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.

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Associated Press

My best effort to summarize trumpeter Nicholas Payton’s post On Why Jazz Isn’t Cool Anymore is that he is saying the word “jazz” is racist, that jazz died in 1959, and “Jazz is a marketing ploy that serves an elite few. The elite make all the money while they tell the true artists it’s cool to be broke.”

Read more on Groove Notes.

A Mis Abuelos by trumpeter Arturo Sandoval is a song in which during 5 minutes and 25 seconds, Sandoval manages to record a song with literally everything a trumpet player ever wanted to do in it.

Lightening fast fingers, unbelievable range that didn’t compromise the tone, and intense energy. Trumpeter and former Tonight Show bandleader Doc Severinsen is quoted as saying “Who in the hell is this guy?”

Find out this Friday (1/13 at 12:15 PM PST) when Sandoval comes in for a studio session  at KPLU.

Read more on Groove Notes.

We hope you will use these lists to seek out jazz albums you haven’t heard before, or revisit an old favorite. And as always, we want your thoughts on any or all of these albums.

Either way, let’s get started with this week, and in no particular order, albums 821 through 830.

Read more on Groove Notes.

Groove Notes writer and KPLU jazz host Kevin Kniestedt lists the 10 releases that stood out to him over the past year (with an informal ranking).

Read more on Groove Notes.

Randy Brecker Website

The nominations have been released for the 2011 Grammy Awards, and there are some great selections for jazz categories. The winners are named on Feb. 12. Until then, vote on Groove Notes for your favorite.

Vote on Groove Notes.

Justin Steyer / KPLU

I was fortunate enough to have the opportunity to sit down in the KPLU performance studio last Friday with jazz legend Chick Corea for an interview and live performance.

One of the topics we covered was how he has remained so versatile over the years.

“I keep a student kind of mentality in my life, so that I am always learning something, and that keeps me fresh,” he said.

Read more on Groove Notes.

Justin Steyer / KPLU

It would seem that jazz vocalist, Sophie Milman is in motion constantly.  She was born in Russia, raised in Israel and moved to Canada when she was in her late teens.  Now, at age 27, she’s just released her 6th CD and seems to be perpetually on tour.

With someone moving as fast as Sophie, we were lucky to get her and her band into the KPLU studios for a live performance/interview, hosted by Kevin Kniestedt.

Legendary jazz musician Paul Motian, who stood as one of the most influential drummers of the last 50 years, died early this morning at Mount Sinai Hospital in New York.

Read more on Groove Notes.

Associated Press

The firing of Penn State head football coach Joe Paterno following criminal charges of child sex abuse against one of his former assistant coaches, Jerry Sandusky, has been the subject of innumerable news stories and conversations.

The 84-year-old Paterno has more wins than any other coach in college football history, but he will leave the university with his reputation destroyed for not taking serious action after receiving knowledge of these alleged crimes.

KPLU sports commentator Art Thiel says there is no question that Paterno deserved to lose his job.

Associated Press

Penn State University has been in turmoil over the last week following an indictment of former assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky on charges of child sex abuse over a 15-year period.

This was followed by the firing of the university president and long-time iconic head football coach Joe Paterno. Find out what Art thinks about the Penn State decision and what it could lead to tomorrow morning at 5:35 and 7:35 on 88.5 KPLU.

Justin Steyer / KPLU

19-year-old saxophonist/singer, Grace Kelly is immensely gifted.  She’s also a lot of fun to hang around with.  Right before this studio session, interviewer Kevin Kniestedt asked her if she had already chosen the songs she would be performing that day. 

She said she might not know what songs she’d be doing until she did them, which prompted someone behind to say (in jest), "Well, that’s just unimaginably inappropriate."

Grace turned around, unleashed one of her disarmingly charming smiles and replied, “That’s me!”  Right then and there knew we were in for a good time. 

“Some people ask me why I don’t bring my cell phone up on stage with me. It’s because I don’t want to interrupt you.” – Keith Jarrett addressing the crowd after intermission at Tuesday's show at Benaroya Hall.

I had never seen Keith Jarrett perform live before. I had only heard his wonderful recordings and heard some interesting stories about the demands he has on his audience.

Read more on Groove Notes.

Friday night during the Earshot Jazz Festival, Nordstrom Recital Hall was the scene of a mesmerizing solo piano performance from Brad Mehldau. The intimate setting was perfect for this concert, which was completely acoustic. No wires, no amps, no microphones, simply Mehldau and the piano.

Read more on Groove Notes.

The Earshot festival runs through Nov. 6, and through the duration of the festival Groove Notes will be delivering in-depth, ongoing coverage. We’re using a new tool for pulling in information from a wide range of sources – Twitter, Facebook and more – so come follow the action on Groove Notes.

The documentary More to Live For screens at the Gig Harbor Film Festival this Saturday. People from the Pacific Northwest will finally get an opportunity to view the story of three men affected by Leukemia seeking out a bone marrow transplant, including the late tenor saxophonist Michael Brecker.

Read more on Groove Notes.

Now in its 11th season, Djangofest Northwest brings a world-class musical lineup to Langley on Whidbey Island to celebrate the music and spirit of Django Reinhardt and Gypsy Jazz.

Artists scheduled to perform this year range from local favorites to world-class international recording artists, making it the the premier showcase of Gypsy Jazz in North America.

Read more on Groove Notes.

Justin Steyer / KPLU

Three-time Grammy winner Ramsey Lewis, who rose to prominence in the early 1970′s, released his 80th album, Ramsey, Taking Another Look today with his Electric Band.

“The idea of the electric quintet came up and having played mostly in an acoustic trio arrangement for twelve-fifteen years, I decided to get together with the guys to see how it felt," Lewis said.

Read more on Groove Notes.

Perhaps the most prolific time in the career of Miles Davis was from 1949 to 1959, and to pay tribute to these historic years in jazz and Davis’ career, CAMI Music has joined forces with Miles Davis Properties and Blue Note Records for an innovative music and historical production, The Miles Davis Experience: 1949-1959.

The tour will feature three shows in Washington State.

Read more on Groove Notes.

Justin Steyer / KPLU

In this studio session, we welcomed Donald Harrison (alto saxophone, congas) and Glen David Andrews (trombone), both of whom were born in New Orleans’ Treme neighborhood, cut their musical teeth on the music of Treme, and can be seen in the HBO television series, Treme

Currently they’re also part of an ever-changing line-up of New Orleans musicians touring with a show called A Night In Treme which is bringing the music of Treme’s Congo Square to cities all over America - including Seattle's Jazz Alley through Sunday night.

Roy Manzanares / antonjazz.com

I had the opportunity this week to speak by phone with tenor saxophonist Anton Schwartz.

Anton recently moved to the Seattle area. I had the chance to ask him about what brought him to the Puget Sound, and how he has networked himself into the local jazz scene so far.

Music superstars Eric Clapton and Wynton Marsalis got together last April for a concert at the Rose Theater at Lincoln Center in New York City. The concert featured songs hand-picked by Eric Clapton, then arranged by Marsalis, and included highlights such as a guest appearance by Taj Mahal.

While the concert will be released on September 13th on a CD/DVD combo pack (Warner Brothers, CLICK HERE TO BUY), there is an even better opportunity to hear this show for those of us who weren’t able to make the cross country trip to see the show live.

The Earshot Jazz Festival gets kicked off in Seattle on October 14th and runs through November 6th. While the full schedule does not get released until September, the early bookings feature a wonderful variety of top tier musicians.

Read more.

Rick Diamond / WireImage.com

With students such as Quincy Jones and Miles Davis and a playing career that includes Duke Ellington and Count Basie, one would expect jazz great Clark Terry to have some pearls of wisdom and a few great stories to share.

And now that influence and inspiration will be brought to the screen in a documentary called “Keep on Keepin’ On.”

Read more.

Life Magazine

Miles Davis would have been 85 years old today, and the birth of the legendary trumpeter is being celebrated in several ways and places around the country today.

LIFE.com just posted never-before-seen photos of Miles from 1958.

Read more:

The end of 2008 was a tough time for me as it related to jazz, primarily because the jazz world lost Freddie Hubbard due to complications from a heart attack right before 2009.

As a trumpet player myself, Hubbard was my biggest influence, but he also struck me as a “survivor”. Both Clifford Brown and Lee Morgan were lost before their time, and Freddie tore through the 70′s with mind-blowing recordings (both live and studio) when jazz needed a trumpeter to be mind-blowing.

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I spoke by phone today with New Orleans trumpeter and educator Irvin Mayfield about his beautiful new book, “A Love Letter To New Orleans”.

Mr. Mayfield talks about the beauty of being influenced by the film "Mo Better Blues", musical and cultural similarities between NOLA and places like Haiti, Cuba, Brazil, and the beauty of New Orleans and the people of the city.

Click below to listen to the interview, and find a link at the bottom of the page to purchase the book.

I want to wrap up this little series on the Jazz 100 with my own personal thoughts on the list and some of the comments and questions left by listeners/readers.

There were some thoughts that kept popping up in readers posts. One was “Why didn’t (insert song here) show up on the list?”. Another is “My list would look completely different from this one.” A third was “There is no way that Take Five” should be number 1.”

Let me start by saying that my own personal list would also look a bit different from this one. I’ve seen emails and posts from casual listeners to the very jazz educated saying the exact same thing.

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So now you’ve seen the Jazz 100 list selected by our listeners, and you’ve got some introductory analysis on by Kirsten Kendrick and myself.

I felt that it was appropriate for the next step to be getting some thoughts from a fresh pair of eyes…and who better than two of the best in the business, KPLU’s Midday Jazz host Robin Lloyd and Evening Jazz host Abe Beeson?

See their thoughts on the Groove Notes blog

Listen to the Q&A here:

What is the greatest jazz recording ever? That's the questions we asked listeners of KPLU and our jazz stream Jazz 24. From that, we came up with our list of the Top 100 Quintessential Jazz Songs of All Time.

KPLU music and news host Kevin Kniestedt tabulated the nearly 3,000 votes.  One thousand five hundred songs were nominated over a period of several weeks.

If you are looking for some jazz in holiday style to get your hands on, you might want to consider these Christmas jazz albums I've listed on Groove Notes. Some might be more of a challenge to track down than others.

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