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Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Special Event: wedding reception celebration at Pan Pacific Seattle Hotel

Pan Pacific Seattle Hotel


On Thursday, October 2, I had the privilege of providing my jazz trio for a wedding celebration event at Pan Pacific Seattle Hotel. The wedding was for Kate and John Holmes who actually got married earlier this year, but were away from Seattle and not able to celebrate with family and friends until now.  The bride's mother Kathi Jo Menzyk hired us to play for their happy celebration.

I have attended the Pan Pacific Seattle Hotel for certain events in previous years, and brought the same jazz trio to participate and play for a Seattle NACE monthly meeting event back in March of this year, this was the first wedding event we have done at this prestigious property. I was very thrilled to receive the call from Kathi Jo and also to be recommended by Adreanne Lewis the Senior Catering Sales Manager at the Pan Pacific Seattle.

Because the wedding had occurred earlier, this was not a typical big wedding party blow out affair. Our live music role was reserved to simply play "beautiful music" in Kathi Jo's words. Set in the swanky Lakeside Room we provided a sonic backdrop of hip jazz and swinging standards. This was a warm beautiful early autumn day that extended into the evening as the sun set and the backdrop city nightscape came into view filling the ballroom's large glass panel windows.  The Lakeside Room is a perfect room for special events that also has a patio for extended outdoor access.  It was a wonderful event filled with the warmth of family, friends, great hotel staff, and good people.

I was able to capture some of our performance of the evening of my jazz trio.  The gentlemen on hand with me are two of the best jazz musicians in town. John Hansen is a great hard bop jazz pianist in the style of Bud Powell, Mulgrew Miller, and Barry Harris. Alexey Nikolaev is a Moscow, Russia native who has settled in Seattle for the past 14 years.  He is an international world class saxophonist who has toured the world many times over and has played big dates with big name artists. It is a treat to play with him and John. These gentlemen are not only highly esteemed colleagues, but also good friends whom I enjoy their company as much as their performance. Here are a couple songs that we did. I love the backdrop of performing in the Lakeside Room. It looks like we are in a penthouse suite with the city lights glimmering through the sheer curtains. This first video is called Days of Wine and Roses, which was a good tune to set the swinging jazz mood for the evening.

Days of Wine and Roses


This second video is a real nice classy ballad called Polka Dots and Moonbeams. 
Polka Dots and Moonbeams



On behalf of the band and myself, I would like to extend a warm congratulations to the newly wed couple Kate and John Holmes. I would to thank Kathi Jo Menzyk for hiring us as the live music soundtrack for the evening. Also, I want to thank Adreanne Lewis for giving us the opportunity to play our first wedding event at the Pan Pacific Seattle!  I was very impressed with the whole staff of the Pan Pacific Seattle Hotel. Everybody from the valet attendants to the banquet staff and managers were as professional and classy a group of people I have had the pleasure and privilege to work with.  I would really like to thank Tara Zumpano, the Manager of Restaurants, Bar and Events at the hotel. She was terrific to work with and so gracious and helpful to the band. I can't wait to do another event at the fabulous Pan Pacific Seattle Hotel!





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For booking inquiries of Emmanuel del Casal Jazz Ensembles,
please write to emman@smoothgroove.net
Or, call us at 1-866-771-2500.



Elevate your event with live music.  We don't miss a beat!


Friday, September 12, 2014

Special Event for Image360


On Wednesday, September 10, 2014 I had the privilege to bring my jazz trio to a special event for graphics and signage company Image360 in Tacoma, Washington.  Image360 works with businesses in their logo design, colors, and brand identity as well as company signage and graphics ranging from small custom displays to large advertising signs and vehicle and transit graphics.  They offer solutions for every type of printed display platform that helps their clients' visibility and profitability.  Image360 was previously known as Signs For Tomorrow.  The event was a re-grand opening to launch their new name and brand.

My jazz trio was called upon by owners Al and Rose Mednick to provide some live jazz music for the festivities. I had two outstanding jazz musicians and good friends play with me.  Pianist John Hansen and tenor saxophonist Brian Kent were on hand.  The event was held at the company's industrial shop where they create their signs and products.  The tasty food was catered by Adriatic Grill.

Here are a couple of videos of songs that we did.  This one is a nice tune called Bluesette by Toots Theilemans.

Bluesette


This is a Miles Davis tune called Half Nelson.
Half Nelson



I would like to thank Al and Rose Mednick for having us play for them, their great staff, and their wonderful guests!  It was a very fun event and we had a terrific time being a part of it.





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For booking inquiries of Emmanuel del Casal Jazz Ensembles,
please write to emman@smoothgroove.net
Or, call us at 1-866-771-2500.



Elevate your event with live music.  We don't miss a beat!


Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Sunday Jazz Night at The Seattle Yacht Club


On Sunday, August 10, The Seattle Yacht Club held a Jazz Night for their club members in the Marine Room.  I was invited by Assistant General Manager and Catering Director Amy Shaftel to bring in my jazz duo to perform for the occasion.  It was a very warm summer night with the temperature above the mid 80's. There was a possibility the event would be held outdoors, but the intense afternoon sun kept the heat high outside and the performance was relegated indoors at the club's restaurant. Amy and I are fellow NACE members.  NACE is the largest and oldest catering association in the world.  The acronym stands for National Association of Catering and Events.  I have been a member of NACE since 2000 and have met many catering professionals such as Amy with whom I have established relationships as colleagues and friends over the many years.  NACE has been a wonderful organization for my business in terms of networking and connecting with other professionals in the special events industry.  These relationships have led to many gigs and work for my musical groups such as weddings, corporate functions, and private special occasions.  Amy and I attended a monthly local NACE meeting a few months earlier and happened to be sitting at the same table that night.  As often the case, it was serendipitous that she was looking to book a jazz act for this August Jazz Night at the Seattle Yacht Club, and I happened to be sitting next to her.  I was hired by her pretty much on the spot.  Did I say that NACE is wonderful?

My pianist John Hansen joined me on this night.  John is one of the stellar jazz pianists of Seattle.  He is a hard bop player who plays with a very swinging rhythmic style and old school bebop vocabulary.  I have known John since our days at the University of Washington as undergrad students in the music department. This is going back to the mid-80's or so.  John and I have played together regularly for the last several years. He is a frequent guest artist for my Jazz in The Georgian gig at The Fairmont Olympic Hotel in downtown Seattle. It was a fun evening and we had a great time playing for the members of the Seattle Yacht Club.

Here are videos of some of the songs that we played.

We started out the evening playing a Cole Porter standard called What Is This Thing Called Love.

What Is This Thing Called Love


This is another great standard called It Could Happen To You by Jimmy Van-Heusen.
It Could Happen To You


For the last tune of the evening, we played a blues by the late great tenor saxophonist John Coltrane.  This one is called Mr. Sims.
Mr. Sims



I would just like to extend a warm thanks and gratitude to Amy Shaftel for giving us the opportunity to play for the club members. Also, a thank you goes out to the manager of the Marine Room, Sam Looney who was very supportive and helpful towards us as well as all of the bar and wait staff in the room.

I hope we get another opportunity to play again for the Seattle Yacht Club.  When it happens you'll hear about it!





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For booking inquiries of Emmanuel del Casal Jazz Ensembles,
please write to emman@smoothgroove.net
Or, call us at 1-866-771-2500.



Elevate your event with live music.  We don't miss a beat!

Thursday, May 1, 2014

Smooth Groove Productions Special Event: Freddie Awards, April 24, 2014




On April 24, 2014 my jazz ensembles performed for the Freddie Awards Banquet at The Museum Of Flight in Seattle, Washington.  I had not heard of the Freddie Awards until a few days before the event.  I received word that the band that was booked originally several months prior for this event had canceled at the last moment due to an illness with a band member.  The Museum Of Flight is a very familiar venue to us in that we have played for dozens of special events throughout the last 18 years or so.

The Freddie Awards started in 1988 as a voice for the frequent flyer traveler and the travel loyalty industry.  Over three dozen awards were handed out to recipients in many categories such as Best Hotel Program of the Year and Best Airline Program of the Year.  The Freddie Awards are held annually every last Thursday of April at a designated host city.  This year it happened to be in Seattle at The Museum Of Flight, which was very fitting for the program at hand.

My jazz duo and jazz trio provided the live music ambiance for this occasion.  Tenor saxophonist Alexey Nikolaev and I played for the cocktail mixer prior to dinner in the upper level of the Museum.  For the dinner banquet jazz pianist John Hansen joined us on the main floor to form the jazz trio.  During the awards ceremony we had to provide play-on music for the award winners.  Kind of like Letterman or The Tonight Show. We have had experience doing these type of choreographed events before.

Alexey and John are two of some of the best jazz musicians Seattle has to offer.  A Smooth Groove Productions special event will deliver top shelf live jazz music.  This night was no exception.  The guys really played great stuff. Here is a video of us playing a Sonny Rollins tune called Airegin.


It was a very nice evening overall.  We came in at the last minute and nailed the gig with minimal planning.

As always it was a pure pleasure to work with my good friend Andrea Sligar and her professional catering staff at McCormick & Schmick's, and the folks at The Museum Of Flight. Their food presentation is always fabulous and classy.  We look forward to being a part of the next event at The Museum Of Flight.









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For booking inquiries of Emmanuel del Casal Jazz Ensembles,
please write to emman@smoothgroove.net
Or, call us at 1-866-771-2500.



Elevate your event with live music.  We don't miss a beat!

Monday, April 28, 2014

Smooth Groove Productions Special Event: Taste of Sonoma Valley 2014, A Northwest Harvest Benefit Event

On April 17, 2014 we had the pleasure of participating in the very excellent cause for food bank distributor Northwest Harvest in their second annual Taste of Sonoma Valley at The W Hotel in downtown Seattle.  The event featured more than 20 wineries from Sonoma Valley.  Winery owners and wine makers displayed their wares with over 70 wines to taste as well as a silent auction with proceeds benefiting Northwest Harvest.  The W Hotel provided a wonderful spread of food to accompany the terrific wine.

Our role for this warm and friendly event featured my jazz trio to provide the ambient live jazz music for that appropriate sonic touch.  Live jazz music and wine!  What a great pairing!  Two very good friends, colleagues, and  marvelous professional musicians Milo Petersen on guitar and tenor saxophonist Brian Kent were on hand.

Here is a video of us playing a Horace Silver tune called Peace.


The event was a wonderful success in raising money for Northwest Harvest.  We thoroughly enjoyed performing for a really good cause.  It was a very fun evening for all.

A special thank you to Matthew Campbell and Todd Girouard of Northwest Harvest for bringing us on board for this great event.  We look forward to next year's Taste of Sonoma Valley Event again!









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For booking inquiries of Emmanuel del Casal Jazz Ensembles,
please write to emman@smoothgroove.net
Or, call us at 1-866-771-2500.



Elevate your event with live music.  We don't miss a beat!


Monday, March 10, 2014

A Serendipitous Evening - Playing with Wynton Marsalis


On a late stormy and wet evening on Tuesday, March 4, 2014, I received a call from my friend jazz guitarist Milo Petersen that he was enroute to picking up jazz legend trumpeter Wynton Marsalis and friend John Roche up at the hotel to bring them to a jazz jam session gig at the Owl and Thistle in downtown Seattle.  I am a believer that occurrences happen for a reason.  Unexpected occurrences always presents themselves as doorways to opportunities provided one chooses to walk through the door to get there.  This was such a door.  With no hesitation I packed up my upright bass and headed into the monsoon that was Seattle that night.  Upon arrival at this Irish Pub, Milo, Wynton, and John were already seated at the bar.  After I got carded, which is kind of funny since I just turned 48 last week, I proceeded to where my associates were enjoying their libations.  With my big upright bass inside my gig bag strapped upon my shoulder I meandered between bar stools and arrived at the spot of the center of the Universe for all my intents and purposes.  I was to meet Wynton Marsalis and possibly--play with the living legend no less!  Noticeably, Wynton did not have his trumpet with him at the bar.  Upon arrival I did notice his eyes upon me and his head seemed to pop up.  I brought my acoustic bass and it towered over me like a full sized stuffed bear riding upon my back.  Wynton noticed.  The house band hosting the session had some of Seattle's finest jazz musicians in the house.  Pianist Eric Verlinde, drummer Jose Martinez, bassist Chris Symer, and a really good tenor saxophonist whom I did not know and can't recall his name but heard he had arrived in Seattle only a year or so ago.  Symer was playing his electric bass that night.  Apparently, Wynton is not a fan of electric bass in jazz music, or perhaps in general.  John informed me that he had no desire to sit in with the electric version of the bass.  So, when I appeared it was my acoustic bass that drew his attention.  He decided that he would play with the addition of the acoustic bass in the mix.  He left his seat and went out with Milo to retrieve his horn from the car.

While they were out getting the trumpet I managed to down a couple IPAs, which got me settled and relaxed.  When Wynton returned with his horn after a while, he passed me by and extended his hand out to me where I grabbed it and shook it.  I said "very nice to meet you, Mr. Marsalis."  He sat back down at his stool in the bar and sipped on his drink.  Shortly, he took his horn out and casually sauntered to the stage to let the band know his intention to sit in.  I could not hear the words but I could see some of the body language and Symer nod and utter "no problem, of course."  Symer took his electric bass off and proceeded to take out his upright bass that was still dressed in its gig bag in the corner behind the stage.  Chris is one of Seattle's great bassists and fortunately prepared as he had his upright bass.  Milo who had brought his guitar in joined the rest of the band as Wynton started to play Sweet Georgia Brown by himself.  The rest of the band followed and Wynton Marsalis started his mini concert for the lucky several that were present that night.

After a few songs later John went up to Wynton to remind him that I was in the room and wanted to bring me up.  I went to undress my bass from the gig bag and after tuning up (I just put on brand new strings that very day so it was really out) I came up the front side of the stage where Milo put a microphone close to my instrument and I joined in trading bass solos with Symer on a blues tune.  After several choruses another bassist was in the room and approached me.  I yielded to him to take over my bass.  Turns out he was Ben Williams who is a part of the Pat Metheny Group that just did a concert at the Moore Theatre.  He is a great bassist!  He soloed on several blues choruses and just tore it up.  Wow!  Another monster musician just chilling after his concert and sitting in with Wynton Marsalis no less!

I did get a chance to play a tune or two with Mr. Marsalis.  The picture above is evidence of that.  It was an unexpected night and an unexpected treat and thrill to share the stage with one of the planet's best musicians and brilliant trumpet players.

Big thanks goes to Milo Petersen who called me at almost 10pm to alert me to what turned out to be a very serendipitous evening.  Thanks to Eric, Chris, and Jose for letting me sit in and partake in this very cool experience.  Thanks to John Roche, my dear friend who is a trumpeter and an in-room dining manager at The Fairmont Olympic Hotel where I play every Friday and Saturday nights in The Georgian.  He is a New Orleans native and childhood friend of Wynton, Branford, and the Marsalis family.  John is the connection to Wynton for whom his appearance was made possible on this rainy Tuesday night at the Owl and Thistle.







Please visit our YouTube channel to see and hear highlights of Jazz in The Georgian, and Smooth Groove Productions special events.




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Jazz in The Georgian every Friday and Saturday nights, 6pm-10pm at The Fairmont Olympic Hotel, 411 University Street, Seattle, Washington 98101, 206-621-7889.


For booking inquiries of Emmanuel del Casal Jazz Ensembles,
please write to emman@smoothgroove.net
Or, call us at 1-866-771-2500.



Elevate your event with live music.  We don't miss a beat!

Jazz in The Georgian, March 7, 2014


On Friday, March 7, 2014 we had the introduction of fabulous accordion player Hugh Sutton make his first appearance in The Georgian at The Fairmont Olympic Hotel in the heart of downtown Seattle.  I met Hugh at a jam session party just after the New Year in early January.  Hugh's dexterous accordion playing stood out in a room that had many fine musicians that evening.  We exchanged numbers and a few weeks later connected.  A discussion of many songs we knew in common revealed that we could work together.

We had a sparse crowd this night in The Georgian.  But those who were present heartily voiced their approval as well as the restaurant wait staff who have heard all of the stellar jazz players that visit this extraordinary fine dining room on a regular basis.  Hugh again stood out as well in The Georgian.

Hugh is a native Seattleite.  He went to Summit K-12 school and attended Cornish College of the Arts 1986-1989 as a pianist.  Hugh performs regularly several times a week in Seattle.

Here are a couple highlights from our gig.

This is a fine Antonio Carlos Jobim song called How Insensitive:
How Insensitive

This is a cool version of Wayne Shorter's Footprints:
Footprints


It was a treat to have the the sound of the accordion in The Georgian especially expressed with the fine skill and musicianship that Hugh brings.  We will be looking forward to more of Hugh Sutton as I am confident the dining guests of The Georgian will be finding out.






Please visit our YouTube channel to see and hear highlights of Jazz in The Georgian, and Smooth Groove Productions special events.




Follow us on:




Jazz in The Georgian every Friday and Saturday nights, 6pm-10pm at The Fairmont Olympic Hotel, 411 University Street, Seattle, Washington 98101, 206-621-7889.


For booking inquiries of Emmanuel del Casal Jazz Ensembles,
please write to emman@smoothgroove.net
Or, call us at 1-866-771-2500.



Elevate your event with live music.  We don't miss a beat!