Studio Sessions

Live Studio Sessions from knkx feature some of the best jazz and blues musicians performing in the knkx studios in downtown Seattle, Wash. Featuring artists such as Arturo Sandoval, Gregory Porter, Christian McBride and more!

Coming Up:

10/27/2016 - EntreMundos Quarteto on Jazz Caliente @ 2 p.m.

10/31/2006 - Lary Barilleau & The Latin Jazz Collective @ 12:15 p.m.

11/4/2006 - Anton Schwartz and Denise Donatelli @ 12:15 p.m.

Ways to Connect

Parker Miles Blohm / KNKX

San Diego-based pianist Danny Green says he's been an obsessive music fan, spending intense periods focusing on styles as diverse as Cuba's Buena Vista Social Club, his favorite Brazilian and classical composers, and a youth listening to Nirvana and playing in a ska band. It all comes together, however subtly, in every song he writes.

Joined in our studios by his long-running trio, Justin Grinnell on bass and Julien Cantelm drumming, plus saxophonist Anton Schwartz, Danny focused on songs from his often sunny-sounding new album, "Altered Narratives."

Parker Miles Blohm / KNKX

Catherine Russell doesn't care where or when a song gets made; if it's got a lyric with a good story, she is all in. 

Russell has a knack for finding great old tunes to sing. This session featured a couple of selection from the Billie Holiday songbook ("Swing! Brother, Swing", "You're My Thrill") and a very risqué blues song from the 1920s ("You've Got the Right Key, but the Wrong Keyhole"). 

Charming and at ease, with a swinging backup band, Ms. Russell takes the past and brings it to life, here and now.  

Parker Miles Blohm / KNKX

Seattle drummer, D’Vonne Lewis is probably the most frequently heard musicians on the knkx Studio Sessions.  He’s involved in a number of groups and projects, but we were lucky enough to get his Limited Edition band in for a performance.  Along with D’Vonne, you’ll hear Eric Verlinde (piano), Andy Coe (guitar), Farko Dusomov (bass), Cliff Colon (sax), and Jacques Willis (vibes).

Michael Goude

A product of Mountlake Terrace High School and Central Washington University's strong jazz programs, Marina Christopher has developed into a multi-talentend, highly in-demand artist on the Seattle jazz scene.

She's worked with singers Eugenie Jones, Jacqueline Tabor and Billy Brandt. She leads a soul group called Marina and the Dreamboats. You'll find her playing bass and singing at Sea-Tac Airport now and again, and she brought in five terrific musicians with her to celebrate her latest album, "Must Love Cats."

Parker Miles Blohm / knkx

Mark O'Connor is a flexible master of the violin, or fiddle - depending on the music, earning awards playing classical, jazz, and bluegrass. It's this last style that dominates on his latest album, "Coming Home," which finds Mark joined by his musical family: wife Maggie on violin and vocals, son Forrest on mandolin and vocals, and Forrest's wife Kate Lee also playing violin and on vocals.

Parker Miles Blohm / knkx

The 56th Army Band's jazz group visited our studios for a second time, but with the constant turnover in the military, only bass player Sgt. Nicholas Cressotti remained from the first group. This 5 Man Trio, a name further noting their ever-shifting personnel, brought a fresh look and a fresh sound with them. They talked about the Army's recent emphasis on performance for their musicians, and with Spc. Jessica Hall's magnetic vocal presence pushed to the fore, the 5 Man Trio were here to entertain.

Chicago native saxophonist Chico Freeman has spent the last decade being a citizen of the world.  Now back in New York City as his home base, he's taken to the road to promote his latest recording, "Spoken Into Existence."  We were delighted to welcome Freeman to Seattle, along with bassist Kenny Davis, Luke Carlos O'Reilly at the piano and Michael Baker on drums. 

Legendary drummer Elvin Jones was a good friend and mentor to Freeman, and the first tune played on this session, "Elvin" is a tribute to Mr. Jones and a showcase for drummer Michael Baker. 

We popped up some popcorn for Tony Foster's Project Paradiso - the pianist's tribute to the film music of Ennio Morricone ("Once Upon a Time in America", "Cinema Paradiso" etc.) and Henry Mancini ("Pink Panther", "The Party", etc.). Along with three songs from the new release, we heard from Tony how film scores inspire him and provide rich territory for jazz improvisation.

Parker Miles Blohm / KNKX

The Portlanders of Trio Subtonic made a second appearance in our studios armed with material from their new album "Fiction," their first for the ultra-hip Ropeadope record label. It features a pair of cool contemporary covers of songs by Elliott Smith and Sia, and live in our studios the band played the Black Keys' "Little Black Submarines", but it's their original songs that really shine.

Parker Miles Blohm / KPLU

Back in 1999, and out of nowhere, the KNKX (then ‘KPLU’) music department received a CD called "About Time" by a mandolin player named Don Stiernberg.  Frankly, it didn’t look all that promising but, of course, we gave it a listen.  To our collective surprise, it was delightful and we began playing it on the air, much to the delight of our listeners.  That was the first (and almost the last) time we heard from the guy.

Parker Miles Blohm / KPLU

Singer Duffy Bishop has been active (often overactive!) for years on the Northwest blues and R&B scene.  Several years ago, she expanded her audience when she began doing cabaret shows at venues including Seattle’s Tiatro Zinzani. 

In this studio session, Duffy and her ace band play three smokin’ tunes.  She also talks to KPLU (KNKX?) All Blues host, John Kessler, about her cabaret work.

Janis Siegel, Alan Paul and Cheryl Bentyne have been plenty busy working on their own solo projects, as well as working with countless bands around the world. But the passing of their collaborator (and the group's founder) Tim Hauser in October of 2014 had many of their fans thinking the Manhattan Transfer may have rolled into the station for the last time.

Michael Goude

Blending classic swing tunes from jazz, country and early rock 'n' roll; bassist and singer Birch Pereira & The Gin Joints have found their own kind of cool. Live in our studios, the band performed four tunes from their varied songbook, including the music of Hoagy Carmichael, Fats Waller, Elvis Presley and Hank Williams.

Halie Loren: Third Time’s A Charmer

Aug 4, 2016
Parker Miles Blohm / KPLU

Oregon jazz singer, Halie Loren, is one of our favorite guests—and one of our most frequent.  Recently, on her way to the Vancouver and Victoria, B.C. jazz festival, she and her husband, guitarist Daniel Gallo, stopped in.  

It was Halie’s third live Studio Session and perhaps her best so far; due in large part to the intimacy of the performance.  It was just Haile and her husband, putting their heads together to play some songs they love.

When Anat Cohen returned to the KPLU studios this spring, the bright young star of the clarinet was joined by a piano great who’s been looking back on a fantastic career. Live in our studios, the two friends were intently focused on the moment at hand.

The pair talked about their shared love of New York City, where they both live and play, and about the intimacy of the duet setting. Fred also shared his thoughts on the new documentary "The Ballad Of Fred Hersch," and his own upcoming memoir, "Good Things Happen Slowly."

Parker Miles Blohm / KPLU

At a certain point in her not-too-distant past, Seattle’s Eugenie Jones decided she needed to give herself a challenge, something to make her feel more alive.  She decided to try her hand at jazz singing.  It worked out.  

In 2013, Eugenie won the Earshot Jazz Society award for best recording of the year with her debut CD, "Black Lace, Blue Tears".  Her second CD, "Come Out Swingin’," nabbed her the Earshot award for best vocal recording of the year.  So, how did she do it?  Listen to this live studio session and find out.

Eugenie Jones - vocals

Michael Goude

In his third visit to the KPLU studios, Christian McBride’s recent trio album "Live at the Village Vanguard" had just earned him a Grammy for best improvised jazz solo, and let us in on the little-known fact that 99 percent of the big awards that night are awarded well before the national telecast, and that he never gets tired of the red carpet.

McTuff — Back In Da House

Jul 6, 2016

The funk-jazz trio, McTuff did their first KPLU live studio session at 12:15 on an otherwise ordinary afternoon in 2015.  Before the performance, McTuff’s leader and organist, Joe Doria, asked if they should "tone things down" since it was early in the day.  We said they should follow their collective muse.  They did, and they rocked the house.  

A year later they came back and did it all over again — only different.  Here it is.

Joe Doria—organ

D’vonne Lewis—drums

Andy Coe—guitar

Back it 2012, pianist Cyrus Chestnut came to KPLU and treated us to a live, solo piano studio session and a delightfully lively conversation.  Recently, he did it again, only differently.  Different songs and different stories with the same result as his earlier visit—a good time was had by all. 

You’ll love all the songs and we think you’ll particularly like the story about the 9-year-old Cyrus begging his mom to buy him a Thelonious Monk album at Woolworth’s and then taking it to school for show and tell.

Jazz pianist, composer and political activist Abdullah Ibrahim is a true citizen of the world.  He was born and raised in South Africa and has since lived in many countries, spreading the messages of music and freedom wherever he is. 

In this rare and wonderful live studio session, Abdullah treats us to solo piano performances of three of his many compositions as well as a wide-ranging and open-hearted conversation with KPLU/Jazz24 host, Mary McCann.

Parker Miles Blohm / KPLU

Cory Weeds is a key member of the Vancouver B.C. jazz scene. The longtime owner of the Cellar jazz club is now focused on live jazz all around the city, including the TD Vancouver International Jazz Festival (June 24 through July 3).

He's also one of Vancouver's top sax players. His latest album, "This Happy Madness," features the trio of all-star drummer Jeff Hamilton, and shows Cory at the top of his game.

Parker Miles Blohm

The first Ballard Jazz Festival took place in 2003.  The most recent Ballard Jazz Festival (the fourteenth annual) took place this past May.  In the intervening years the festival has grown, continued to get better and better and is now internationally known.

New Soul From Janiva Magness

Jun 1, 2016

Few singers can match the sheer emotional power of Janiva Magness's voice. Over a 30-year career she has gradually found her own songwriting voice as well. 

“The voice is something that allows us to communicate past the limitations of the left brain,” Magness says. “It’s the primary instrument, the first instrument … and more than that, too. The voice has the power to link all the parts of ourselves—the brain, the heart, and even the spirit and the soul. That’s why the ability to sing is a gift, and I love nothing more than sharing it.”

Parker Miles Blohm / KPLU

Two-time Grammy nominee Jane Monheit returned to our studios for another exclusive session this spring, hot on the heels of her latest album, a tribute to Ella Fitzgerald's legendary recordings of the Great American Songbook.

Monheit is no stranger to these timeless standards, as she reminds us with gorgeous, intimate performances of classics by Cole Porter, Duke Ellington, and the Gershwins - with her longtime musical partner Michael Kanan her only accompaniment at the piano.

Jacqueline Tabor: The Lady In The Gown

May 6, 2016
Parker Miles Blohm / KPLU

Northwest vocalist Jacqueline Tabor discovered jazz when she was a kid watching old movies on TV.  She dug the black-and-white films noir that featured beautiful women in gowns singing jazz in dark, smoky nightclubs—she wanted to grow up to do that.  And, whaddaya know?  She’s now a lovely woman in a gown singing jazz from here to Japan.  

The nightclubs aren’t as smoky as they once were, but here she is, living her childhood dream—and doing it with a terrific band (see credits).  Together, they’ll treat you to three lovely pieces of music and a few good stories.

Parker Miles Blohm

To Seattle jazz lovers, guitarist Greg Ruby is probably best-known for the five years he spent as a member of the gypsy-jazz group, Pearl Django.  Since then, Greg has been involved in a number of groups and projects, the latest being ‘The Rhythm Runners.’ 

The band specializes in Prohibition-era jazz and, more specifically, the Prohibition jazz composed by a man named Franklin D. Waldron. 

Mr. Waldron was one of the pioneers of the Seattle jazz scene, and his music is featured on The Rhythm Runners new CD, ‘Washington Hall Stomp.’

Velocity — South Sound Sound

Apr 13, 2016

In the Puget Sound area, many may see Seattle as the hub of the regional jazz community, but Tacoma, just about 30 miles down I-5 has an extremely happening scene, as well. 

Take the band, Velocity—these guys get up on their back legs and howl. Their music is jazz rooted in funk and fusion and they can definitely throw down some killer grooves.  And they’re always challenging themselves.

Seattle pianist Ann Reynolds has been in a passionate relationship with Cuban music since her first visit to that country in 2000.  She fell in love with the music and people of that island and has returned there many times to study, compose and perform. 

Here at home she leads a band called Clave Gringa as a vehicle for her Cuban-flavored compositions.  When Clave Gringa came in for their first (of many, we hope) studio sessions, they performed three of Ann’s songs from their latest release, "Para Cuba Con Amor."  And, yes, you definitely feel the love.

The 200 Trio — 'It’s Fun To Swing'

Apr 1, 2016
Parker Miles Blohm / KPLU

The three members of The 200 Trio are all in their early 20s, but as you’ll hear in this live KPLU Studio Session, they have a great affection for tried and true jazz standards from the 1940s, ‘50s and early ‘60s. 

When asked by host Abe Beeson why they were draw to this material their answers were varied, but all right on the money.  They said that they all really loved listening to that music and that the chord progressions were fun to play.  The last answer, though, is the one we liked best:  “And it’s fun to swing.” 

Amen.  It’s fun to listen to, as well.  Have at it.

Since the early 1990s, Seattle jazz lovers have had (and continue to have) the highly rewarding opportunity to see and hear the development of a great talent — pianist and composer Nelda Swiggett.  When she recorded with her first band, Room To Move, her lyrical improvisatory and composition skills were already on display.