Kevin Kniestedt

Producer, Sound Effect

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 there is not much at KPLU he hasn’t done. Kevin has worked as a full time jazz host, news host, and has hosted, at least once, almost every single program on KPLU. Kevin is currently one of the producers for KPLU’s weekly show Sound Effect. Kevin has interviewed several world class musicians, produced local 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 Seattle, where you may find him hitting a tennis ball, catching an independent film or eating a massive plate of nachos.

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. 

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.

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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.

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