The tradition continues as Jazz LIVE at Marine View brings back the seasonal sounds of guitarist Michael Powers on Sun., Dec. 10 at 5 p.m. Most Pacific Northwest fans of jazz and blues are familiar with the sounds of this dynamic musician and entertainer. The show takes place at Marine View Church, 8469 Eastside Dr. NE, located up in Northeast Tacoma (Brown’s Point area).
“It’s hard to categorize my music, although it usually ends up in the jazz record bins,” says Powers. “If I had to put a label on it, I would call it contemporary instrumental music. It’s a sound rooted in the jazz tradition that keeps pace stylistically with pop, R&B, and blues; with blues being at the core of my inspiration.” One thing’s for sure — you won’t leave his concerts disappointed. He has entertained audiences for more than 30 years and, in the process, built a legion of fans. His contemporary styling on all of our seasonal favorites as well as his own selection of music will dazzle the audience. Appearing with Powers will be his trusty bandmates Eddy Ferguson on bass and Ronnie Bishop on drums. This is one of those “must attend” events of the Holiday season.
Powers was born in New York City in 1960, but grew up in the San Francisco Bay area. His musical career began as therapy, when at the age of 15 he took up strumming the guitar to strengthen his wrist after a skateboard accident. Following his graduation from Berkeley High School when he was 15½, he moved to Seattle and frequented local jam sessions, keeping his fingers on the guitar strings and his mind on making his music reach a wider audience. “I learned how to play by sitting in at as many places as I could, developing eclectic tastes by playing with all types of bands: jazz, rock, blues, R&B, and top 40. I wanted to learn how to play any kind of music that featured a guitar as a solo voice,” said Powers.
As Powers’ musicianship progressed, his interests broadened to include music theory. He enrolled at Seattle’s prestigious Cornish College of the Arts where he graduated Magna Cum Laude with a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Composition and Performance in 1982. While at Cornish, Powers studied under composers Gil Evans and Sam Rivers, bassist Gary Peacock, pianist Art Lande, and trombonist Julian Priester. His style was also influenced by a diverse group of musicians which includes Jimi Hendrix, Carlos Santana, Charlie Parker, George Benson, Stanley Jordan, Miles Davis, and Kevin Eubanks. On stage, Powers has shared performances with, recorded with or shared billings with piano giant Herbie Hancock, classic Jazz saxophonist Eddie “Clean Head” Vinson, B3 master Dr. Lonnie Smith, Ronnie Cuber, Gil Scott Heron, Keiko Matsui, Nancy Wilson, Les McCann, Najee, Tommy Davidson, Dr. Cornel West, the legendary Ray Charles, Afro-pop star King Sunny Ade, Grammy award-winning vocalist Diane Schuur, R&B greats Gladys Knight and the Pips and Atlantic Starr, contemporary jazz artists Ronny Jordan, Tom Grant, David Benoit, sax great Ernie Watts, the Yellowjackets, and the duo of Tuck & Patti. His powerful performances have regularly commanded standing ovations.
Jazz LIVE at Marine View is a series of free-admission community concerts featuring the finest jazz musicians in the Northwest. Admission is free and the show is open to all ages.