Jim Wilke

Jazz Northwest and Jazz After Hours Host

Jim has been a fixture on Seattle radio since 1961. He was the originator and host of Jazz After Hours on Public Radio International from 1984-2014.  He has produced Jazz Northwest for KPLU since 1988.  This weekly program focuses on the regional jazz scene and frequently includes performances Jim records on location for Jazz Northwest.  

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

Take two imaginative, virtuoso jazz guitarists, blend and mix well and you have the recipe for this unique concert recorded last month at Kirkland Performance Center. Stanley Jordan is a master touch or tap-technique guitarist who has developed a world-wide enthusiastic following since he debuted on the Blue Note label in 1985.  Kevin Eubanks is most widely known as the guitarist/leader of The Tonight Show Band and Jay Leno's sidekick, but he had extensive experience as a jazz guitarist before, and has resumed his solo career since leaving The Tonight Show.  

The Northwest jazz scene is not only robust, but varied. Sample it on Jazz Northwest Sunday afternoons.  We’ll hear Latin jazz from Johnny Conga and Lary Barilleau,  straight- ahead from Jay Thomas, Milt Kleeb and Kareem Kandi, singer Eugenie Jones makes her debut and some well worn tunes getting unusual treatments.  

Brian David Casey

Multi-instrumentalist and singer Bernie Jacobs fronts his quartet in highlights from an Art of Jazz Concert at The Seattle Art Museum on Jazz Northwest, March 24 at 2 PM PDT on 88.5 KPLU.   The concert was presented by Earshot Jazz and recorded for this broadcast on KPLU.   Joining Bernie Jacobs, who plays mostly flute on this broadcast, are Bill Anschell, piano, Phil Sparks, bass and Adam Kessler on drums.  The music includes standards and jazz classics from Fats Waller to Wayne Shorter.

New CDs by Northwest Jazz artists are featured on this week's Jazz Northwest.  Tenor saxophonist Bill Harris leads his Portland quintet , Cory Weeds and Bill Coon front a quartet from Vancouver BC, singer Gail Pettis, and Jay Thomas and The Cats represent Seattle.  Also included this week is former Seattle trumpet player Tatum Greenblatt and some New York friends billed as the Verve Jazz Ensemble.  Jazz Northwest is broadcast Sunday afternoons at 2 on 88-5, KPLU and kplu.org.

Thad Jones played trumpet with the Basie Band and he brought the jazz orchestra into the modern age with his unique compositions and arrangements for the Thad Jones-Mel Lewis Jazz Orchestra at The Village Vanguard.  The current incarnation of that orchestra still plays every Monday night at the hallowed New York club as The Vanguard Jazz Orchestra 47 years after it began.   The music of Thad Jones still feels current and is played by jazz orchestras around the world, including The Seattle Repertory Jazz Orchestra which featured Thad Jones' music in two sold out concerts last weekend. 

Latin jazz is one of the features on this week's Jazz Northwest, 2 PM Pacific on 88.5 KPLU.  Recent CD releases from veteran Seattle percussionists Johnny Conga and Lary Barilleau are included as well as a new solo CD by Brazilian pianist Jovino Santos Neto at the Fazioli Piano Salon in NYC.

Jim Wilke

Flugelhorn player Dmitri Matheny was in Seattle for a Valentine's Day concert at The Seattle Art Museum. The concert was recorded for Jazz Northwest and this week's episode will showcase some of the highlights.

Esperanza Spalding grew up in Portland, and one her mentors was trumpet player and educator Thara Memory.  The two were reunited on stage at the 55th Grammy Awards as they were awarded a Grammy for their co- arrangement of "City Of Roses" named for their hometown, Portland, OR.  The song is one of the originals on Esperanza Spalding's latest CD, "Radio Music Society" which also won a Grammy for Best Jazz Vocal Album.  The song is one of the features on this week's Jazz Northwest.

Hör∂ur Sveinsson

A double bill featuring a piano trio from Iceland, and a six trombone band is featured on Jazz Northwest this week.  The groups were recorded on separate occasions playing at Tula's in Seattle. 

Seattle musician Jay Thomas frequently performs in Japan and has become friends with numerous musicians there with whom he has performed and recorded.   A new release by this "East West Alliance" presents Jay in Japan with his friends and the CD is sampled on this week's Jazz NW.  There's also music by Vern Sielert’s Dektet, Kelley Johnson, Douce Ambiance (a string trio), some Latin jazz with Lary Barilleau and much more, including recommendations for live jazz in the coming week.

This week on Jazz Northwest we’ll sample some new releases, including Seattle percussionist Lary Barileau & The Latin Jazz Collective, Vancouver bassist Brandy Disterheft with former Seattle flutist Anne Drummond, Jay Thomas  and the Cats, and the Seattle/Tokyo connection; The East West Alliance.   Jim Wilke is host for Jazz Northwest, checking out the regional jazz scene each Sunday afternoon at 2 PM Pacific.

Seattle's busiest singer, Greta Matassa sings all over town from jazz clubs to concert halls, tours internationally, has recorded eight CDs and appeared as guest on many more, and makes time to teach and do clinics and workshops.  

Musicians from Portland, Seattle and Vancouver are regulary featured on Jazz Northwest, and this week, all three cities are represented.  Esperanza Spalding grew up in Portland and has become an international star. We'll feature her in a song in tribute to her home town, "City of Roses". The arrangement for the song has been nominated for a Grammy this year, and so has the CD, "Radio Music Society."  Nancy King, Mary Kadderly and Eric Skye from Portland will also be featured.

Jim Wilke

Guitarist Mundell Lowe played with Charlie Parker, Lester Young, and Billie Holiday among others, was a long-time staff musician at NBC and CBS in New York before moving West to write and play for movies, TV and recording studios. The 90 year old guitarist was in Seattle last Fall to play in a two-guitar quartet with Mike Magnelli during the Earshot Festival.

This week's Jazz Northwest features some of Jim Wilke's  favorite jazz CDs from the past year by Northwest musicians. 

Jim Wilke

Earshot award winner and NW Jazz Hall of Fame bassist and composer Jeff Johnson leads his quartet in an Art of Jazz Concert from the Seattle Art Museum on Jazz Northwest  on 88.5 KPLU and kplu.org.   The concert, recorded earlier this month, features the same quartet heard on the new Origin CD "Suitcase": Jeff Johnson on bass, Hans Teuber, woodwinds, Steve Moore, piano and Eric Eagle, drums.  The concert consists of original music by Johnson and one piece by Hans Teuber.

Daniel Sheehan

Pianist Sumi Tonooka was born in Philadelphia and is well-established as a pianist, composer and teacher in New York, but her roots are in the Seattle area. Her mother grew up on Bainbridge Island where she lived until at age 16, she and other Japanese-Americans were shipped to the Internment Camps of World War II.  Sumi Tonooka planned a visit last Summer to connect with her mother's early life on Bainbridge, and growing out of that visit she became a Seattle resident last Summer.

Jim Wilke shares some of his favorite CDs for the holidays by Northwest jazz musicians who’ve appeared often on the program.... Don Lanphere, The Seattle Repertory Jazz Orchestra, Ernestine Anderson, Dave Peck, Greta Matassa, Barney McClure and others.

New York jazz pianist and organist George Colligan is presently on the faculty at Portland State University in Portland.  He's recorded over 20 CDs on his own and appeared as sideman on many more in addition to concerts with many of today's top jazz headliners. He brought Portland guitarist Dan Balmer with him for an Earshot Festival engagement at Tula's this Fall, and Seattle drummer John Bishop rounded out this new variation on the classic organ trio. The trio played several of George Colligan's original compositions in each set.

This week on Jazz Northwest we'll sample some new CDs from Jeff Johnson, Johnny Conga and the Endemic Ensemble, and listen to some of the artists who'll be playing in the area and bring you up to date on best bets for live jazz in the coming week.

"Lorraine Feather was born in Manhattan. Her parents named her Billie Jane Lee Lorraine after godmother Billie Holiday, her mother Jane (formerly a big band singer), her mother's ex-roommate Peggy Lee, and the song "Sweet Lorraine." She is the daughter of the late jazz writer Leonard Feather."

This week on Jazz Northwest we'll hear some great resident musicians from Portland to Vancouver, and recordings from the 70s to the present.

Daniel Sheehan

Bassist and composer Evan Flory-Barnes is the Featured Seattle Artist at this year's Earshot Jazz Festival and is playing six concerts at various locations during the festival, each with a different ensemble and distinct music.  

Pianist Sumi Tonooka was born in Philadelphia and has spent most of her career playing, touring and recording while based on the East Coast.  On this week's Jazz Northwest, she talks with Jim Wilke about her development as a musician and how and why she recently moved to Seattle.  

The Seattle Repertory Jazz Orchestra, co-directed by Clarence Acox and Michael Brockman is featured on Jazz Northwest. The program highlights a concert of Jazz of the Harlem Renaissance with guests Meschiya Lake, a New Orleans-based singer of traditional jazz,  and narrator Robin Lloyd of KPLU, who describes scenes at the Apollo Ballroom where this music was first heard in the Twenties and Thirties.

Seattle’s biggest jazz event of the year begins this weekend. The wide-ranging Earshot Jazz Festival runs over three weeks and includes over 50 concerts by international and regional musicians who perform in many combinations and locations.

High on any list of all-time classic jazz albums is the 1949-50 Miles Davis album "Birth of The Cool" which grew out of an informal composers/ arrangers workshop with Gil Evans, Gerry Mulligan and John Lewis among others.  That album continues to be influential among jazz musicians today, one of them being trombonist Andy Clausen who has studied these recordings and arrangements extensively.  Last summer, he organized a concert of this music which was presented by Earshot Jazz at The Chapel performance space in Seattle. 

With the audience on three sides of the musicians, this performance was truly "up close and personal".  Three world-class musicians, Tamir Hendelman, Martin Wind and Matt Wilson provided an evening of spontaneous musical magic for a capacity audience in a cozy  Port Townsend club, The Upstage.  Recorded during this year's Jazz Port Townsend, the trio plays two standards, a Jobim tune and an original by each member of the group.  Each of the three musicians has toured and recorded widely, but this performance was unique, as Tamir Hendelman tells the audience after the first tune of the set.  

Sunday afternoons we savor some of the many tastes of jazz available to you on Jazz Northwest. This week, Clarence Acox and Jay Thomas from Seattle, Dave Frishberg from Portland, Karin Plato from Vancouver and many more. We'll also tell you about the best places to go for live jazz.

On the next Jazz Northwest from 88.5 KPLU, The Dena DeRose Trio plays a concert recorded at Jazz Port Townsend in July.  With Martin Wind on bass and Matt Wilson on drums, Dena DeRose sings from the piano, swinging hard on up tempo tunes, and deliciously slow on the ballads with fresh takes on some familiar songs. 

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