Cascade Jazz has been performing in the Seattle and Eastside area since 2000. The group has appeared in many annual community festival concerts such as Issaquah Salmon Days, Snoqualmie Railroad Days, and the Festival at Mt. Si. The ensemble was also the featured jazz act at the Mountain Meadows Festival in 2010, and was selected to perform at the 35thAnniversary Celebration of the Total Experience Gospel Choir in Seattle in 2010.
The Cascade Jazz Quartet has also been the house band at Valley Center Stage in North Bend since 2006. The group’s first CD “Valley Breezes” contains John Chmaj’s “Snoqualmie Suite”, a full suite of original jazz based on the natural sights and sounds of the Snoqualmie Valley. The Snoqualmie Suite was performed with original nature video and live dance as a feature event at the North Bend Centennial celebration in 2009. The group’s second CD, “Mantras”, creates a unique treatment of modern jazz pieces focused around the development of repeating rhythmic, harmonic and melodic figures.
Cascade Jazz has also performed live to silent classics annually for 12 consecutive years. Their Movie Madness celebrations have included such films as “Nosferatu”, “Metropolis”, “The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari”, and “Faust.”
Meet our ensemble:
Vocalist Susanna Fuller has performed in concerts, conventions, television and stage productions in the Seattle area over the past 25 years. She can perform with equal ease in classical/opera, jazz, pop, country, show tunes and world music styles. Susanna is an experienced singer, songwriter and recording/voiceover artist as well as a comedienne, actress and vocal coach. She brings passion, creativity and class to every performance.
Susanna is a long-time resident of Maple Valley, WA.
John Chmaj (pronounced “Shmay”) has been performing in the Seattle area since 1996. John received his Bachelor of Arts in Jazz Composition/Arranging from the Berklee College of music, and Master of Music in Theoretical Studies from the New England Conservatory. He was hired directly after graduation to the faculty of the Conservatory to teach graduate and undergraduate theory.
John is also a multi-media designer and has composed many pieces for music plus animation and visualizations of the music. His “Snoqualmie Suite” multimedia music/film presentation was featured as part of the North Bend Centennial Celebration in 2009.
He has lectured and performed in both Europe and America and has over 200 original jazz compositions to his credit. John plays a variety of instruments and composes and arranges regularly for the group. He resides in Sammamish, WA.
Percussionist Brian Gmerek’s initial journey in jazz began in the late 70’s when he was the drummer for a big band jazz ensemble in Michigan, where he completed his Doctor of Pharmacy degree at the University of Michigan.
Brian’s musical life has taken him through pop, rock, Christian rock, and theater; in venues from small clubs to university stadiums. He applies his diverse musical experiences to each performance to create an orchestral approach to percussion.
Brian resides in North Bend, WA, in the heart of the Cascades.
Ryan is a bass student at Central Washington University, having received a scholarship towards his music degree. Ryan was one of the finest musicians to emerge from Mt. Si High School in North Bend, WA in recent years. He has been regularly featured at Boxley’s jazz club, where he and Brian were part of the house trio for the “Future Jazz Heads” young musicians’ jam for several years.
Ryan is at home equally on acoustic and electric bass, and is fast becoming a unique and powerful solo voice of every ensemble he performs in. He is currently residing in Ellensburg, WA.