Jim Wilke

Jazz Northwest and Jazz After Hours Host

Jim has been a fixture on Seattle radio since 1961. His Jazz After Hours on Public Radio International has been heard on stations across the US including KPLU since 1983. Jazz Northwest is a weekly program featuring regional musicians and jazz performances Jim records at various locations.

His most memorable KPLU moment was hosting the 20th Anniversary Live at Jazz Alley show, two hours of live music. He is also a recording engineer and writer. Jim has been named one of the top jazz radio producers nationally by JazzTimes and the Jazz Journalists Association. He is in the Seattle Jazz Hall of Fame and several musicians have composed songs in his honor.

Ways To Connect

Duke Ellington's Such Sweet Thunder (1957) was inspired by and dedicated to the Stratford, Ontario Shakespeare Festival. This suite of musical portraits of Shakespearean characters ranks among his finest work. 

The Seattle Repertory Jazz Orchestra and the Seattle Shakespeare Company teamed up in February to present the first known performance of Ellington's music combined with related scenes from Shakespeare's plays.

  In 1957, Duke Ellington completed and presented "Such Sweet Thunder" in concert for the first time. Working with Billy Strayhorn, Duke Ellington composed a suite of musical portraits of characters from Shakespeare's plays; Hamlet, Lady MacBeth, Caesar, Cleopatra, Henry V, Iago and others. 

In two unique performances last month, The Seattle Repertory Jazz Orchestra was joined by actors from the Seattle Shakespeare Company to perform the Ellington suite with related excerpts from Shakespeare's plays. 

This week on Jazz Northwest, we check out some new releases by The Young Lizards, Scenes, Dee Daniels and others. On the live music scene, The Portland Jazz Festival ends this weekend, but the Frank DeMiero Jazz Festival begins Thursday with Dee Daniels back in the area to sing.

We'll also sample some of the music to be heard at the Highline Classic Jazz Festival next Saturday and include an old record with Ken Wiley playing trombone! (It is an electrical recording)

The Panama Hotel is more than a century old and it still operates today in what was known as Japan Town, between China Town and the historic Jackson Street district in Seattle. 

Jamie Ford's novel, Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet captures the World War II era when the hotel became a focal point for the Japanese community, when Japanese Americans were being forcibly removed from coastal areas and sent to inland internment camps.

Phil Sparks is one of the Seattle area's most popular jazz bass players, and every Friday afternoon he leads a hand-picked jazz trio for an informal session at The Latona Pub during Happy Hour from 5 p.m.to 7 p.m. 

Most of Seattle's top players have played here with Phil Sparks, and the personnel changes from week to week. It's crowded, it's noisy, but it IS happy and the nearest listeners are drawn in to the energetic but acoustic music. 


Norman Durkee died January 12 after a rich and productive life that produced all kinds of music in many different settings. 

Jonathan Pugh grew up in Wenatchee and his first musical memories include standing by his Dad as he led the band at his Summer youth circus. Later, he connected with Don Lanphere in Wenatchee and studied with him during his teen years.

It was mutual inspiration as Jonathan become a regular member of the Don Lanphere Quintet, touring and recording eight albums with the sax legend during his resurgent career.


This week on Jazz Northwest, Jim Wilke picks some of his favorite CDs issued in 2013 by Northwest jazz artists.

Not necessarily an exhaustive nor exclusive list, this hour does provide some examples of the high level of jazz recordings produced in the Pacific Northwest.   

The complete list will be posted at jazzafterhours.org/bestcds.html which includes national and international releases as well.  

Alex Crick

    

Seattle jazz icon pianist Overton Berry leads his trio in an "Art of Jazz" concert in this week's episode.

Overton Berry is a member of the Seattle Jazz Hall of Fame and his career goes back for six decades not only in Seattle and the West Coast, but beyond to Hong Kong, Viet Nam, and elsewhere.

Northwest jazz artists have produced a great selection of holiday music, and you can hear a full hour of it this Sunday at 2 PM Pacific on Jazz Northwest from 88.5, KPLU.

Leading off the program is the by-now classic 1989 album "Year 'Round Christmas" by the late Don Lanphere, the same band that played the very first Christmas Jam live from KPLU.

The Dave Brubeck Quartet was one of the primary groups moving jazz from the dance hall to the concert hall in the 50s. The cooler, more intellectual style of music found great success on college campuses and music departments (which previously discouraged it) started adding jazz to the curriculum.

The Seattle Repertory Jazz Orchestra, co-directed by Clarence Acox and Michael Brockman recently presented a concert of big-band arrangements of music by Dave Brubeck and Paul Desmond and highlights from that concert can be heard in this episode of Jazz Northwest. 

This week on Jazz Northwest we're starting the holiday season by revisiting some of our favorites: the Roosevelt Jazz Band's "Jazz Nutcracker," Don Lanphere's "Year 'Round Christmas" and Hans Teuber and Dave Peterson play "Silver Bells." We'll sample Jim Knapp's new string orchestra "Scrape" plus Seattle Women's Jazz Orchestra, Thomas Marriott and more.

Steve Korn

 

 Pianist Bill Anschell was born in Seattle and began his career here, but he's ranged far and wide since then. He's been a jazz coordinator for the Southern Arts Federation, produced radio programs, been musical director and pianist for Nnenna Freelon with whom he toured and recorded, and he's toured widely in South America.

One of those tours was last year in Peru with his Seattle trio, Chris Symer on bass and Jeff "Bongo" Busch on drums and percussion. This trio was featured in this month's Art of Jazz concert at the Seattle Art Museum, presented by Earshot and recorded for Jazz Northwest. It was a particularly apt choice for the series as it compliments the current exhibition at SAM, "Peru: Kingdoms of the Sun and Moon" which continues through January 5.

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