Jazz and Blues | KNKX

Jazz and Blues

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

The New Cool: Loads Of Live Action In Seattle

Jun 15, 2018
Tom Collins

Summer officially arrives June 21st, and the busy concert season is kicking into high gear for fans of modern jazz in Seattle. Along with popular international jazz festivals in Victoria and Vancouver, BC beginning next weekend, there are some amazing modern jazz shows happening around the Emerald City in the next few days. Do your stretches, put your phone on mute, and try to catch 'em all!

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:

The New Cool: trioKAIT's New Adventure

Jun 8, 2018
Peter Figen Photography, Los Angeles

A listener recently asked about a pianist they heard on KNKX, who "sounded like Lyle Mays. Thanks!" A little research led me to L.A. based pianist Kait Dunton's cover of "Under the Bridge" by Red Hot Chili Peppers. While she may remind you of the great keys player from the Pat Metheny Group, the TrioKAIT do things their own way.

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."

Abe Beeson/KNKX

Seventeen year-old Ballard High School junior Joe Fotheringham shares his favorite jazz with Abe Beeson on Thursday, June 7 from 8-9 p.m. on KNKX's Evening Jazz.  Joe received an Honorable Mention-Trumpet Soloist at the recent Essentially Ellington High School Jazz Band Competition in New York City.

The New Cool: The Expansions' Funky Fusion

Jun 1, 2018
Charlie Moreton

Unleashing their debut album nearly five years after their first single, the London-based quartet The Expansions lay down the jazz fusion grooves that will have you reaching for bellbottoms and wide collars. The sounds of the funky 70s are back on the six-song effort Murmuration, and on The New Cool this week, you'll hear a tune that could've been a lost track from Herbie Hancock and the Headhunters.

The New Cool Stage at Folklife

May 25, 2018
Abe Beeson

The KNKX modern jazz show The New Cool returns to host a stage at the Northwest Folklife Festival on Saturday, presenting three of our favorite forward-thinking groups from our own backyard. Yours truly, Abe Beeson, will be on stage to introduce Tacoma group 322, recent studio session guests Bad News Botanists, and the powerful horns of the Ten Man Brass Band.

Students from Central Washington University and pianist Dawn Clement performed in our Seattle studios for a special School of Jazz performance.

Bassist Domi Edson arranged the first tune, a lively fun rendition of Chick Corea’s “Spain.” She said she has most of her ideas for arrangements at night when trying to fall asleep. It was fun watching Owen Evans, Ryan McKnight and Henry Sparks trading solos on the alto saxophone, tenor saxophone and trombone.

The New Cool: Busy Weekend In Ballard

May 18, 2018
Parker Miles Blohm

Not much of a post this week, I've dedicated my writing to preview the Ballard Jazz Festival. I hope to see you in the clubs Saturday night!

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.

Parker Miles Blohm

May 16 - 19, the Ballard Jazz Festival presents a big change in scheduling this year, but you'll find the same fantastic lineup of the Northwest's finest jazz musicians and internationally acclaimed talent over 4 nights in the city's increasingly crowded fishing village. Let's take a look at the changes, and preview some of my "must-see" performances.

Mountlake Terrace High School
Parker Miles Blohm / KNKX

We welcomed an energetic and skilled high school combo into our studios with Mountlake Terrace.  Band members included leader Ethan Pyke on trombone, Benjamin Leonard on tenor sax, Henry Smith-Hunt on trombone, Gian Neri on guitar, Josh Setala on drums and Dimitrio Neri on piano.  

The New Cool: Seattle-Portland Groovin' at Tula's

May 11, 2018
Used with kind permission of the costumed.

Seattle's mighty Hammond organ and drums combo of Joe Doria and Tarik Abouzied are friends and collaborators in McTuff, Happy Orchestra and other various line-ups. Their new project includes an icon of Portland's jazz scene, guitarist Dan Balmer, with a new recording and a live show at Tula's Friday, May 18th.

Pianist/Composer/Bandleader/Educator Rebeca Mauleón
Chuck Gee / courtesy of the artist

This week's Saturday Jazz Caliente celebrates Mother's Day with an (almost) all-women show.  Favorites like clarinetist Anat Cohen, violinist Regina Carter, percussionist Sheila E, and pianist Eliane Elias are in the line-up.  Here are the rest; perhaps lesser known, but just as talented female instrumentalists:

Abe Beeson / KNKX

I'm just back from a fantastic trip to the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival. There are far too many moments from the festival grounds to mention here, but on Sunday night I found an allstar group of New Cool favorites on the edge of the French Quarter.

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:

  • Peter Eldridge & Sara Gazarek
  • 1 pair of tickets for May 18th at 8:00pm
  • JazzVox: Renton

Issac Ford and Ian McTamaney, who attend Kelso High school, are KNKX's guest DJs on May 3 from 8-9 p.m.

The New Cool: Creating Blue Lab Beats

Apr 27, 2018
Photo by Ruthe Zuntz, used with permission from Native Instruments

The creation of beats probably has its origins in the early days of hip hop when DJs would sample and blend the drum breaks from their favorite records. Today, the process is more akin to a musician with an instrument, and though the beats sound familiar, they're as fresh and original as an Art Blakey solo in the hands of talented duo Blue Lab Beats.

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.

Courtesy of Tom Collins

 

The KNKX School of Jazz hit the road for a performance at Seattle Pacific University's beautiful Nickerson Studios and we were knocked out by the talented sextet that makes up the S.P.U. Jazz Ensemble.

Guitarist Chase Rabideau told us that S.P.U. is one of the few places you can earn a degree in his chosen field, Music Therapy, right after showing off his beautiful acoustic guitar technique on the Antonio Carlos Jobim song "Look to the Sky."

The New Cool: Return Of Kamasi Washington

Apr 20, 2018
B+ (Brian Cross) mochilla.com/bplus

He sure has changed the idea of what a "full length" record is. Kamasi Washington follows his debut triple-album The Epic from 2015 with his double-LP follow up Heaven and Earth this Summer, and The New Cool previews an "epic" song from the new release this Saturday on KNKX.

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:

The students from Tahoma High School in Maple Valley, Wash. performed effortlessly in our studios for their School Of Jazz studio performance. Led by trumpeter and mentor Bobby Medina, the group kicked off their performance with a rendition of “Girl From Ipanema.”

Next, the group performed “Just The Two Of Us” by American singer-songwriter Bill Withers.

The group listed their influences that ranged from their parents to jazz legends. The group finished their performance playing the jazz standard “Killer Joe” composed by Benny Golson. 

Courtesy of John Kessler

KNKX's long-time All Blues host, John Kessler was named Best Blues DJ at the 2018 Washington Blues Society "Best of the Blues" (B.B.) Awards on Sunday, April 15 at the Northwest Music Hall in Everett.  The awards show honored musicians, artists, events and venues nominated by Blues Society members in 32 award categories.  John was also nominated for this year's Keeping the Blues Alive Award. He won a national Keeping the Blues Alive Award from the Memphis-based Blues Foundation in 2009.

The New Cool: Live Coolness In the PNW

Apr 13, 2018
Used with permission of the artist - facebook.com/lionelloueke

April is Jazz Appreciation Month, and there are countless ways to celebrate around Puget Sound. Listen to jazz on KNKX, buy some jazz for Record Store Day, and take advantage of the plentiful opportunities to see and hear live jazz. This week on the New Cool we'll preview a few modern jazz shows in the coming weeks.

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.

Abe Beeson

The Boston-based trio Soulive are a busy bunch, though in most recent years you'll find guitarist Eric Krasno, keys player Neal Evans and drummer Alan Evans playing with their own groups and as valuable sidemen. So the 5-song EP Cinematics, Vol 1 is like a desert oasis for thirsty fans of the original trio.

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