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Parker Miles Blohm / KPLU

Generally, jazz musicians who devote themselves to avant-garde and free jazz begin by working in ‘straight-ahead’ groups and then begin experiment with music concepts that are more ‘outside’.  Not so with Seattle saxophonist, Jacob Zimmerman.  In this KPLU Studio Session, he tells host, Abe Beeson, that a teacher turned him on to avant garde musicians when Jacob was in 6th grade, so he cut his teeth on adventurous artists like Anthony Braxton. But is his new album ‘Record Ban’ avant-garde?  

AP Images

Joking that he was "out of practice" in forecasting rain for the Pacific Northwest, KPLU weather expert Cliff Mass said he'd do his best in predicting substantial amounts rain and wind for the weekend.

Parker Miles Blohm / KPLU

Guitarist Lee Ritenour has been playing with pianist Dave Grusin on and off since he was a teenager in the 70s, Dave plays on much of Lee’s new album A Twist Of Rit, but they haven’t played much in a duet setting.

Brieana Ripley, KPLU

Not so long ago, before there were self-driving cars, microprocessors or even abundant electricity, the state-of-the-art technology was clockwork. Through cams and springs and gears, craftspeople were able to create precise tools, rudimentary robots and exquisite pieces of art.

Brittany Nicole Cox is one of a handful of antiquarian horologists trained to preserve and restore those objects. She does that from her Seattle workshop where, in gloves and a white lab coat, Cox gingerly removes a box from one of her vintage hardwood cabinets. It’s her specialty-within-a-specialty: A Victorian-era automaton.

photo courtesy of Alyssa Menes

People who love games – everything from ones on the computer to board games – will dominate downtown Seattle this weekend attending the convention known as PAX Prime. People there can try out brand new games, learn how to make their own, or attend panels, including one about writing music for video games.

Alyssa Menes, a young woman composer from New Jersey, is one of the panelists.   

She grew up playing classic Nintendo games from the 1980s, games such as The Legend of Zelda, Mario, and Kid Icarus, and fell in love with those tunes.

Ted S. Warren / AP Photo

It's not the ideal circumstance for University of Washington football players or head coach Chris Petersen. They open the 2015 season next Friday night, Sept. 4, against Petersen's very successful old team, Boise State, in Boise, on national television (ESPN).

KPLU sports commentator Art Thiel said it's a challenging start to a tough season.

AP Images

New tools and new strategies are needed to fight and prevent wildfires nationwide. That was the sentiment at a field hearing held in Seattle by the U.S. Senate’s Energy and Natural Resources Committee.

The hearing  was convened by U.S. Senators Maria Cantwell of Washington, a Democrat, and John Barrasso, a Wyoming Republican. They are collecting testimony for the Wildland Fire Management Act of 2015.

Todd Petit / Flickr

Many of the communities affected by this year's wildfires in central and eastern Washington have economies that rely heavily on tourism.

KPLU travel expert Matthew Brumley says once the wildfire danger has passed, people should consider taking time to visit central and eastern Washington, to inject money back into the economy.

Some places have been evacuated and suffered damage from the wildfires. But others are just in a region people have chosen to avoid, to steer clear of wildfire danger this summer.

Here are some good places to look:

KPLU keeps fund drives short, and your pledge now will make our fall drive even shorter. For every $60,000 we raise toward our $300,000 goal, we’ll knock a day off  of the drive. Help us make this the shortest drive ever! You even have the power to eliminate the drive altogether! 

Your support helps us create stories like this that affect your community:  Tacoma Considers Allowing More Density In Single-Family Neighborhoods

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Nancy Leson

Can any restaurant meal be worth as much as $800?  $1700?  How about a couple thousand?   What about a Heimlich-demanding five figures?  Laughing?   So was I when I read Tonya Gold's A Goose in a Dress, her hilarious review of four absurdly expensive NYC restaurants in this month's Harper's Magazine.

But judging by some of the online comments it's plain to see that not everyone was amused.  Sounds to me like an Emperor's New Wardrobe Malfunction but even my Food for Thought pard Nancy Leson thought the review unfair.

Brian Cox / City of Tacoma

The City of Tacoma has launched a program to improve the relationship between police and the community. Project Peace will involve a series of meetings to be held over the next several months. The plan is that, with the help of facilitators, people will sit down with police and brainstorm how best to improve trust.

Parker Miles Blohm

Tenor saxophonist, Kareem Kandi, has been a lynchpin of northwest jazz for 20 years, and when it comes to be-bop, he’s the real deal.  His classic tone (think Dexter Gordon and Pete Christlieb) and straight-ahead approach lays the music on the line.  Kareem plays with different groups in different instrumental configurations but when he came in for his first KPLU studio session, it was just Kareem on tenor sax, DeVonne Lewis on drums and Delvon Lamarr tearin’ it up on the Hammond B-3 organ.  Want a be-bop smack-down?  Here it is.

Something about late Summer encourages reminiscence and as we planned this show, that seemed to emerge as a theme.  Included are a couple of songs from the 60s, "Wichita Lineman" and "Don't Think Twice, It's All Right" in new versions by Marc Seales and Alex Guilbert.   Wayne Horvitz' new CD "Some Places are Forever Afternoon" was inspired by the NW poet Richard Hugo (1923-1982).  Wayne Horvitz visited some of the places and people that inspired Hugo as he composed this music that balances between nostalgia and the future, chamber music and improvisation.

Ticking Clock: Sound Effect, Episode 33

Aug 22, 2015
Brie Ripley / KPLU

Sound Effect is your weekly tour of ideas, inspired by the place we live. The show is hosted by KPLU's Gabriel Spitzer. Each week's show explores a different theme, and this week we ponder the relentless passing of time; the ticking clock.  

AP Images

Generally cooler temperatures this weekend should help firefighters gain headway in massive, stubborn wildfire in Eastern Washington, said KPLU weather expert Cliff Mass.

"Right now we have a little bit of a cool-down going on" Mass said. "We'll see a step-down into the mid 70s (Friday) some low clouds and most of those will burn off during the day."

The weekend will see a slight uptick in temperatures with temperatures in the lower 80s. Next will a major cool-down will begin. "Cooler than normal for much of the week and even a chance of some rain later in the week -- especially on Thursday and Friday," he said.

Mass said that slight, two-day rise in temperatures won't do firefighters any good but come next week, they should catch a break. "If they can get to Monday," he said, "we'll see cooler temperatures and more humidity over the fire area." 

Bellamy Pailthorp / KPLU

Mount Rainier is famous as the most glaciated peak in  the contiguous United States. But the massive flows of ice and snow that cover the mountain are retreating rapidly, likely more rapidly than ever in the record warmth of this summer.

Participants in the 2015 "Climate Boot Camp" put on by the Northwest Climate Science Center gathered this week in Mount Rainier National Park to learn more about the dynamics behind this phenomenon. 

AP Images

The Seattle Seahawks saw a remarkable turnout for their first pre-season game – a contest that doesn’t count – with a sellout crowd and over fifty percent of all televisions in the market tuned in.

Art Thiel, KPLU sports commentator, said it's the storybook elements this team has that keeps fans from being able to turn away.

AP Images

Several advocacy groups are warning city officials throughout Washington to review their treatment of homeless people. The groups say bans against sleeping outside are unconstitutional if a person has no place to call home. 

The warning went out to Washington city attorneys, prosecutors and police agencies. It asks them to take a closer look at local laws that make it a crime to sleep or camp in public places.

Elaine Thompson / AP Photo

In a long anticipated decision, the Washington State Supreme Court has ruled the $15-an-hour minimum wage law narrowly approved by voters in the city of SeaTac in fall 2013 applies at Sea-Tac International Airport.

The court's 5-4 decision means that about 4,700 workers ranging from restaurant employees to baggage handlers should now be paid $15.24 an hour.

Ed Ronco / KPLU

There are three kinds of flight experiences: The ones you forget, the ones you’ll never forget, and the ones you want to forget. We’re focusing on those last two in this week’s “Going Places.” Travel expert Matthew Brumley tells stories about experiences he’s had, including:

Nick Ut / AP Photo

A class-action lawsuit focused on the retirement accounts for about 190,000 Boeing employees and retirees heads to trial next week. The lawsuit, which was first filed nearly nine years ago, accuses Boeing of offering employees 401(k) retirement plans that charged excessive fees. 

AP Images

After a big public outcry, Seattle has scrapped a plan to allow a wider variety of housing types in areas zoned for single family homes.  But the idea is still alive in Tacoma, as the city considers changes to its comprehensive plan.

The proposal from Tacoma's Planning Commission would result in a mixture of lot sizes and home sizes, with some smaller houses such as cottages and detached mother-in-law units allowed.

Nancy Leson

That little old wine drinker Nancy Leson found herself in oenophile heaven recently.  She joined fellow journalists as  guests of the Washington Wine Commission at wineries in Woodinville and Seattle as part of events surrounding the Auction of Washington Wines

In 2003, Seattle jazz singer, Stephanie Porter released her debut CD, Mood Swings.  The CD presented Stephanie’s unmistakable voice, singing a selection of excellent songs from The Great American Songbook (like, Cheek To Cheek, Get Out Of Town and Misty). Her second CD, How Deep Is The Ocean, released in 2010, showed the world that she had grown tremendously as a singer and, here again, the songs on the disc were wonderfully-done standards.

AP Images

Gov. Jay Inslee said he encouraged state legislative leaders to begin working on a solution to fundamental equity problems in Washington’s system for funding public schools during an hour-long meeting Monday.

The governor's statements come a week after the state Supreme Court took state leaders to task for dragging their feet in complying with the McCleary school funding ruling. Last Thursday, justices urged Inslee to call a special session and announced they would begin fining state government $100,000 every day until lawmakers fulfilled their demands.

JOHN FROSCHAUER / AP PHOTO

New statewide test scores released Monday largely confirm what a sneak peek suggested earlier this summer: Pass rates on the new, tougher assessments have dropped, though by less than many feared. But those results come with an asterisk in one grade.

Washington students outperformed the scores from a national trial run of the Smarter Balanced Assessments last year. That’s in line with preliminary results released in July.

Klem Daniels / KPLU

Drummer Ryan Leppich has graduated Mountlake Terrace HS and is preparing to go off to college.  However, while at MTHS, he formed a jazz quintet consisting of some of his school band mates as well as fine players from other high school jazz programs in the area.  

3 of the 5 are graduating, so we were fortunate to get them into the KPLU performance studio before they went their separate ways.   In this session they take on some pretty complex jazz compositions and they do with an ease that belies their years.  Dig in.

Jennifer Wing / KPLU

 

A King County Superior Court judge says Tim Eyman’s latest initiative will not be removed from the November ballot.

Initiative 1366 requires the Legislature to put a constitutional amendment before voters that would reinstate a two-thirds legislative majority to raise taxes.

 

The threat if they don’t do this, is that the state’s 6.5 cent sales tax would be lowered to 5.5 cents, costing the state more than a billion dollars each year.

AP Images

A towering fish trap standing on end . Hundreds of pristine white ceramic shapes eating their way into the bark of a fallen tree. Or an estuary sculpted out of shipping containers. These are just a few examples of the dozens of art installations that have recently popped up alongside Seattle’s only river.

The exhibition is called Duwamish Revealed. It’s meant to remind viewers that the waterway running through the city’s industrial core is more than a toxic Superfund site. 

The efforts to expand perspectives on the Duwamish include works by 40 artists from around the world.

You can experience the work of a local sound engineer by venturing out onto a pier at West Seattle’s Jack Block Park. You might not see anything unusual right away, but you could find yourself startled by the sound of art emerging from the water beneath you.

Robb Kunz co-created an 8-channel installation that surrounds the pier with sound together with composer Joshua Kohl of the Degenerate Art Ensemble. The piece is called “Under Pier Pressure.”

Kunz says he wanted to contribute to the show because he's enamored with the strange confluence of the industrial and natural that he finds on the Duwamish. His composition aims to match the physical surroundings.

“So, found sounds, concrete sound of nature and industry,” he said.

You can push a button to activate the sounds, but Kunz says he likes it best when people happen upon them mid-stream.

The first in a series of radio shows from the 41st Jazz Port Townsend airs Sunday, August 16 at 2 PM Pacific.  An all-star sextet drawn from the faculty of the Jazz Workshop opens the festival on the first of three nights of "Jazz In The Clubs" in several small venues in downtown Port Townsend.  After a week of sharing their knowledge with students, they’re ready to swing with their peers. In this group, we’ll hear musicians from New York and LA, Seattle and Portland... Terell Stafford on trumpet, Steve Wilson on alto, Eric Reed is the pianist, Dan Balmer on guitar, Chuck Deardorf is on bass, Matt Wilson is at the drums.  They play both standards and jazz classics, but in some non-standard arrangements.  

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