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

The 13th Annual PDX Jazz Festival takes place in Portland, OR, February 18-28 with a special focus on the music and associations of John Coltrane, who would have been 90 years old in 2016.  

Clarence Acox is a professional drummer, a widely-heralded teacher who leads the award-winning Garfield Jazz Ensemble, and serves as co-director of The Seattle Repertory Jazz Orchestra.  He was also the drummer for the 27-year run of a jazz quartet at The New Orleans Creole Restaurant.  Legendary trumpet and tenor saxophonist Floyd Standifer led the group until he died in 2007.  Clarence Acox renamed it The Legacy Quartet in honor of Floyd with various horn players rotating in his place. He continued the tradition until the restaurant closed in 2013.  

Jazz Northwest features music and musicians not only from the Seattle-Tacoma area, but also from Portland Oregon to Victoria and Vancouver BC.  This week's show (Sunday, 2 PM Pacific on 88.5 KPLU and kplu.org) includes Vancouver BC saxophonist Cory Woeeds from the 100th release of the Cellar Live label.  Cory started the label in 2001 and it has been the source of much good music from BC.

This Sunday on Jazz Northwest, Spanish pianist Chano Domínguez and his ensemble will be heard in part 2 of a concert broadcast on 88.5 KPLU and streaming at kplu.org at 2 PM Pacific.  The pianist and composer led his ensemble playing to a capacity audience at Teatro Zinzanni in Seattle as part of the 2015 Earshot Festival. 

Jim Wilke

Internationally renown Spanish pianist Chano Domínguez was born in Cadiz and grew up playing guitar, learning the tradition of flamenco music and dance from his father.  Later, switching to piano and discovering jazz, he was deeply influenced by jazz pianists Thelonious Monk and Bill Evans.  Quite naturally, he soon found ways to combine his Spanish heritage and his new love for jazz.  

 

It's the time for year-end reviews and Top Ten lists.  On this week's Jazz Northwest, host Jim Wilke sorts through his stack of CDs by regional jazz artists and plays some tunes from the ones he most enjoyed last year.  It's not a count-down and there isn't quite time for ten but these are among those he says he likes to go back and hear again.  

Michael Craft Photography

Pianist-composer and Professor of Piano at the University of Washington, Marc Seales brought his trio to The Seattle Art Museum for the December Art of Jazz concert.  Joining Marc Seales were Jeff Johnson, bass, and Steve Korn, drums. Highlights from the concert will air on Jazz Northwest, Sunday, December 20 at 2 p.m. Pacific on 88.5 KPLU, and streaming at kplu.org.  

Daniel Sheehan

A new Seattle jazz group co-led by Mark Taylor and Dawn Clement made its debut at Tula's during this year's Earshot Jazz Festival.  Both co-leaders are also composer, creating new music and adapting previous compositons for this group. Bassist Phil Sparks and drummer Byron Vannoy complete the group. 

All four musicians are prominent as leaders, soloists and sidemen in Seattle and beyond, and they were joined in this performance by guest trumpet player Russ Johnson who's active on the Chicago jazz scene.  

Jim Levitt

Saxophonist Roxy Coss was a guest soloist with the Seattle Repertory Jazz Orchestra in a November concert and she teamed with her former mentor Mark Taylor for a beautiful duet on Billy Strayhorn's A Flower is a Lovesome Thing.  Most of the concert aired on last week's Jazz Northwest,  but this performance was held over for this week's show.  Roxy Coss played in the Garfield High School Band under Clarence Acox, and studied with Mark Taylor and Don Lanphere while still in Seattle.

Jim Levitt

Composer Billy Strayhorn was born 100 years ago, November 29, 1915, and his music was played in three concerts this month by The Seattle Repertory Jazz Orchestra co-directed by Clarence Acox and Michael Brockman. Highlights from one of those concerts will air on Jazz Northwest this Sunday, November 29, 2015 at 2 PM Pacific on 88.5 KPLU and kplu.org.  Special guests for the concert include David Hajdu, author of "Lush Life: A Biography of Billy Strayhorn", and saxophonist Roxy Coss, formerly of Seattle now active on the New York scene.

Amber French

A sampling of new and recent releases by resident Northwest musicians is featured on Jazz Northwest this week. One of the most unusual is Recording Ban by Jacob Zimmerman.  The title refers to the musicians' union strike against the recording companies 1942-1944. The Recording Ban occurred at a time when jazz was evolving from Swing to Bop and as a result some significant music was not played in recording studios during those years.

Jim Wilke

An exciting group with blazing trumpet and sizzling organ trio played opening weekend of the Earshot Jazz Festival at Tula's in Seattle, and highlights from their first set will air on Jazz Northwest  on Sunday, November 15 at 2 p.m. Pacific on 88.5 KPLU and streaming at kplu.org.

Two titans of American music, Count Basie and Frank Sinatra teamed up for concerts and made three albums together in the 1960s.  The Seattle Repertory Jazz Orchestra directed by Clarence Acox and Michael Brockman celebrated that fabulous combination in their November concerts when they were joined by Danny Quintero as guest singer. 

Sasha Arutyunova

The Earshot Jazz Festival continues through November 18 with a wide variety of performers in various venues around Seattle. Earshot's Executive Director John Gilbreath talks with Jim Wilke about some of artists appearing in the latter half of the festival.  

The music includes Flamenco jazz by Chano Dominguez, the brass quartet The Westerlies, solo guitarist Mimi Fox, retro bopper Jacob Zimmerman, the Seattle Repertory Jazz Orchestra celebrating the Billy Strayhorn centennial, and reunions with former Seattle musicians Jay Clayton and Art Lande.

Jim Wilke

Pianist Bill Mays and trumpet and flugelhorn player Marvin Stamm are longtime friends and musical partners in several projects including this duo which played this month's Art of Jazz concert at The Seattle Art Museum.  Describing what they do as "a musical conversation," the duo eschews long solos in favor of frequent exchanges of melody and improvisation.  

Jim Levitt

Bob Mintzer, Grammy-Award winning saxophonist and co-founder of the Yellowjackets, was featured arranger at Centrum's Jazz Port Townsend for 2015.  He conducted a special all-star big band at the Saturday matinee concert at the McCurdy Pavilion at Fort Worden State Park.  

The concert was recorded for radio and will be broadcast Sunday, October 12 at 2 p.m. Pacific Standard Time on KPLU’s Jazz Northwest. It will also be streamed live on KPLU.org.

Dorsay Alavi

Seattle's biggest jazz event of the year is the Earshot Jazz Festival, encompassing dozens of performances from Benaroya Hall to intimate jazz clubs such as Tula's.  The Wayne Shorter Quartet (pictured) headlines this year's festival on October 11, but there are many outstanding jazz groups playing all around Seattle from October 9 through November 18.  Earshot's Executive Director John Gilbreath joins Jim Wilke on Jazz Northwest (Sunday, 2 PM Pacific on 88.5 KPLU) to talk about and share music by some of the performers in the first weeks of the festival.

Jim Levitt

Next in a series of concert broadcasts from Centrum's Jazz Port Townsend is a performance by the Trio da Paz, airing on KPLU's Jazz Northwest on Sunday September 27 at 2 PM Pacific.  Trio da Paz was formed in 1990 by three outstanding Brazilian musicians equally skilled in jazz and Brazilian music, guitarist Romero Lubambo, bassist Nilson Matta, and drummer Duduka Da Fonseca.  Now New York-based. the three musicians have busy individual careers but still tour internationally as Trio Da Paz.

Photo (C) John Abbott,

Each Sunday, Jazz Northwest presents music by resident and visiting musicians in the Pacific Northwest. This week's show includes Triology from Vancouver BC, Wayne Horvitz and the Royal Room Music Collective Ensemble, Dave Frishberg from Portland, and New York based saxophonist Steve Wilson playing in downtown Port Townsend during the jazz festival in July.  Jazz Northwest airs Sundays at 2 PM on 88.5 KPLU and streams at kplu.org

Jim Levitt

Violinist Regina Carter demonstrated her varied training and experience during her concert at this Summer's Jazz Port Townsend, presented by Centrum.  The concert ,which will air exclusively on 88.5 KPLU and kplu.org on Sunday September 13 at 2 PM Pacific, includes standards and blues, African music and an original by her drummer Alvester Garnett.  Also joining Regina Carter in this concert are pianist Benny Green and bassist John Clayton.

Jim Wilke / KPLU

One of the main features of Jazz Northwest is regular location recordings wherever jazz is performed around the region, whether jazz clubs, concerts, festivals, museums or living rooms.  On September 6, JNW visits several locations with the Seattle Repertory Jazz Orchestra at Kirkland Performance Center, Mel Brown's Organ Quartet at the Britt Festival in Oregon, Jay Thomas and the Cantaloupes at Seattle Art Museum, and Ralph Towner and Denney Goodhew playing at Cornish College in 1991. 

Jim Levitt

Brazilian singer Maucha Adnet and a trio of countrymen charmed the audience in McCurdy Pavilion at Fort Worden during July's Jazz Port Townsend. The concert was recorded for radio and will air August 30 at 2 PM Pacific on Jazz Northwest on 88.5, KPLU and kplu.org.  With Jovino Santos Neto, piano, Nilson Matta, bass and Duduka Da Fonseca, drums, Maucha Adnet presented a program she titled "Bossa Always Nova" to illustrate the continuing appeal of the Brazilian music which gained world-wide popularity in the 60s.   Blending native Brazilian music with American cool jazz, Antonio Carlos Jobim and others became world-renown for their appealing, infectious music.  Maucha Adnet toured widely with Jobim from 1984-1994.  He said Maucha Adnet's rich, dark voice made him "long for the Brazilian forest." 

Maucha Adnet is accompanied by Brazilian-born Jovino Santos Neto who has resided in Seattle since 1992 and teaches at Cornish College,  Nilson Matta and Duduka Da Fonseca are two-thirds of the Brazilian Trio Da Paz which also played  at this year's Jazz Port Townsend.   Their concert will be heard on September 27 on Jazz Northwest.  Guests Romero Lubambo, guitar and Jay Ashby, trombone, make guest appearances with Maucha Adnet in her concert.

The 41st annual Jazz Port Townsend was presented by Centrum on the last weekend of July. Jazz Northwest is recorded and produced by Jim Wilke exclusively for 88.5 KPLU and kplu.org.  Programs are archived at jazznw.org.

Something about late Summer encourages reminiscence and as we planned this show, that seemed to emerge as a theme.  Included are a couple of songs from the 60s, "Wichita Lineman" and "Don't Think Twice, It's All Right" in new versions by Marc Seales and Alex Guilbert.   Wayne Horvitz' new CD "Some Places are Forever Afternoon" was inspired by the NW poet Richard Hugo (1923-1982).  Wayne Horvitz visited some of the places and people that inspired Hugo as he composed this music that balances between nostalgia and the future, chamber music and improvisation.

The first in a series of radio shows from the 41st Jazz Port Townsend airs Sunday, August 16 at 2 PM Pacific.  An all-star sextet drawn from the faculty of the Jazz Workshop opens the festival on the first of three nights of "Jazz In The Clubs" in several small venues in downtown Port Townsend.  After a week of sharing their knowledge with students, they’re ready to swing with their peers. In this group, we’ll hear musicians from New York and LA, Seattle and Portland... Terell Stafford on trumpet, Steve Wilson on alto, Eric Reed is the pianist, Dan Balmer on guitar, Chuck Deardorf is on bass, Matt Wilson is at the drums.  They play both standards and jazz classics, but in some non-standard arrangements.  

Jazz and Summertime are natural partners and next Tuesday night fans will be heading to the North City neighborhood of Shoreline for the 9th annual North City Jazz Walk from 7 to 10 PM.  This Sunday, Jazz Northwest previews the Jazz Walk with music by Greta Matassa, Pearl Django and Jacqueline Tabor. These are three of the ten artists and groups appearing on August 11 in ten venues within walking distance of each other around 175th and 15th Avenue NE.  

 

For its season finale, The Seattle Repertory Jazz Orchestra co-directed by Clarence Acox and Michael Brockman, played music by Charles Mingus (1922-1979).  Charles Mingus was one of the most significant American Composers of the Twentieth Century.  

Born in Nogales, New Mexico and raised in Watts,  he rose to prominence in New York during the 1940s Bop Era playing with Charlie Parker, Dizzy Gillespie and others.  As a leader himself from the 50s on, his groups toured around the world playing his original compositions exclusively.

On Jazz Northwest this week, we feature a tune by this all-star group on the 26th anniversary of the above recording. Except for the late Bud Shank, all were teaching and performing again this week at Centrum's Jazz Port Townsend.  Jiggs Whigham will also play with a quartet this Sunday evening (7/26) at Tula's in Seattle.

Also on this week's show is a sample from a forthcoming CD by John Pizzarelli, playing and singing a beautiful ballad from the post-Beatles music of Paul McCartney.  The CD "Midnight McCartney" will be released in September. John Pizzarelli is at Jazz Alley through this Sunday. Also, Jay Thomas & the Cantaloupes at SAM, Barney McClure plays organ with the Central Washington Big Band, Mimi Fox and Greta Matassa team up, and new CDs by Michael Waldrop Big Band and Bobby Medina are included on this week's show along with some best bets for live jazz in the coming week.

Jazz Port Townsend is the oldest and largest jazz festival in the Pacific Northwest... it celebrated its 40th year last year.

For the 2015 edition on the last weekend of July, there will be seven concerts on the main stage at  the 1200 seat McCurdy Pavilion at Fort Worden State Park, and over a dozen performances in cozy small venues in downtown Port Townsend.

Jim Levitt

The Lucas Pino No Net Nonet played an exciting concert of original music at the 2015 Ballard Jazz Festival, and the concert was recorded for broadcast on KPLU's Jazz Northwest

Lucas Pino is a New York-based tenor saxophonist who has been leading a similar band in monthly concerts at Smoke in New York City for the past three years.  The New York band has a new CD on the Seattle label, Origin Records, and Lucas Pino recently married Roxy Coss, another saxophonist who is a former Seattle resident who attended Garfield High.

Fifty years ago this week, vibist and composer Gary McFarland's career was on the rise and he was playing in Seattle at a Pioneer Square jazz club called The Penthouse.  Jim Wilke was there producing another weekly broadcast from the club which featured international talent during the 60s.

McFarland's music from those broadcasts has been issued for the first time as part of a DVD/CD set which includes a documentary by Kristian St.Clair about Gary McFarland. His quick rise to fame ended suddenly with his death under mysterious circumstances at the age of 38, six years after these Seattle broadcasts.  McFarland's "Train Samba" was a popular hit at the time and is featured on this week's Jazz Northwest.

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