|Gail Pettis and Clark Sommers|
What better way to spend a sunny Saturday morning than enjoying the exquisite vocal jazz stylings of local favorite Gail Pettis and her dynamic group at the Nordic Heritage Museum. It is my third year of attending this marvelous event – a Swedish Pancake Jazz Brunch as part of the acclaimed Ballard Jazz Festival which typically runs during the third week in April.
Folks of all ages informally gathered around large round tables at the Museum helping themselves to sumptuous pancakes topped with strawberry and loganberry sauces as well as delicious sliced ham and plenty of OJ to go around. I loved how the vibe was very peaceful and mellow, and Gail Pettis’ repertoire certainly accentuated that. She claimed to at first not be familiar with standards as “Secret Love”, “Misty” “Night and Day”, “Honeysuckle Rose” and “Moonlight in Vermont” but sang them all with such finesse and ease that one could never tell! She closed with her searing rendition of “At Last” which drew raves from the appreciative audience. Gail’s rhythm section was second to none and augmented her so beautifully with Belgian-born Bram Weijters’ evocative interpretations on piano, Clark Sommer’s soulful playing on bass, and Kobie Watkin’s sensitive interplay on drums.
It was truly a memorable occasion for everyone with one terrific final mainstage concert wrapping up the festival tonight at Nordic Heritage Museum featuring the Mitchel Forman Quartet, Ray Vega & Thomas Marriot’s East-West Trumpet Summit. If you truly wish to experience all that this amazing jazz festival has to offer for next year, get a head start by visiting ballardjazzfestival.com with the latest concert and artist updates – you’ll be so glad you did!