News articles from KPLU

Bruce Hudson


This week on Sound Effect, Gabriel Spitzer and his team scour the archives for the show's most memorable musical segments.

We kick off with a short lesson on a tiny instrument, as Gabriel Spitzer literally tries his hands at the ukulele at the house of a renowned uke expert in Wallingford. Then, off to Vito's on First Hill with Ed Ronco to hear from the restaurant's beloved piano player, Ruby Bishop.

Parker Miles Blohm

Clarinetist (and sometime saxophonist) Anat Cohen is a one-woman music-blender.  Born and raised in Tel Aviv and now living in New York, Anat lays out a world of influences in almost every song she plays.  Jazz, classical, klezmer, tango, Brazilian — whatever style or genre of music you can think of, you’ll hear at least echoes of it in Ms. Cohen’s music if you listen long enough.  (And by "long enough" we mean, like, an evening’s performance from her and her band.) 


Sound Effect is your weekly tour of ideas, inspired by the place we live. The show is hosted by KPLU's Gabriel Spitzer. Each week's show explores a different theme and this week we bring you notes from “Underground.” 

Chances are, you’ve never heard a quartet quite like The Westerlies.  Generally, a jazz quartet is a rhythm section (piano, bass, drums) with a lead instrument (say, saxophone).  Not The Westerlies.  No, no.  Here you have two trumpets and two trombones.  With this unique configuration, they present what is best described as chamber jazz—original compositions, unique arrangements and beautiful improvisation.

Parker Miles Blohm

For 15 years, The Seattle Women’s Jazz Orchestra has been a mainstay of the Northwest jazz scene, and ever since KPLU has been doing studio sessions in our Seattle studios, we’ve wanted to have them come in and play live for you.  One problem:  our studio isn’t big enough for the entire orchestra. 


Over the course of a career that lasted some sixty years, pianist, producer and songwriter Allen Toussaint's music and sound became a hugely influential force for artists working in many different genres.

Toussaint died on Monday night in Madrid, at the age of 77.


Note: Each month, KPLU invites a teen guest DJ to play his or her favorite pieces on the air. The program is part of KPLU’s School of Jazz.

Which instrument do you play and why?

Parker Miles Blohm

Karrin Allyson, a world-renowned jazz singer and a great friend to KPLU, has released a new album of some of her favorite songs from the musicals of Rodgers & Hammerstein—musicals that include "Oklahoma!", "The King And I" and "The Sound Of Music".    

Parker Miles Blohm

Trumpeter Marcus Printup can really, really play.  He’s also really, really devoted to jazz education and mentorship, which is what brought him to the Northwest.  

Parker Miles Blohm / KPLU

New Orleans trumpeter Christian Scott aTunde Adjuah has a new record out.  It’s called ‘Stretch Music,’ which is a perfect title.  Not only does Christian stretch the idea of ‘jazz’ over all genres of music with this release, he also stretches how a record can be heard.  

‘Stretch Music’ has its own app—which turns the album into the first interactive media player as a record.  This means that the casual listener, or a musician who wants to play along with the songs, can listen to the instruments he or she selects.  

You may consider jazz to be a world apart from the rock, pop or hip-hop you love (or hate). However, you might be surprised to learn about jazz's influences on many genres through its rich history, from the newest performing artists of today, to legendary musicians that shaped the sounds we love so much.

Marcus Printup, a trumpeter with the renowned Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra, will perform live on KPLU with local high school jazz students on October 15 at 12:15 p.m., and will be featured in a series of live jazz performances  in the Northwest from October 13-17.  All of these activities are made possible by JazzClubsNW.

Parker Miles Blohm

Every so often, vocalist Francine Reed invades Seattle for a few months to take the stage at Teatro Zinzanni, 

  a permanent tent show that’s a wild mix of cirque, vaudeville, dinner theatre, glitz and glam.  And Francine fits right in whenever she takes her turn as diva-in-residence.  She was first introduced to an international audience when she joined Lyle Lovett’s Large Band.  During her current stint at Teatro, Francine and Teatro’s house band visited the KPLU

Note: Each month, KPLU invites a teen guest DJ to play his or her favorite pieces on the air. The program is part of KPLU's School of Jazz.

Colby Jackson from Bellarmine Prepartory School is the Student DJ for the month of October. Colby's hour aired from 8 p.m. to 9 p.m. on October 8th.

Pianist Jovino Santos Neto was born and raised in Rio de Janeiro but has made Seattle his home for some years now.  Lucky us.   Jovino is one of the most highly regarded Latin Jazz pianists in the world and is a three-time Latin Jazz Grammy nominee.  He teaches at Seattle’s Cornish College of the Arts and leads groups of various sizes.


It's School of Jazz, Canadian-style!  Tune in today at 12:15 p.m. for our first-ever international School of Jazz studio session which Abe Beeson hosted on June 26, 2015, and was recorded at The Farm Studios in Vancouver, B.C.

Parker Miles Blohm

Out of respect for Susan Pascal, Seattle’s first-call jazz vibraphonist (and a darn nice person), we resisted all temptations to use one of the many plays on the word ‘vibes’ in the title of this introduction.  We figure she’s heard ‘em all.  After all, she’s been a core member of the Seattle jazz community for many years.  In fact, her band for this studio session comes right off the top shelf of regional jazz linchpins—Chuck Deardorf on bass, Mark Ivester on drums and Dave Peterson on guitar.   

You have already cut three days off of this drive! Help us reach our goal of $300,000 as soon as possible. KPLU keeps fund drives short, and your pledge now will make our fall drive even shorter.

We’ll stop pitching when we reach the goal!

Make your gift now!

Parker Miles Blohm / KPLU

It’s not every day that you come across a jazz trio consisting of a saxophonist, a bassist and a vocalist.  But that’s what we have with Anton Schwartz (sax), Chuck Deardorf (bass) and Inga Swearingen (vocals).  When this interesting configuration of musicians came to KPLU for a live studio session, we knew we were going to hear something new.  And indeed we did.

Parker Miles Blohm / KPLU

Trumpeter, composer and multiple Grammy-winner, Terence Blanchard, has got a brand new bag—and a brand new album.

KPLU keeps fund drives short, and thanks to your support we have knocked the first day off the pledge drive. Thank you to those who have given to meet our first $60,000 goal! Let's see if we can raise another $60,000 and knock a second day off the drive. Make your gift now!

Your support helps us create stories like this that affect your community:  Tacoma Considers Allowing More Density In Single-Family Neighborhoods

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Note: Each month, KPLU invites a teen guest DJ to play his or her favorite pieces on the air.  The program is part of KPLU's School of Jazz.  

Hayden Kajercline from Mt. Si High School is the Student DJ for the month of September.  Hayden's hour aired from 8 p.m. to 9 p.m. on September 3rd.

To get to know him better we asked Hayden to answer a few questions about jazz:

Which instrument do you play and why?

Parker Miles Blohm / KPLU

Generally, jazz musicians who devote themselves to avant-garde and free jazz begin by working in ‘straight-ahead’ groups and then begin experiment with music concepts that are more ‘outside’.  Not so with Seattle saxophonist, Jacob Zimmerman.  In this KPLU Studio Session, he tells host, Abe Beeson, that a teacher turned him on to avant garde musicians when Jacob was in 6th grade, so he cut his teeth on adventurous artists like Anthony Braxton. But is his new album ‘Record Ban’ avant-garde?  

Parker Miles Blohm

Tenor saxophonist, Kareem Kandi, has been a lynchpin of northwest jazz for 20 years, and when it comes to be-bop, he’s the real deal.  His classic tone (think Dexter Gordon and Pete Christlieb) and straight-ahead approach lays the music on the line.  Kareem plays with different groups in different instrumental configurations but when he came in for his first KPLU studio session, it was just Kareem on tenor sax, DeVonne Lewis on drums and Delvon Lamarr tearin’ it up on the Hammond B-3 organ.  Want a be-bop smack-down?  Here it is.

In 2003, Seattle jazz singer, Stephanie Porter released her debut CD, Mood Swings.  The CD presented Stephanie’s unmistakable voice, singing a selection of excellent songs from The Great American Songbook (like, Cheek To Cheek, Get Out Of Town and Misty). Her second CD, How Deep Is The Ocean, released in 2010, showed the world that she had grown tremendously as a singer and, here again, the songs on the disc were wonderfully-done standards.

Klem Daniels / KPLU

Drummer Ryan Leppich has graduated Mountlake Terrace HS and is preparing to go off to college.  However, while at MTHS, he formed a jazz quintet consisting of some of his school band mates as well as fine players from other high school jazz programs in the area.  

3 of the 5 are graduating, so we were fortunate to get them into the KPLU performance studio before they went their separate ways.   In this session they take on some pretty complex jazz compositions and they do with an ease that belies their years.  Dig in.

KPLU's Community Advisory Council will be meeting on Monday, August 31 at 2 p.m. PST.

If you are interested in attending as a member of the listening community, please contact the General Manager's office at (253) 535-8732 for more information.

Michael Goude

The answer to that question, according to the members of the string trio, 3-Cent Stamp is a resounding, “YES.”  This group, based on beautiful Whidbey Island in Puget Sound, initially limited their repertoire to jazz songs that were extrapolated from classical music.  For example, ‘How Insensitive,’ heard in this studio session comes from Chopin.  Soon, though, they expanded their musical palette to include non-classically-based jazz and original compositions. 

In this studio session, hosted by KPLU’s Dick Stein, 3-Cent Stamp’s set begins with an original composition followed by the aforementioned ‘How Insensative.’  Then they wrap it up with a blues by Horace Sliver (Doodlin’) with vocalese lyrics by Jon Hendricks.

Aaron Hushagen

A couple of years ago jazz/blues singer Catherine Russell made a stop at KPLU for a live studio session that was amazing.  So when she made time to drop in again recently, we were thrilled.

When it comes to singing, it seems there’s nothing she can’t do, but one of the things we love most about her is her ability to breathe new, vibrant life into old, sometimes almost forgotten songs.  In this session she takes songs from the past and plops them right into the 21st century, reminding us that great music never dies.

Stephen Voss / NPR

KPLU/Jazz24 General Manager Joey Cohn announced the hiring of Matt Martinez as Director of Content.   Martinez leaves NPR after 15 years as producer and creator of some of the organization’s most successful programs and initiatives.  He’ll join KPLU/Jazz24 on August 3. 

Cohn said, “Matt's experience creating exceptional and unique programming, and his respected leadership skills will bring great value to us moving forward.”

Most recently as Senior Producer for NPR Programming, Martinez led a team of producers responsible for developing new show and podcast pilots, supporting live events, and assisting stations in their fundraising efforts.  He played essential roles in the launch of Invisibilia, the planning of Hidden Brain, and developing the creative for the NPR’s Spark project.