Robin Lloyd | KNKX

Robin Lloyd

Midday Jazz Host

Robin Lloyd was born and raised in the Detroit area. She performed radio plays in junior high and high school, took various radio apprenticeships in high school and college, and has held a number of different positions at community and public radio stations in Michigan and Western Washington, including Jazz and Blues Host, Producer, Production Manager, Station Operations Manager and Program Director. Robin is married to drummer Michael Slivka; together they manage a household full of dogs, cats and percussion.

Her most memorable KNKX moment: dancing with the Wild Magnolias Mardi Gras Indians on stage at Jazz Alley on my birthday.

Ways to Connect

A Cuban flag waves in front of El Morro Castle in Havana, 2008
(AP Photo/Javier Galeano)

For St. Patrick's Day, Jazz Caliente takes a brief look at the long, rich history of Irish people in Cuba. 

Even the most iconic sight in Havana's harbor, the towering lighthouse at Morro Castle, was once known as the O'Donnell Lighthouse.  It was named in 1844 for Leopold O'Donnell, the Captain General and Governor of Cuba.

Jesus Alemany, center, band leader of Cubanismo, directs a performance while playing trumpet at the Singapore Arts Festival, Tuesday, June 11, 2002.
Naashon Zalk / AP

"Cubanismo" is defined as something that's uniquely Cuban; that is, specific to the culture of the island and not common to the rest of Spanish-influenced Latin America.

Pianist Ann Reynolds
photo by Jim Levitt / courtesy of the artist

This week on Saturday Jazz Caliente, we'll hear from some of the great Latin Jazz artists who make their home in the Seattle area.

The Rumba Kings
Parker Miles Blohm / KNKX

It’s only been 8 months since the Rumba Kings’ first Studio Session on KNKX, but we couldn’t resist their excitement over releasing their first recording, a double-disc CD:  The Instrumental and Vocal Sessions, Volume One. 

Once again, their energy and virtuosity delighted our listeners.  The Rumba Kings bold and romantic blend of Latin, Mediterranean and Gypsy music is irresistible!

Saxophonist David Sánchez and bassist Ricardo Rodriguez, 29 April 2007, Bimhuis Amsterdam
By Siebe van Ineveld Rotterdam, The Netherlands via Wikimedia Commons

Grammy-winning Puerto Rican saxophonist David Sánchez has a new musical project called "Carib."   The name of the project is a reference to the indigenous people of the region we know as the Caribbean.  Sánchez is performing this Saturday night at 8 at the Seattle Art Museum's Plestcheef Auditorium.

Saxophonist Joshua Redman
Jay Blakesberg / courtesy of the artist

Joshua Redman's last visit to the KNKX Seattle studios was in 2015, for a live Studio Session with the Bad Plus.  He's coming to Tacoma to perform with the University of Puget Sound Jazz Band on Wednesday night, and he recently took a few minutes to catch us up.

Percussionist Pete Escovedo performs at the "In Performance at the White House: Fiesta Latina," a concert celebrating Hispanic musical heritage held on the South Lawn, Oct. 13, 2009.
Official White House Photo by Samantha Appleton / Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

It's all about family for percussionist/bandleader Pete Escovedo.

Trombonist Doug Beavers whose latest CD "The Art of the Arrangement" got a Grammy nomination this year
Silas Green / courtesy of the artist

There was more Latin Jazz nominated for Grammys this year than you might have realized.  A couple of nominees went overlooked, because they were nominated in categories other than Latin Jazz.

Reda Kateb as Django Reinhardt in the 2017 French film "Django"
uniFrance Films

As part of their Tuesday Film Series, Tacoma's Grand Cinema will be showing  Django on February 6. 

No, definitely not the one with cowboy hats and six-shooters. This beautifully constructed French film directed by Etienne Comar is about the legendary jazz guitarist Django Reinhardt.

Grammy Nominees Anat Cohen and Marcello Gonçalves
Shervin Lainez / courtesy of the artist

The 60th Annual Grammy Awards show will be televised on Sunday January 28, at 4:30pm Pacific Time.  This week on Saturday Jazz Caliente, we'll feature the nominees for Best Latin Jazz Album, a nice selection this year spanning Brazilian, Cuban, Puerto Rican and Argentinian jazz.

Daymé Arocena at the New Era concert in Havana, 2016
Denise Guerra / courtesy of the artist

No, it's not another story about immigration policy. 

Starting next week, Dimitriou's Jazz Alley in Seattle will be hosting some of the brightest stars in today's Cuban music.  Here's a preview.

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. in Atlanta, GA 1966
Anonymous / AP

On the day we celebrate the life and work of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., let's revisit his thoughts on Jazz and Blues from his address to the 1964 Berlin Jazz Festival:

Samuel Torres at Brooklyn Studio Loft 360
Emra Islek / courtesy of the artist

According to Nolan Warden, whose well-researched article "The History of the Conga Drum" appeared in the February 2005 edition of Percussive Notes (a publication of the Percussive Arts Society):  what North Americans call conga drums are actually "tumbadoras." 

Tiempo Libre's latest album, Panamericano (2015)
courtesy of the artists / Universal Music LLC

It's a brand new year, and opportunities to hear live Latin Jazz and related music abound in our region.  Listed here are some  upcoming shows you'll want to put on your calendar.  Click on the links for more information.

Manuel Galbán playing with The Buena Vista Social Club, 2006
Bryan Ledgard

Ry Cooder called him a guitar wizard.

Jon Pareles of The New York Times wrote in 2003:  “Mr. Galbán was one of the wonders of Cuban music in the 1960s.  His playing pulled together two almost contradictory approaches: the floating reverb of surf guitar and the percussive, snapping sound of the tres, the small guitar that’s a fulcrum between rhythm and melody in Cuban son groups.”

Pianist Abelita Mateus
Christopher Drukker / courtesy of the artist

Brazilian rhythms mixed with jazz have been a blessing to North American ears since the Bossa Nova craze of the 1960s.  It's encouraging to see a new generation of Brazilian musicians focus on jazz with a fresh approach.

Flutist, bandleader and educator Danilo Lozano
courtesy of the artist

Miami is known for its "Little Havana" neighborhood, home to Cuban and Cuban-American culture since the 1960s.  On the other side of the US, the equivalent was Echo Park in Los Angeles. 

Although many of the Cuban exiles who settled in the Echo Park neighborhood have since dispersed throughout Southern California, there is still a strong Cuban music component in L.A.

Percussionist Willie Bobo (1934-1983)  and his son Eric
courtesy of the artist

William Correa, best known as Willie Bobo, blended jazz, rock and Latin rhythms and was one of the of the prominent bandleaders of the 1960s Latin Soul movement.  He called it "the sound a Latin cat in Harlem would dig."

Jovino Santos Neto
Maria Camillo / courtesy of the artist

This week on Saturday Jazz Caliente, we'll feature a recording from a live KNKX Studio Session with Jovino Santos Neto's Quarteto earlier this year.  A brilliant pianist, flutist and composer, Jovino has been a most welcome addition to the Pacific NW music scene ever since he landed here in the 1990s.

Eddie Palmieri and Cal Tjader's first album together, El Sonido Nuevo 1966
Verve Records

One of the most appealing Latin Jazz/Pop crossover artists was drummer/vibraphonist Callen Radcliffe  "Cal" Tjader.  Cal had a deep appreciation and respect for Afro-Cuban and Brazilian music.

Latin Jazz drummer Bobby Matos 1941-2017
courtesy of the artist

The Latin jazz world lost a great musician and supporter last weekend.  Drummer Bobby Matos died on November 11, after fighting cancer for a couple of years.  A dedicated performer and educator, Bobby Matos and his music touched many lives.

Saxophonist Miguel Zenón's album "Típico" is nominated for a Latin Grammy
Katz/Courtesy of the Artist /

The 18th Annual Latin Grammy Awards ceremony takes place on Thursday November 16 in Las Vegas.  This week on Saturday Jazz Caliente, we'll sample the albums nominated for the Latin Grammy's Best Latin Jazz Album, and one that's in the Best Instrumental Album category.

Drummer Jeff "Bongo" Busch anticipates cake for Saturday Jazz Caliente's first birthday
KNKX Studio Session video / Michael Goude, Vibe Vision Seattle

Well, that year flew by! 

Thanks to our community of listeners, Saturday Jazz Caliente debuted on KNKX on November 5, 2016.

Ray Vega performs in the KNKX studio, 2014
Justin Styer / KNKX

Trumpeter Ray Vega is a veteran of Latin Jazz, having worked in the bands of Tito Puente, Mongo Santamaria, Ray Barretto and Mario Bauza.  A native of the South Bronx, he's a multi-talented trumpeter, percussionist, composer, and arranger.  You'll hear quite a bit of Ray's music on Jazz Caliente, from his albums Boperation, Pa'lante and Squeeze Squeeze.

Mary Lou Williams at the piano, 1946
William P. Gottlieb / Library of Congress

Pianist, composer and arranger Mary Lou Williams was one of the most talented and versatile musicians in jazz, but throughout her life she had to fight for recognition of her accomplishments.  Her story is well told in the film Mary Lou Williams: The Lady Who Swings the Band.

Dizzy Gillespie plays his trumpet on the main stage during the Monterey Jazz Festival in Sept. 1990
Eric Risberg / AP

Saturday Jazz Caliente is all about Dizzy Gillespie this week, to honor the brilliant trumpeter's contributions to Latin Jazz on his 100th birthday.  

Parker Miles Blohm / KNKX

A legend of the Pacific NW blues scene, Curtis Salgado’s long list of credits include co-leading the Robert Cray Band, being the inspiration for the Blues Brothers, fronting the band Roomful of Blues, singing with Santana, and leading his own bands.

George Gershwin 1898-1937
Bain News Service / Public Domain

Known as one of  the most significant composers of American music, George Gershwin excelled in popular songs, Broadway musicals and even classical compositions. 

In February of 1932, George treated himself to a two-week vacation in Cuba.  When he came back to the US, he wrote a short piece of music inspired by the rhythms he heard on the island.

Thelonious Monk at Minton's Playhouse, New York, 1947
William Gottlieb / Public Domain

Tuesday October 10th is the 100th birthday of jazz pianist and composer Thelonious Monk.  Often referred to as "the Picasso of bebop," or "the High Priest of bop," Monk helped to push jazz to a new era and beyond.

In the 1940s and 1950s, the bebop scene was full of unusual, quirky sounds and characters, but none quite so unpredictable and original as Monk.  He may have frightened some jazz fans away with his sometimes bizarre behavior, but the musicians knew they were dealing with genius.

Mongo Santamaría plays the conga drums at the Super Jazz Concert at the Apollo Theater in New York, 1988.
William I. Ballinger / AP

Ramón "Mongo" Santamaría Rodríguez is probably the most recognized of the Cuban-born conga drum players associated with American jazz and R&B.  To many, Mongo represented the pinnacle of Afro-Cuban percussion.