By Diane Urbani de la Paz
Peninsula Daily News
PORT TOWNSEND — The summer tradition known as Jazz in the Clubs happens tonight and Saturday, from 10 p.m. to 1 a.m., with a $25-per-night pass covering all venues. These nightly passes are available via www.Centrum.org or at the door of each club. Here's the lineup.
Tonight (Friday, July 26)
■ Public House, 1038 Water St.: Stefon Harris, Jeff Clayton, Terell Stafford, Gerald Clayton, Joe Sanders, Obed Calvaire
■ American Legion Hall, 209 Monroe St.: George Cables, John Clayton, Joe LaBarbera.
■ Manresa Castle,651 Cleveland St.: Sachal Vasandani, Diego Figueiredo, Anthony Wilson, Eric Verlinde, Jon Hamar, Matt Wilson.
■ Rose Theatre, 235 Taylor St.: Vern Sielert, Gary Smulyan, Jay Thomas, Randy Porter, Dave Captein, Gary Hobbs.
■ Khu Larb Thai, 226 Adams St.: Dave Peck Trio with Peck, Jeff Johnson and Byron Vannoy.
■ Key City Playhouse, 419 Washington St.: Jazz Port Townsend workshop participant vocalists.
■ Northwest Maritime Center, 431 Water St.: Jazz Port Townsend workshop participant combos.
■ Public House: Vern Sielert, Dan Marcus,Travis Ranney,Bill Ramsay, Randy Halberstadt, Dave Captein, Julian McDonough.
■ American Legion Hall: George Cables, Chuck Deardorf, Gary Hobbs.
■ Manresa Castle: Rene Marie, Randy Porter, Rodney Whitaker, Obed Calvaire.
■ Rose Theatre: Thomas Marriott, Jay Thomas, Mark Taylor, David Marriott Jr., John Hansen, Chris Symer, Kelby MacNayr.
■ Khu Larb Thai: Dave Peck Trio with Peck, Jeff Johnson and Joe LaBarbera.
■ Key City Playhouse: Jazz Port Townsend workshop participant vocalists.
■ Northwest Maritime Center: Jazz Port Townsend workshop participant combos.
PORT TOWNSEND — Jazz is too complicated. And it gets boring.
Let's face it, those beliefs are out there, says singer Cyrille Aimee. She's heard them — and is more than happy to show her audiences otherwise at Jazz Port Townsend, the festival running through Saturday at eight venues.
Aimee, daughter of a Dominican mother and a French father, grew up in France speaking French, Spanish and English. She's traveled the world making music, and has recorded four albums, including a pair with Brazilian guitarist Diego Figueiredo.
On Saturday night, Aimee and Figueiredo will reunite for one of this weekend's three concerts at McCurdy Pavilion, the giant venue at Fort Worden State Park, 200 Battery Way.
“It will be jazz standards, French songs, Brazilian songs,” Aimee said. “We have a lot of fun together, and we like to make sure the people have fun, too.”
Up there on stage, when the music is flowing, “it feels like home, like where I should be. The person who I am truly is there.”
Jazz enchants, Aimee adds, because it gives “so much freedom . . . It's about how you're feeling that moment and showing what you're feeling” through the music.
Aimee has been teaching this week during Jazz Port Townsend's conference for some 225 students from around the country. Selected participants will form a big band in time for today's Free Fridays at the Fort concert, a noon-to-1 p.m. show on Fort Worden's Nora Porter Commons. Music lovers are invited to bring a picnic blanket or chair and lunch to the free event.
Aimee and Figueiredo are among six artists making their Jazz Port Townsend debuts; another is Bria Skonberg, a Canadian-born trumpeter. Skonberg, 29, sums up her feelings effortlessly.
“Jazz is alive,” she said. “It reflects the human spirit.”
Skonberg delights in the number of horn players at Jazz Port Townsend, among them trumpeters Terell Stafford and Jay Thomas and trombonists Wycliffe Gordon and Jiggs Whigham.
Skonberg and her sextet will appear tonight at McCurdy Pavilion.
The 7:30 p.m. show will bring her group on stage with another young jazzwoman, Israeli clarinetist Anat Cohen, and her quartet. Tickets go from $20 to $42.
Jazz Port Townsend's McCurdy Pavilion concerts continue Saturday at
1:30 p.m. with a three-part show: the Centrum All-Star Big Band with director Clarence Acox offering a salute to Quincy Jones, plus sets by the Clayton Brothers and Stefon Harris and singer Rene Marie and the Sachal Vasandani Quintet.
Tickets to the matinee run $25 to $39.
As for Saturday night's show with Aimee and Figueiredo, that one will also feature the Anthony Wilson Nonet, and start at 7:30 with tickets at $25, $29 and $42.
For information about the festival concerts as well as the Jazz in the Clubs gigs tonight and Saturday, see www.Centrum.org, phone the Centrum office at 360-385-3102 or call the ticket line at 800-746-1982.
Information about the Port Townsend Acoustic Blues Festival, with performances Aug. 2-3, is also at the Centrum website.