For a long time I’ve been meaning to check out Tula’s in Seattle. It is located in the Belltown district which is not my favorite part of Seattle (think dodgy). I also wanted to hear the Jim Cutler Jazz Orchestra for a long time now. So when I heard a friend of mine, Dave Anderson, was going to be sitting in on the jazz tenor chair, I decided that I would go. I missed seeing my other friend, a regular with the band, Gordon Brown. Next time bro, next time.
I really luv seeing bands like this one. Well lead, practicing regularly, and with a strong stable of players and subs, this is a happening place to be. With Suzy in tow we wandered in ordered some beers and cheese bread. I recorded three songs before I ran out of space on my camera. But that’s enough for me to piece together a somewhat decent recording.
So what did I learn? I like how they minimized the set list so that it is printed four to a page. I know, sometimes it’s the simple things that count. I looked through their book and about 80% or more was original charts, most by Jim Cutler. Although dictated by the stage, I like how the band stretched out linearly rather in depth. It allow for more of the player to be seen. I like the very inclusive nature of the director Jim Cutler. Everyone is welcome and encouraged to have fun.
Dr. Daniel Barry (SWOJO and Jazz Police director aka front man) sat in on trumpet. I luv hearing what he is up to. Besides writing new arrangements and original charts, Daniel is playing all the time. He is another example, like Jim Cutler, of a rare talent that is a monster on the Seattle jazz scene, but very accommodating to the hobbyist musician.
What you won’t see in my band the Microsoft Jazz Band (not that Mr. Cutler cares ;O)—The solos were too long in the three songs I heard. This is okay for a jazz head audience but in a different setting, I tend to limit the solos making the audience ask for more rather than perhaps thinking, that solo is way too long. Sometimes the better soloists ask for a longer ride, but I would only do that for one or two songs in an hour set.
I would have liked to stay longer, but Suzy works that night so we wandered off into the Seattle night humming “Time after Time”.