Jazz and Blues

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

By kind permission of Hunter Gather.

Warm up your genre blender for Seattle's Hunter Gather. Described in various hyphenates as avant-jazz, post-rock, folk-jazz, and their own "post-sad-jazz-rock", this quartet draws musical inspiration from all over. These descriptors are fun to read, but they only begin to describe the creative exploration Hunter Gather undertakes on their new, debut album, Getting to Know You.

Percussionist Willie Bobo (1934-1983)  and his son Eric
courtesy of the artist

William Correa, best known as Willie Bobo, blended jazz, rock and Latin rhythms and was one of the of the prominent bandleaders of the 1960s Latin Soul movement.  He called it "the sound a Latin cat in Harlem would dig."

Every year, blues connoisseur John Kessler compiles a list of his favorite blues records. Enjoy!

Abe Beeson/KNKX

Seventeen year-old Maximilian ("Max") Czerwinski is a senior at West Seattle High School.  He shares an hour of his favorite jazz with Abe Beeson on Thursday, December 7 from 8-9 p.m.

Parker Miles Blohm / KNKX

Entering our studios to meet the early-arriving all-star jazz combo from Lake Stevens High School, our sessions engineer John Kessler tells me, "This might be the best School of Jazz band yet!" Well, all right!

The New Cool: Cuban Jazz Meets American Pop

Dec 1, 2017
Eduardo Rawdriguez / billboard.com

I'm always suspicious of collections of modern pop covers. The songs of today don't normally equal the quality of the Great American Songbook. But the collaborations on the new album AmeriCuba from the Havana Maestros bring fresh energy and explore unexpected opportunities for improvisation.

Jovino Santos Neto
Maria Camillo / courtesy of the artist

This week on Saturday Jazz Caliente, we'll feature a recording from a live KNKX Studio Session with Jovino Santos Neto's Quarteto earlier this year.  A brilliant pianist, flutist and composer, Jovino has been a most welcome addition to the Pacific NW music scene ever since he landed here in the 1990s.

The New Cool: Meet England's Ezra Collective

Nov 24, 2017
Stephen Leigh/Funkyfeet Photography

The modern confluence of reggae, hip hop, electronic and afro-beat music seeps to the surface of jazz in the talented young English quintet Ezra Collective. You'll hear a song from their new release Juan Pablo: The Philosopher on their New Cool debut this Saturday afternoon on KNKX.

Eddie Palmieri and Cal Tjader's first album together, El Sonido Nuevo 1966
Verve Records

One of the most appealing Latin Jazz/Pop crossover artists was drummer/vibraphonist Callen Radcliffe  "Cal" Tjader.  Cal had a deep appreciation and respect for Afro-Cuban and Brazilian music.

88.5 KNKX continues its tradition of bringing yuletide cheer to the Northwest with a concert of music for the season—incorporating some of the area’s best student groups and regional jazz musicians.  The KNKX Holiday Jam and Live Broadcast will be presented for the first time ever at Edmonds Center for the Arts on Monday, December 4 from 7-8 p.m., hosted by Abe Beeson.  The event is free and open to the public, and will be broadcast live on-air and streamed live at knkx.org

Parker Miles Blohm

You may have noticed many more of our exclusive KNKX studio session performances mixed into our jazz in recent weeks. The New Cool is also committed to the art of live performance, and on this week's show we’ll hear four fantastic 88.5 studio session recordings from a wide variety of modern jazz styles.

Latin Jazz drummer Bobby Matos 1941-2017
courtesy of the artist

The Latin jazz world lost a great musician and supporter last weekend.  Drummer Bobby Matos died on November 11, after fighting cancer for a couple of years.  A dedicated performer and educator, Bobby Matos and his music touched many lives.

The New Cool: Return of the Brass

Nov 10, 2017
Peter Adams/45th St Brass

The brass band tradition goes back more than a century both in the United States and in the United Kingdom, and today both countries continue to produce outstanding brass funk that continues to up the ante for old school party music.

Saxophonist Miguel Zenón's album "Típico" is nominated for a Latin Grammy
Katz/Courtesy of the Artist / miguelzenon.com

The 18th Annual Latin Grammy Awards ceremony takes place on Thursday November 16 in Las Vegas.  This week on Saturday Jazz Caliente, we'll sample the albums nominated for the Latin Grammy's Best Latin Jazz Album, and one that's in the Best Instrumental Album category.

Tito Rios Viche in the KNKX studios.
Parker Miles Blohm / KNKX

A confident septet of teenagers from the jazz band at the Seattle Academy of Arts & Sciences took over the KNKX studios with their mentor, Steve Treseler featured on sax.

Treseler has a new tribute to trumpeter Kenny Wheeler ready for release in the New Year, but he had to keep his wits about him with this group.

The New Cool: Celebrating One Year on KNKX

Nov 3, 2017
Make a note, keep all papers organized in a file cabinet for easy access.
Abe Beeson

Fifty-two shows in the books! The New Cool celebrates one year on the air at KNKX this week. The essence of jazz is to push creativity forward, and we've shared some of the coolest music influenced by today's sounds - hip hop, rock, electronic, soul, funk and folk music from around the world. Now we're ready for Year #2.

Drummer Jeff "Bongo" Busch anticipates cake for Saturday Jazz Caliente's first birthday
KNKX Studio Session video / Michael Goude, Vibe Vision Seattle

Well, that year flew by! 

Thanks to our community of listeners, Saturday Jazz Caliente debuted on KNKX on November 5, 2016.

Evan DeTurk is a sixteen year old student and Alto Sax player at Garfield High School. He shares an hour of his favorite jazz with Abe Beeson on Thursday, November 2 at 8:00-9:00 pm. 

Ray Vega performs in the KNKX studio, 2014
Justin Styer / KNKX

Trumpeter Ray Vega is a veteran of Latin Jazz, having worked in the bands of Tito Puente, Mongo Santamaria, Ray Barretto and Mario Bauza.  A native of the South Bronx, he's a multi-talented trumpeter, percussionist, composer, and arranger.  You'll hear quite a bit of Ray's music on Jazz Caliente, from his albums Boperation, Pa'lante and Squeeze Squeeze.

Mary Lou Williams at the piano, 1946
William P. Gottlieb / Library of Congress

Pianist, composer and arranger Mary Lou Williams was one of the most talented and versatile musicians in jazz, but throughout her life she had to fight for recognition of her accomplishments.  Her story is well told in the film Mary Lou Williams: The Lady Who Swings the Band.

The New Cool: London's THUMB Catches a Break

Oct 20, 2017
Check out THUMB's music at https://butespeciallythumb.bandcamp.com/album/south-of-the-river
Abe Beeson

"I hope this email finds you well," is a phrase that rarely earns instant excitement. Thankfully, in the case of young London neo-jazz group THUMB, the payoff is cool jazz from across the ocean that you probably haven't heard before.

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.  

KNKX’s award-winning School of Jazz program is now in its 13th year of mentoring jazz students in Western Washington and provides year-round opportunities for learning, performance, personal expression and growth. This includes bringing school jazz combos into our Seattle studios to perform live, giving a voice to students on the air as guest DJs, and supporting and partnering with other regional organizations that mentor jazz students (such as Seattle JazzED). School of Jazz has directly impacted over 3,000 students, band directors and professional jazz musicians, strengthening connections to the regional jazz community.

Used with kind permission of the artist: marquishill.com

Trumpeter Marquis Hill returns to Seattle to lead his Blacktet at the Royal Room in Seattle for the Earshot Jazz Festival Friday night. He was just in town with bassist Marcus Miller's band, and a year ago that group was live in the KNKX studios. I remember it well, because of Marquis Hill.

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.

Justin Steyer / KNKX

The Earshot Jazz Festival returns this weekend, and the fine folks at Earshot continue their tradition of presenting world class live jazz that stretches the definition of this music to its limits. In other words, fans of The New Cool have plenty to be excited about. It's a different kind of jazz festival, one or two amazing shows nearly every night for more than a month - your only excuse for missing a show is because it's sold out. That will happen, so get your tickets now!

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.

Seventeen year-old Holden Predmore plays bass at Nathan Hale High School. He shares an hour of his favorite jazz with Abe Beeson on October 5 from 8:00-9:00 pm.

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