Musicians and jazz lovers of all ages were tightly packed into Jazz Alley in late April to celebrate the occasion of some of Seattle's finest professional improvising artists producing one of their own.
The sidemen have come to the front with the release of Portal (Origin) by the Deardorf/Peterson Group.
Bassist Chuck Deardorf, guitarist Dave Peterson, saxophonist Hans Teuber, and drummer John Bishop are each so entrenched in the Seattle jazz scene that it is hard to imagine a scene without them. All have been here most, if not all, of their professional careers. Deardorf arrived in his teens from Ohio. Peterson is a product of Everett. Both have taught for years at Cornish College of the Arts, passing their knowledge on to the future.
Portal, then, seems like the unpretentious essence of the city's jazz community. Straight-ahead jazz brought from the heart by professional craftsmen.
While Deardorf has the presence of a band leader on stage, Portal's program is largely from the pen of Peterson. Seven of the ten tracks are Dave Peterson compositions. A Deardorf improvisation and a pair of standards cover the set. Peterson's own work is rooted in the hard-bop of the sixties and the sweeping melodicism of '80s Pat Metheny.
Pianist George Cables, who made the April Jazz Alley gig (and was featured in a small solo set), is on the record as well, though hardly featured. Cables falls into the spirit of collaboration easily, tastefully supporting the quartet and showing a sensitivity of understanding that betrays his years of playing with Deardorf and Peterson at Port Townsend. So the love and admiration that was so evident at Jazz Alley was refreshing in its depth. Finally these guys have one they can call their own.