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

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.

Cuban pianist and bandleader Omar Sosa
Massimo Mantivani / Courtesy of the artist

October is shaping up to be an outstanding month for Cuban music and Latin Jazz in the Seattle area.  Here's a preview of  some upcoming shows and artists.

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

SIFF  presents its mini-festival "French Cinema Now" September 28-October 5th.  The opening film on September 28th is "Django." 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.

The Spanish Harlem Orchestra on stage at Lincoln Center's "Out of Doors" concert series, 2017
Luxe Creative Imaging / Courtesy of SHO

The Spanish Harlem Orchestra is on tour celebrating its 15th year of performing and recording.  All of their albums have been nominated for Grammy awards and they've collected two awards so far.  Their shows sell out all over the US and the world.  They'll be at Jazz Alley next week, Tuesday September 26 and Wednesday September 27.

What makes this group so special?  Most likely, it's the vision of excellence held and shared by the band and its pianist/music director/leader Oscar Hernández.

Cuban jazz player Arturo Sandoval plays during a concert in Moscow, Russia, Monday, Feb. 27, 2017
AP Photo/Alexander Zemlianichenko

Cuban trumpeter and multi-instrumentalist Arturo Sandoval returns to Seattle this week, playing Dimitriou's Jazz Alley Thursday 9/14 through Sunday 9/17. 

Arturo Sandoval first studied classical trumpet, then turned to jazz.  In his live shows, he radiates the joy of music, much like his mentor Jazz Master Dizzy Gillespie.

Paquito D' Rivera with clarinet
courtesy of the arist / paquitodrivera.com

The music of saxophonist/clarinetist Paquito D’Rivera and trumpeter/pianist Arturo Sandoval has been censored from Cuban airwaves for decades now,  since they both defected to the U.S.  

Band mates in the groundbreaking Orquesta Cubana de Música Moderna and founding members of the legendary Cuban group Irakere, both musicians took advantage of world tours to make their escape.  Both have also gone on to make incredibly successful international careers, but still, it has to hurt to know that your name has been erased from your native country's cultural history.

Ray Barretto plays the congas at the Tito Puente Auditorium in San Juan, Puerto Rico in 2002
Andres Leighton / Associated Press

This week's Jazz Caliente includes music from conguero, composer and bandleader Ray Barretto.  One of the first musicians to introduce Latin percussion to American be-bop, he was known as Manos Duras (Hard Hands), a true power-hitter of the congas. 

Robin Lloyd takes the stage at Hermann's Jazz Club during their Save KPLU fundraiser, May 2016
Brenda Goldstein-Young / KNKX

As Canada’s longest continuously operating jazz club, Hermann’s Jazz Club in Victoria BC has held an important position in the West Coast jazz scene for 37 years. 

It’s been a source of work, a laboratory for experimentation, and a friendly hang-out for local musicians.  It’s also an education center for jazz students, who can listen, learn and participate with professionals.  And it’s an intimate venue for visiting national and international jazz acts.

Since the death of the club’s founder Hermann Nieweler in 2015, the future of this community resource has been uncertain.  Now there’s an urgent effort to save Hermann’s Jazz Club.

Musican playing a bamboo horn called Vaksen
Alfonso Lomba / Wikimedia Commons CC BY 3.0

In the early 1800s French slave owners fled the revolution in Haiti and many settled in Cuba.  They brought approximately 27,000 Haitian slaves with them to work on the coffee and sugar cane plantations.

Haitian culture is closely linked to Cuba’s because of their shared African heritage.   Creole is the second most spoken language in Cuba, after Spanish, and it has its roots in Haiti.  The Haitian language, religions and music and dance traditions remain a large part of Cuban culture.

Pablo Menéndez and Mezcla
courtesy of the artist

Guitarist Pablo Menéndez takes fusion to the next level.  His band Mezcla (meaning "mixture") blends jazz, blues, rock and several styles of Cuban and African music into one raucous, joyous expression of life.

DVD cover of "Saxophone Colossus"
MVD Visual

A new 4K transfer of the 1986 film “Saxophone Colossus” will be available on DVD, Blu-Ray and digital platforms starting today, August 4. 

Sonny Rollins has intrigued and delighted me since I first saw him in concert in 1978.  His power and stamina, his robust improvisational skills, and the joy he exuded on stage still fascinate me. 

John Pizzarelli back in the KNKX studios in Seattle, Wash.
Parker Miles Blohm / KNKX

Celebrating the release of their CD “Sinatra & Jobim @ 50,” this duo brought the warmth and charm of the beloved Brazilian songwriter Antonio Carlos Jobim to the KNKX studios.

Mambo steps on the street
John Henderson, Flickr / Creatiive Commons (CC BY 2.0)

According to Rebeca Mauleon's indispensable "Salsa Guidebook for Piano and Ensemble,"  the Mambo is:

An up-tempo dance style, developed through the 1940s and 1950s, which blended several elements of North American instrumentation and harmony with the Cuban son (a style of popular dance music that combined Spanish and African elements).

Laura Rosok in the KNKX studios.
Parker Miles Blohm / KNKX

While Laura was still a student at King's High School in Shoreline, she was a guest vocalist for Lance Buller’s group that came in for a studio session a few years back. 

In 2014, Laura was named the winner of the high school division in the Seattle-Kobe Female Jazz Vocalist competition, and in 2015, Downbeat Magazine named her the national winner of their 38th annual Student Music Awards in the high school vocal jazz soloist category.

Jerry Gonzalez in 2012
By Andrea Zapata Girau (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

“Andy and Jerry Gonzalez changed the face of Latin jazz—in fact, they defined that hybrid.” — Arturo O’Farrill

album cover "Patato Valdes Live at the Canal Room"
USA Records, 2006

Conga drummer Carlos Valdés carried his nickname with pride.  "Patato" in Cuban slang means "potato,"  in the sense of something small and low to the ground.  Valdés was small in stature, but the Little Spud was a giant in Afro Cuban jazz.  

Pianist, educator and social activist Danilo Pérez
photo courtesy of the artist / Mack Avenue Records/Danilo Pérez

The Republic of Panama has produced some stellar modern musicians like popular singer and actor Rubén Blades and jazz drummer Billy Cobham.   Add to that list the prolific pianist, educator and social activist Danilo Pérez.

Book Cover:  Queen of Bebop - The Musical Lives of Sarah Vaughan
photo of Sarah Vaughan by Herman Leonard Photography LLC / Ecco Press/Harper Collins

"The Divine One."  "Sassy."  "The High Priestess of Jazz."  "The Girl with the Magic Voice."

Jazz critics, fans, producers and musicians all praised Sarah Vaughan's warm, supple, nearly four-octave range voice and her flawless technique.  Her life in music (and music was her life) is explored in the new book "Queen of BeBop-The Musical Lives of Sarah Vaughan" by Elaine M. Hayes.

Rebecca Corbaley, KNKX

Two informative, fun and  in-depth resources for learning about Latin music debuted  in 2009:  the interactive exhibit "American Sabor" and the PBS series "Latin Music USA."

Parker Miles Blohm / KNKX

Boston native LaVon Hardison has enchanted the South Sound with her warm, lively voice and personality.   Utilizing her background in lyric opera and musical theatre, she goes deep into a song to tell its story. 

LaVon’s most recent CD, “Come Together,” showcases her creative connection with some of the Northwest’s finest musicians, and their performance at KNKX was a delight from start to finish. 

World, meet the LaVon Hardison Quartet!

courtesy of the artist / ponchosanchez.com

Conguero and bandleader Poncho Sanchez was born in Laredo, Texas but grew up in a melting-pot suburb of Los Angeles.  His music reflects the various influences of jazz, Latin jazz, R&B and soul, and it's a joyful mixture.

YACIEL PEÑA DE LA PEÑA

Emiliano Salvador is perhaps the most overlooked of Cuban jazz pianists.  His intensity and focus drew comparisons to Thelonious Monk, he had the sensitivity of Bill Evans, and his innovative approach echoed McCoy Tyner and Herbie Hancock.

Yolydia / wikicommons CC BY-SA 3.0

What we call "Latin Jazz" is usually jazz played over Afro-Cuban or Brazilian rhythms.  We've explored Afro-Peruvian jazz, and now it's time to look to Puerto Rico.  

The folkloric Afro-Puerto Rican styles of Bomba and Plena also lend themselves nicely to latin jazz.

Parker Miles Blohm / KNKX

The Rumba Kings have evolved over the last couple of years into a guitar-driven band that plays passionate music in the flamenco, rumba, Greek, Italian and Spanish styles, and more.   The lush Mediterranean and Romani sounds and rhythms are irresistible, and the most recent addition to the group, vocalist Rustam Shtar, adds another romantic dimension. 

Judy Morales/Fania Records

In 1964, multi-instrumentalist and bandleader Johnny Pacheco and his friend Jerry Masucci started a tiny record label called Fania.  The company grew from very small beginnings (Pacheco delivered their first records personally to music stores from the trunk of his car) to become the powerhouse of Latin music known as the Motown of salsa.

Jerry Lacay / Carlini Media

Francisco Aguabella was one of the Conga Kings, raised in the drumming tradition of Matanzas, Cuba, an area dedicated to preserving African traditions.

He played batá drums for religious and folkloric ensembles, and conga drums for the popular styles of mambo, rumba, son and Latin jazz.  

Dizzy Gillespie called Aguabella the "John Coltrane of the conga drums."

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