SEQUIM — Friends of Brubeck, a jazz combo based in Sequim, will perform Saturday and Sunday at Olympic Theatre Arts, 414 N. Sequim Ave.
Saturday’s show begins at 7:30 p.m., while Sunday’s begins at 2 p.m.
Performing will be pianist and band leader Linda Dowdell with Craig Buhler on reeds, Ted “Groove King” Enderle on bass and Terry Smith on drums.
“We play Brubeck songs and also music I feel I have arranged in what I would call a ‘Brubeckian’ fashion,” Dowdell said this week.
“What would Dave do? I would say it is a sophisticated, world-class jazz improvisation.”
Joining the group is vocalist Elinore O’Connell of New York City.
“Our special guest, Elinore O’Connell, brings out an additional set of colors from our palette,” Dowdell said.
Tickets are $20 and available online at olympic theatrearts.org or at the theater box office, 414 N. Sequim Ave. The box office is open between 1 p.m. and 5 p.m. weekdays and can be reached by phone at 360-683-7326.
O’Connell’s career ranges from appearances on Broadway to First National Tours, according to a news release, and she sings a wide range of musical genres.
O’Connell has been flying out to the North Olympic Peninsula each year for the past five years to spend a few weeks performing with Friends of Brubeck, she said over the phone this week, and to teach for the Musical Theatre Intensive for Teens summer workshop with Dowdell, which is now in session in Sequim.
“I very much enjoy this annual trip to the Pacific Northwest,” O’Connell said.
“I enjoy the combination of training young people who are exploring careers in the very competitive fields of theater and performance.”
The trip is highlighted by her time with Friends of Brubeck, she said.
“We literally pick a song, pick the keys and we have a musical conversation,” she said.
“I am the entrance into music for the audience, and then the band just takes them where they want to go.”
“Dave Brubeck is a household name in much of the world,” Dowdell said.
“When he died in 2012, saxophonist Craig Buhler suggested that [we] perform some of Brubeck’s memorable songs at a local gig.”
Since then, “the duo has become a quartet focusing not only on Brubeck’s classics such as ‘Take Five,’ ‘Blue Rondo a la Turk’ [and] ‘Three to Get Ready’ but other songs as well — arranged in styles that blend classical and jazz music with a somewhat ‘Brubeck-ish’ result.”
Dowdell finds Brubeck’s music inspirational due to its classical and improvised mix, she said.
No stranger to odd or mixed meters, she has logged many years with dancers, choreographers and musical theater composers, performing with great artists including Mikhail Baryshnikov and Yo-Yo Ma, according to a news release.
Buhler said he has always had an interest in Brubeck’s longtime musical partner, Paul Desmond, and has spent the past several decades trying to “get inside Desmond’s head.”
For more information, call 360-683-7326 or visit olympictheatrearts.org.
Features Editor Chris McDaniel can be reached at 360-452-2345, ext. 56650, or cmcdaniel@ peninsuladailynews.com.