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-blooded 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, Tim's Tavern and the Vermillion.
In July 2017, Some'tet was one of four bands selected for the annual EarShot Second Century Jazz Festival in Seattle. And during the summer of 2018, Some'tet had a summer long monthly residency at the Musicquarium/Triple Door 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 wild 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.
Some’tet is based on Vashon Island -- a pretty idiosyncratic chunk of rock. There’s a huge and very active music scene there, with an extremely high level of musicianship & of course some pretty distinctive players. Some’tet includes:
Barrett 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, he has studied bass with Karl Netoliczka of the Milwaukee Symphony & with Seattles's own Andy Zydrozny -- both are his two greatest musical influences. Oddly enough Patrick & Whitmore met sitting in on an island Celtic jam, though neither 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 residency at the Sorrento Hotel in Seattle.
Ambrose Kevin Nortness (tenor sax, bass 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.
Dylan Savage (drums, percussion) Originally from Chico, California and a very recent transplant to the northwest by way of Japan, he’s the newest member of Some’tet. He adds a provocative texture to the material, seamlessly shifting from latin beats to free jazz. He perfectly fits the Some’tet post-jazz/nu-jazz vibe.
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.
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 in spring 2017. And later this winter, the band will be heading back into the studio to record their first full length release. Stay tuned.