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Wednesday, May 29, 2013


Hang on, folks, because this region is about to experience some seismic activity, straight up from California, in the form of rocking, swinging, knock-your-socks-off piano music. Carl Sonny Leyland will appear in Seattle and Portland this week and you don't want to miss him. (Show information below)

Even at a young age, Leyland understood American music and made it his own.

I had heard about Leyland long before I met first him at a jazz festival. There he played traditional jazz, one of the types of American music he first heard and loved as a boy growing up in England. From there, he began a career as a pianist that went on to include a move to the United States, nine years as a musician in New Orleans before heading to California, and the development of his expertise and authority in piano blues, country, Boogie Woogie, Rockabilly, and Western Swing. There is no one else like Carl Sonny Leyland.

If you have the idea that no one person could do all of that and do it well, think again. Or better yet, just watch and listen to him playing a wide selection of numbers in the videos on his website, here, including some original compositions. I've included more at the end of this post. You can read his complete biography here.

Carl Sonny Leyland

"I am very happy to have a chance to play in Seattle and Portland and spend a few days in such a beautiful area," Leyland told me. "I have made some great friends there and  hope I can return frequently!"

If you live anywhere within 500 miles of Portland or Seattle all I can say is this: "Get your tickets now to see and hear Carl Sonny Leyland." And time's a wastin'. His first show is this Thursday night, May 30, in Seattle.

Here are your opportunities to hear Leyland in the Northwest:

Thursday, May 30, at Slim's Last Chance, 5606 First Ave. S., Seattle, WA 98108. Phone (206) 762-7900. He will be performing at 9 p.m. as a special guest with the Seattle Rockabilly band The Black Crabs.
On Friday night, he has a private engagement. But you can catch Leyland playing again with The Black Crabs at The Landmark Saloon, in Portland, Oregon. He will perform there at 9 p.m. on Saturday, June 1. The Landmark Saloon is located at 4847 SE Division St., Portland, Oregon. Phone: (503) 894-8132.

Now, here is a special treat for you, a selection of videos beginning with some Boogie Woogie improvisation at house concert. He makes it look so easy.

Here Leyland plays and sings "Stagger Lee." (below)

Or maybe you would prefer some traditional jazz. Michael Steinman, New York jazz scholar and writer and the author of the blog Jazz Lives, included it in a post. It features the Carl Sonny Leyland Trio, with bassist Marty Eggers and drummer Jeff Hamilton, at Dixieland Monterey in 2011. Read what Steinman has to say about these fine musicians (joined by Marc Caparone on cornet) in this post: "My Main Men: (Rockin' in Ventura) ..."

If you're like me and you just can't get enough, come see Carl Sonny Leyland and The Black Crabs while you have the opportunity. Then let's invite him back to the Pacific Northwest soon. He likes it here. When he visited Tacoma last year, my husband and I took him out to lunch at Chambers Bay Grill.

Welcome back, Sonny! See you soon.

Carl Sonny Leyland visited Chambers Bay in 2012

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