Jazz and Blues

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

  • Event: Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra with Wynton Marsalis
  • Date: October 13th, 2016
  • Location: The Paramount Theatre

STG Presents Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra with Wynton Marsalis at The Paramount Theatre on October 13, 2016. Presented as part of the 2016 Earshot Jazz Festival.

Parker Miles Blohm / knkx

Named for their practice room at Pacific Lutheran University, 322 brought 4 of their 5 band members to the knkx studios for an afternoon of cool tunes they wrote themselves. Drawing on their jazz education in standards to the wide variety of music available to college kids, the band clearly finds as much inspiration from modern rock 'n' soul as they do the Great American Songbook.

Philadelphia has bred an astonishing number of great jazz musicians, like John Coltrane, Philly Joe Jones and so many more.  According to 81-year-old drummer Albert "Tootie" Heath, "Some guys joke and say it's in the water;  a lot of wonderful people that I grew up with and experienced playing with came out of Philadelphia."

Note: Each month, knkx invites a teen guest DJ to play his or her favorite pieces on the air. The program is part of knkx's School of Jazz.

Dimitrio Nero from Mountlake Terrace High School is the Student DJ for the month of September. Dimitrio's hour aired from 8 to 9 p.m. on Sept. 8.

To get to know him better, we asked Dimitrio to answer a few questions about jazz:

Which instrument do you play and why?

Rudy Van Gelder, an audio recording engineer who captured the sounds of many of jazz's landmark albums, died Thursday morning in his sleep. He was at his home studio in New Jersey, according to Maureen Sickler, his assistant engineer. He was 91.

Bobby Hutcherson, a vibraphonist whose improvising and composition helped to define modernity for jazz as a whole, has died. He had long struggled with emphysema. He was 75.

As a mallet percussionist, he expanded the scope of what was possible on his instrument. And the sound he created was widely influential.

chicofreeman.com

Saxophonist Chico Freeman has been on a 10-year journey of discovery. 

"I always wanted to try to live in another place, besides the United States.  I went from Chicago to New York, and I always had it in my mind that I wanted to base myself somewhere else in the world.  I wanted to edify myself about other cultures and how people express music relative to their cultures," he says. 

Note: Each month, KPLU invites a teen guest DJ to play his or her favorite pieces on the air. The program is part of KPLU's School of Jazz.

Brad Bjorn from Tahoma High School is the Student DJ for the month of August. Brad's hour aired from 8 to 9 p.m. on August 4th.

To get to know him better, we asked Brad to answer a few questions about jazz:

Which instrument do you play and why?

Puget Sound Community School is a private school with just 53 students.  So the school’s excellent jazz studies program only has a few participants.  So few, in fact, that the instructors often have to serve as performers, just to round things out. 

Note: Each month, KPLU invites a teen guest DJ to play his or her favorite pieces on the air. The program is part of KPLU's School of Jazz.

Anton Bingham from Shorecrest High School is the Student DJ for the month of July. Anton's hour aired from 8 to 9 p.m. on July 7.

To get to know him better, we asked Anton to answer a few questions about jazz:

Which instrument do you play and why?

The all-stars from the Mountlake Terrace High School jazz band were well-prepared for their live session in the KPLU studios, so well prepared, in fact, that their mentor, Seattle Repertory Jazz Orchestra saxophonist Travis Ranney, said all he had to do was show up.

Swinging through a pair of standards, the septet of kids also brought an arrangement of the very cool modern jazz tune, “Tall & Lanky” by Jeff Coffin to show off their own two-sax and a trombone front line.

Note: Each month, KPLU invites a teen guest DJ to play his or her favorite pieces on the air. The program is part of KPLU's School of Jazz.

Rose Reed from Kent-Meridian High School is the Student DJ for the month of June. Rose's hour aired from 8 to 9 p.m. on June 2.

To get to know her better, we asked Rose to answer a few questions about jazz:

Which instrument do you play and why?

When this Central Washington University combo made the trip from Ellensburg to the 88.5 F-M performance studio, it was a first.  For us, anyway.  The group is the first Eastern Washington jazz band we’ve hosted, and we hope it’s the first of many to come. 

Of course, it didn’t hurt their cause when they enlisted their mentor, trumpeter Thomas Marriott, to join the festivities.  Check it out—three delightful arrangements from a group of young musicians on their way up.

Guest Student DJ Lane Wilkinson: Jazz Is Dancing Music

May 5, 2016

Note: Each month, KPLU invites a teen guest DJ to play his or her favorite pieces on the air.  The program is part of KPLU's School of Jazz.  

Lane Wilkinson from Glacier Peak High School is the Student DJ for the month of May.  Lane's hour aired from 8  to 9 p.m. on May 5.

To get to know him better we asked Sam to answer a few questions about jazz:

Which instrument do you play and why?

In 1965, the trumpeter, composer and arranger Thad Jones and the drummer Mel Lewis found themselves with a book of big-band music originally intended for the Count Basie Orchestra — and nobody to perform it. So they made their own. They handpicked some of New York's top talent and called rehearsals on Monday nights, when the studio musicians could actually make it.

This Saturday, April 30, marks the fifth anniversary of International Jazz Day, a celebration organized by UNESCO to celebrate jazz across the globe. To do our part, we're highlighting some of our favorite jazz musicians to play behind Bob Boilen's desk. Rising stars, young virtuosos, NEA Jazz Masters and veteran ensembles alike have played in NPR's D.C. offices. Here are five standout jazz performances at the Tiny Desk.

Preservation Hall Jazz Band

Parker Miles Blohm / KPLU

Tenor saxophonist Walter Blanding has been a member of the Jazz At Lincoln Center Orchestra (directed by Wynton Marsalis) since 1998.  One of the things that got him there was a great jazz education.  Walter attended LaGuardia High School of Music and Art and the Performing Arts, followed by more study at the New School of Social Research. 

The Pacific Northwest has played a big part in the evolution of vocal jazz.  The first attempt to transcribe Big Band instrumental music for a vocal choir was done in 1967 by Portland’s Hal Malcomb.  Malcomb’s group, Genesis, began hosting what is now the oldest vocal jazz festival in the country, The Northwest Vocal Jazz Festival.  Carrying on that tradition is the Bellevue High School vocal ensemble, The Bellairs—8 fine young singers, accompanied by piano, bass and drums and mentored by Kirk Marcy who was once a member of one of the world’s most famous vocal jazz groups, The Four Freshma

Sony Pictures Classics

"Don't play what's there.  Play what's not there." -Miles Davis

Taking the iconic trumpeter's advice to heart, writer/producer/director/lead actor Don Cheadle begins the film "Miles Ahead" with what (or who) wasn't there:  Miles Davis from late 1975 through 1980, his "lost" or "silent" years.

Note: Each month, KPLU invites a teen guest DJ to play his or her favorite pieces on the air.  The program is part of KPLU's School of Jazz.  

Sam Brink from Stadium High School is the Student DJ for the month of April.  Sam's hour aired from 8  to 9 p.m. on April 7.

To get to know her better we asked Sam to answer a few questions about jazz:

From tender and soulful to hard-edged and gritty, Ernestine Anderson was one of the most versatile jazz vocalists to emerge from the big band era.

Anderson was born Nov. 11, 1928. At age 3, she could sing along with recordings of Bessie Smith; she soon moved on to the more refined environs of her local church's gospel choir. After winning a regional talent competition at age 12, the precocious Anderson landed a gig with trumpeter Russell Jacquet's big band.

“Ernestine Anderson 2013” by HappyHappyMe is licensed under CC BY-SA 4.0 bit.ly/21nqWqq

The renowned jazz vocalist Ernestine Anderson, whose career spanned six decades, has died at the age of 87.

According to the Seattle Times, Anderson attended Garfield High School and came up in Seattle’s jazz scene in the mid-1940s. She found success in Los Angeles and on the road — then at Carnegie Hall, the Kennedy Center and so many other places. She was nominated for a Grammy four times.

At the end of January, 2016, the University of Washington presented its 1st Annual Jazz Festival for High School Jazz Ensembles and Combos.  To help draw attention to this first festival a jazz quartet called The Intension came to KPLU for a live studio session.  The members of the band are all U-W seniors in the Jazz Studies Program and they did more than draw attention to the event.  They set the bar for excellence—for that festival and all the U-W festivals that will follow.  Prepare to be amazed.

Ian Mengadoht - alto

Note: Each month, KPLU invites a teen guest DJ to play his or her favorite pieces on the air.  The program is part of KPLU's School of Jazz.  

Jungwoo Lee from Bellevue High School is the Student DJ for the month of March.  Jungwoo's hour aired from 8 p.m. to 9 p.m. on March 3.

To get to know him better we asked Jungwoo to answer a few questions about jazz:

Which instrument do you play and why?

I play the clarinet. I was more or less “tricked” into playing the clarinet at first, but as I got better and as I got to experiment with the instrument, I fell in love with the potential and the variety of the instrument. Clarinet, though it seems a bit restricted to classical music, is capable of being featured in countless genres of music; everything from Benny Goodman’s classics to the recent Apple TV commercials.

What’s your all-time favorite jazz piece and why?

This quartet is made up of female high-school jazz students from all over the region.  They met through their work with Seattle Jazz Ed, a non-profit provider of year-round jazz classes and activities for young jazz musicians, no matter where the go to school or what their financial circumstances are. 

The 10:00 Quartet is just one example of the great benefit Seattle Jazz Ed provides when it comes to helping young players expand their social/musical networks creatively cross-pollinate with like-minded collaborators. 

Parker Miles Blohm

 

KPLU "School of Jazz" hit the road for our second studio session featuring a regional high school jazz band program (our first being the Point Grey Secondary School studio session in June at the Vancouver International Jazz Festival).

Note: Each month, KPLU invites a teen guest DJ to play his or her favorite pieces on the air.  The program is part of KPLU's School of Jazz.  

Blake Clawson and Matthew Tweten from Anacortes High School are the Student DJs for the month of February.  Blake and Matthew's hour aired from 8 p.m. to 9 p.m. on February 4th.

To get to know them better we asked Blake and Matthew to answer a few questions about jazz:

When Abe Beeson asked this band’s mentor, Mark Taylor, about his role in the group, part of Mark’s answer was that he wanted the musicians to feel good as an ensemble ‘and then letting that energy take over.’  Considering the fact that Mark only worked with the students twice before this studio session, his methodology must have worked.  The Everett High School All-Star Band completely nailed three songs in a row and had a great time doing it.

Like any music, jazz has its revolutions; its sudden incidents in infrastructure; its disruptive presences of unprecedented sound. Mostly it's slower than that, though, with years and generations of accretions before it seems to call for new vocabulary. That's one way to look at Winter Jazzfest, whose latest incarnation occupied a dozen or so venues in downtown New York City last weekend. In a decade and a half of steady growth, a one-night showcase oriented toward industry insiders has become nearly a weeklong landmark of the city's cultural calendar.

Guest Student DJ Jafar Daniel: Jazz Is A Society

Jan 7, 2016

Note: Each month, KPLU invites a teen guest DJ to play his or her favorite pieces on the air.  The program is part of KPLU's School of Jazz.  

Jafar Daniel from Shorewood High School is the Student DJ for the month of January.  Jafar's hour aired from 8 p.m. to 9 p.m. on January 7.

To get to know him better we asked Jafar to answer a few questions about jazz:

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