Kevin Kniestedt

Weekend Edition Saturday and Jazz on the Grooveyard Host

Kevin began his career at KPLU in 2003, where his first responsibility was to eradicate the KPLU Jazz Library from all Smooth Jazz CD’s. Since then he has hosted, at least once, almost every single program on KPLU. Kevin is also the author of KPLU’s Groove Notes jazz blog, has interviewed several world class jazz artists, produced local news features, and helped make the KPLU Grocery Tote famous.

Kevin's most memorable KPLU radio moment was his interview with Edgar Martinez right before his last home game. Kevin lives the seemingly never-ending bachelor life in downtown Tacoma where you may find him hitting a tennis ball, catching an independent film or eating a massive plate of nachos.

Ways To Connect

Courtesy of Terrill Lee Lankford.

How exactly does a man in his 70s — a man who spent most of his adult life in and out of prison and constantly battling a drug addiction — become friends with a 14-year-old girl?

They find a common bond. And in the case of Frank Morgan and Grace Kelly, that bond was music. 

Forbes Magazine recently named Seattle as the "Most Miserable Sports City in America." As KPLU's Kevin Kniestedt prepares to leave Seattle and move across the country, he asked Sports Commentator Art Thiel if it really is that bad of a sports town, and what he might be missing after he leaves.

The Jazz Journalists Association has named Seattle's own Julian Priester as one of 25 Jazz Heroes—an honor bestowed on those who have had a significant impact on their jazz community.

Jazz Heroes are activists, advocates, altruists, aiders and abettors of jazz who have had significant impact in their local communities. The Jazz Hero awards, for which community members nominate candidates, are presented in conjunction with the  Jazz Journalists Association’s annual Jazz Awards honoring significant achievements in jazz music and journalism.

Paul DeMaria / New York Daily News via Getty Images

Folk and rock singer, songwriter and guitarist Richie Havens reportedly passed away Monday at the age of 72.

Havens was perhaps best known for his three-hour opening set at the Woodstock Festival in 1969.

esc861 / Flickr

This list, which took the better part of four years, was inspired by those who said that jazz was limited to a certain style or type of performer. The idea behind this list was not to create a “best” albums list, but rather a extensive list of albums that covered as much of jazz history as possible.

Even after posting 1,000 albums, this list is really only a sample of the history of this great art form.

Hopefully you will find some great music you have never heard before and add to your collection.

Associated Press

The Seattle Seahawks made two big moves this week, trading for high-profile wide receiver Percy Harvin and signing defensive end Cliff Avril. These moves show that the Seahawks are serious about winning a Super Bowl this upcoming season, says sports commentator Art Thiel. 


Dave Martin / AP Photo

A dramatic comeback was not enough for the Seahawks Sunday. They lost to the Falcons 30-28 in the NFC Divisional playoff game in Atlanta. Find out what one longtime Seattle sports fan has to say about it.

Jazz pianist Dave Brubeck, responsible for the recording of the seminal album Time Out which still ranks as one of the best selling albums of all-time, and the first jazz musician to have a single sell 1 millions albums, died this morning of heart failure. He was 91.

In 1951, he formed the Dave Brubeck Quartet, and made a regular habit of touring and and performing at college campuses, bringing his musical approach to a younger audience. In 1954, Brubeck became only the second musician at that time to appear on the cover of Time Magazine.

The career that Brubeck sustained had an enormous impact on musicians and fans.

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These days getting the word out is probably easier and quicker than it has ever been, and for whatever reason jazz musicians seem to struggle to understand this.

So I have decided to offer up these five easy tips on how jazz musicians can better promote themselves and their music with very minimal time and effort using “modern” technology.

Read the story on Groove Notes.

Groove Notes writer and KPLU jazz and news host Kevin Kniestedt lists the 10 jazz releases (and some honorable mentions) that he feels rose to the top in 2012.

Read more on Groove Notes.

AP Photo/Kathy Willens

There has been a lot of excitement so far in the early rounds of the Major League Baseball playoffs, and much of that has been provided by former Seattle Mariner players. As sports commentator Art Thiel explains to KPLU’s Kevin Kniestedt, the sight of players leaving Seattle to flourish on other teams has become far too common for fans over the years. To hear the discussion, click the "Listen" button above.

Justin Steyer / KPLU

In this studio session, hosted by Kevin Kniestedt, we’re pleased to introduce you to a woman who we believe is one of the finest up-and-coming international jazz talents to come along in years, Halie Loren. 

Nima Fatemi / Flickr

I literally had someone say that to me the other day. My head almost exploded.

So if I am not familiar with a band that you happen to know or like, that means I have NO musical knowledge, whatsoever?

What is worse is that this is not the first time I have heard this from someone.

Read more on Groove Notes.

I know. I know. It is widely assumed and believed that smell is the strongest sense tied to memory. But for me (and a handful of musicians that I spoke to), music – in some cases even just a few bars of a song -  can draw upon some of the most powerful memories in a persons life.

Read more on Groove Notes.

Justin Steyer / KPLU

If we were to make a list of all the recording and composing credits of the members of The Cookers, it would go on for many pages. 

This is an amazing collection of jazz musicians—Billy Hart (drums), Cecil McBee (bass), Eddie Henderson (trumpet), David Weiss (trumpet), Billy Harper (sax) and George Cables (piano). 

AP Photo/Elaine Thompson

The Seattle Mariners reach the halfway point of their season this weekend, and find themselves in last place. As KPLU sports commentator Art Thiel explains, the Mariners had low expectations at the beginning of the season, and have yet to live up to them.

The 2012 Major League Baseball First-Year player draft got underway today, and the Seattle Mariners were afforded the luxury of the 3rd overall pick as a result of their poor finish last season.

With that pick, the Mariners chose catcher Mike Zunino, a junior from the University of Florida. The 21 year old was ranked as the top catcher in the draft, and has been touted as a strong, athletic catcher with excellent power as a hitter. In 62 games with Florida this season, Zunino had a batting average of .312, hitting 18 home runs and 60 runs batted in.

The house bassist for Saturday Night Live and credited on hundreds of studio and live recordings across a wide variety of genres, James Genus is one of the most in-demand bassists on the scene.

In this interview, Genus discuss being required to learn upright bass in college, his experiences with Horace Silver and Roy Haynes, what he credits for his versatility, his thoughts on the late Michael Brecker, and what it is like to be part of a television show band.

Read the interview on Groove Notes.

Sally Sheldon

Halie Loren talks with Groove Notes about her most recent release, “Heart First” – which rose to number one on the iTunes Canada Jazz chart – her path to becoming a jazz singer, her success in other countries and what it takes to convincingly sing a song that she didn’t write.

Read the story on Groove Notes.

Elaine Thompson / Associated Press

After starting the season in Japan, Oakland and Texas, the Seattle Mariners finally played their home opener Friday night against the Athletics. The result, however, was a bit too reminiscent of what M's fans saw last year.

Originally, a limited vinyl release by the National Press Club in 1972, one of the last recordings of Louis Armstrong will be available widely for the first time via Smithsonian Folkways Recordings on April 24th as part of the Smithsonian’s celebration of the 11th annual Jazz Appreciation Month.

Armstrong often signed letters “Red Beans and Rice-ly Yours,” which makes for an apt title for the recording especially since his favorite recipes ― everything from Louisiana Caviar to the Sazerac ― are included in the liner notes, as they were in the original pressing.

Read more on Groove Notes.

The Associated Press

Every so often, a barrage of articles and blog posts come out claiming that jazz has found the musician or musicians that are going to “save” jazz. More often than not, these musicians are achieving some current commercial success and popularity among a broad audience outside of the typical “jazz head” community.

But what would it mean to "save jazz"? And, what exactly does it need "saving" from?

Read more on Groove Notes.

Jazz icon Ella Fitzgerald’s voice is recognized by millions around the world. But few know about her career-defining friendship with Marilyn Monroe, to whom Fitzgerald said she “owe a real debt.”

While touring in the ’50s under the management of Norman Granz, Fitzgerald, like many African-American musicians at the time, faced significant adversity as a result of her race, especially in the Jim Crow states. Granz was a huge proponent of civil rights, and insisted that all of his musicians be treated equally at hotels and venues, regardless of race.

Skerik’s most recent project released this week – Skerik’s Bandalabra: Live at the Royal Room – includes working with Seattle musicians Andy Coe (electric guitar), Evan Flory-Barnes (upright bass), and Donne Lewis (drums).

Skerik explains that it is a change of pace from the rock bands since a lot of the music is created in the moment.

Read more on Groove Notes.

Jazz at Lincoln Center announced this morning the 15 finalist bands and one winning community band for its prestigious 17th Annual Essentially Ellington High School Jazz Band Competition & Festival. Among the finalists were three bands from Washington State.

Read more on Groove Notes.

Justin Steyer / KPLU

The Grammy Awards were given out in the jazz categories during the pre-telecast ceremonies on Sunday. Check out the winners and the results of our reader poll.

Read more on Groove Notes.

The Associated Press

There has been a lot of buzz this week following the news that the city of Seattle has been in discussions with a potential investor for a new arena.

With property purchased just south of the already existing baseball and football stadiums by this investor, and the Sacremento Kings basketball team seemingly on the brink of leaving town, many people have become excited at the possibility that Seattle could see a new team, and perhaps a professional hockey team sooner than later.

Art Thiel doesn't see that happening any time soon.

The Associated Press

When the Grammy Awards revealed last year that they were reducing the number of award categories from 109 down to 78, it didn’t take long for those affected to show their displeasure. And, the passion hasn't died down. This year, members of the Latin jazz community will be protesting the awards ceremony.

Read more on Groove Notes.

The Associated Press

The Seattle Seahawks will be watching the Super Bowl this weekend from the sidelines, as the New England Patriots take on the New York Giants. The Seahawks manhandled the Giants during the regular season, but went on to finish with a losing record while the Giants made an amazing season-ending run.

How did this happen? Art Thiel tells us that if you try to predict the outcome of an entire season based on a small sample of it, you usually end up wrong.

Justin Steyer / KPLU

"If you’ve got music in your heart, you’re gonna be a happy person, no matter what."

That’s what trumpeter Arturo Sandoval told KPLU's Jazz on the Grooveyard host Kevin Kniestedt, as he recalls growing up in rural Cuba and having a trumpet teacher tell him (at age 10) that he had no talent and should not pursue music. 

Obviously, Sandoval, who is now known as one of the world’s foremost jazz trumpeters, didn’t listen to the teacher and it’s a pure delight to hear him tell the story in this latest installment of KPLU's Studio Sessions. 

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