Jazz Musician, Pianist, Composer, Arranger, Educator, Jazz Club maker, Music Teacher, Husband and Father of Three, … and former tech entrepreneur
As a Jazz pianist, Danny Kolke is known for his aggressive technique, passionate voicings and hard swinging blues and gospel feel. As Jim Wilke (KNKX / Jazz After Hours Public Radio International) has said, “if you like trio’s like those of Oscar Peterson and Gene Harris, you are going to like this trio.”
Danny plays piano with his trio every Sunday at the Firehouse in North Bend and he has three CD’s on the Pony Boy Records label. His most recent CD, “Danny Kolke Trio +One Featuring Pete Christlieb”, add’s Pete’s amazing legendary Tenor sound to the dynamic group. It’s a must have to any Jazz fan’s collection. Danny’s other Trio recordings are “Sunday Nights, Live at Boxley’s” and “A New Meaning”.
[More info on Danny’s CD’s are available here.]
Jazz club and restaurant…
In 2009, Danny founded Boxleys jazz club, clearly the “Best Jazz Club in North Bend Washington”. But Boxleys became known around the world, becoming ranked as one of the best Jazz clubs in the world according to Downbeat Magazine. Boxleys was an amazing and almost magical place from the day it opened until 2016 when they decided to close it’s doors and focus on the nonprofit organization.
[Read more about the Boxleys Story here.]
In 2010, Danny founded the Boxley Music Fund (now JazzClubsNW), a nonprofit 501c3 based organization committed to helping support live music performance and Jazz education. JazzClubsNW is a membership based organization that pays musicians to host clinics and workshops, public performances as well as organize Jazz & Blues festivals. For more than 7 years JazzClubsNW is turning out to be a big success supporting efforts to promote Jazz education and performance across the Northwest. JazzClubsNW has also sponsored Jazz nonprofits in Bellingham and Tacoma Washington as well as launching Jazz Festivals in Tacoma, Olympia and North Bend. Danny continues to serve on the board of the organization and volunteer at numerous events. If you aren’t a member yet, you should be.
[More info at jazzclubsnw.org]
Jazz & Blues Festivals…
In 2012, Danny founded the North Bend Jazz Walk and in 2013, the North Bend Blues Walk. Both events feature local and regional artists performing in restaurants, a movie theatre, cafe’s, coffee shops, retail stores, car dealerships, etc. all turned into venues for the night. Hundreds of musicians have performed at these festivals and thousands upon thousands have attended over the last several years having a tremendous impact on the community and musicians. These festivals are still in operation and largely organized by volunteers.
[More info at: northbendjazzwalk.com and northbendblueswalk.com]
As the son of a Baptist minister, Danny grew up playing music in church. When he was fourteen he became the regular church pianist developing a large repertoire of traditional hymns. He is still playing piano and leading worship music today at Cascade Covenant Church where he and his family now attend. Of course the music is more contemporary but he slips in some more traditional gospel riffs, traditional hymns and jazz chords when he can.
Tech Entrepreneur… (now former)
As a Technology Entrepreneur, Danny has had a long history in the area of software as a service and Web-based applications. Since founding Etelos in 1999 as a dotcom, he persisted in leading the organization for 16 years in various roles from founder to CEO, CXO and CTO. Danny worked with developers and businesses alike building and distributing Web-based software as a service.
In 2007, Danny achieved recognition as one of the most influential people on the internet for writing CRM for Google, a web based contact management application that worked with Google Apps. From there his company grew substantially and Danny decided to step aside for a bit and let others run the company. The company went public, and eventually ran into trouble with the collapse of the stock market in 2008. Danny stepped back in as the CEO of the public company focused on doing a turnaround for the next 2 years. After 2 years of running a public company, Danny stepped aside again and served as CTO from 2010 until 2015. During those years the company successfully launched innovative solutions for distributing web applications throughout the America’s and Europe eventually changing it’s name to Cloudward, launching a new framework for deploying and customizing applications on Google’s Cloud platform. Etelos and Cloudward represent a tremendous experience over 16 years, working with great people and customers. However, Danny is no longer involved at this time.
As an inventor, Danny is named on five patents plus an open source project for a programming language called EASE, the English Application Scripting Engine. The basic premise of EASE is to make it so anyone can create a web application with complex functionality, through writing code in conversational English and the framework will convert it into whatever needs to happen to make things just work. Danny, Etelos and Cloudward have written hundreds of applications in EASE including CRM for Google and many others. As a more recent example, If you had ever been into Boxleys, you probably notice that the servers take orders on their iPads. Well, that is an application written by Danny, in EASE, on his spare time. In 2016, Danny went to work for Microsoft, consulting with large enterprise customers on their Azure cloud solutions. November 2018, Danny joined AWS Professional Services focused on helping large enterprises with their cloud strategy. June 15th 2021, Danny logged out of his corporate laptop to focus on music first, and making time for some other projects.
On A Personal Note…
So I made another big jump on June 15th, 2021. I logged out of my work laptop for the last time. I decided that life is too short to not do what I love, so it is time for me to leave corporate America, and I am going to be a musician, first. I am going to teach more piano, pick up more gigs, practice and write music. Record more. Start a recording studio for my favorite jazz artists. Run a jazz festival and a blues festival. Run the non-profit I started 12 years ago. And maybe when I get bored, or need to fill some gaps, pick up some part-time work by helping people I care about with their businesses.
Although the world of tech has been good to me, it’s music that I love. I believe God put this gift in my heart, and I am going to give it the proper attention it deserves.
Let me know if you want a piano player for a gig, a crazy jazz piano teacher, or if you want help starting a Jazz club or festival, or if you want me to tell you what you are doing wrong with your company. Hope you are doing what you love to do, today!