Arts and Entertainment

The avant-garde, eccentric, beatnik jazzman: Bub Pratt

Sporting a suit from his first-ever sponsor —ISH Clothing — local jazzman Bub Pratt’s always ready to get down. - Courtesy Photo/Bub Pratt
Sporting a suit from his first-ever sponsor —ISH Clothing — local jazzman Bub Pratt’s always ready to get down.
— image credit: Courtesy Photo/Bub Pratt

It all began with Saturday morning cartoons in Poulsbo.

Then on to a houseboat in Kingston and then to a Volkswagon bus and Olympic College in Bremerton.

That’s the path local jazzman Bub Pratt has tread on an artistic quest since graduating from North Kitsap High School in 1994. Nowadays, you’re likely to find the mop-headed, tropical shirt-wearing, beatnik-type singing Dean Martin tunes with the Olympic College big band, running open mic sessions at the Ironhead Saloon, stringing original jazz at places like The Treehouse Lounge (where he’ll be March 22), or long-boarding down the streets of downtown Bremerton.

“It’s too bad that I’m breaking the law,” he says, skating down Pacific Avenue one day last week, stopping to allow a pack of pedestrians the right-of-way with a smile and a “have a nice day.”

Pratt’s a gentle rebel.

He’s been doing his own thing for the past decade living in Kitsap, making music, teaching guitar lessons and writing poetry and prose.

“I definitely fall into the starving artist category,” he said, peering out the window of Bremerton’s Cornerstone Coffeshop. “But I don’t really have any other choice ... I live my life for creativity.”

It’s a hard life, horrific even, he said. Unstable and unnerving, but oddly and incredibly rewarding at the same time, he added. Now, a father of two, living in a suburban home in Manette with his wife Mary and their kids, Pratt refers to himself as a “man of 1,000 jobs” which have included record shops, music shops, swinging hammers, selling cars and just about everything in between.

“How can I be a good employee if all I can think about is music?” Pratt posed.

Instead, he’s become more of an employee of his music.

It all began with the soundtracks behind the Saturday morning cartoons he’d watched growing up in his parents house in Poulsbo. Mom and Dad listened to old school rock and pop like Peter, Paul and Mary; Crosby, Stills and Nash; Jimi Hendrix; the Beatles and that ilk, Pratt said, but it was the big band swing and jazz behind the old Warner Brothers animations that turned him on.

“All the music that my folks had, I love, but there was something about that swing ... ” he said.

“There’s something about that swing,” he repeats as his feet start to tap, his head starts to bob and his hands start beating rhythms on the table in front of him.

Pratt has played in all sorts of bands over the past 10 years — from an adolescent rock band called Just Add Water in North Kitsap to big bands and jazz combos during his time at OC, to a duo called Ville and Bub, and most recently, the ever-evolving swing/jazz/folk/rock/latin/bossa nova/hip-hop madness that is the Bub Pratt Trio.

And, in addition to releasing three CDs — most recently “Circus Sideshow” on the local independent label Undersea Records last year — Pratt has also authored and self-published three books of poetry and prose.

To that end, concert-goers might get a taste of Pratt’s spoken jazz or instrumental typewriter late in the set at the Treehouse March 22. The show starts at 8 p.m.

THE BUB PRATT TRIO will be jamming at 8 p.m. March 22 at the Treehouse Lounge above the Magnolia Cafe in downtown Poulsbo. 21+, no cover charge.

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