Jazz and Blues

News about jazz, blues, Studio Sessions, and music samplings from jazz artists in the northwest and around the world.

Marie+Claire+Margossian_Fotor

The Chateau Ste. Michelle 2017 Summer Concert Series is proud to present Gipsy Kings, Lyle Lovett, Pink Martini, Diana Krall--plus the Chateau Jazz Fest (Herb Alpert, Lani Hall, David Sanborn, Marc Antoine) and the Chateau Blues Fest (Buddy Guy, Charlie Musselwhite, John Mayall) and so much more.  Tickets go on sale Saturday, March 25 at 10 a.m. at Ticketmaster.com.  More info available at www.wineryconcerts.com.

The New Cool: A Pair of Cool NW LP Previews

Mar 17, 2017

Do you still call them records? Or maybe you refer to a new CD? You're not still talking about the latest tape release, are you? Whatever you call them, new album releases are to musicians what children are to parents - although old albums are a lot easier to forget.

On this week's edition of The New Cool, you'll hear previews of two new releases due in May from two talented young Northwest groups. Both of whom KNKX is working with on upcoming live events.

Tune in Thursday, April 6 at 12:15 p.m. for a special solo performance by Joey Alexander, hosted by Abe Beeson.

Pixabay / CC0 public domain

This week on Jazz Caliente, we'll hear the sweet sounds of violins.  The violin came to Latin jazz through a style of music called "charanga," as did the flute.  And just like the flute, the violin's history in Cuba has deep roots.

The New Cool: Blackstar Jazz Star Donny McCaslin

Mar 10, 2017
Frederick M. Brown / Getty Images North America

It’s not the kind of fame you want, but sax player Donny McCaslin is reaping the rewards of his band’s work backing up David Bowie on his final album, "Blackstar," released just two days before Bowie’s death.

Accepting one of the five Grammys the album received at this year’s ceremony, McCaslin said, “I’m a better artist and better person for having known him.”

The Bowie influence on McCaslin has been profound, his new release with his quartet "Beyond Now" has been described as a continuation of the music they made on "Blackstar."

Bebeto Matthews / AP Photo

Latin jazz flutist Dave Valentin died March 8; he was 64.  I remember very well the first time I heard him play on his album "The Hawk."

Dave Valentin became one of the pre-eminent flutists in Latin jazz. He was known for his creative combination of fusion, pop and R&B.

He won a Grammy in 2003 for best Latin jazz album for "The Gathering," by the Caribbean Jazz Project. Vibraphonist Dave Samuels was also featured on that record.

Manager Richie Bonilla told news agencies that Valentin, 64, who had suffered multiple strokes over the last several years, died Wednesday from stroke complications and Parkinson's disease.

Parker Miles Blohm / KNKX

The all-star combo from Juanita High School's jazz band made their studio session on 88.5 with young trumpeter and educator Jared Hall featured on trumpet, and proved they're ready to take their place among the promising teen jazz ensembles around the Northwest.

The New Cool: Passion for the Hammond B3

Mar 3, 2017
Ernie Sapiro Photography

Unveiled to the public in 1935, the Hammond Clock Company sold nearly 2,000 Model A organs to churches in the first three years of production. To this day, when I hear the warm, pulsing of the B-3, it sounds like gospel music.

In the '60s and '70s, with the help of jazz players like Jimmy Smith, Jack McDuff, Shirley Scott and rock groups like the Allman Brothers, the Hammond organ became a powerful messenger of soul and funk. For many jazz musicians of the 21st Century, the Hammond organ is reclaiming it's place as the backbone of countless varieties of soulful sounds.

drummercafe.com

I was disheartened to see a recent Facebook post about master percussionist Giovanni Hidalgo.  It said he was having medical problems which have prevented him from performing for the last couple of years.  The future of Latin jazz without contributions from Mañenguito (Hidalgo's nickname) would be unthinkable.

Abe Beeson

Sixteen year-old Mairead Rising plays tenor saxophone and sings with the Glacier Peak High School Jazz Band in Snohomish, Wash.  She shares an hour of her favorite jazz with Abe Beeson on March 2 from 8-9 p.m. on KNKX's Evening Jazz.  Check out Mairead's killer version of The Jazz Messengers' "Moanin'" from Glacier Peak's School Of Jazz studio performance from January.

Which instrument do you play and why?

If you're in Clarksdale, Miss., home of the Delta blues, everybody says you have to go to Red's juke joint. The hole-in-the-wall club is the real deal. It's just a small room, a few tables and a fridge full of beer. Red lights are strung around a low ceiling. On the night we visit, octogenarian Leo "Bud" Welch plays in the center of the room, hunched over a sparkly, hot pink, electric guitar. Red Paden, the owner, sits out front, surveying from behind the bar.

The New Cool: Jazz Meets Funk For Mardi Gras

Feb 24, 2017
Justin Steyer / KNKX

In 1971, Bobby Byrd asked his boss James Brown what he was going to play next. James famously replied, "I don't know. But whatever it is, it's got to be funky!", and the drums and bass kick in.

For me, that's the heart and soul of funk music right there, and most people would say it happened at the beginning. But funk wasn't born in the '70s, or even the late '60s, but back at the birth of American music alongside jazz in New Orleans.

SFJAZZ

Saxophonist Miguel Zenón brings his quartet back to Seattle on March 1, for a performance at PONCHO Concert Hall at Cornish College for the Arts.  Their most recent recording, "Típico," focuses on the quartet itself, celebrating the magic that happens when a band creates together for more than 15 years.  We'll hear some of that magic this week on Saturday Jazz Caliente.

Mount Si Band

Knkx congratulates the Edmonds-Woodway, Mountlake Terrace and Mount Si High School jazz bands on becoming finalists in the 22nd annual Essentially Ellington Competition & Festival.  This year's event will be held from May 11-13 in New York at Jazz at Lincoln Center. 

americansabor.org

This week on Saturday Jazz Caliente, we'll hear the theme song of the orchestra known as Machito and his Afro-Cubans.  The piece is called "Tanga," composed by trumpeter and arranger Mario Bauzá.  This "Tanga" had nothing to do with skimpy underwear; the song title was derived from an African word for marijuana.

Getty Images

Late-February in the Northwest is a non-turning point. The Presidents’ Day three-day weekend feels like a holiday, but unless your making tracks on the ski slopes, the weather usually doesn’t offer much worth celebrating. With spring still a month away, this Puget Sound native knows it’s time to mix things up.

Jazz at Lincoln Center

The Grammy Awards show will be televised this Sunday, Feb. 12, at 5 p.m. PST.  This week on Jazz Caliente, we're featuring music from all five Grammy nominees for Best Latin Jazz Album, and believe me, I'd be hard-pressed to pick a "winner" this year.  They're all outstanding recordings.

The New Cool: Spanning The Globe With Coolness

Feb 10, 2017
Agogo Records

One of the biggest drivers of the creation of The New Cool show on knkx has been the proliferation of incredible modern jazz talent right here in the Pacific Northwest.

This week's show provides another opportunity to showcase "Cascade cool" with current Seattle residents Bill Frisell and Jeff Johnson, as well as Portland favorites Trio Subtonic and the Todd Bishop Quartet.

Parker Miles Blohm / KNKX

Until very recently, Decatur High School in Federal Way didn’t have a jazz combo.  What they had was a full jazz big band.  When knkx put out the call to regional school jazz programs to send us demo tapes so we could select groups for live studio sessions, Decatur’s band director, Jeff Chang, recorded the big band and sent it in. 

Geraldine Wyckoff

The Cultural Exchange Pavilion at this year's Jazz and Heritage Festival in New Orleans will feature musicians from Cuba, like revered jazz pianist Chucho Valdes (the "Duke Ellington of Cuba") and timba stars Los Van Van.  The "heritage" part of this annual festival is all about acknowledging the many international influences present in New Orleans culture, food and music. 

Abe Beeson

As a young music fan, I considered the radio DJ the ultimate gatekeeper to good taste and sophistication. Humbly, now in that position, I still do.

But the next generation of music fans has a different idea of what a DJ is. No longer sequestered behind a microphone in a cramped, dimly lit room filled with records and maybe a stick of incense, today’s DJ is at the front of the stage in a giant arena, surrounded by lights and computers.

Molly Gillespie

Harrison Hannon is 21 years old and a senior at South Puget Sound Community College.  He plays drums in the jazz band. 

Parker Miles Blohm / KNKX

The Glacier Peak High School Jazz Band director Tad Morris has raised some talented musicians under his care, with a largely senior class combo well-equipped with skills and a deep understanding of the importance of jazz.

Asked what this music means to them, bassist Alex Sturlaugson talked about how jazz transcends race, religion and politics and connects us on a deep level. Then there was the music.

J. Scott Shrader

The New Cool knows that the essence of jazz is in its immediacy, as it's happening. Records can document amazing moments in time, but this music was meant to be ever changing. And so the most rewarding moments in jazz are most often when you experience the music in person.

This week's program brings another chance for you to catch the coolest modern jazz for free, as we give away tickets to catch the bicoastal modern jazz group Kneebody at Nectar in Seattle's Fremont neighborhood on February 19.

Most jazz fans are familiar with Brazilian samba and bossa nova, since those musical styles have mixed with jazz beautifully for decades.  But Brazil is a large diverse country with many other regional rhythms and musical styles that also blend nicely with jazz.  

Tim Knox Photography

Born and raised in soulful '70s Philadelphia, Adam Dorn’s father, Joel, was producing hits for Atlantic Records for Roberta Flack, Simon & Garfunkel, John Coltrane and George Benson to name a few.

Bass was Adam’s first instrument, and at age 15 he sent a fan letter to Miles Davis’ bass player, Marcus Miller, who invited the young man to hang out in his recording studio. One visit turned into three years, and eventually a degree from the prestigious Berklee College of Music.

  • Dave Peck Trio w/ Jeff Johnson & John Bishop
  • February 17, 7:30
  • Tula's Restaurant and Jazz Club

Seth Wenig / AP Photo

On this week's Saturday Jazz Caliente we'll hear some of maestro Eddie Palmieri's original music for the documentary "Doin' It in the Park," a film by Bobbito Garcia about the pick-up basketball game culture in NYC's parks.

Parker Miles Blohm / knkx

It was a return visit and a farewell party when the Tyrant Lizard trio performed in the knkx studios recently.

Bass player Carmen Rothwell had already relocated to New York City and guitarist Gregg Belisle-Chi was just days away from following her, leaving trumpeter Raymond Larsen to reassure us this wouldn't be the last we hear from this dynamic Northwest-grown threesome.

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