Jazz Northwest

Sundays at 2PM

Jazz Northwest focuses on the regional jazz scene from Portland to Vancouver. CDs by the best resident musicians from Seattle, Portland and Vancouver are featured, and the program also includes news about the best places to go for live jazz in the region. In addition, Jim goes "on location" to concerts, clubs and jazz festivals to record performances by resident and visiting artists for playback on Jazz Northwest. These one-of-a-kind recordings are available nowhere else!

Host Jim Wilke is a professional recording engineer and writer in addition to his radio programs which include "Jazz After Hours" on Public Radio International, heard nationwide since 1984.

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.

This week's show samples upcoming performances by the Jim Cutler Jazz Orchestra, Duende Libre, Kareem Kandi, Greta Matassa and others, plus a new Christmas album with Eugene, Oregon trumpet and flugelhorn player Tony Glausi. Also this week, The Garfield Jazz Ensemble in part of their 2017 Essentially Ellington performance in NYC, and The Three Sounds at The Penthouse in Seattle in the Sixties.  

Among the many holiday musical traditions is The Roosevelt Jazz Band's "Jazz Nutcracker" which has been presented annually in Seattle since 2000. 

Courtesy of Jim Levitt

Hear highlights from a concert by The Seattle Repertory Jazz Orchestra with special guest Wycliffe Gordon recorded last weekend at The Kirkland Performance center. Wycliffe Gordon is a multi award and poll-winning trombonist, in addition to playing the trumpet and singing, he also conducted SRJO. Wycliffe Gordon also composed most of the music in this hour of highlights.

Sean Jones, Terell Stafford, trumpets;  Dan Marcus, Wycliffe Gordon, trombones (front)
Courtesy of Jim Levitt

With an outstanding jazz faculty assembled for its annual Jazz Workshop, Centrum's Jazz Port Townsend has a ready all-star big band to play the festival on the last weekend of July each year.  With soloists in every chair, this becomes one of the best bands on the planet for one weekend.  This year was no exception.

Jazz Northwest  marks the Buddy Rich and Dizzy Gillespie centennials in 2017 with radio aircheck recordings produced in the 60s by host Jim Wilke.  The Buddy Rich Big Band played a live broadcast from D.J.'s on Fourth Avenue in 1968, The Dizzy Gillespie Quintet played a live broadcast from The Penthouse in 1966.   

Also included on this program are samples of some upcoming Earshot Jazz Festival performers - Edward Simon, Gregory Porter, and Amina Figarova. 

John Abbott

John Gilbreath, Executive Director of Earshot Jazz will talk about some of the international artists including Afro-Cuban pianist and band leader Omar Sosa (October 15), and Azerbaijan-born pianist and composer Amina Figarova (November 4) who studied in the Netherlands and now lives in New York .  

Drummer Matt Wilson will celebrate poet Carl Sandburg who was born in Illinois near where Matt Wilson was born. Matt Wilson will make 3 appearances with three different ensembles including the Roosevelt High School Jazz Band on October 26, and his own groups on October 27 & 28.  

Sullivan Fortner, Doug Weiss, Kendrick Scott, Tia Fuller at Jazz Port Townsend 2017
Courtesy of Jim Levitt

New faces and fresh talent at Centrum's Jazz Port Townsend in 2017 included alto saxophonist Tia Fuller and pianist Sullivan Fortner who fronted a quartet with bassist Doug Weis and drummer Kendrick Scott.  The performance in McCurdy Pavilion at Fort Worden was recorded for radio and will air on Jazz Northwest on Sunday, October 8 at 2 PM Pacific on 88.5 KNKX.  All four musicians also served on the faculty of the Jazz Workshop during the week before the festival.  

The 29th annual Earshot Jazz Festival (October 8-November 12) will be sampled and previewed this week on Jazz Northwest.  Earshot Jazz Executive Director John Gilbreath joins us to sample and discuss some of the more than 50 events during the five-week festival.  Included will be several events in a centennial salute to pianist-composer Thelonious Monk.  Seattle pianists Overton Berry and Dawn Clement will be featured along with many international and regional artists and rising stars.

Learn more about the festival now at Earshot Jazz Festival.

Brian Nova at the Seattle Art Museum.
Courtesy of Michael Burkhalter

Guitarist and singer Brian Nova is a well-known figure on the jazz scene, particularly on the West Coast.  He's led long-running weekly jam sessions and recorded 7 CDs.   In addition to being a leader Brian is a valued sideman who's played alongside many jazz greats including his mentors, Herb Ellis and Joe Pass.  The present group appears Sunday evenings at The Musicquarium lounge at The Triple Door in Seattle. 

Joining Brian Nova are saxophonist Jon Goforth, bassist Dan O'Brien and drummer Brian Kirk. The music is mostly standards as arranged by Brian Nova.

Wycliffe Gordon at Jazz Port Townsend
Jim Levitt

Trombonist and trumpet player Wycliffe Gordon celebrated the music and soul of jazz great Louis Armstrong in concert at Jazz Port Townsend last July. Wycliffe Gordon is well known as a trombonist, but is also adept with trumpet and vocals in this concert including music Louis Armstrong made famous with his recordings and performances all over the world. Joining Wycliffe Gordon in this concert are the versatile swing clarinetist and saxophonist Adrian Cunningham, Bill Cunliffe on piano, Martin Wind on bass and Jeff Hamilton on drums. 

Tia Fuller, Sean Jones, Jon Hamar, Matt Wilson at The Old Whiskey Mill, Port Townsend
Jim Wilke / KNKX

This week on Jazz Northwest, an all-star jazz group playing an informal but high-energy gig in Port Townsend. Trumpeter Sean Jones and alto saxophonist Tia Fuller front the group which also includes John Hansen on piano, Jon Hamar on bass and Matt Wilson on drums, recorded live at The Old Whiskey Mill on Water Street.

Dawn Clement, Jane Ira Bloom, Bobby Previte, Mark Helias.
Erika Kapin

Jazz Northwest  spotlights several new releases featuring northwest resident artists this week.  Seattle pianist Dawn Clement is a regular part of the New York-based quartet led by soprano saxophonist Jane Ira Bloom whose new release features original music inspired by Emily Dickinson.  Also on this week's show are recent releases by Bren Plummer with John Hansen on piano, trumpeter Nathan Breedlove and trumpeter Jared Hall.

Next week, Sean Jones and Tia Fuller front a hard-bop quintet in a club gig recorded in July at The Old Whiskey Mill during Jazz Port Townsend.

Jim Levitt

Pianist Justin Kauflin made his Jazz Port Townsend debut at the 43rd annual festival the last week of July.  He performed in a trio concert with bassist Doug Weiss and drummer Kendrick Scott at McCurdy Pavilion at Fort Worden and also served on the faculty of the week-long jazz workshop before the weekend of public concerts. 

Jim Levitt

The renowned flutist Hubert Laws was featured in a special opening night concert at this year's Jazz Port Townsend Festival.  Designated a Jazz Master by the National Endowment for the Arts, Hubert Laws' career spans six decades and dozens of albums.  He was joined on stage at McCurdy Pavilion at Fort Worden by an all-star trio including Bill Cunliffe on piano, John Clayton on bass and Matt Wilson on drums.

Jim Levitt

One of the popular features of the annual Ballard Jazz Festival is the Ballard Jazz Walk. This year, 90 musicians performed in various groups in ten venues during the Jazz Walk. 

Jim Levitt

This week, some performances not previously broadcast on Jazz Northwest.  First, a 1999 performance by the Jessica Williams trio at Jazz Port Townsend, followed by an unusual double bass duo with guest Christian McBride and Phil Sparks with  the rhythm section from the Seattle Repertory Jazz Orchestra from a concert this past June.  

The balance of the program features Tia Fuller, Dee Daniels, Wycliffe Gordon, Matt Wilson and Hubert Laws. All will appear at  this year's 43rd annual Jazz Port Townsend, July 27-29.

Jim Levitt

Barçelona natives and Seattle residents since 2014, Marina Albero and Serena Dominguez were joined by Evan Flory-Barnes in a Ballard Jazz Walk concert during the 15th Annual Ballard Jazz Festival in May.  They performed and improvised on a variety of music including references to Spanish traditional and classical music as well as original music by all three performers in solo, duo and trio settings.  One highlight was "La Finestra," a song by Marina Albera's father and Serena Dominguez' grandfather, Mariano Albero. 

This week on Jazz Northwest we'll sample new releases by the ten-member Full Circle Jazz Ensemble, Jovino Santos Neto, Dan Dean and Jared Hall.   We'll also hear some interesting pairings of talents - Jay Thomas and Gary Smulyan, Ray Vega and Thomas Marriott and Wynton Kelly and Wes Montgomery (in Seattle in 1966!).  Best bets for live jazz in the coming week are also included on the program.  

Christian McBride and part of the SRJO sax section.
Courtesy of Jim Levitt

The Grammy-winning world-renown bassist Christian McBride was guest soloist with the Seattle Repertory Jazz Orchestra in the season finale in June.  The concert at Kirkland Performance Center was recorded for radio and highlights will air on Jazz Northwest on 88.5 KNKX on Sunday, July 2 at 2 p.m. Pacific, also streaming at knkx.org.  

Portland trumpet player and educator Thara Memory passed June 16 in Portland at the age of 68. The Florida-born musician was much loved and honored in his adopted city where he lived since the '80s, playing with the Mel Brown Quintet, leading his own groups and teaching generations of jazz musicians. He launched the jazz program at Portland State University and his American Music Program Pacific Crest Jazz Orchestra  surprised everyone when they won the Essentially Ellington competition in New York City in 2015. 

Jim Wilke

June's Art of Jazz concert at the Seattle Art Museum featured The Sam Boshnack Quintet playing her original music. The concert was recorded for radio and highlights will air on Jazz Northwest on Sunday June 18 at 2 p.m. Pacific on 88.5 KNKX and knkx.org.  

R.Andrew Lepley

Jazz Northwest is our weekly survey of the regional jazz scene Sunday afternoons at 2.  We sample the rich variety of resident and visiting artists who will be performing in the near future and we visit local venues with live, on-location recordings.  

Jim Levitt

Three guitar led trios were featured at the Guitar Summit at the 15th Annual Ballard Jazz Festival. Cole Schuster, Brad Shepik and Dan Balmer each led a set including  their own original music as well as jazz standards.   Representing Seattle, New York and Portland respectively, the three guitarists led three different ensembles that represented their own unique approaches to the guitar trio. The evening was recorded for radio and highlights will air on Jazz Northwest  on 88.5 KNKX on Sunday, June 4 at 2 PM Pacific, also streaming at knkx.org

Sandrine Lee

The Bellevue Jazz and Blues Festival is next on the Summer festival season, running May 31-June 4. Music by two of the headliners, Catherine Russell and the Full Circle Jazz Ensemble is featured on Jazz Northwest on Sunday, May 28 at 2 p.m. Pacific on 88.5 KNKX.  The festival features ticketed theatre concerts as well as free performances in downtown Bellevue restaurants and bars.  

Also on this week's show are new releases by The Garfield Jazz Ensemble, Duende Libre and Sam Boshnack Quintet and others.  

Jim Wilke

Alex Dugdale's Fade Quartet was featured at this month's Art of Jazz concert at the Seattle Art Museum. The concert was recorded for Jazz Northwest on 88.5 KNKX and highlights from the concert will air Sunday May 21 at 2 p.m. Pacific.  The quartet includes Alex Dugdale on saxophones and clarinet and tap dancing on two tunes, Cole Schuster is on guitar, Greg Feingold, bass and Max Holmberg, drums.

Louis Gilbert

This coming week will be full of opportunities for hearing some great live jazz around Seattle.  Headlining that list is the Ballard Jazz Festival which runs Wednesday through Saturday, including Brotherhood of the Drum, the Guitar Summit, the Ballard Jazz Walk (with 10 venues!) and the mainstage concert featuring Chico Freeman on Saturday.  This week on Jazz Northwest, we are previewing some of the activities.

Jim Levitt

This week on Jazz Northwest, the Seattle Repertory Jazz Orchestra plays the music of Louis Armstrong. This hour of excerpts from the concert includes music played by Louis Armstrong from the early years of jazz in the '20s through his spectacular popular success in the 1960s.  

Randy Cole

It wasn't planned that way, but there's a great concentration of female jazz musicians playing in Seattle area concerts and jazz clubs in the coming week.  

Jazz Northwest, a weekly survey of the regional jazz scene, features some of the visiting and resident artists including Christine Jensen, Roxy Coss, Kelley Johnson and Ann Reynolds.  There's also info on when and where they and many others are playing.  

Jim Wilke

Seattle Art Museum's monthly Art of Jazz series featured singer Jacqueline Tabor and her band at the April concert.  The concerts are presented at SAM by Earshot Jazz and most are recorded for later broadcast on 88.5 KNKX.

Jacqueline Tabor sang with the 200 Trio (Cole Schuster, guitar, Greg Feingold, bass and Max Holmberg, drums) and saxophonist Alexey Nikolaev. Included were many songs associated with jazz greats among Jacqueline Tabor's inspirations including Ella Fitzgerald, Sarah Vaughan, Bessie Smith, Edmonia Jarrett and Ernestine Anderson.

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