Afternoon delight: acclaimed artists form trio for series

Marc Seales and Mark Ivester will join jazz educator Bruce Phares for an intimate and informal jazz jam session.

Celebrated jazz pianist Marc Seales and local drumming legend Mark Ivester will be the featured guest artists in the next installment of the “Jam in the Atrium” series, to take place at 1 p.m. Saturday, March 4, at Vashon Center for the Arts (VCA).

Seales and Ivester will join local bassist and jazz educator Bruce Phares for the intimate and informal jazz jam session, as well as a conversational aspect of the performance that Phares calls “Deconstructing Jazz” — a question and answer session with the artists, as well as the audience, during which aspects of music and improvisation are explained and demystified.

Seales is a Seattle Jazz Hall Of Fame designee, having led his own groups as well as shared stages around the world with some of the greatest names in jazz, including Ernie Watts, Joe Henderson, Art Pepper, Benny Carter, Bobby Hutcherson, Mark Murphy, and others.

His style of playing is praised for his sublime improvisations, phrasing and soloing.

He serves as a professor of music, jazz piano and jazz studies at the University of Washington, and is a beloved mentor of many regional musicians. This will be a reunion performance for Seales and Phares; if you attend a performance at Seattle’s famed Jazz Alley, the first artists’ photograph on the “wall of fame” entry is a shot of the young Seales and Phares (pre-gray hair) from their time performing with fabled singer Mark Murphy in the 1980s.

Drummer Mark Ivester is one of the most in-demand percussionists in the Northwest; he has performed with such luminaries as Greta Matassa, Jovino Santos Neto, Michael Brecker, Charlie Byrd, Barney Kessel, Mose Allison, Eliane Elias, Freddy Hubbard, Mal Waldron and many others.

Phares and Ivester have also performed together many times over a number of decades.

All three jazz artists recently performed together at Seattle’s Royal Room as part of the Musician’s Tribute To Chuck Deardorf that was spearheaded by Phares, gathering more than 30 musicians together to perform selected works in tribute to Deardorf, a legendary bassist and educator who recently died.

Now in its second year, Jam in the Atrium with Bruce Phares reflects VCA’s aim to bring quality music experiences to islanders that build community engagement. The afternoon of jazz is free to all, with donations to the musicians accepted.