About MCMC

The Monktail Creative Music Concern is a collective of composers, musicians and artists based in Seattle, WA who thrive o­n the atypical and exigent; the real weirdo stuff.


The MCMC exists to provide, propagate, promote, produce and preserve creative/experimental/exploratory music and associated art forms in its community through public performance, public and private educational forums, broadcasts, musical and visual recordings, and any other means of documentation appropriate and/or available at any time.


The folks involved get together under different aliases contingent on their predilection within any situation that permits them to exist. Groups range from 2 to 10 players generally, and have free improvisation/spontaneous composition as their underlying principle. Curating these specialized ensembles presents the group members with the unique opportunity to improvise in many different contexts as a performance as one particular unit organically mutates into another, offering the listener the unparalleled, or at least amusing, experience of live, acoustic, sonic gymnastic hallucinations. It’s a gas.


The Monktail Creative Music Concern was founded in 1990 by John Seman and Mark Ostrowski, two high school jazz musicians who sought to explore improvisation in jazz and contemporary music. Realizing their "band" never contained the same players besides themselves, the idea of a collaborative project was born and MCMC is the result. After graduating from the Oberlin Conservatory of Music, Seman moved to Seattle and Ostrowski soon followed from the Berklee School of Music in Boston. By 2000, the pair were abducting performers, artists and other nogoodniks from Seattle’s seedy underbelly toward a revitalized MCMC cause.


Today Monktail musicians hail from Whidbey Island and Long Island to the UK and beyond. The collective is a meeting place of buskers, gigging musicians, and music educators. It serves as a community voice and outlet for people who are both professional musicians and professionals who are also musicians.


Wanting to facilitate a creative dialogue through music, Monktail explores new avenues of performance with its audience. Sounds Outside is Monktail’s annual celebration of adventurous music and community. Since 2006, Monktail have produced this free, all-ages, multi-day festival of jazz and creative music in Cal Anderson Park’s brand new natural amphitheater, enjoying attendance as high as 1,000 people in a single day. Using a combination of community outreach and local business support as its foundation, Monktail uses its breadth and strength to bring the region’s best talent to the stage at a place where the public can experience new music in a new way. Monktail have also hosted free, all-ages new music concerts at residencies in some of Seattle’s most historic venues including The Pearl (2001-2002), the Coffee Messiah (2002-2005), the Blue Moon (2002-2004), Merchant’s Café (2005-2006), the Rendezvous Jewel Box Theater (2006-2008), Molly Maguires (2009-2010) and Faire Gallery and Cafe (2011).


Monktail ensembles have earned a reputation as new music powerhouses up and down the west coast and across the country as Seattle-area music ambassadors. Their critically acclaimed independent record catalog, Monktail Records, has garnered awards in the nation’s top jazz periodicals and exposure through jazz radio nationwide. Monktail have fans in Seattle as well, earning three Earshot Golden Ear Awards and numerous accolades from local media and artist support organizations including 4Culture, Allied Arts, and The City of Seattle.




Support provided by:

  • City of Seattle Office of Arts and Cultural Affairs
  • 4 Culture
  • Allied Arts
  • Artist Trust


Awards include:

  • 2011 Jack Straw Productions Artist Support Program – Artist Residency – John Seman/MCMC
  • 2006 Earshot Jazz Golden Ear Award – Concert of the Year – Monktail Raymond Scott Project
  • 2004 Jack Straw Productions Artist Support Program – Artist Residency – John Seman/MCMC
  • 2002 Tablet Magazine Pretty Good Artist Award – Best Arts Organization – MCMC
  • 2002 Earshot Jazz Golden Ear Award – Emerging Artist/Group of the Year – MCMC



2009 Sounds Outside - Seattle Times
2008 Sounds Outside - Seattle Times
2007 Deal's Number - Mark D. Fefer
2007 MCMC Raymond Scott Project - Elaine M. Hayes [pdf]
2007 Sounds Outside - Christopher DeLaurenti
2006 MCMC Raymond Scott Project - Josie Holtzman
2006 Reptet Do This! CD Review - Dan McClenaghan
2004 Non Grata - Christopher DeLaurenti
2004 Non Grata CD Review - Jerry D'Souza
2004 Floss Unwaxed CD Review - John Kelman
2003 Monktail On The Scene - Alan Jones
2002 All About Jazz - Todd Matthews
2002 Sounds of the City - Jennifer Maerz

Seman and Ostrowski


Founders John Seman and Mark Ostrowski