Back in April 2013, nylon string guitarist & composer Michael Whitmore began a weekly residency at the Snapdragon Café on Vashon Island. Over the next couple of years this ‘Sunday night jam’ grew into a full-blown ensemble -- the whole jazz, post-jazz, new music, 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.
Performing mostly as a quintet, but often as a sextet, occasionally as a trio -- but always, indubitably, Some’tet -- the music is both composed & improvised; the overall 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, outsider music, augmented with some funky grooves & 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, and of course some pretty idiosyncratic players. Some’tet includes:
Barry Cooper (trumpet, flugelhorn) hails from Orange County, CA. For many years he performed with his dad, the renowned SoCal educator Dick Cooper. After moving to Vashon about seven years ago, Barry has been in constant demand for recordings & live gigs.
Patrick Christie (upright bass) hails from Minnesota, and 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.
Dodd Johnson (drums, percussion) is from Minnesota and has played with dozens of bands from rock to free jazz. He too is in demand, especially within the jazz & blues scene based on Vashon Island.
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 the newest member of Some'tet, and a new resident to Vashon Island. A multi-instrumentalist, he hails from Portland, Oregon. Kevin studied music and composition at Portland State University.
Michael Whitmore (nylon string guitar) was a veteran of the Los Angeles improvised music scene before moving to Vashon about a decade ago. He has a few dozen recording credits under his belt as both a leader and as a sideman and has received 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, and have contributed mightily include: Dianne Krouse -- alto & tenor sax, clarinet. Makena Johnson -- violin. Bill Moyers -- hand percussion, tabla. Michael Marcus -- upright bass.
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.
Some’tets first EP, “Steps” is now available. Another release is expected this winter 2017/18.