Jim Wilke

Jazz Northwest Host

Jim has been a fixture on Seattle radio since 1961. He was the host of Jazz After Hours on Public Radio International from 1984-2014.  Currently Jim has been producing Jazz Northwest for KNKX since 1988.  This weekly program focuses on the regional jazz scene and frequently includes performances Jim records on location for Jazz Northwest.  

His most memorable KNKX  moment was hosting the 20th Anniversary Live at Jazz Alley show, two hours of live music. He is also a recording engineer and writer. Jim has been named one of the top jazz radio producers nationally by JazzTimes and the Jazz Journalists Association. He is in the Seattle Jazz Hall of Fame and several musicians have composed songs in his honor.

Ways to Connect

Jim Levitt

This week, some performances not previously broadcast on Jazz Northwest.  First, a 1999 performance by the Jessica Williams trio at Jazz Port Townsend, followed by an unusual double bass duo with guest Christian McBride and Phil Sparks with  the rhythm section from the Seattle Repertory Jazz Orchestra from a concert this past June.  

The balance of the program features Tia Fuller, Dee Daniels, Wycliffe Gordon, Matt Wilson and Hubert Laws. All will appear at  this year's 43rd annual Jazz Port Townsend, July 27-29.

Jim Levitt

Barçelona natives and Seattle residents since 2014, Marina Albero and Serena Dominguez were joined by Evan Flory-Barnes in a Ballard Jazz Walk concert during the 15th Annual Ballard Jazz Festival in May.  They performed and improvised on a variety of music including references to Spanish traditional and classical music as well as original music by all three performers in solo, duo and trio settings.  One highlight was "La Finestra," a song by Marina Albera's father and Serena Dominguez' grandfather, Mariano Albero. 

This week on Jazz Northwest we'll sample new releases by the ten-member Full Circle Jazz Ensemble, Jovino Santos Neto, Dan Dean and Jared Hall.   We'll also hear some interesting pairings of talents - Jay Thomas and Gary Smulyan, Ray Vega and Thomas Marriott and Wynton Kelly and Wes Montgomery (in Seattle in 1966!).  Best bets for live jazz in the coming week are also included on the program.  

Christian McBride and part of the SRJO sax section.
Courtesy of Jim Levitt

The Grammy-winning world-renown bassist Christian McBride was guest soloist with the Seattle Repertory Jazz Orchestra in the season finale in June.  The concert at Kirkland Performance Center was recorded for radio and highlights will air on Jazz Northwest on 88.5 KNKX on Sunday, July 2 at 2 p.m. Pacific, also streaming at knkx.org.  

Portland trumpet player and educator Thara Memory passed June 16 in Portland at the age of 68. The Florida-born musician was much loved and honored in his adopted city where he lived since the '80s, playing with the Mel Brown Quintet, leading his own groups and teaching generations of jazz musicians. He launched the jazz program at Portland State University and his American Music Program Pacific Crest Jazz Orchestra  surprised everyone when they won the Essentially Ellington competition in New York City in 2015. 

Jim Wilke

June's Art of Jazz concert at the Seattle Art Museum featured The Sam Boshnack Quintet playing her original music. The concert was recorded for radio and highlights will air on Jazz Northwest on Sunday June 18 at 2 p.m. Pacific on 88.5 KNKX and knkx.org.  

R.Andrew Lepley

Jazz Northwest is our weekly survey of the regional jazz scene Sunday afternoons at 2.  We sample the rich variety of resident and visiting artists who will be performing in the near future and we visit local venues with live, on-location recordings.  

Jim Levitt

Three guitar led trios were featured at the Guitar Summit at the 15th Annual Ballard Jazz Festival. Cole Schuster, Brad Shepik and Dan Balmer each led a set including  their own original music as well as jazz standards.   Representing Seattle, New York and Portland respectively, the three guitarists led three different ensembles that represented their own unique approaches to the guitar trio. The evening was recorded for radio and highlights will air on Jazz Northwest  on 88.5 KNKX on Sunday, June 4 at 2 PM Pacific, also streaming at knkx.org

Sandrine Lee

The Bellevue Jazz and Blues Festival is next on the Summer festival season, running May 31-June 4. Music by two of the headliners, Catherine Russell and the Full Circle Jazz Ensemble is featured on Jazz Northwest on Sunday, May 28 at 2 p.m. Pacific on 88.5 KNKX.  The festival features ticketed theatre concerts as well as free performances in downtown Bellevue restaurants and bars.  

Also on this week's show are new releases by The Garfield Jazz Ensemble, Duende Libre and Sam Boshnack Quintet and others.  

Jim Wilke

Alex Dugdale's Fade Quartet was featured at this month's Art of Jazz concert at the Seattle Art Museum. The concert was recorded for Jazz Northwest on 88.5 KNKX and highlights from the concert will air Sunday May 21 at 2 p.m. Pacific.  The quartet includes Alex Dugdale on saxophones and clarinet and tap dancing on two tunes, Cole Schuster is on guitar, Greg Feingold, bass and Max Holmberg, drums.

Louis Gilbert

This coming week will be full of opportunities for hearing some great live jazz around Seattle.  Headlining that list is the Ballard Jazz Festival which runs Wednesday through Saturday, including Brotherhood of the Drum, the Guitar Summit, the Ballard Jazz Walk (with 10 venues!) and the mainstage concert featuring Chico Freeman on Saturday.  This week on Jazz Northwest, we are previewing some of the activities.

Jim Levitt

This week on Jazz Northwest, the Seattle Repertory Jazz Orchestra plays the music of Louis Armstrong. This hour of excerpts from the concert includes music played by Louis Armstrong from the early years of jazz in the '20s through his spectacular popular success in the 1960s.  

Randy Cole

It wasn't planned that way, but there's a great concentration of female jazz musicians playing in Seattle area concerts and jazz clubs in the coming week.  

Jazz Northwest, a weekly survey of the regional jazz scene, features some of the visiting and resident artists including Christine Jensen, Roxy Coss, Kelley Johnson and Ann Reynolds.  There's also info on when and where they and many others are playing.  

Jim Wilke

Seattle Art Museum's monthly Art of Jazz series featured singer Jacqueline Tabor and her band at the April concert.  The concerts are presented at SAM by Earshot Jazz and most are recorded for later broadcast on 88.5 KNKX.

Jacqueline Tabor sang with the 200 Trio (Cole Schuster, guitar, Greg Feingold, bass and Max Holmberg, drums) and saxophonist Alexey Nikolaev. Included were many songs associated with jazz greats among Jacqueline Tabor's inspirations including Ella Fitzgerald, Sarah Vaughan, Bessie Smith, Edmonia Jarrett and Ernestine Anderson.

Each week on Jazz Northwest, we highlight various aspects of the regional jazz scene, some recent releases, some noteworthy gigs, or a recent performance.  

This week, we'll feature the Keith Henson Octet, Alex Dugdale, McTuff, Susan Pascal, Mark Lewis, Kelley Johnson and Ben Roseth, plus a sample from a soon to be released album of the Wynton Kelly Trio playing at The Penthouse in Seattle in 1966. Kelly was noted for his work with Miles Davis, Wes Mongomery, Cannonball Adderley, Dizzy Gillespie and others. 

This week's show includes jazz groups you can hear around the area this week (e.g.Jazz Police, Adam Kessler, Jacqueline Tabor), and a preview of a soon to be released album of the Wynton Kelly Trio and guitarist Wes Montgomery playing at The Penthouse in Seattle in 1966.  

The album will be released on limited edition vinyl LP on Record Store Day, April 22, and it comes from tapes of live and direct broadcasts produced by Jim Wilke and never circulated since the live broadcasts. A deluxe CD version will follow in May.  

Jim Levitt

This week on Jazz Northwest, we're brining you excerpts from two concerts at Centrum’s Jazz Port Townsend 2016.  

These highlights come from concerts by the Jeff Hamilton Trio with Akiko Tsuruga and Graham Dechter, and the grand finale with an all-star septet including Terell Stafford, Sean Jones, Grace Kelly, Wycliffe Gordon, Taylor Eigsti, John Clayton and Matt Wilson, and represent the final offerings from last July's Jazz Port Townsend.  

Mandi McDougall

Jazz Northwest provides updates and keeps you in touch with the regional jazz scene.  This week's show includes samples of two recent Earshot Award winners, flugelhorn player Dmitri Matheny (Northwest Instrumentalist of the Year) and pianist Bill Anschell (2016 Seattle Jazz Hall of Fame).  Also this week, the Keith Henson Octet, Jay Thomas and the Cantaloupes, The Jessica Williams Trio and others, plus best bets for live jazz in the coming week.  

The cheerful sound of Cuban son music is featured in a concert performance on this week's Jazz Northwest. The concert was recorded earlier this month when the band played at The Seattle Art Museum as part of the Art of Jazz series presented by Earshot.  It's sunny music and a perfect antidote for a rainy Seattle day.

Kiki Valera is considered by many to be Cuba's finest cuatro player and after 25 years directing La Familia Valera Miranda in Santiago de Cuba, he is now living in Seattle and working with his new Seattle band, Cubaché.

Steve Korn

The annual Golden Ear Awards for outstanding achievement in Seattle jazz will be presented on March 13 at the Royal Room.  There are five nominees in each of eight categories for individual and groups, including the Seattle Jazz Hall of Fame. This week on Jazz Northwest, we are previewing some of the nominees including Bill Anschell, the B'shnorkestra, the Westerlies, and Anton Schwartz. 

Jim Levitt

Ella Fitzgerald, aka "The First Lady of Song," was born April 25, 1917 and centennial celebrations are beginning to appear.  

For the third pair of concerts in its current series, The Seattle Repertory Jazz Orchestra invited Carmen Bradford to sing some of the many songs popularized by Ella Fitzgerald.  The concert at Kirkland Performance Center was recorded for radio and is featured on this week's Jazz Northwest.

Tim Rounds

Guitarist Larry Coryell began his career in Seattle where he grew up playing in local bands and sitting in on jam sessions. He died unexpectedly of natural causes last Sunday after playing two nights at the Iridium in New York City.  

Jim Wilke

Drummer Adam Kessler and bassist Phil Sparks have been co-leading Thursday Jazz Nights at the Barça Lounge on Capitol Hill in Seattle for over a decade.  Generally, it's the rhythm section and a guest soloist.  

Guitarist and composer Ralph Towner returns to the Pacific Northwest this month as part of a a national tour including Portland and Seattle, Feb. 20 and 21. His new CD "My Foolish Heart" debuts this week on Jazz Northwest. 

Now an international artist, Ralph Towner was born in Chehalis and played piano in Seattle in the 1960s before co-founding the group Oregon and later concentrating on 12-string and classical guitars. He has recorded over two dozen albums for ECM since 1972.  

Jim Levitt

The Seattle Repertory Jazz Orchestra, co-directed by Clarence Acox and Michael Brockman, played music of Miles Davis and arrangements by Gil Evans in its November concerts in Seattle and Kirkland. The concert at The Kirkland Performance Center was recorded for radio and we're airing highlights from that performance this week on Jazz Northwest.

Several recent releases by Northwest resident musicians are featured on this week's Jazz Northwest.  Bremerton saxophonist Mark Lewis recorded in New York with a trio of first-call musicians. Adam Kessler and Phil Sparks are the cornerstone of Thursday sessions at Barça Lounge on Capitol Hill with different guest artists each week.

Lisa Hagen Glynn

This week on Jazz Northwest, we're featuring LineUp in concert at the Seattle Art Museum. The quartet was formed in 2015 and debuted at the Ballard Jazz Festival that same year.  

Co-led by pianist and vocalist Dawn Clement and saxophonist Mark Taylor, LineUp has also played at the Earshot Jazz Festival and a monthly series at Tula's in Seattle.  

The 14th Annual PDX Jazz Festival in Portland features Grammy winners, NEA Jazz Masters and many other stars February 16-26. The festival's Artistic Director, Don Lucoff joins Jim Wilke in a preview of the festival on this week's Jazz Northwest on 88.5 knkx and knkx.org at 2 p.m. Pacific on January 15. 

The program includes music by Branford Marsalis, Kurt Elling, the Maria Schneider Orchestra, The Heath Brothers, John Abercrombie, T.S.Monk, Jon Faddis and centennial salutes to the music of Thelonious Monk and Dizzy Gillespie.

Ziggy Spiz

This week on Jazz Northwest, Portland-based jazz singer Nancy King teams with pianist Steve Christofferson in a JazzVox "home concert."  Nancy King was named to the Jazz Society of Oregon Hall of Fame in 2001, the city of Portland named Feb. 22, 2008 as Nancy King Day, and she was recognized as the third Portland Jazz Master in 2013.  

Sasha Arutyonova

For the first show of the new year, Jim Wilke picks some of his favorite jazz releases from 2016 and adds some new releases. Included are Seattle veteran Jay Thomas' happy collaboration with New York baritone saxophonist Gary Smulyan and a new one from Seattle/New York guitarist and composer Gregg Belisle-Chi, whose new recording takes inspiration from poet Carl Sandburg.  

Also included on this week's show are former Seattle residents saxophonist Ben Roseth, and the brass quartet The Westerlies, plus news about best bets for live jazz in the next week.  

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