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The suite sound of the Jerry Steinhilber Trio

Band celebrating physical release of new album with Nov. 15 show

The Jerry Steinhilber Trio is celebrating the physical release of its new album
The Jerry Steinhilber Trio is celebrating the physical release of its new album
By Jesse Stanton CDN Contributor

One thing I’ve noticed over the past few years of following the local music scene is that while we have an abundance of talented jazz musicians in the area, they rarely seem to record. 

I don’t know if that’s because of the improvisational nature of the music, or the ephemeral aspect of so many of the bands. Either way, I was glad to hear earlier this year that the Jerry Steinhilber Trio had put out an album entitled “Four Suites.” So far it’s just been available to stream digitally, but they’re going to be celebrating its physical release with a show on Wednesday, Nov. 15 at the FireHouse Arts and Events Center.

The album was recorded at Sharp Nine Studios with Jud Sherwood from the Jazz Project producing and Brian Cunningham as the engineer and mixer. It consists of four extended suites, each drawn from the music of a jazz legend but then carefully arranged by the group so that the source compositions flow into longer works. 

Three of the suites are drawn from the works of specific composers: Thelonious Monk, John Coltrane and Miles Davis. The fourth, “Ahead of Their Time Suite,” combines pieces by three composers from a slightly older generation: Lennie Tristano, Lee Konitz and Wayne Marsh.  

The trio formed not long after drummer Steinhilber moved to Bellingham from Nashville about seven years ago. After he connected with bassist King Dahl and saxophonist Josh Cook, they knew they wanted to work closely together. 

All three of them had East Coast roots and connections, with Dahl and Steinhilber having studied at Berklee College of Music and Cook at New York University. The sound they have created together is formidable and unique. Without the comfortable chordal padding of a piano or guitar in the group, all three are required by the trio format to push themselves and find creative ways to keep the structure of each piece together. 

The overall effect is adventurous without being esoteric. The arrangements are intricate and full of surprises, leaping from straight-ahead swing to percussive breakdowns and intense bass vamps, with all three members locked in and ready for anything. Of course, it helps that the three are masters of their respective instruments. 

Looking forward, the band is continuing to expand its repertoire. The members have created a new suite based on the music of Wayne Shorter, which they will be debuting at the FireHouse. They’ve reworked their Bill Evans suite, which also isn’t on the album. They’re gearing up for a West Coast tour in the summer of 2024. Jazz fans of all stripes won’t want to miss this performance.

Music news

The folks at Bison Bookbinding recently hosted their first show at their new space in the Granary Building. That one was announced on short notice so I couldn’t attend, but I’m really looking forward to seeing what they do with that space. It sounds like they’re going to have a nice stage, which will mostly host acoustic music, organized by folks with deep roots in the local music community. I’ll have more details soon. 

Something about the transitory nature of the Bellingham music scene lends itself to a situation where bands release their first album and then immediately disband (or sometimes the other way around). I can’t criticize, because it’s happened to me once or twice as well. The latest practitioners of this bittersweet move are Lint, who are leaving behind an excellent four-song EP, “Channel Fever,” that splits the difference between grunge and shoegaze. Hopefully, this will be a situation where the members go on to other equally interesting new projects. 


7:30 p.m., Wednesday, Nov. 8, Lincoln Theatre, Mount Vernon
Dervish is, to my ears, one of the most artistically successful of the legion of bands who emerged from the boom in traditional Irish music in the 1990s. They managed to avoid getting carried away with schmalz or flash, and continue making wonderful, solidly traditional music that sounds like nothing more or less than the best pub session you’ve ever heard. They’re playing the Lincoln Theatre Wednesday, Nov. 8.

Speedy Ortiz 
7 p.m., Friday, Nov. 10, The Shakedown
Northampton, Massachusetts’ Speedy Ortiz harkens back to the earlier definition of what we might have called “indie rock” back in the ’90s, with highly melodic songs that also embrace dissonance, ambiguity and tension. I’m distinguishing that here from the modern definition of “indie” where it’s almost synonymous with “mellow.” They’ve had several lineup changes, but the constant has been the distinctive songwriting voice of band leader Sady Dupuis. They’re touring behind an excellent new album, “Rabbit Rabbit,” and will be at The Shakedown Friday, Nov. 10.

photo  Speedy Ortiz is touring behind a new album, “Rabbit Rabbit,” and will be at The Shakedown Friday, Nov. 10. (Photo courtesy of Chris Carreon)  

Luca Striganoli
7 p.m., 9:30 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 11, Mount Baker Theatre
As of my deadline, there were still tickets available for Luca Striganoli’s late show at the Mount Baker Theatre’s Walton Theatre on Saturday, Nov. 11. He’s a virtuoso of instrumental acoustic guitar who incorporates lots of unusual and unexpected techniques, but he combines that with a strong sense of melody and composition, and a knack for adapting popular hits into his own style.


Tuesday, Oct. 31

  • Blue Room: 8 p.m., ELK, Panda Conspiracy, Ari Joshua, more
  • Culture Cafe: 7 p.m., Open Mic
  • Menace: 7 p.m.,  Invitational Blues Jam
  • Paws for a Beer: 5:30 p.m., Mighty Bayou Opossums (music of New Orleans)
  • Shakedown: 8 p.m., Horror Business (Misfits tribute), Warp Detour (punk covers)

Wednesday, Nov. 1

  • Honey Moon: 8 p.m., Open Mic
  • Mount Baker Theatre: 7:30 p.m., Patty Griffin, Hayes Carll
  • Rockfish: 6 p.m., Whistle Lake Jazz Quartet
  • Underground Coffeehouse: 7 p.m., Kitty Obsidian (R&B/pop)

Thursday, Nov. 2

  • Admiralty Lounge: 7 p.m., Blue Collar Grass Band
  • Bistro at Shuksan: 5 p.m., High Peak Trio (jazz/funk)
  • Blue Room: 7 p.m., Atomic Affair, Miles and Ebony Harris and the Deep Cuts, The Problem, Sweetwood, Analog Brass
  • Brown Lantern: 8:30 p.m., Open Mic
  • Farmstrong: 6 p.m., Tom Buenger
  • Honey Moon: 8 p.m., Jazz Jam
  • Shakedown: 9 p.m., GIFT, Archer Oh, Toadmortons (rock)
  • Thirsty Badger: 7 p.m., Open Mic
  • That’s What I Like: 6 p.m., J.P. Falcon and Friends (folk/rock)
  • Wild Buffalo: 9 p.m., Marvel Years, K + Lab
  • Zeeks: 7 p.m., Fritz and the Freeloaders (acoustic rock)

Friday, Nov. 3

  • Admiralty Lounge: 7 p.m., The Moving Hats (Celtic)
  • Aslan: 8 p.m. BJ Block Trio (jazz/funk)
  • Bistro at Shuksan: 5 p.m., Thomas Harris Quartet (jazz)
  • Blue Room: 8 p.m., Serafima and the Shakedowns, Where’s the Exit?, Lavenderhaze
  • Corner Taphouse: 7 p.m., Zach Michaud
  • Eagle Haven: 7 p.m., Michael Dayvid
  • Fireside: 7 p.m., Tom Sandblom
  • Greene’s Corner: 6 p.m., North Country Highway
  • Honey Moon: 8 p.m., Nathan and Jesse (jazz/folk)
  • Mount Baker Theatre: 7:30 p.m., Deb Talan (singer-songwriter)
  • Ritual Records: 6 p.m., Torch, Sam Chue
  • Shakedown: 9 p.m., Inpathos, Opponent, guests (metal)
  • Skagit Cellars: 6 p.m., India Glover (singer-songwriter)
  • Skylark’s: 8 p.m., The Problem (jazz)
  • Stones Throw: 6 p.m., High Mountain String Band (bluegrass)
  • Vault: 7 p.m., Double Trouble
  • WinkWink: 7 p.m., The Cosmic Neighborhood, Spine Readers (rock/pop)
  • Wild Buffalo: 9 p.m., All4Doras, DJ Dance Dance (90s/00s pop tribute)

Saturday, Nov. 4

  • Birdsview: 6 p.m., Ryan Doty
  • Blue Room: 8 p.m., Actress, Kitty Obsidian, Girl Parallel
  • Conway Muse: 8 p.m., Mark Dufresne Band (blues)
  • Fireside 4 p.m., Singers’ Saturday
  • Honey Moon: 8 p.m., Lucas Warford (cabaret folk)
  • Jansen Art Center: 7:30 p.m., Gallowglass (Celtic)
  • Karate Church: 8 p.m., Salamander Collective, Major Feelgood, Analog Brass
  • Make.Shift: 8 p.m., Paperclip, guests (punk/hardcore)
  • Rockfish: 7:30 p.m., Polly O’Keary and the Rhythm Method (blues)
  • Shakedown: 9 p.m., Death Valley Girls, Telehealth, Spirit Award
  • Skylark’s: 8 p.m., Anissa (jazz)
  • VFW Post 1585: 2 p.m., Bellingham Traditional Jazz Society presents Market Street Jass Band
  • Wild Buffalo: 9 p.m., Polyrhythmics (funk)
  • Zeeks: 7:30 p.m., Michelle D’Amour and the Love Dealers

Sunday, Nov. 5

  • Main Street: 6 p.m., Open Mic
  • Mount Baker Theatre: 3 p.m., Bellingham Symphony Orchestra
  • Old Edison: 5:30 p.m., The Davanos (classic rock)
  • Shakedown: 8 p.m., DOA, Boxcutter, Disaster Queen (punk)

Monday, Nov. 6

  • Blue Room: 7 p.m., In Motion Quartet (jazz)
  • Kulshan: 6 p.m., Quickdraw String Band
  • Ramble Tamble: 7 p.m., Shady Groove (acoustic Dead/“hippy bluegrass”)

Tuesday, Nov. 7

  • Aslan: 8 p.m., Jazz Night
  • Blue Room: 8 p.m., Jam:30 (open jam night)
  • Culture Cafe: 7 p.m., Open Mic
  • Greene’s Corner: 6 p.m., Open Mic
  • Menace: 7 p.m., Invitational Blues Jam
  • Ramble Tamble: 9 p.m., Elevator Club ft. Neffy3600 (hip-hop)
  • Ranch Room: 9 p.m., Michael Dayvid
  • Zeeks: 6 p.m., Open Mic

Wednesday, Nov. 8

  • Blue Room: 8 p.m., Vocab Slick, DJ True Justice (hip-hop)
  • FireHouse: 6:30 p.m., Bill Anschell & Peruvian Reunion Trio (jazz)
  • Honey Moon: 8 p.m., Open Mic
  • Lincoln Theatre: 7:30 p.m., Dervish (traditional Irish)
  • Rockfish: 6 p.m., Delta Promenade (acoustic blues)
  • Shakedown: 8 p.m., The Dead Yellers, Cape Flattery, Jay Irwin & the GP Sunsets
  • Stones Throw: 6 p.m., Tom Sandblom
  • Underground Coffeehouse: 7 p.m., WWU Jazz Combo
  • Wild Buffalo: 9 p.m., Riff Raff (hip-hop)

Thursday, Nov. 9

  • Admiralty Lounge: 7 p.m., Paige Woods (folk)
  • Bistro at Shuksan: 5 p.m., High Peak Trio (jazz/funk)
  • Blue Room: 8 p.m., Leo, Astro, Little Rose, Sky Meraki
  • Brown Lantern: 8:30 p.m., Open Mic
  • Buxtons: 7 p.m., Jo Passed, Yomori
  • Farmstrong: 6 p.m., Jeremy Abbott
  • Honey Moon: 8 p.m., The Problem (jazz)
  • Shakedown: 8:30 p.m., Myonia, Morrison Graves, Faith in Strangers (rock)
  • Thirsty Badger: 7 p.m., Open Mic
  • That’s What I Like: 6 p.m., JP Falcon and Friends (folk/rock)
  • Wild Buffalo: 9 p.m., 40 Oz. To Freedom (Sublime tribute)
  • Zeeks: 7 p.m., Groove Doctors (blues/R&B)

Friday, Nov. 10

  • Amendment 21: 7 p.m., Michael Dayvid
  • Aslan: 8 p.m., Tea Seas Trio (jazz/funk)
  • Birdsview: 6 p.m., Ray NeyensBistro at Shuksan: 5 p.m., Thomas Harris Quartet (jazz)
  • Blue Room: 8 p.m., The Whags, Salamander Collective, Whalien (jam-friendly rock)
  • Corner Taphouse: 7 p.m., Saltwater Cowboys
  • Fireside: 7 p.m., Carr Parker
  • Honey Moon: 8 p.m., Doug Allen & the Union Wage (singer-songwriter)
  • Karate Church: 7:30 p.m., No Mars, Jeff and His Army of No One, Drayton (rock)
  • Make.Shift: 8 p.m., Done to Death, Fake Hands, Oath ov Hatred (metal)
  • Shakedown: 9 p.m., Speedy Ortiz, Space Moth, Jo Passed (rock)
  • Skagit Cellars: 6 p.m., Eric Kosarot & Rosahlee (Americana/folk)
  • Skylark’s: 8 p.m., Dry Martini (jazz)
  • Stones Throw: 6 p.m., JP Falcon Grady
  • Vault: 7 p.m., Trio Sueno (jazz/flamenco)

Saturday, Nov. 11

  • Birdsview: 6 p.m., Sandy Rowe
  • Blue Room: 8 p.m., Hockey Teeth, Cuttlefish, Glare Killers (rock)
  • Brown Lantern: 9 p.m., Cozmic Sauce (funk/R&B)
  • Conway Muse: 8 p.m., Kyle Findley-Meier (folk)
  • Honey Moon: 8 p.m., Boris Budd (folk punk)
  • Main Street: 8:30 p.m., The Takers (hard rock)
  • Make.Shift: 6 p.m., Open Mic
  • Mount Baker Theatre: Main Stage 8 p.m., Watchhouse Duo; Walton Theatre 7 p.m. and 9 p.m., Luca Stricagnoli
  • Rockfish: 7:30 p.m., CD Woodbury Trio (blues)
  • Skylark’s: 8 p.m., JP Falcon Grady
  • Wild Buffalo: 9 p.m., Keys N Krates (electronic)

Sunday, Nov. 12

  • Kulshan: 5 p.m., The Devilies
  • Main Street: 6 p.m., Open Mic
  • Old Edison: 5:30 p.m., The Bow Diddlers
  • Wild Buffalo: 8:30 p.m., Shallou (electronic)

Before heading out to listen to live music, check with individual venues to make sure the event is still taking place as scheduled. 

The Beat Goes On is published online Tuesdays and in print Fridays. Email: or Twitter: @JSBhamMusic.

A previous version of this story misstated the date of the Jerry Steinhilber Trio concert. It is Wednesday, Nov. 15. The story was updated to reflect the change at 3:18 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 31. Cascadia Daily News regrets the error.  

A previous version of this story misstated the name of the producer of the “Four Suites” album. Jud Sherwood was the producer, and Brian Cunningham was the engineer and mixer. The story was updated to reflect the change at 11:08 a.m. Monday, Nov. 6. Cascadia Daily News regrets the error. 

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