The Story of Llahngaelhyn

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Collage of happenings at Llahngaelhyn...
Collage of happenings at The Llahngaelhyn run in the Seattle Post Intelligencer by Cary Tolman.

Photo: Prentis Drew
ANNOUNCEMENT: There will be a CD Release Party of Jerry Heldman's original compositions October 12th, 2014! The party is at Sebi's Bistro, 3242 Eastlake Ave E, Seattle, WA 98102, 206-420-2199. Party starts around 6 PM.

The Llahngaelhyn was a coffeehouse in the 60's that featured jazz and folk music. It was located in the University district of Seattle. It started with Larry Coryell having Sunday sessions at the old Queequeg, on the "ave." After a few weeks, Larry moved on to New York, and we continued the sessions at the Queequeg, and included Monday through Friday for our group...the Seattle Jazz Quartet. The group initially consisted of Joe Brazil on reeds, Rick Swann on drums, Dick Dunlap on piano, and Jerry Heldman on bass. The Queequeg also featured name and local folk and blues musicians on weekends, such as The Turkey Pluckers, Steve Lalor, the Ginter Brothers, Mississippi Fred McDowell, Jerry Murry, Davey Coffin, Heather Hammond, Ed Hargadine, Alice Stuart, and many more.

The owner of the Queequeg, Eric Bjornstad, needed to move his other coffeehouse, called the Eigerwand, into the Queequeg, and so a new place was started at the south end of the University bridge. After much debate, a new name was chosen, or rather, made up...Llahngaelhyn. We opened in July 1965, and closed in July 1968.

After a while, people told us that they looked up the name, and that it meant "church by the lake" in one language (across the street from Lake Union), "laughing people church" in another, and "tower fortress" in old English (has a tower on the end of the building). Sometimes, the Llahngaelhyn was the only jazz place in Seattle (like when the Penthouse was flooded out from a fire upstairs). Many name musicians of the time said there was no other place like the Llahngaelhyn...a lot of music played there.

For a time, we had Children's Theater at the Llahngaelhyn. The cast would improvise on fairy tales. The main actors were Bill Billings, Peggy Bull, Howard Thorsen and Julia Selvidge {Heldman}. They were accompanied by Pete Blue on piano. On Sunday nights we had a "hootenanny".......many different kinds of folk music. Sometimes the only regular outlet for this kind of music in the area.

On other nights, and after hours EVERY night, there was jazz. Here is a list of musicians/singers that played/sang/visited/sat in at the Llahngaelhyn...

Nat Adderly
Andy Aldrich
Brady Anderson
Jim Anderson
Eric Apoe
Gene Argel
Walter Zuber Armstrong
Tony Arndt
Anthony Atherton
Keith Baggerly
Barry Barnum
Jesse Bernstein
Pete Blue
Junie Booth
Pete Borg
Joe Brazil {the elder}
Joe Brazil {the younger}
Randy Brecker
Omar Brown
Jack Brownlow
George Burns
Frank Chin
Davey Coffin
Larry Coryell
Chick Corea
Bob Cozetti
Rich Dangle
John Day
Jack DeJohnette
Ben Dorras
Mark Doubleday
Prentis Drew
Arlene Dunlap
Dick Dunlap
Dickie Enfield
Joe Fields
Don Firth
Buddy Flame
Jim Fosso
David Friesen
Jim Gardner
Pat Garvey
Tim Gemmel
Howard Gilbert
Ferd and Ron Ginter
Gary Givens
Stu Goldberg
Howard Goodman
Larry Graham
Sonny Greenwich
Kenny Gronberg
Bob Gronenthal
Steve Haas
Heather Hammond
Ed Hargadine
Fred Harris
Billy Harte
Patti Harte
Barefoot John Hendricks
Dean Hodges
Milo Hubbard
Traff Hubert
Dave Hudsell
Lynn Hughes
Bobby Hutcherson
Little Joe
Dave Johnson
Charlie Keagle
Jon Keliehor
Rashaan Roland Kirk
Jim Knapp
Steve Lalor
Don Lanphere
Jack Layton
Kathy Leaf
Ed Lee
Pete Leinonen
Garth MacDonald
Mike Mandel
Mike Mcgrath
Chuck Metcalf
Joni Metcalf
Glenn Moore
Bob Morgan
Dave Morse
Jim Murray
Jerry Murry
Bob Nelson
Dave Nelson
Phil Nelson
Loren Newkirk
Bob Nixon
Marius "Butch" Nordal
Nick Ogilvie
Gary Peacock
Ronnie Pierce
Byron Pope
Dave Press
Rufus Reid
Don Rizzo
Billy Roberts
Jordan Ruwe
Corky Ryan
Steve Sanders
Steve Schwartz
Pete Sibbald
Ron Simon
Randy Snipes
Phil Snyder
Ron Soderstrom
Floyd Standifer
Gary Steele
Clark Stempges
Rollo Strand
Alice Stuart
Rick Swann
Omar Tanguay
Jay Thomas
Marv Thomas
Don Thompson
Dick Thorlakson
Ralph Towner
Bob Turner
Sy Turner
Dave Tuss
Marty Tuttle
McCoy Tyner
Joe Villa
Carlos Ward
Jabbo Ward
Sarge West
Garde White
Mike White
Mary Widmer
Jim Wilhelm
Dallas Williams
Phil Williams
Vivian Williams
Steve Wolfe
Bob Woll
Woody Woodhouse
Liz Yankes


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The Llahngaelhyn Reunion 2000 was held on August 20th and 21st, 2000, at "On the Boards" in Seattle. Below are some of the photos and recordings of the reunion. A lovely time was had by all. We want to thank all of the people who participated, and especially the people who set it up and prepared the food and tables under "Sargeant Sarah." Four of our original waitresses even served at the event: Jeannie Mahan, Heather Hammond, Patty Kraniotis and Julia Heldman. Thank you, ladies. Thanks again to all the musicians who participated, especially Jon Keliehor, who came all the way from Scotland, Dick Dunlap from California, Mike Mandel from New York, Lee Graham from Arizona, Ed Hargadine from Stevenson, Wash., Charlie Keagle from San Francisco, Tony Kay from Hood River, Dave Averre from Vancouver, Caroline Heldman from Princeton, New Jersey, and Dave Nelson from Saskatoon, Canada. We would also like to thank the people that taped and photographed the reunion, especially Jeff Schmidt, Don Rizzo, Dick Dunlap, Lee Graham, Rick Swan, and the Channel 13 news team. The rest of the thanks should gfo to the "On the Boards" staff and technicians ("forget 2 o'clock"), and to the "free press" we received from Bill White, Paul Dorpat, Earshot Magazine, Dennis Rea, Channel 13 News, Paul de Barros, The Tentacle, The Stranger, Steve Callihan, John Gilbreath, Peter Monaghan, and Jim Wilke and KPLU, and to our webmaster Boyd Martin (; and most to Heather Hammond who was the main impetus to get the reunion started in the first place, and Eric Apoe who did did most of the legwork and handled most of the pre-reunion communications.

P.S.....GREAT piano from Fandrich & Sons.

P.P.S.....Thank you JAY!


"Not by might, nor by power, but by my spirit, saith the Lord.."

The preceeding text has been approved by the Mad Stamper.