There was a time when sophisticated singers such as Peggy Lee, as comfortable with jazz as with pop, roamed America’s lounges and cabarets. We seem to be living in an era when that species has happily revived, case in point being the marvelous Holly Cole, who plays Jazz Alley this week. Husky- and sultry-voiced, with a sexy, mischievous wink, Cole, who hails from Toronto and sells hundreds of thousands of albums in Canada, dips into country, jazz, folk and pop with equal aplomb — and allure. There’s occasionally a hint of Norah Jones, but she’s mostly just her own quirky self, singing everything from Gordon Lightfoot and Jacques Brel to Ellington and her own, excellent tune, “You’ve Got A Secret,” on her latest album, “Night.” Cole plays at 7:30 p.m. Thursday-Sunday and at 9:30 p.m. Saturday and Sunday at Dimitriou’s Jazz Alley, 2033 Sixth Ave., Seattle; $26.50 (206-441-9729 or www.jazzalley.com).
High-school jazz bands from Garfield, Newport, Mountlake Terrace, Roosevelt and Ballard high schools strut their stuff this weekend at Starbucks’ annual Hot Java, Cool Jazz showcase. Garfield and Roosevelt are two of three Seattle-area finalists selected for this year’s Essentially Ellington competition, in New York. Hot Java hits at 7 p.m. Friday at the Paramount Theatre, 911 Pine St., Seattle; $20 (877-784-4849 or www.stgpresents.org).
Paul de Barros, Seattle Times jazz critic