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

Herbert Behrens / Anefo / CC BY-SA 3.0 nl

Legendary trumpeter Lee Morgan would have celebrated his 80th birthday today.

The story of Lee Morgan's death in 1972 pops up every few years to be hashed over and nit-picked by jazz enthusiasts, critics and journalists.  I've read the articles, the essays, and even the transcripts of the taped interview of Helen Morgan, the "lady who shot Lee Morgan."  

None of the above prepared me for the emotional depths of the story told in the 2016 film "I Called Him Morgan."

Kiki Valera with La Familia Valera Miranda at Seattle's Town Hall 2013
EyeShot Jazz/Daniel Sheehan Photography / eyeshotjazz.com

Son Cubano is one of the most popular musical styles of Cuba.  We're lucky to have one of its foremost practioners right here in Seattle.  His name is Kiki Valera, and he's presenting a Cuban serenade at the Triple Door next week:  La Serenata Cubana.

José Mangual, Sr. on the cover of the 1977 album Buyú
Turnstyle Records/Martin Cohen/congahead/Latin Percussion

Bongocero José Mangual performed with nearly all of the American musicians who were discovering Latin rhythms from the 1940s through the 1970s, including Count Basie, Miles Davis and Erroll Garner.  He was also a huge inspiration to the founder of the one of the most popular percussion instrument manufacturing companies in the United States.

Parker Miles Blohm / KNKX

We were thrilled to welcome Seattle’s longest-running Latin Jazz group Sonando to our Seattle studios for a live performance.  

Formed in 1990 by pianist and tresero Fred Hoadley, Sonando has recorded three stellar albums, won an Earshot Jazz Golden Ear award for Best Acoustic Jazz Group of 2007, and received a grant to arrange and perform the music of jazz great Charles Mingus, Afro-Cuban style, in 2011.

Pianist and bandleader Oscar Hernández
courtesy of the artist

The Spanish Harlem Orchestra returns to Seattle's Jazz Alley June 21-24.  It's their 15th anniversary tour, and a celebration of the release of their latest CD Anniversary.

I caught up with bandleader Oscar Hernández by phone, and we talked about his early days as musician and arranger in New York, forming the SHO, and more:

1974 album cover Fania All Stars Latin Soul Rock
courtesy of Fania Records/www.fania.com

This week's Latin Soul selection on Saturday Jazz Caliente is "Viva Tirado," from the Fania All Stars 1974 collection Latin-Soul-Rock.  The composition, written by the great jazz arranger Gerald Wilson, has an interesting history and has proved to be an enduring piece of shared culture. 

Here's the original and just a few of the many different recordings of "Viva Tirado."

Percussion master Steve Kroon tosses the chekeré
courtesy of the artist

Steven Kroon was raised in Harlem and Queens, and what he learned there has taken him on 15 world tours and given him 50 years in the business of professional percussion.

Cinco de Mayo Parade, Mexico City 2017
(AP Photo/Eduardo Verdugo)

As we celebrate Mexican and Mexican-American culture, let's go beyond tacos and tequila, and recognize Mexico's contribution to jazz and Latin jazz.  This week on Saturday Jazz Caliente, we'll hear from one prominent Mexican-American Latin jazz musician, Poncho Sanchez.  Here are a few more:

Pedrito Martinez of The Pedrito Martinez Group performs at the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival on Friday, April 28, 2017, in New Orleans.
Amy Harris/Invision / AP

Wynton Marsalis called him a genius.  Quincy Jones says listening to this man's band makes him feel like a teenager.   Let's meet Cuban-born percussionist Pedrito Martinez.  He'll be at Jazz Alley in Seattle next Tuesday and Wednesday, May 1st and 2nd.

Pianist Eliane Elias, cover photo from the album "Music From Man of La Mancha"
courtesy of the artist

Another stellar week of live Latin Jazz starts this Sunday in Seattle, including Cuban jazz and dance music, a Brazilian spin on the Tony-winning Broadway musical Man of La Mancha, and an artist who is at the forefront of the wave of Cuban millennials who are forging a new path with their music.  Here's the rundown:

Cuban pianist Roberto Fonseca performs at the Five Continents Jazz Festival, in Marseille, southern France, 2014.
AP Photo/Claude Paris

So many wonderful Cuban musicians are performing in Seattle in the next few months, I've started to refer to it as the "Cuban Invasion," and I'm excited to be introducing you to their music on Jazz Caliente.

Gregor Huebner and El Violin Latino
Holger Keifel

Violinist Gregor Huebner has developed a signature sound inspired by traditional Latin American music.  This week on Saturday Jazz Caliente, we'll hear a selection from his recording El Violin Latino.

Earshot Jazz Managing Director Karen Caropepe, 2018 Seattle Jazz Hero
Daniel Sheehan Photography (www.danielsheehan.com)

April is Jazz Appreciation Month; a celebration of America's homegrown art form all month long, ending with a global all-star concert on International Jazz Day, April 30.  This year's concert will be held in St. Petersburg, Russian Federation.

In Seattle, the festivities began with a night of awards for musicians, presenters, educators and heroes.

Pianist and songwriter Marcia Ball brought her signature swampy, bluesy, boogie-woogie roadhouse sound to our studio to celebrate the impending release of her latest album Shine Bright, which comes out April 20.

Marcia’s won ten Blues Music Awards, ten Living Blues Awards, and had five Grammy Award nominations. She has been inducted into both the Gulf Coast Music Hall of Fame and the Louisiana Music Hall of Fame. The Texas State legislature named her the official 2018 Texas State Musician.

Pianist Brenda Hopkins Miranda
courtesy of the arist/brendahopkinsmusic.com

This week on Saturday Jazz Caliente, we'll hear a selection from innovative pianist and composer Brenda Hopkins Miranda.  Her sixth album is Puentes​ (bridges), and with this recording she succeeds in her intent to bridge differences in musical styles, traditions, languages and generations.

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.”

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