Looking for entertainment for your event?
Contact us to inquire about booking sets of 30 minutes or more. Available to play evenings and weekends in the Puget Sound region.
Need a smaller ensemble? Inquire about our Jazz Combo.
Who is the Jazz Band?
Rainbow City Jazz Band plays a lot of classic swing tunes you know and love mixed with a variety of jazz and other genres including blues, funk, latin and more. We play the music you love but also other great music by diverse artists going back through the decades you will grow to love just as much. Our skilled musicians come from all walks of life and with a wide range of identities and experience. We all come together as a family to hone our techniques and sound for lively jams with passionate solos and walls of sound.
The band is backed by Rainbow City Performing Arts, performing instrumental music in Seattle since 1998. Through collaboration and shared resources, we are building a strong lasting legacy in Seattle with a welcome place for those who want to join our mission. All are welcome! Whether you are a member of the LGBTQIA+ community, an ally, differently abled, or still building musical skills, we are committed to securing a space and supporting everyone who is interested in expressing themselves on their instrument.
What the Jazz Band Does
We bring the great songs of the swing era to life, from instrumental swing of the late '20s to vocal hits from the famous big bands of the postwar era and beyond. We play a wide variety of gigs, from jazz club and dance hall entertainment to corporate events and fundraisers to outdoor summer concert series. We've played at wedding receptions, held a Valentine's Day dance, rung in the New Year with music and dancing, and played concerts in local theaters.
More than making music, though, we love to bring people to their feet and onto the dance floor. Whether our audience is a group of expert Lindy Hoppers or couples just struggling to stay off each others' toes, we're happiest when people are caught up in the joy of dancing.
Are you ready to dance? Book us for your next occasion!
Common Membership Questions
How do you engage with the community?
We perform gigs throughout the region including free public performances both North of Seattle and on the Eastside. We also perform for galas and fundraisers for nonprofits aligned with our mission and collaborate with other nonprofits including dance groups.
Is there an audition or cap on membership? What’s the skill level required?
We are an auditioned ensemble and have a cap of members at 18 with some flexibility to add alternate chairs on many instruments. Intermediate skill level or higher is required to be able to learn the music at the pace required. We do support the continued growth of the skills of our members in an accepting environment.
When and where are the rehearsals? How long is the performance season?
Tuesday evenings from 7 - 9:30pm in the University District with free parking and close access to bus and light rail. Rehearsals last through most of the year with a break in August. Typically there are three rehearsals per month unless there is a gig requiring it.
What instruments could I play?
Instrumentation is for: Alto Sax, Tenor Sax, Baritone Sax, Trumpet, Trombone, Piano, Guitar, String Bass, Drums.
How can I join?
Contact us at any time to let us know your interest and we will let you know when there is an opening for your instrument. Consider joining another RCPA ensemble to have first availability for ensemble openings.
Rainbow City Jazz Band's History
The band was proudly known as Purple Passion Swing Band for the first 20 years and had its roots early in the history of Rainbow City Band, when members sought opportunities to perform and bring both music and visibility to venues where a full concert band wouldn't fit - and playing new styles of music. The idea of a subgroup with standard big band instrumentation (saxophones, trumpets, trombones, and a rhythm section) took hold, and Purple Passion held its first "Big Bad Dance" in October 2002 at the Russian Center in Seattle.
After several joint concerts with Rainbow City Band, the band began to perform at other events around the Seattle area, such as several National Train Day gigs at Seattle's King Street Station, fundraising and recognition events for area non-profits, and outdoor summer concerts. As the schedule became busier, the requirement to be a member of the concert band to play in Purple Passion was eliminated, and they became an independent ensemble in the Rainbow City family with an independently selected Music Director. They added formal alternates to the roster of members to improve flexibility and allow the band to commit to more gigs. With more equipment, the band has become more efficient at putting on a gig in a wide variety of venues, from jazz clubs to banquet halls to auditoriums.
In 2023, the band changed its name to Rainbow City Jazz Band to recognize the broader genre variety the band has learned over time as well as to signify the band's deep membership connection to other RCPA ensembles and to uplifting equity and inclusion of the ensemble within the organization. We're excited to see and be seen more in the community!