Keith Henson Octet to open new season of jazz live at Marine View

By Dave R. Davison

The Jazz LIVE at Marine View concert series takes place on the second Sunday of each month from September through June, offering some of the best jazz in the region. The fall schedule kicks off Sept. 10 at 5 p.m. with an eight-piece “Big Band” — The Keith Henson Octet. Consisting of eight highly-acclaimed musicians, the band showcases classic arrangements for an octet. The group includes leader Keith Henson on tenor sax, Tracy Knoop (head of the Jazz Department at University of Puget Sound) on alto sax, Keith Klawitter on baritone sax, Grammy Award winner Tracey Hooker on trumpet/flugelhorn and Eric Stevens on trombone. The rhythm section consists of Dr. David Deacon-Joyner (retired head of jazz studies at Pacific Lutheran University) on piano, Wayne Bliss on stand-up bass and Steve Bentley on drums. Melanie Vail, “The Tacoma Nightingale,” makes a guest vocal appearance.

“At Marine View,” said Henson, “we will be concentrating mostly on performing music unique to the octet. This includes swinging compositions and arrangements written specifically for the band by local notable Dr. David Deacon-Joyner and Henson, some rare historic arrangements (by Lennie Niehaus and Tadd Dameron), and a world premier of a new piece written for us by the legendary Bill Holman.”

The Keith Henson Octet were the resident band for the B-Sharp Coffee House in Tacoma’s Opera Alley. Unfortunately, the venue had to close its doors due to health concerns of the owner and the talented band of musicians are without a permanent home.

Of the group’s twice-monthly performances at B-Sharp, Hanson notes: “We added many new original compositions and arrangements, and 11 Lonnie Niehaus arrangements that were transcribed for the octet and dozens of arrangements from some of our country’s finest, (Nestico, Holman, Curnow, Florence, etc.). We have also performed four concerts featuring singer Dennis Hasting recreating the original 1950s Torme/Paich recordings with a decktette.” (Decktette or dectet is a term denoting 10 musicians. Here, the core group of eight were augmented by a vocalist and a tuba player.)

The Keith Henson Octet has put out two CDs in recent years: “Our Delight” and “Perkin’” (2000). The band was named as being among the “10 Best in the Pacific NW” by Jim Wilke, the host of jazz radio broadcasts (currently with KNKX).

Admission to Jazz LIVE at Marine View is always free to all ages. Marine View Presbyterian Church is located at 8469 East Side Dr. N.E. — up in the Dash Point area of Northeast Tacoma.

Other shows in the concert series includes New York City based vocal trio Duchess on Oct. 8, drummer and humorist Dave Tull with the Rebecca Kilgore Quartet Nov. 12 and the ninth annual Michael Powers Holiday Jazz show on Dec. 10.

For further information about the concert series, visit marineviewpc.org.

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