Earshot Plug

Earshot Plug: Nelda Swiggett Trio at Tula’s
by Katy Bourne, October 20, 2010

The Earshot Jazz Festival is in full swing with outstanding jazz performances taking place at clubs and concert venues across the city. The roster of artists is exquisite as usual. Although it will be impossible to hit all of the shows, I will be making noise about some of the performances that I think are worth checking out.  I am all about the locals and I’m happy that Earshot is featuring many hometown artists in the festival this year.

Tonight, I am giving a shout and a hollah out for Nelda Swiggett, who will be performing with her trio at Tula’s tomorrow night, Thursday, October 21, 2010. Nelda is an extraordinary jazz pianist and composer and has been around the Seattle scene for many years. Nelda’s longtime trio includes Chris Symer on bass and Byron Vannoy on drums. A few months ago, I had the good fortune of seeing this band in action. It was a true knockout performance; everyone  on the bandstand brought her/his A-game and this mighty trio couldn’t have been tighter. It is easily on of the best performances I’ve seen this year.

Nelda’s new CD “This Time” (OA2 Records) was released in March of this year. Nelda’s carefully crafted compositions convey a depth of feeling and a broad range of musical expression that includes gorgeous melodies as well as rhythmic sophistication. Nelda sings on three of the songs. Her vocals are lovely and delicate and dovetail beautifully with her playing. Chris and Byron are also featured on the recording.

Nelda and I are friends. We’re both moms and we both have kids in the Garfield High School jazz program. Like me, she has many demands on her time and her person.  I admire her ability to juggle many balls at once, while still maintaining a focus on her music, as well as an easygoing demeanor. She is an inspiration to me.

Nelda is a gem, and we’re extremely fortunate to have her here on the Seattle music scene. It is right and fitting that the powers that be at Earshot have included her in this year’s festival. There is no question in my mind that this will be a great performance. I hope lots of people will come see Nelda and her band and show some love to a woman who is a wonderful musician, a great mom and a good pal.

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