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

Ben Huggler

Jazz Northwest previews and samples upcoming events every Sunday afternoon at 2 on 88.5 KPLU. This Sunday (10/27) will include CDs by Roy Hargrove, Roberta Gambarini, the Jim Knapp Orchestra, Darcy James Argue and others appearing in Seattle concerts, as well as some new releases by resident Northwest musicians.

Tacoma-based saxophonist Kareem Kandi brought his band to the Art Of Jazz Series at The Seattle Art Museum this month and played a hard-swinging concert enjoyed by an enthusiastic audience that filled Brotman Forum at SAM.  Saxophonist Kreem Kandi was joined by B3 organist Delvon Lamarr and drummer Adam Kessler in a classic organ trio performance that included standards and originals.  

Tribute to Bill Ramsey

Oct 13, 2013
Daniel Sheehan

Saxophonist Bill Ramsay is a Northwest treasure who's been both leader and sideman in dozens of bands, not only in this region but also internationally. He recently played concerts in Brazil with former Count Basie Band members. He's played with many of the best known bands ever - Basie, Ellington, Goodman, Les Brown, Quincy Jones, Grover Mitchell, Maynard Ferguson and others. He was a regular at Red Kelly's in both Tumwater and Tacoma, is co-leader of the Ramsay-Kleeb Band, a founding member of the Seattle Repertory Jazz Orchestra, and in the Seattle Jazz Hall of Fame.

John Gilbreath is guest on Jazz Northwest preview of the 25th Earshot Jazz Festival

 John Gilbreath, Executive Director of Earshot Jazz, talks with Jim Wilke about the current Earshot Jazz Festival on this episode of Jazz Northwest.

Jim Levitt

Bria Skonberg plays trumpet and sings as she leads an all-star sextet in concert at Centrum's Jazz Port Townsend on Jazz Northwest on 88.5 KPLU on Sunday, Sept. 29, 2013 at 2 p.m. PDT.  

Born in Chilliwack, British Columbia, she studied at Capilano University in North Vancouver before moving to New York. She has been endorsed by veteran musicians and is active on the New York scene as well as an international touring star while still in her 20s.

The 15th Earshot Jazz Festival begins October 1 with more than 50 concerts in various venues around Seattle.  On today's show we'll sample some of the music at this year's festival including Keith Jarrett, Vinicius Cantuaria, Dave Douglas, Darcy James Argue.  We'll also highlight live jazz for the coming week.

Jim Levitt

Two excellent jazz singers, René Marie and Sachal Vasandani team up in concert on this Jazz Northwest broadcast from Centrum's Jazz Port Townsend, held the last weekend of July each summer.  The concert aired on Sunday, September 15 at 2 PM Pacific on 88.5 KPLU.  It was recorded before a large audience in McCurdy Pavilion at Fort Worden during the Festival.  The two singers, obviously enjoying each other, trade songs and join in some duets.   They were accompanied by an all-star rhythm section of George Cables (piano), Chuck Deardorf (bass) and Joe LaBarbera (drums).

Jazz Northwest this week will feature several new CDs by Northwest jazz artists, including former Seattle flutist and pianist Anne Drummond who has an active career in New York.   Several artists appearing at this Sunday's Pony Boy Jazz Picnic have new or recent CDs on this show including The Greg Williamson Quartet, and Jay Thomas' neo Boogaloo band, the Cantaloupes.  

Jim Levitt

The Centrum All-Star Big Band directed by Clarence Acox played a Salute to Quincy Jones at Jazz Port Townsend last July, and Jazz Northwest was there to record the concert.  The full-length concert broadcast aired on Sunday, September 1 at 2 pm (PDT) as part of a series of live concert recordings from this year's festival.

This week on Jazz NW we'll remember some of the influence the late Cedar Walton had on Seattle musicians.  He played Seattle jazz clubs like Parnell's and Jazz Alley, did workshops at Cornish College and arranged and played on Jay Thomas' first album.   We'll hear a young Jay Thomas playing with the seasoned Cedar Walton Trio in 1984, and Cedar Walton's tune "Bolivia" played in concert by Chris Amemiya & Jazz Coalescence issued this year.

Jim Levitt

Anat Cohen has been winning both critics and readers national jazz polls for several years and she tours continually, playing major jazz festivals and clubs around the world.  The last week of July found her in Port Townsend, WA where she was teaching and performing at Centrum's annual jazz workshop and festival at Fort Worden State Park.  Her performance with Dawn Clement, piano, Chuck Deardorf, bass and Jeff Hamilton, drums was recorded for Jazz Northwest and aired on Sunday, August 18 at 2 PM (PDT) on 88.5 KPLU and simultaneously  stream at kplu.org.


"This isn't just midsummer's madness, 

a passing glow, a moment's gladness, 

This is love, I knew it from the night we met. "

Those are Mack Gordon's lyrics for Harry Warren's song, "This Is Always".   It's one of the songs included on Jay Clayton's new CD of Harry Warren songs, "Harry Who?" and it aired on Jazz Northwest this Sunday, August 11 at 2 PM Pacific on 88.5 KPLU and kplu.org.

Jim Levitt

A concert by the Clayton Brothers quintet and special guest Stefon Harris is the first of a seven concert series from Centrum's Jazz Port Townsend which aired on Jazz Northwest, Sunday August 4 at 2 PM PDT on 88.5 KPLU.

Co-led by brothers John Clayton (bass) and Jeff Clayton (alto sax and flute), the group also includes John's son Gerald on piano, Terell Stafford on trumpet, and Obed Calvaire, drums.  John Clayton is also Artistic Director of Jazz Port Townsend and the Jazz Camp which leads up to the weekend festival, now in its 40th year.  Special guest on this concert is the vibraphonist Stefon Harris, who is one of the brightest stars on the insrument.  He has seven CDs as a leader and has been a popular sideman in many situations including the Clayton Brothers.

Every Sunday afternoon at 2 we check out the local jazz scene with the latest CDs by resident musicians and on alternate weeks, location recordings that are available nowhere else!   This week, there's music from CDs by Jay Thomas, Chris Amemiya, Jovino Santos Neto, Larry Barilleau, Clipper Anderson and others.  We'll also remember Floyd Standifer and Don Lanphere.

Vibes master Joe Locke re-visted Seattle recently to play at Tula's with musical friends Thomas Marriott (trumpet, flugelhorn), Jeff Johnson (bass)and John Bishop (drums).   Highlights from that appearance will air on Jazz Northwest, Sunday, July 21 at 2 PM PDT on 88.5 KPLU.  The music includes mostly standards with one stellar original, "Verrazano Moon" by Joe Locke.

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