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

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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