Jim Wilke | KNKX

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

This week we sample two of the artists appearing at Centrum's Jazz Port Townsend, guitarist Dave Stryker and trumpet player Terell Stafford who will be featured on the opening concerts on July 27 at Fort Worden.  Debuting on this week's show is Vancouver BC saxophonist Cory Weeds' latest release, an 11 piece band featuring music by Hank Mobley, Kenny Dorham and others arranged by Vancouver arrangers Bill Coon and Jill Townsend.  Also this week, The Jazz Police, Thomas Marriott, The BC Double Quartet and others along with best bets for live jazz in the coming week. 

Dee Daniels and SRJO at Kirkland Performance Center
Courtsey of Jim Levitt

"My Favorite Things" was the title of the concerts ending the 2017-18 season for the Seattle Repertory Jazz Orchestra. Dee Daniels was the featured vocalist in a program including songs made popular by Fats Waller, Billie Holiday, Nat Cole, Marvin Gaye, Frank Sinatra and Elvis Presley. The songs selected by Dee Daniels for this concert represent her varied interests in music and her long career that has taken her to six continents.   

For the first weekend of summer, Jazz Northwest features a collection of resident duos and trios playing music for those lazy summer days and nights.  Songs about flowers, lullabies, and fishing are a few of the highlights, and there's also music by two Lennies (Bernstein and Tristano).  Recent releases by the 200 Trio, Reuel Lubag Trio, duende libre, Hans Teuber & Jeff Johnson, Bill Anschell, Scenes and Dawn Clement are also included.

Jim Wilke / KNKX

This week on Jazz Northwest we feature highlights from Mercedes Nicole’s recent concert at the Seattle Art Museum. The concert was part of the monthly series presented by Earshot Jazz in partnership with the Seattle Art Museum.  Mercedes Nicole sings a selection of songs inspired by some of her favorite singers from Billie Holiday to The Drifters and Gregory Porter. She is accompanied by Craig Hoyer, piano, Rachael Contorer, bass and Larry Vincent Jones on drums. The concert was recorded on June 7 at The Seattle Art Museum.

Phil Sparks and Brian Kirk performing at Conor Byrne Pub.
Courtesy of Jim Levitt

The last set of the opening night Celebration of the Drum at this year's Ballard Jazz Festival is featured this week on Jazz Northwest. The Nu Trio brought considerable soul and energy to cap the night.  Featuring Brian Kirk on drums Nathan Breedlove on trumpet and Phil Sparks on bass, the trio played music by Brian Kirk and modern jazz classics by Booker Little, John Hicks, Mal Waldron, and Woody Shaw.

Paul Gabrielson, Stefan Schatz, Thomas Marriott, Jeremy Bacon at Ballard Jazz Festival
Courtesy of Jim Levitt

Two jazz quartets at the Celebration of the Drum opening the Ballard Jazz Festival last month will be featured this week on Jazz Northwest. Drummer Stefan Schatz leads the first group, with Thomas Marriott, trumpet, Jeremy Bacon, piano and Paul Gabrielson, bass.  Stefan Schatz recently relocated to Seattle from his birthplace in New York City.  They play music by jazz greats Thelonious Monk, Max Roach, Horace Silver, and Clifford Brown.  The second group on this program includes young musicians from Garfield, Cornish College, and the University of Washington.

Jazz Northwest At The Seattle Art Museum
Parker Miles Blohm / KNKX

Two of Seattle's best improvising jazz musicians teamed up for the May Art of Jazz concert at The Seattle Art Museum.  Acoustic bass player Jeff Johnson and saxophone/flute player Hans Teuber have been individually featured in numerous ensembles. They've also collaborated on several albums including the newly issued duo CD "Deuce" on Origin Records.

Darragh Kennan and Hana Lass in an excerpt from "Taming of the Shrew"   (Randy Halberstadt at piano in background)
Courtesy of Jim Levitt

These are unique performances in that they include scenes from Shakespeare interspersed between movements of the Ellington suite. Darragh Kennan and Hana Lass from the Seattle Shakespeare Company are on stage with the Seattle Repertory Jazz Orchestra in these performances recorded at the Kirkland Performance Center and the Edmonds Center for the Arts.

Randy Halberstadt (piano), Darragh Kennnan and Hana Lass in the balcony scene
Courtesy of Jim Levitt

Highlights from concert performances of Duke Ellington's "Such Sweet Thunder" are featured this week on Jazz Northwest. These unique performances combine excerpts from Shakespeare's plays with Duke Ellington's musical portraits of the featured characters. Michael Brockman conducts the Seattle Repertory Jazz Orchestra with guest actors from The Seattle Shakespeare Company, Darragh Kennan and Hana Lass.  

Gary Firholt from The Helix

It's the 50th anniversary of the famous KRAB - Helix Piano Drop.  The event took place near Duvall, Washington and involved a piano, a helicopter, Country Joe and The Fish and a bunch of people looking for something new.  You kind of had to be there - but you get the idea, don't you?  

Gail Pettis live at Seattle Art Museum.
Parker Miles Blohm / KNKX

Gail Pettis sang for an appreciative crowd at this month's popular "Art of Jazz" concert presented by Earshot Jazz at The Seattle Art Museum. An excellent trio including Darin Clendenin on piano, Chuck Deardorf, bass and Brad Boal on drums, backed Gail Pettis’ warm contralto. Ms.Pettis has won the Earshot vocalist of the year award twice and has performed in Europe, Russia and the Far East as well as the US.  She has recorded two CDs, both of which have received considerable national airplay.  In this concert she sang fresh arrangements of popular standards. 

This week's Jazz Northwest spotlights a pair of new releases of intimate jazz. Bassist Jeff Johnson and saxophonist Hans Teuber arrived in Seattle in 1990 from different points but soon discovered a common love of melody and lyrical music-making.  They've played together in many musical situations since then and a new duo album "Deuce" displays this deft duo in a collection of music including standards and co-compositions.  Another new release is pianist Bill Anschell's "Shifting Standards".

Some old, some new, and some new versions of old music are featured on this week's Jazz Northwest.  Hal Galper's Quartet opens with a new take on Miles Davis' Solar and Jeff Baker sings his arrangement of Billy Joel's And So It Goes from another new release.   From Vancouver BC, The BC Double Quartet combines a jazz quartet with a string quartet, and Portland writer and broadcaster Lynn Darroch remembers interviewing Ray Charles, after which we'll hear a 26-year old Ray Charles playing a Quincy Jones arrangement.

Several recent releases by northwest resident musicians are featured on this week's Jazz Northwest. Pianist and singer Dawn Clement has recorded duets with five prominent artists on the regional scene in her CD Tandem. We'll hear her in a duo with trombonist Julian Priester. Although the group Scenes sixth CD Destinations was issued last year we're just now featuring it on Jazz Northwest.  Scenes is a cooperative trio with John Stowell, Jeff Johnson and John Bishop.

Many of the performances heard on Jazz Northwest on KNKX are unique, recorded in concerts around the Puget Sound region. This week's fund drive edition features performances by the Jay Thomas Quartet, members of the Seattle Repertory Jazz Orchestra, Susan Pascal and Pete Christlieb, Overton Berry and Bruce Pharesand the late Jim Hall, an NEA Jazz Master playing at the 2004 Earshot Jazz Festival.   These performances were recorded specifically for Jazz Northwest at The Seattle Art Museum, Edmonds Center for the Arts, Tula's and On The Boards.  

Dawn Clement at Seattle Art Museum
Parker Miles Blohm / KNKX

Arts and crafts have a long tradition of masters guiding and encouraging students, and the Art of Jazz is no different.  This concert at The Seattle Art Museum illustrates the interplay between established artists like saxophonist Stuart MacDonald and pianist and singer Dawn Clement and talented students from Garfield High School, Cornish College and the University of Washington.  Two groups were formed and rehearsed, a trio led by Dawn Clement and a quartet led by Stuart MacDonald, and each group played a set at this month's Art of Jazz concert at SAM.

Seattle Repertory Jazz Orchestra in concert at Kirkland Performance Center
Jim Levitt

Highlights from Seattle Repertory Jazz Orchestra concerts featuring music of Dave Brubeck and Paul Desmond are featured this week on Jazz Northwest. The concert includes some of the most renowned compositions of Brubeck and Desmond including Wendy, In Your Own Sweet Way, Take Five and The Duke.

Courtesy of the artist

Quite possibly one of the most unusual and inventive duos you'll hear anywhere, Syrinx Effect (Kate Olson, soprano sax and Naomi Siegel, trombone) came to our attention when they played an Earshot Festival concert full of surprises last Fall at the Columbia City Theatre. The duo, occasionally expanded to trio with percussionist and recording engineer Eric Eagle, uses loops, pedals, and other electronic augmentation to build up layers of sound via a plethora of styles ranging over the history of jazz and other music.

Susan Pascal
Parker Miles Blohm / KNKX

Vibist Susan Pascal invited saxophonist Pete Christlieb to join her group at Tula's in a celebration of Stan Getz and some of his collaborations with vibists.  The music played at Tula's one night earlier this month recalled tenor saxophonist Stan Getz with vibists Cal Tjader and Gary Burton as well as with pianists Oscar Peterson and Chick Corea.   The sold-out house responded with enthusiasm for the flowing lyricism of such songs as 'O Grande Amor,' 'Ginza Samba' and 'Sweet Rain.' 

Art of Jazz at Seattle Art Museum
Parker Miles Blohm / KNKX

Thomas Marriott's new working band played the February concert in the Art Of Jazz series presented by Earshot Jazz at The Seattle Art Museum.  Playing for a standing room only audience, the quintet played compositions by members of the group including Marriott, saxophonist Rick Mandyck and pianist Tim Kennedy.  Geoff Harper completes the group on bass and Xavier LeCouturier on drums. 

Overton Berry on the piano at Tula's jazz club.
Parker Miles Blohm / KNKX

Pianist Overton Berry has been a fixture on the Northwest jazz scene since the 60s, playing in coffee houses, jazz clubs and concert halls as well as touring abroad, particularly the Far East.  

Jim Wilke / KNKX

A pair of quintet performances recorded last Summer and not previously broadcast are the focus on this week's show.  The first set is with an all-star quintet assembled for a concert in conjunction with the Seattle Public Library's Rhythm in Colors celebration of Seattle Jazz exhibition last Summer.  Johnaye Kendrick, Julian Priester, Dawn Clement, Phil Sparks and D'vonne Lewis perform a set of jazz classics and standards.  

'Day 31: Violin F-Holes' by Ajay Suresh via Creative Commons 2.0

A pair of new releases combining jazz groups and classical string quartets inspired this week's show. Vancouver guitarist and composer Bill Coon has composed and arranged for combined jazz quartet and string quartet in his new CD, Departure by the BC Double Quartet, and bassist and composer Rufus Reid fronts his jazz trio with the Sirius Quartet in a new vinyl album, Terrestrial Dance.  This show opens with the Kronos Quartet playing music by Bill Evans and Thelonious Monk. The Kronos Quartet was founded in Seattle in the early 70s.  

Gary Hammon and Eric Esvelt in concert at SAM on January 11, 2018.
Parker Miles Blohm / KNKX

Saxophonist Gary Hammon brought his quintet to the Seattle Art Museum's Art of Jazz concert in January. The program includes original music by Hammon and trumpeter Erik Esvelt and two jazz standards.  Others in the group include Mike Eskenazy, guitar, Todd Gowers on bass and Mike Eppert at the drums.

Nancy Erickson at North City Bistro
Jim Wilke / KNKX

This week on Jazz Northwest, we'll sample two new releases with former Seattle musicians now active in New York City, pianist Carmen Staaf and trumpeter Riley Mulherkar.  We will also hear songs from Nancy Erickson and the 200 Trio from recent recording sessions in small, intimate clubs in Shoreline and Ballard, and share some of our best bets for live jazz in the coming week. 

Courtesy of Takao Fujiyoka

With our first show of the new year, we're sharing some of our favorite albums from 2017 and debuting some new releases.  The new album by Canadian saxophonist, PJ Perry who's been active in Vancouver, Toronto, New York and since 1975, he's called Edmonton, Alberta home.  His latest release, recorded live at the Yardbird Suite in Edmonton, features great sound and fleet mastery.  Also new is Cory Weeds & Jeff Hamilton Trio's release Dreamsville. Finally, we will listen to Seattle drummer Phil Pariot's latest release Creekside.   

Alex Chadsey in the KNKX Studios performing with duendo libre.
Parker Miles Blohm / KNKX

Seattle's world music trio dunde libre played the December Art of Jazz concert at The Seattle Art Museum and was recorded for this weeks program. The trio plays original music inspired by the musical cultures of Spain, Brazil, Cuba and the Caribbean.  

Jim Wilke / KNKX

Time once again to turn on the Christmas lights, put a Santa cap on the microphone and settle in for a seasonal sampler of musicians from Oregon, Washington and British Columbia.  With the beginning of winter, the shortest days of the year and multiple holiday traditions and celebrations, this is our celebration with a sampling of resident musicians in the Pacific Northwest.

Nancy King in studio
Courtesy of Randy Wu

Portland's outstanding jazz singer Nancy King has been nominated in the jazz vocal category of the 60th Annual Grammy Awards.  An underground favorite for decades, Nancy King has played international festivals and small jazz clubs, with orchestras and in duos in every type of venue imaginable.  A skilled improvising jazz vocalist who can be favorably compared to Ella Fitzgerald, Betty Carter and Sheila Jordan, she's always gone her own way with her extraordinary ability to bridge the vocal/instrumental gap.

Dee Daniels at Jazz Port Townsend 2017
Courtesy of Jim Levitt

Three great singers with roots in black church music were featured in concert singly and together at Centrum's Jazz Port Townsend last July.  "Raising Voices" featured Dee Daniels, Cedric Dent and Niki Haris each singing a pair of songs and joining for the finale in the concert which brings together spirituals, blues and jazz and demonstrates their common heritage. Accompanying the singers were Sullivan Fortner, piano, Jon Hamar, bass and Joe LaBarbera.

Pages