Jazz Northwest | KNKX

Jazz Northwest

Jazz Northwest At The Seattle Art Museum
Parker Miles Blohm / KNKX

Two of Seattle's best improvising jazz musicians teamed up for the May Art of Jazz concert at The Seattle Art Museum.  Acoustic bass player Jeff Johnson and saxophone/flute player Hans Teuber have been individually featured in numerous ensembles. They've also collaborated on several albums including the newly issued duo CD "Deuce" on Origin Records.

Darragh Kennan and Hana Lass in an excerpt from "Taming of the Shrew"   (Randy Halberstadt at piano in background)
Courtesy of Jim Levitt

These are unique performances in that they include scenes from Shakespeare interspersed between movements of the Ellington suite. Darragh Kennan and Hana Lass from the Seattle Shakespeare Company are on stage with the Seattle Repertory Jazz Orchestra in these performances recorded at the Kirkland Performance Center and the Edmonds Center for the Arts.

Randy Halberstadt (piano), Darragh Kennnan and Hana Lass in the balcony scene
Courtesy of Jim Levitt

Highlights from concert performances of Duke Ellington's "Such Sweet Thunder" are featured this week on Jazz Northwest. These unique performances combine excerpts from Shakespeare's plays with Duke Ellington's musical portraits of the featured characters. Michael Brockman conducts the Seattle Repertory Jazz Orchestra with guest actors from The Seattle Shakespeare Company, Darragh Kennan and Hana Lass.  

Gary Firholt from The Helix

It's the 50th anniversary of the famous KRAB - Helix Piano Drop.  The event took place near Duvall, Washington and involved a piano, a helicopter, Country Joe and The Fish and a bunch of people looking for something new.  You kind of had to be there - but you get the idea, don't you?  

Gail Pettis live at Seattle Art Museum.
Parker Miles Blohm / KNKX

Gail Pettis sang for an appreciative crowd at this month's popular "Art of Jazz" concert presented by Earshot Jazz at The Seattle Art Museum. An excellent trio including Darin Clendenin on piano, Chuck Deardorf, bass and Brad Boal on drums, backed Gail Pettis’ warm contralto. Ms.Pettis has won the Earshot vocalist of the year award twice and has performed in Europe, Russia and the Far East as well as the US.  She has recorded two CDs, both of which have received considerable national airplay.  In this concert she sang fresh arrangements of popular standards. 

This week's Jazz Northwest spotlights a pair of new releases of intimate jazz. Bassist Jeff Johnson and saxophonist Hans Teuber arrived in Seattle in 1990 from different points but soon discovered a common love of melody and lyrical music-making.  They've played together in many musical situations since then and a new duo album "Deuce" displays this deft duo in a collection of music including standards and co-compositions.  Another new release is pianist Bill Anschell's "Shifting Standards".

Some old, some new, and some new versions of old music are featured on this week's Jazz Northwest.  Hal Galper's Quartet opens with a new take on Miles Davis' Solar and Jeff Baker sings his arrangement of Billy Joel's And So It Goes from another new release.   From Vancouver BC, The BC Double Quartet combines a jazz quartet with a string quartet, and Portland writer and broadcaster Lynn Darroch remembers interviewing Ray Charles, after which we'll hear a 26-year old Ray Charles playing a Quincy Jones arrangement.

Several recent releases by northwest resident musicians are featured on this week's Jazz Northwest. Pianist and singer Dawn Clement has recorded duets with five prominent artists on the regional scene in her CD Tandem. We'll hear her in a duo with trombonist Julian Priester. Although the group Scenes sixth CD Destinations was issued last year we're just now featuring it on Jazz Northwest.  Scenes is a cooperative trio with John Stowell, Jeff Johnson and John Bishop.

Many of the performances heard on Jazz Northwest on KNKX are unique, recorded in concerts around the Puget Sound region. This week's fund drive edition features performances by the Jay Thomas Quartet, members of the Seattle Repertory Jazz Orchestra, Susan Pascal and Pete Christlieb, Overton Berry and Bruce Pharesand the late Jim Hall, an NEA Jazz Master playing at the 2004 Earshot Jazz Festival.   These performances were recorded specifically for Jazz Northwest at The Seattle Art Museum, Edmonds Center for the Arts, Tula's and On The Boards.  

Dawn Clement at Seattle Art Museum
Parker Miles Blohm / KNKX

Arts and crafts have a long tradition of masters guiding and encouraging students, and the Art of Jazz is no different.  This concert at The Seattle Art Museum illustrates the interplay between established artists like saxophonist Stuart MacDonald and pianist and singer Dawn Clement and talented students from Garfield High School, Cornish College and the University of Washington.  Two groups were formed and rehearsed, a trio led by Dawn Clement and a quartet led by Stuart MacDonald, and each group played a set at this month's Art of Jazz concert at SAM.

Seattle Repertory Jazz Orchestra in concert at Kirkland Performance Center
Jim Levitt

Highlights from Seattle Repertory Jazz Orchestra concerts featuring music of Dave Brubeck and Paul Desmond are featured this week on Jazz Northwest. The concert includes some of the most renowned compositions of Brubeck and Desmond including Wendy, In Your Own Sweet Way, Take Five and The Duke.  The original recordings by the Dave Brubeck Quartet are among the best selling jazz records of all time, but in this concert various arrangers for 17-piece big band expand the scores.

Courtesy of the artist

Quite possibly one of the most unusual and inventive duos you'll hear anywhere, Syrinx Effect (Kate Olson, soprano sax and Naomi Siegel, trombone) came to our attention when they played an Earshot Festival concert full of surprises last Fall at the Columbia City Theatre. The duo, occasionally expanded to trio with percussionist and recording engineer Eric Eagle, uses loops, pedals, and other electronic augmentation to build up layers of sound via a plethora of styles ranging over the history of jazz and other music.

Susan Pascal
Parker Miles Blohm / KNKX

Vibist Susan Pascal invited saxophonist Pete Christlieb to join her group at Tula's in a celebration of Stan Getz and some of his collaborations with vibists.  The music played at Tula's one night earlier this month recalled tenor saxophonist Stan Getz with vibists Cal Tjader and Gary Burton as well as with pianists Oscar Peterson and Chick Corea.   The sold-out house responded with enthusiasm for the flowing lyricism of such songs as 'O Grande Amor,' 'Ginza Samba' and 'Sweet Rain.' 

Art of Jazz at Seattle Art Museum
Parker Miles Blohm / KNKX

Thomas Marriott's new working band played the February concert in the Art Of Jazz series presented by Earshot Jazz at The Seattle Art Museum.  Playing for a standing room only audience, the quintet played compositions by members of the group including Marriott, saxophonist Rick Mandyck and pianist Tim Kennedy.  Geoff Harper completes the group on bass and Xavier LeCouturier on drums. 

Overton Berry on the piano at Tula's jazz club.
Parker Miles Blohm / KNKX

Pianist Overton Berry has been a fixture on the Northwest jazz scene since the 60s, playing in coffee houses, jazz clubs and concert halls as well as touring abroad, particularly the Far East.  

Jim Wilke / KNKX

A pair of quintet performances recorded last Summer and not previously broadcast are the focus on this week's show.  The first set is with an all-star quintet assembled for a concert in conjunction with the Seattle Public Library's Rhythm in Colors celebration of Seattle Jazz exhibition last Summer.  Johnaye Kendrick, Julian Priester, Dawn Clement, Phil Sparks and D'vonne Lewis perform a set of jazz classics and standards.  

Gary Hammon and Eric Esvelt in concert at SAM on January 11, 2018.
Parker Miles Blohm / KNKX

Saxophonist Gary Hammon brought his quintet to the Seattle Art Museum's Art of Jazz concert in January. The program includes original music by Hammon and trumpeter Erik Esvelt and two jazz standards.  Others in the group include Mike Eskenazy, guitar, Todd Gowers on bass and Mike Eppert at the drums.

Nancy Erickson at North City Bistro
Jim Wilke / KNKX

This week on Jazz Northwest, we'll sample two new releases with former Seattle musicians now active in New York City, pianist Carmen Staaf and trumpeter Riley Mulherkar.  We will also hear songs from Nancy Erickson and the 200 Trio from recent recording sessions in small, intimate clubs in Shoreline and Ballard, and share some of our best bets for live jazz in the coming week. 

Courtesy of Takao Fujiyoka

With our first show of the new year, we're sharing some of our favorite albums from 2017 and debuting some new releases.  The new album by Canadian saxophonist, PJ Perry who's been active in Vancouver, Toronto, New York and since 1975, he's called Edmonton, Alberta home.  His latest release, recorded live at the Yardbird Suite in Edmonton, features great sound and fleet mastery.  Also new is Cory Weeds & Jeff Hamilton Trio's release Dreamsville. Finally, we will listen to Seattle drummer Phil Pariot's latest release Creekside.   

Alex Chadsey in the KNKX Studios performing with duendo libre.
Parker Miles Blohm / KNKX

Seattle's world music trio dunde libre played the December Art of Jazz concert at The Seattle Art Museum and was recorded for this weeks program. The trio plays original music inspired by the musical cultures of Spain, Brazil, Cuba and the Caribbean.  

Nancy King in studio
Courtesy of Randy Wu

Portland's outstanding jazz singer Nancy King has been nominated in the jazz vocal category of the 60th Annual Grammy Awards.  An underground favorite for decades, Nancy King has played international festivals and small jazz clubs, with orchestras and in duos in every type of venue imaginable.  A skilled improvising jazz vocalist who can be favorably compared to Ella Fitzgerald, Betty Carter and Sheila Jordan, she's always gone her own way with her extraordinary ability to bridge the vocal/instrumental gap.

Dee Daniels at Jazz Port Townsend 2017
Courtesy of Jim Levitt

Three great singers with roots in black church music were featured in concert singly and together at Centrum's Jazz Port Townsend last July.  "Raising Voices" featured Dee Daniels, Cedric Dent and Niki Haris each singing a pair of songs and joining for the finale in the concert which brings together spirituals, blues and jazz and demonstrates their common heritage. Accompanying the singers were Sullivan Fortner, piano, Jon Hamar, bass and Joe LaBarbera.

This week's show samples upcoming performances by the Jim Cutler Jazz Orchestra, Duende Libre, Kareem Kandi, Greta Matassa and others, plus a new Christmas album with Eugene, Oregon trumpet and flugelhorn player Tony Glausi. Also this week, The Garfield Jazz Ensemble in part of their 2017 Essentially Ellington performance in NYC, and The Three Sounds at The Penthouse in Seattle in the Sixties.  

Among the many holiday musical traditions is The Roosevelt Jazz Band's "Jazz Nutcracker" which has been presented annually in Seattle since 2000. 

Courtesy of Jim Levitt

Hear highlights from a concert by The Seattle Repertory Jazz Orchestra with special guest Wycliffe Gordon recorded last weekend at The Kirkland Performance center. Wycliffe Gordon is a multi award and poll-winning trombonist, in addition to playing the trumpet and singing, he also conducted SRJO. Wycliffe Gordon also composed most of the music in this hour of highlights.

Sean Jones, Terell Stafford, trumpets;  Dan Marcus, Wycliffe Gordon, trombones (front)
Courtesy of Jim Levitt

With an outstanding jazz faculty assembled for its annual Jazz Workshop, Centrum's Jazz Port Townsend has a ready all-star big band to play the festival on the last weekend of July each year.  With soloists in every chair, this becomes one of the best bands on the planet for one weekend.  This year was no exception.

Jazz Northwest  marks the Buddy Rich and Dizzy Gillespie centennials in 2017 with radio aircheck recordings produced in the 60s by host Jim Wilke.  The Buddy Rich Big Band played a live broadcast from D.J.'s on Fourth Avenue in 1968, The Dizzy Gillespie Quintet played a live broadcast from The Penthouse in 1966.   

Also included on this program are samples of some upcoming Earshot Jazz Festival performers - Edward Simon, Gregory Porter, and Amina Figarova. 

Sullivan Fortner, Doug Weiss, Kendrick Scott, Tia Fuller at Jazz Port Townsend 2017
Courtesy of Jim Levitt

New faces and fresh talent at Centrum's Jazz Port Townsend in 2017 included alto saxophonist Tia Fuller and pianist Sullivan Fortner who fronted a quartet with bassist Doug Weis and drummer Kendrick Scott.  The performance in McCurdy Pavilion at Fort Worden was recorded for radio and will air on Jazz Northwest on Sunday, October 8 at 2 PM Pacific on 88.5 KNKX.  All four musicians also served on the faculty of the Jazz Workshop during the week before the festival.  

The 29th annual Earshot Jazz Festival (October 8-November 12) will be sampled and previewed this week on Jazz Northwest.  Earshot Jazz Executive Director John Gilbreath joins us to sample and discuss some of the more than 50 events during the five-week festival.  Included will be several events in a centennial salute to pianist-composer Thelonious Monk.  Seattle pianists Overton Berry and Dawn Clement will be featured along with many international and regional artists and rising stars.

Learn more about the festival now at Earshot Jazz Festival.

Brian Nova at the Seattle Art Museum.
Courtesy of Michael Burkhalter

Guitarist and singer Brian Nova is a well-known figure on the jazz scene, particularly on the West Coast.  He's led long-running weekly jam sessions and recorded 7 CDs.   In addition to being a leader Brian is a valued sideman who's played alongside many jazz greats including his mentors, Herb Ellis and Joe Pass.  The present group appears Sunday evenings at The Musicquarium lounge at The Triple Door in Seattle. 

Joining Brian Nova are saxophonist Jon Goforth, bassist Dan O'Brien and drummer Brian Kirk. The music is mostly standards as arranged by Brian Nova.

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