stick around for the session afterwards! Read on for some words from Marriott and his plans for the jam session.

“A musician's job is to feel, and to express that feeling in sound. A musician must always be mindful that the expression of those feelings is intended to medicate and nurture the human spirit. My quintet and I, with over 15 years of making music together, collectively work to make musical progress toward that goal. This Sunday the members of the band and I will explore our original compositions through extemporaneous risk-taking, extended dynamic progression, space exploration and collective interplay. The greater mission behind the music is to travel through time and space, bringing the listener along for an emotional journey.  Using traditional and non-standard forms, the music aims to bend the traditional musical lexicon without breaking from it completely. 

Photo by Lisa Hagen Glynn

Photo by Lisa Hagen Glynn

In a slightly more technical sense, most of the compositions we will perform contain no II-Vs, though the exploration of the composition may. We are of the opinion that after the composition is performed, "anything can happen." But because "anything" is an option, we have to ask ourselves if where we are going is the best possible use of that freedom. "Anything" includes beauty and terror, sweet and savory. We have to be careful not to tell the same story on every composition. The point of the composition is to set the stage for a one-act drama, each piece an improvised scene. Using the tools of melody, harmony, rhythm, and dynamics, the band - led by a different melodic voice on each composition- will tell an intense story together on each piece. Some of the themes we’ll explore include dysfunctional love, homelessness, the search for alien life & past-life flashbacks. Our strength is derived from more than two decades of musical teamwork together, and the fellowship and trust that comes from a familial environment. The emphasis is on the whole, rather than the individual. 

For the session, we would like jammers to consider these questions as they play: 

  • Does fear have a role in what I'm playing?

  • Am I boldly making use of the bandstand as the world's greatest "safe-space" ?

  • How can I express a wider range of emotions in the music? 

  • Am I trying to control what others are doing, or am I accepting of where the music is going? 

  • Are we improvising as a collection of individuals or as a single entity? (are you connecting to the other musicians?)”


- Tom Marriot