Seattle’s jazz scene can be traced back as far as the early 1920s, with this genre of music really making its mark between the 1930s and the 1950s. Jazz musician greats like Duke Ellington played the Seattle clubs starting in 1934 and Seattle’s jazz movement even helped spawn the careers of legendary performers like Ray Charles and Quincy Jones. If you’re into jazz music and looking for a great Seattle jazz band to listen to live or book for your event, you can find them playing weekly at a number of Seattle night clubs and bars that feature jazz music.
The Moodswings Jazz Band

Founded in 2005, The Moodswings Jazz Band is the only all-female jazz band in the Pacific Northwest. It is comprised of 19 female jazz music enthusiasts that love to play big band music and swing tunes for public and private events such as concerts, festivals, weddings, holiday parties and social dances. Pacific Northwest events The Moodswings Jazz Band have played include The Seattle Center Winterfest, Ballard’s Nordic Heritage Festival, the FolkLife Festival, Seattle’s Hawaiian Cultural Event and The Alki Beach Art’s Walk. The group has also played at local malls and markets such as Crossroads in Bellevue, The Alderwood Mall, Seattle’s University Village and Queen Anne Farmer’s Market, for special occasions.

Jazz Unlimited Band

The Jazz Unlimited Band has dubbed itself as “the Pacific Northwest’s premier party and wedding band.” This group of professional jazz musicians is available as a two- to eight-piece band, along with male and female singers, and if your event calls for it, professional DJs as well. The Jazz Band Unlimited plays hit jazz tunes from the last 50 years and can incorporate other music genres if you desire, such as waltzes, country and Dixieland, Motown, or Latin, salsa and calypso.

Ronnie Pierce Jazz Ensemble

Ronnie Pierce is a member of Seattle’s Jazz Hall of Fame and was featured in the book, “Jackson Street After Hours: The Roots of Jazz in Seattle,” which was written by author Paul De Barros. Pierce plays a variety of instruments, including clarinet, saxophone, flute, the maracas and he can sing a mean jazz tune. As a staple of Seattle’s jazz community for more than 60 years, he and his jazz ensemble play numerous public and private events where you can listen to all of your jazz favorites, as well as rock-based jazz and everything in between.

Related: Best Seattle Area Jazz Clubs

The Jim Cutler Jazz Orchestra

The Jim Cutler Jazz Orchestra was established in 2004 and features a 16-piece ensemble of the Puget Sound region’s best jazz musicians. The orchestra plays year-round at a variety of concerts, festivals, corporate and private events, weddings and Seattle hot spots for jazz like Tula’s Restaurant and Jazz Club. Jim Cutler and his jazz orchestra are so popular in the Puget Sound area that they have released their own jazz CD via Jamco Music. It features 10 original music tracks that were written by Cutler, along with other jazz artists and composers, James DeJoie and Daniel Barry, and performed by Cutler and his orchestra.

Uptown Lowdown Jazz Band

The Uptown Lowdown Jazz Band was voted as the 2012 Gigmasters winner and has been called “very professional and classy” by its clients. Uptown Lowdown is available as a seven-piece Dixieland jazz band or as a quartet that is known as Uptown Lite. Playing together for 38 years, this professional group of musicians gives one of the best jazz performances and experiences, with music and song choices ranging from classic jazz of the 1920s to the swing sounds of the 1930s and 40s.

Cascadia Big Band

The Cascadia Big Band features 17 Seattle-area jazz musicians that play Big Band jazz music from the swing era. Songs consist of lively instrumentals and dance tunes, to vocal tunes from some of the greatest jazz artists in the world, such as Count Basie, Woody Herman, Thad Jones, Stan Kenton and Mel Lewis. Cascadia Big Band has been known to play numerous public and private events throughout the Puget Sound, including Seattle-area festivals, corporate and private parties, and venues like Tula’s Jazz Club, the Ballard Locks, Mill Creek Town Center and Third Place Books in Lake Forest Park.

Related: Best Places to Discover New Music in Seattle

Sue Gabel has been writing entertainment and travel-related articles in the greater Puget Sound/Seattle area since 1999. She writes about music, the Seattle scene and more. Her work can be found on