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.

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.”

Abe Beeson

Though each member of Industrial Revelation are in high demand these days, they always find time to get together to make music. As they prepared for their first headlining show at the Neptune Theatre last week, the band told me how excited they were to unleash new music in the new year.

Olympia-based vocalist LaVon Hardison performing at the 2017 KNKX Holiday Jam.
Parker Miles Blohm / KNKX

KNKX presented its 21st Annual Holiday Jam on Monday, December 4 at Edmonds Center for the Arts. The program featured the vocal jazz group Soundsation from Edmonds Community College under the direction of Kirk Marcy, the Edmonds-Woodway High School Jazz Ensemble under the direction of Jake Bergevin and special guest vocalist, Olympia-based LaVon Hardison.

Pianist Abelita Mateus
Christopher Drukker / courtesy of the artist

Brazilian rhythms mixed with jazz have been a blessing to North American ears since the Bossa Nova craze of the 1960s.  It's encouraging to see a new generation of Brazilian musicians focus on jazz with a fresh approach.

The New Cool: Jessica Lurie - Beyond Bicoastal

Dec 15, 2017
Jessica Lurie and her NW Ensemble live on KNKX
Parker Miles Blohm

Jessica Lurie is a Northwest jazz icon, though she's been based in New York City for the past few years. She has returned to Seattle to unveil her new album Long Haul, and it's clear that no matter where her musical travels take her, she will always have a home here.

Flutist, bandleader and educator Danilo Lozano
courtesy of the artist

Miami is known for its "Little Havana" neighborhood, home to Cuban and Cuban-American culture since the 1960s.  On the other side of the US, the equivalent was Echo Park in Los Angeles. 

Although many of the Cuban exiles who settled in the Echo Park neighborhood have since dispersed throughout Southern California, there is still a strong Cuban music component in L.A.

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.