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.

Jesus Alemany, center, band leader of Cubanismo, directs a performance while playing trumpet at the Singapore Arts Festival, Tuesday, June 11, 2002.
Naashon Zalk / AP

"Cubanismo" is defined as something that's uniquely Cuban; that is, specific to the culture of the island and not common to the rest of Spanish-influenced Latin America.

Abe Beeson

Fifteen year-old Alli Wicklund, who attends Seattle Academy of Arts and Sciences, is KNKX's guest DJ on March 8th from 8-9 p.m.

The New Cool: Snarky Puppy Charms Seattle

Mar 2, 2018
Photo by Freudian Slurp guitarist Ian Hughes.

The entry to Seattle's Moore Theater is surrounded by scaffolding as the old building's facelift continues, inside the hall Snarky Puppy was doing a bit of construction of their own. They're building a new kind of instrumental music, and they've already built a fan base who love what they hear.

Pianist Ann Reynolds
photo by Jim Levitt / courtesy of the artist

This week on Saturday Jazz Caliente, we'll hear from some of the great Latin Jazz artists who make their home in the Seattle area.

The New Cool: Lance Ferguson's Hopeful Menagerie

Feb 23, 2018
Used with kind permission of the artist. @_lanceferguson_

Influenced by the vast history of jazz, and in particular the cosmic, spiritual music of the 70s featured on record labels like Strata-East and Oakland's Black Jazz Records, the new album from multi-instrumentalist and producer Lance Ferguson's Menagerie will fit comfortably in your record collection alongside new releases from Kamasi Washington and Snarky Puppy as well as classics from Pharoah Sanders and late-career John Coltrane.

School Of Jazz
Parker Miles Blohm / KNKX

They planned it out and executed flawlessly. The teens of drummer Elijah Baradi's Quintet were well prepared for their KNKX School of Jazz studio session. Unlike most groups of a high school age, this talented group from Interlake High in Bellevue played live on 88.5 without an adult mentor. They didn't need one.

Drumming since age 6, Baradi drives a strong rhythm section. The sophomore teams with seniors Mert Selcuk on piano and Kai Wagner at the upright bass, an instrument this electric bass player only recently picked up.

The New Cool: MAST Takes Monk to Space

Feb 16, 2018
Hand painted by Tokio Aoyama.

Multi-instrumentalist Tim Conley, performing as MAST, has just released a new collection of Thelonious Monk tunes. "Another one?" I hear you saying. Well, this collection of Monk tunes, simply titled Thelonious Sphere Monk, takes the jazz giant's music to wild electronic destinations. Thankfully, to a Monk fan like me, it really works.

Saxophonist David Sánchez and bassist Ricardo Rodriguez, 29 April 2007, Bimhuis Amsterdam
By Siebe van Ineveld Rotterdam, The Netherlands via Wikimedia Commons

Grammy-winning Puerto Rican saxophonist David Sánchez has a new musical project called "Carib."   The name of the project is a reference to the indigenous people of the region we know as the Caribbean.  Sánchez is performing this Saturday night at 8 at the Seattle Art Museum's Plestcheef Auditorium.

centrum.org

This year's Jazz Pt. Townsend is July 22-29 at Fort Worden State Park.

Spend a week living and learning with some of the finest musicians in the jazz world. Led by Artistic Director John Clayton, Jazz Port Townsend is the summer jazz camp designed to take you to the next level of musicianship. There’s a lot to learn at Jazz Port Townsend in 2018 and you'll be introduced to several faculty who are new this year. Whether it’s your first time here or your 33rd, you’ll find lots of fresh input on how to improve throughout the year.

Saxophonist Joshua Redman
Jay Blakesberg / courtesy of the artist

Joshua Redman's last visit to the KNKX Seattle studios was in 2015, for a live Studio Session with the Bad Plus.  He's coming to Tacoma to perform with the University of Puget Sound Jazz Band on Wednesday night, and he recently took a few minutes to catch us up.

Portland Jazz Festival Preview

Feb 12, 2018
Justin Steyer / KNKX

Now in its 15th year, the Portland Jazz Festival begins this week, running February 15th through the 25th. Always a great excuse to visit the Rose City, this year's jazz festival is wide-ranging and features jazz greats, Northwest favorites, and a number of tributes from all-star groups.

The New Cool: Jazzlandia in Portland

Feb 9, 2018
Used with kind permission of the artist.

The 15th Portland Jazz Festival begins February 15th, running through the 25th with big names like Abdullah Ibrahim, Regina Carter, Kurt Elling, Marcus Roberts and Dr. Lonnie Smith. On this week's New Cool show, we'll highlight a few of the modern jazz shows in Portland at this year's festival.

Percussionist Pete Escovedo performs at the "In Performance at the White House: Fiesta Latina," a concert celebrating Hispanic musical heritage held on the South Lawn, Oct. 13, 2009.
Official White House Photo by Samantha Appleton / Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

It's all about family for percussionist/bandleader Pete Escovedo.

Eighteen year-old Kyle Bainbridge attends Edmonds-Woodway High School and is KNKX's guest DJ on February 8 from 8-9 p.m.

Seattle's Bad News Botanists.
Photo by Shahaan Smith https://www.instagram.com/haanphoto/?hl=en

The landscape of talented jazz musicians in the Pacific Northwest continues to bloom, despite an especially wet January threatening to wash us all away. Take a look at the nominees for this year’s Earshot Golden Ear Awards and you’ll see the name Bad News Botanists and those of two band members, a solid indication that this band’s time has come.

Trombonist Doug Beavers whose latest CD "The Art of the Arrangement" got a Grammy nomination this year
Silas Green / courtesy of the artist

There was more Latin Jazz nominated for Grammys this year than you might have realized.  A couple of nominees went overlooked, because they were nominated in categories other than Latin Jazz.

Reda Kateb as Django Reinhardt in the 2017 French film "Django"
uniFrance Films

As part of their Tuesday Film Series, Tacoma's Grand Cinema will be showing  Django on February 6. 

No, definitely not the one with cowboy hats and six-shooters. This beautifully constructed French film directed by Etienne Comar is about the legendary jazz guitarist Django Reinhardt.

Grammy Nominees Anat Cohen and Marcello Gonçalves
Shervin Lainez / courtesy of the artist

The 60th Annual Grammy Awards show will be televised on Sunday January 28, at 4:30pm Pacific Time.  This week on Saturday Jazz Caliente, we'll feature the nominees for Best Latin Jazz Album, a nice selection this year spanning Brazilian, Cuban, Puerto Rican and Argentinian jazz.

The New Cool: Kraken Quartet Keeps the Beats

Jan 19, 2018
Evan Monroe Chapman/Four/Ten Media

The four drummers of The Kraken Quartet studied their instruments together at Ithaca College, but few expected the rhythm section to evolve into their own band. Now based in Austin, Texas, their 2017 debut release Separate / Migrate is bringing the four well-deserved attention.

Daymé Arocena at the New Era concert in Havana, 2016
Denise Guerra / courtesy of the artist

No, it's not another story about immigration policy. 

Starting next week, Dimitriou's Jazz Alley in Seattle will be hosting some of the brightest stars in today's Cuban music.  Here's a preview.

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. in Atlanta, GA 1966
Anonymous / AP

On the day we celebrate the life and work of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., let's revisit his thoughts on Jazz and Blues from his address to the 1964 Berlin Jazz Festival:

The New Cool: A Saxman Raises His Voice

Jan 12, 2018
Parker Miles Blohm / KNKX

When I first met Braxton Cook, he was playing saxophone with the amazing trumpeter Christian Scott's band, live in our studios in the Fall of 2015. There was something intangible I noticed, maybe just his gregarious personality, but I knew there was more to be heard from Mr. Cook. How much more is a pleasant surprise.

Samuel Torres at Brooklyn Studio Loft 360
Emra Islek / courtesy of the artist

According to Nolan Warden, whose well-researched article "The History of the Conga Drum" appeared in the February 2005 edition of Percussive Notes (a publication of the Percussive Arts Society):  what North Americans call conga drums are actually "tumbadoras." 

The New Cool: Favorites of 2017

Jan 5, 2018
Abe Beeson

I'm not crazy about "best of" lists. Who could possibly listen to enough music to produce an objective list of the best recordings in a year? I prefer to list "favorites", and on this week's New Cool, you'll hear two hours of Abe Beeson's favorite modern jazz from 2017. I hope you enjoy it as much as I will!

Tiempo Libre's latest album, Panamericano (2015)
courtesy of the artists / Universal Music LLC

It's a brand new year, and opportunities to hear live Latin Jazz and related music abound in our region.  Listed here are some  upcoming shows you'll want to put on your calendar.  Click on the links for more information.

Abe Beeson/KNKX

Seventeen year-old Marianna (Anna) Aptacy attends Bellevue High School.  She shares an hour of her favorite jazz Thursday, January 4 from 8-9 p.m. on KNKX's Evening Jazz with Abe Beeson.

Jim Sisko performs with students from Bothell High School.
Parker Miles Blohm / KNKX

From their perch in the suburbs, just northeast of Seattle, the jazz program at Bothell High School is producing some powerhouse musicians. This all-star ensemble’s performance with mentor Jim Sisko was a bold statement that these teens can keep up with anybody.

The front line horns of Richard Connelley's trombone and Preston Lee's sax have earned valuable experience working with Sisko's big band, and they showed it. Both took daring solos and pushed each song with their enthusiasm.

The New Cool: Happy New Cool Year!

Dec 29, 2017
Abe Beeson

Paul Carlson subs for Abe Beeson this week. You can preview the playlist here. Happy New Year, everyone!

Manuel Galbán playing with The Buena Vista Social Club, 2006
Bryan Ledgard

Ry Cooder called him a guitar wizard.

Jon Pareles of The New York Times wrote in 2003:  “Mr. Galbán was one of the wonders of Cuban music in the 1960s.  His playing pulled together two almost contradictory approaches: the floating reverb of surf guitar and the percussive, snapping sound of the tres, the small guitar that’s a fulcrum between rhythm and melody in Cuban son groups.”

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