East West Jazz Joins MTHS Jazz

As a prelude to our 2019 Jazz Symposium the award-winning Mountlake Terrace Jazz Band join an incredible group of musicians East West Jazz Alliance.  This septet of outstanding artists from Japan and the US is an incredible blend of talent. The East West Jazz Alliance features Phil Sparks Seattle Reparatory Jazz Orchestra Chair for 25 years; Atsushi Ikeda, one of the most famous sax players in Japan; Maya Hatch an incredible vocalist (Roosevelt High School jazz program-to the New School, NYC-to Tokyo); Daisuke Kurata from Japan who studied at the New School and often played the Sportsman’s Club in Harlem; Yuri Hirate, an energetic pianist; and PNW’s own  legend Jay Thomas on trumpet and sax. EWJA joins with the MTHS Jazz Band for a one of a kind experience! Don’t miss this event.  

East West Jazz Alliance line up: 

  • Yasuhiro Kohama on tenor sax and soprano sax
  • Atsushi Ikeda on alto sax
  • Jay Thomas trumpet and sax
  • Maya Hatch vocals
  • Yuki Hirate on piano and trumpet
  • Phil Sparks bass
  • Daisuke Kurata drums

Where: Mountlake Terrace High School Theatre  21801 44th Ave W. (map)

When: 7PM on Thursday, October 24th 2019

Cost: $10 at the door, or purchase online here

Share the Facebook event here


About East-West Jazz:

Yasuhiro Kohama is a musician who has been leading a big band as well as small groups since 1985.  When Kohama was in New York studying in 1984 he had an epiphany while watching the Mel Lewis Jazz Orchestra at the Village Vangaurd.  He realized what he would devote his life to. Creating groups to work together as human beings to create something beautiful. Koham is the spiritual center of our group as well as a monster sax player

Maya Hatch is a multiracial female vocalist with a ton of chops and background in the music. Maya went thru the acclaimed Roosevelt High School jazz program then went to the New School in NY and graduated and recorded a CD with Gerald Clayton.  Maya was in NY when she got a call to go to Japan. When Maya started hitting the clubs in Tokyo she was recognized for her command of the language of jazz. Maya met Kohama on a gig in Japan and they got to chatting and when she said she was from Seattle, Kohama said ” do you know Jay Thomas?” she replied ” yes … he taught my sister!” small world!

Yuki Hirate is a young blood who is a contender on piano. Yuki is amazing in his ability to split his mind into independent tasks…. I saw him pick up the trumpet and start playing unison lines with his left hand on the piano… Ha! that is quite a feat considering the technical difficulties compounded by the fact that the piano and trumpet are in different keys. 

Phil Sparks is an  in demand bass player who has held down the SRJO chair for 25 years and has been a mainstay on the Seattle scene. A scene that is noted for many good bass players. Phil is always in the top company of NW musicians.

 Atsushi Ikeda is one of the most famous sax players in Japan. Atsushi used to live in NY and recorded with the wonderful trumpet player Marcus Belgrace who graced many Ray Charles albums over the years. Atsushi is a prolific writer and player appearing on hundreds of albums.  Atsushi plays with international piano star Makoto Ozone as well as a who’s who of Tokyo musicians

Daisuke Kurata lived for years in NY as well as Japan. When Daisuke lived in NY he played a lot at the Sportsman’s Club in Harlem. Daisuke recorded a CD in NY with Grady Tate singing. Grady was a monster drummer as well as singer and mentor to Daisuke. Daisuke also attended the New School and got way into Latin music in NY and traveled to Cuba to study and get closer to the music.

Jay Thomas, a native of Seattle, is a versatile multi-instrumentalist (trumpet, flugelhorn, alto, tenor, soprano and flutes). His music could be described as earthy and lyrical with the blues and swing always in evidence. Jay grew up in the fertile atmosphere of Seattle’s 60’s jazz scene sometimes subbing for Quincy Jones alumnus Floyd Standifer while still in high school. Clubs such as the “H.O.E.” otherwise known as the House of Entertainment and the Black and Tan and the Llahngaelhyn figured prominently in Jay’s early years of trial and error music making. The end of 1968 saw Jay move to New York where he worked and studied for several years. Highlights include gigging for a summer with Machito’s Latin band, recording for James Moody on the Perception label, and taking private lessons with Carmine Caruso. Three years later Jay added flute and tenor to his repertoire. Through the mid-seventies while living in the S.F. Bay Area Jay met Jessica Williams and went on to record on three of her CD’s.

Jay moved back to Seattle in 1978 and became a frequent member of the house band at Parnell’s Jazz Club working engagements with jazz artists George Cables, Charles McPherson, Bill Mays, Ralph Penland, Harold Land, and Slim Gaillard. At Parnell’s, Jay became friends with jazz masters Zoot Sims and Sal Nistico, among others.  Jay’s first two CDs, Easy Does It on Discovery Records and Blues for McVouty on Stash Records featured Cedar Walton and Billy Higgins. 360 Degrees on Hep Records and Rapture on Jazz Focus continued to establish Jay’s reputation.  Jay’s previous CDs from McVouty Records titled Live at Tula’s, Volume 1 and Volume 2 and 12th and Jackson Blues were live performances and have the feel of the clubs  where Jay was first baptized into the world of jazz. Jay recorded with Herb Ellis on Roll Call and with Bud Shank on On the Trail. This was the last recording by Conte Condoli and Jay is playing tenor and soprano sax in a sextet setting with Bill Mays on piano, Joe LaBarbara on drums, Bob Magnuson on bass, and of course Bud on alto.

Two recordings have Jay teamed up with jazz greats Ray Brown (Blues for Dexter, Wolfetones Records) and Elvin Jones (Jones for Elvin, Hip City Records). Jay has appeared in concert with the bands of Maria Schneider, Bill Holman, and Frank Wess. He has played festivals at Wolf Trap with Red Rodney and Ira Sullivan, the Aspen Jazz Festival with Herb Ellis, Jake Hanna and Mel Ryne (recorded with them on Roll Call), the du Maurier Jazz Festival with Chuck Israels Trio and with the Jay Thomas Quartet. Jay toured Great Britain with jazz legend Slim Gaillard recording there with Slim, Jay McShann and Buddy Tate. In the summer of 2002, Jay again traveled to Europe, this time with the Bud Shank Sextet featuring Plas Johnson. Today Jay is a member of one of Japan’s leading big bands, CUG (Continued in the Underground Jazz Orchestra), and co-leads a sextet with Kohama Yasuhiro and Atsushi Ikeda. Jay tours in Japan, recording and performing, several times a year. Jay is also a member of SRJO (Seattle Repertory Jazz Orchestra) and also has a Neo- Boogaloo Hard Bop band called “The Cantaloupes”. 

Jay is also involved with passing the music on to future generations. He is an adjunct professor at Cornish College of the Arts, and works at the renowned Garfield High School, tutoring kids in improvisation. Jay often does clinics and workshops at universities in the US and Japan and is an instructor in several prominent jazz camps each summer.

Jay has a sound characterized by warmth, lyricism and rhythmic drive….and he’s funky! Hear him when you can, you won’t be disappointed.


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