In Progress - The Jim Cutler Jazz Orchestra Album Cover - Box torn open containing music

In Progress is the debut CD of the Jim Cutler Jazz Orchestra, and features original compositions and arrangements by Jim and co-founder Daniel Barry. The ensemble was formed in January of 2004, becoming the house band for Tula’s Restaurant and Jazz Club, performing nearly every Sunday night until their run of Sunday nights ended in 2018.

“This big band really sparkles on its new album, ‘In Progress,’ which features some hot, complex and swinging arrangements.”
— The Seattle Times

“An album that never lets you down… The JCJO certainly enhances Seattle’s burgeoning stature as a mecca for high-quality jazz, and placing ‘In Progress’ on one’s list of the best big band albums of the year is a no-brainer.”
— Jack Bowers,

“Cutler’s (big band) is one of the best of the current crop. Execution and solos are first rate. Cutler and Daniel Barry write beautifully.”
— Doug Ramsey – author, contributor to Jazz Times and Downbeat, Rifftides

“This three-year-old ensemble shows Stan Kenton muscle.”
— Downbeat Magazine

“Cutler’s music is confident, swinging and exuberant and extends the modern tradition. Daniel Barry’s Music is like a visit to a South American carnival… It all comes together here.”
— Jim Wilke, Jazz Northwest

Mack’s Place is a shuffle that finds its groove early and never gives it up. Named for Tula’s proprietor Mack Waldron, it was only fitting to let Chris Amemiya on bone “take a ride.” With a sax soli, shout chorus, and a bass solo by Philip Demaree, this tune has it all. — JC
Soloists: Chris Amemiya, Trombone – Philip Demaree, Bass

Milky Way Mambo This intoxicating piece begins very simply, but then flies across the galaxy using spiral shapes that include glissandi, wild plungers in the brass and a trip around the musical circle of 5ths. Though not technically a mambo, this title sounded much better than Milky Way Cha Cha. Enjoy the flute of James DeJoie as it soars through the Milky Way. — DB
Soloist: James DeJoie, flute

Alan Weight Speaking was written in memory of Alan Weight, a great musician, mentor, and friend, and Mike Mines pays perfect homage with his graceful flugelhorn melodies. The piano solo by Steve Rice lays a foundation for Mike’s improvised solo as he navigates the maze of chord changes with ease. — JC
Soloists: Steve Rice, Piano – Mike Mines, Flugelhorn

Get In the Game taps into the jazz tradition of “borrowing” chord changes from great standards, and if you listen closely you’ll hear a tribute to the original melody (you get to guess what it is). It was a fun piece to write, it’s fun to play, and it really swings! — JC
Soloists: Al Keith, Trumpet – Jim Cutler, Tenor Saxophone

Encontro das Águas (Meeting of the Waters) was originally written for the Banda Amazonas and received its premiere at the Theatro Amazonas in Manaus, Brazil under the direction of Maestro Rui Carvalho. Manaus marks the confluence of the Rio Negro and the Rio Solimões. These giant rivers combine to form the Amazon. It is a very powerful place. — DB
Soloist: Daniel Barry, Trumpet – Chris Amemiya, Trombone

Dreamcatcher was commissioned by Musicworks Northwest in tribute to longtime Northwest trumpet player, band leader, and music educator Roy Cummings. Roy’s legacy thrives through the careers of his many students and it is an honor to contribute to his memory with this composition. — DB
Soloist: Steve Rice, Piano – Jim Cutler, Tenor Saxophone – Scott Ketron, Drums

Dear Lord was inspired by John Coltrane’s original recording. The tenor solo is simple and lyrical, creating space for the horn backgrounds which capture the elegance brought to the original rendition by McCoy Tyner. Brian Kinsella’s gracefully twisting and turning solo has us forget for just a moment that we’re listening to a big band, but the horns return and build to the final flurry. — JC
Soloists: Brian Kinsella, Piano – Jim Cutler, Tenor Saxophone 

In Progress starts with just a bass line, which is how the piece was originally composed – the angular bass line was written with no melody or chord progression in mind, and the rest of the elements grew from that foundation. Musical thoughts, colors, and voicings sneak, pop, and jump in as the motif develops, until finally the melody and harmonies are clear. Steve Kirk and Richard Cole demonstrate their virtuosity, and momentum continues to build until the music can take no more and the piece slowly returns to its origins. — JC
Soloists: Steve Kirk, Trombone – Richard Cole, Tenor Saxophone 

Autumn Mist was originally written for sexted, arranged with counter-melodies and rhythmic punches to sound like a larger ensemble, so it was a natural transition to a big band arrangement. Al Keith and Chris Fagan capture the energetic jazz samba feel, with Chris Monroe on drums driving the pulse from beginning to end. — JC
Soloists: Al Keith, Flugelhorn – Chris Fagan, Alto Saxophone – Chris Monroe, Drums

The Checkered Demon is a sultry tenor sax feature executed in appropriate demonic fashion here by Richard Cole. In fact, this piece probably should have been written for Rich, so we’ll just say (in Checkered Demonic tones) that it was. Listen closely and you can hear the demon’s laugh. — DB
Soloist: Richard Cole, Tenor Saxophone

May Day is a celebration of springtime. The somber opening dirge gives way to a raucous Cha Cha. After marvelous solos by Susan, Steve and Mike, counter melodies eventually combine to create a festive circus of musical life. &mdash DB
Soloists: Susan Pascal, Marimba – Steve Treseler, Alto Saxophone – Mike Mines, Trumpet

View From The Top is a salute to the fabulous big band era of the 1940’s. The virtuosic solo parts are heroically performed by Al Keith and Jim Cutler, along with exuberant drumming from Greg Williamson. View from the Top was commissioned by the Mount Si High School Jazz Ensemble. — DB
Soloists: Al Keith, Trumpet – Jim Cutler, Tenor Saxophone – Greg Williamson, Drums

Twilight Dawned provides the perfect coda for what otherwise is a driving disc. This tone poem peeks inside the gentler side of the band, and the subtle nature of this composition speaks for itself. — JC

— Composer Notes by Jim Cutler & Daniel Barry



  • Steve Treseler (Lead Alto)
  • Vanessa Sielert (Alto)
  • Jim Cutler (Tenor)
  • Richard Cole (Tenor)
  • James DeJoie (Baritone)
  • Lisa Gordanier (Lead Alto/Soprano, tracks 1, 8, Alto, tracks 4, 7 , 10, 12)
  • Chris Fagan (Lead Alto, tracks 3, 9)
  • Paul Gillespie (Tenor, tracks 5, 6, 8, 10)


  • Dennis Haldane (Lead)
  • Mike Mines
  • Al Keith
  • Daniel Barry
  • Peter Green (track 6)


  • Chris Amemiya (Lead)
  • Steve Kirk
  • Chuck Wiese
  • Nelson Bell (Bass)
  • Emily Asher (tracks  4, 7, 10, 12)


  • Steve Rice (Piano)
  • Philip Demaree (Bass)
  • Chris Monroe (Drums, tracks 1, 3, 8, 9)
  • Scott Ketron (Drums, tracks 2, 5, 6, 11)
  • Greg Williamson (Drums, tracks tracks 4, 7, 10, 12)
  • Susan Pascal (Vibraphone, Marimba, tracks 2, 8, 9, 11)
  • Brian Kinsella (Piano, tracks 4, 7, 10, 12)


  • Producers: Jim Cutler & Dave Pascal
  • Recording Engineer: Howard Mostrom
  • Recorded at: Triad Studios, Redmond, WA, January 29, 30, February 6, 7, 2005
  • Edited and Mixed by: Dave Pascal
  • Mastered by: Rick Fisher, RFI Mastering

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