Back in April 2013, nylon string guitarist & composer Michael Whitmore began a weekly residency at the Snapdragon Café on Vashon Island, WA. Over the next couple of years this ‘Sunday night jam’ grew into a full-blown ensemble -- the whole jazz, post-jazz, torch songs from Mars, kit & caboodle. Since then, Some’tet has been gigging around the Puget Sound area, playing in venues such as The Sorrento, Musicquarium/Triple Door and the Vermillion.
In July 2017, Some'tet was one of the four bands selected for the annual EarShot Second Century Jazz Festival in Seattle.
Whether performing as a quintet, a sextet, or as a trio the sound is indubitably Some’tet. The music is both composed & improvised. Overall the sound is mellow, almost west coast cool with moments of intense invention. Add a dollop of American primitivism, a touch of neo-bossa nova rhythms, the occasional art song or torch song, a chunk of free jazz, a couple of hooks, a hint of old school, all augmented with some truly soulful vocals. Four elements are important to the music of Some’tet: adventure, beauty, spirituality & soul.
Everyone in Some’tet lives on Vashon -- an island known for its idiosyncratic nature. There’s a huge and very active music scene there, with an extremely high level of musicianship, & of course some pretty idiosyncratic players. Some’tet includes:
Barry Cooper (trumpet, flugelhorn) is originally from Orange County, CA. For many years he performed with his dad, the renowned SoCal educator Dick Cooper. Since moving to Vashon about seven years ago, Barry has been in constant demand for session work & live gigs.
Patrick Christie (upright bass) hails from Wisconsin, where he studied bass with Andy Zydrozny & with Karl Netoliczka of the Milwaukee Symphony -- they're also his two greatest musical influences. Oddly enough Patrick & Whitmore met sitting in on an island Celtic jam, though none of them play Celtic music.
Christine Goering (vocals) met Whitmore at a karaoke session on Vashon. She’s a Seattle native, raised in the Wallingford district. Christine also leads her own soul/jazz/cabaret ensemble, Delilah Pearl & the Mantarays -- they have a monthly residency at the Sorrento Hotel in Seattle.
Kevin Nortness (tenor sax, clarinet, upright bass) is a multi-instrumentalist, educator, composer and a highly regarded player in the northwest jazz scene. He hails from Portland, Oregon. Also, Kevin studied music & composition at Portland State University with jazz great Andrew Hill.
Wesley Peterson (drums) is the newest member of Some'tet. A northwest native, he is easily the most in demand, busiest musician on Vashon Island. Renown for his touch & feel, he adds a very deep element to the grooves and Some'tet's outsider, miscreant play.
Michael Whitmore (nylon string guitar) was a veteran of the Los Angeles jazz & improvised music scene before moving to Vashon Island about a decade ago. He has a few dozen recording credits under his belt as both a leader & as a sideman & has been awarded a NEA Composers Grant.
Other musicians who have played with Some’tet on a regular or semi-regular basis over the last couple of years, & have contributed mightily include: Dianne Krouse -- alto & tenor sax, clarinet. Makena Johnson -- violin. Bill Moyers -- hand percussion, tabla. Dodd Johnson -- drums.
Some’tet definitely has fun. Think 60’s era jazz eclecticism meets Twin Peaks, dancing in Rio de Janeiro to a slow jam, a whiskey & soda in hand, and your Nana is catering the gig under a yellow hoodoo moon.
They're first EP "Steps" was released this past Spring 2017. And later this year, the band will be heading back into the studio to record their first full length release. Stay tuned.