Maia Santell & House Blend
Northwest jazz and blues vocalist Maia Santell is a descendant of Seattle's Jackson Street era of jazz and swing. Her mom, dad and uncle were prominent musicians in the Northwest music scene for forty years. Maia's talent, phrasing and clear, warm, unaffected vocal style can be attributed to her rich musical heritage, including attending Seattle's Garfield High School, singing in jazz ensembles, musicals and dance bands, and performing at a young age as feature vocalist in John Holte's Radio Rhythm Orchestra and her uncle's combo, The Frank Sugia Quartet.
Maia and her band, Maia Santell and House Blend, deliver with ease a wide variety of material, including jazz, blues, Latin, rhythm and blues, swing, big band, rock and contemporary favorites. They have been performing for twenty five years, at such leading venues and events as Jazz Alley, Tall Ships 2005, Jazzbones, Gray Sky Blues Festival, Argosy Cruises, The New Orleans Creole Restaurant, Northwest Dance Network, Muckleshoot Casino, Studio 6 Ballroom, St. Michelle Wineries and The Tacoma Jazz and Blues Festival, to name a few. With Al Alto on guitar, Ted Dortch on saxophone, Jay Mabin on bass (alternating on harmonica) and Russ Kammerer on drums, Santell puts on an energetic show that appeals to all ages.
The band's versatility has also made them one of the most popular swing and ballroom dance bands in the region, as they accommodate a variety of styles, tempos and rhythms for the beginning dancer, the intermediate dancer and the professional dance coach. Their musical repertoire is similar to the selections on the popular TV show, “Dancing with the Stars,” including songs made famous by Duke Ellington, Santana, Eric Clapton, Peggy Lee, Antonio Carlos Jobim, James Brown, The Beatles, Etta James, Patsy Cline and Ray Charles, to name a few.
Doug Bright of Seattle's Heritage Music Review says, “Maia Santell is one of the Northwest's most dynamic and refreshingly believable vocalists. Her voice is warm, clear and natural, and totally free of contrived theatricality. She exudes the spirit of the early swing era and the vocalists of the 40's and 50's. Supported by the seasoned musicians of House Blend, she offers one of the most exhilarating sounds on the Northwest music scene.”