Photo by Zachariah Bryan
A pianist with Allison Miller's Boom Tic Boom band plays at the Leif Erickson Lodge as part of the 11th Annual Ballard Jazz Festival.

Slideshow: Ballard comes alive with music for Ballard Jazz Walk

Friday night, April 19, bars and restaurants all over Ballard thumped with the sweet, sweet sound of jazz.

The neighobrhood pulsed with music as strings were strummed, drums were drummed, vibraphones were vibed and pianos were, uh, pianoed. Over 70 Pacific Northwest musicians packed 12 different venues throughout Ballard as part of the 11th Annual Jazz Festival.

We here at the Ballard News-Tribune took it upon ourselves to wander from bar to brewery to bar so we could document a little bit of the action. If you missed out on last night's festivities, you can still try and catch the mainstage concert tonight at the Nordic Heritage Museum with jazz legends Gary Bartz and Lou Soloff (Find more info at, or you can catch some of the bands around town, as most (all?) of them are local.

And, you know, there's always next year.

We started off the night at the Leif Erickson Lodge with Allison Miller's Boom Tic Boom featuring Cuong Vu. Miller was chosen as a "Rising Star Drummer" by Downbeat's 53rd and 58th Critics Poll.

Apparently, Vu and Miller had never played together, and another bandmate she had only practiced with earlier that day. "The best stuff happens when you've never played togevher," Miller half-joked.


Allison Miller on drums, Rene Hart on bass. Photo by Zachariah Bryan


Cuong Vu on trumpet. Photo by Zachariah Bryan

Our next stop was Copper Gate, where we walked past the viking ship bar and through the yawning whale's mouth hallway to witness an intimate performance in the backroom with Marco DeCarvahlo (acoustic guitar), Jon Alberts (piano and melodica) and Tad Britton (drums). DeCarvahlo's guitar playing was both relaxed and seductive, capturing the full attention of a whisperless, aquavit-sipping audience.


DeCarvahlo on guitar, Tad Britton on drums. Photo by Zachariah Bryan

We then hiked across town down to Peddler Brewing by the Ballard Bridge to witness Istvan Rez and Farko Dosumov play guitar and bass, respectively. While they too captured the audience's attention, certainly, Peddler had more the intimacy of a Viking Hall (that is to say, none at all), with glasses overflowing with beer and chatter filling the brewery space. But the noise did nothing to deter Rez and Dosumov, who had no problem jamming in the rowdy space and contributing to the upbeat, jovial atmosphere.


Fark Dosumov on bass, left, and Istvan Rez on guitar, right. Photo by Zachariah Bryan

A hop over to Hilliard's gave music lovers the healthiest dose of vibraphone they most likely have had in a while. The Jovino Santos Neto Quinteno featured three-time Latin Grammy nominee/master pianist Jovino Santos Neto playing alongside vibraphonist Ben Thomas -- aka, a one-man wrecking crew of any and all vibes in his way. With Thomas and Neto leading the way, the Quintento gave one of the liveliest and most energetic performances the Ballard News-Tribune bore witness to on the Jazz Walk.


Jovino Santos Neto on melodica, Ben Thomas on vibraphone. Photo by Zachariah Bryan

At the Lock and Keel, nearing midnight, the audience was getting a bit lively and, uh, full of a special kind of (liquid) courage. The band, Mctuff, advertised as producing a "powerful and jaw-dropping funk and jazz sound like you've never heard," had no qualms about entertaining and encouraging the lively crowd.


Joe Doria on Hammond B3 organ, Cliff Colon on sax, Andy Coe on guitar. Photo by Zachariah Bryan

After a break for nachos at the Matador, we ended the night at Conor Byrne, where the power group Matt Jorgensen +451 delivered an absurdly amazing experience (for lack of more eloquent words). Jorgensen, an in-demand west coast drummer who has a resume longer than your grandmother's ankle-length dress, was unfortunately hiding behind his bandmates and so we couldn't get a clear photo of him. But below are three of his bandmates, who each did their part in contributing to a reading on the Richter scale in downtown Ballard.


Thomas Marriott on trumpet. Photo by Zachariah Bryan


Mark Taylor on sax. Photo by Zachariah Bryan


Phil Sparks on bass. Photo by Zachariah Bryan

Zachariah Bryan can be reached at

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