KPLU

News articles from KPLU

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?  

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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. 

Justin Steyer / KPLU

In this KPLU studio session, the US Army salutes jazz, with the 56th Army Jazz Band from Joint Base Lewis/McCord.  

Hosted by Abe Beeson, this sextet of talented troops gives us two original compositions by members of the band (Ego and Fifteen Day Dream) and a delightfully sneaky rearrangement of Miles Davis’ So What.   Abe and the guys also talk about what a sweet gig it is to serve their country by playing music that they love.

Trumpet player and composer Dave Douglas is always searching for a new musical experience, and bringing audiences along with him.

Evening Jazz host Abe Beeson spoke to Mr Douglas at the recent TD Vancouver International Jazz Festival, and learned how Dave had to travel to Spain to get the jazz bug, his formative years playing with Horace Silver and later with John Zorn. He also spoke about how important the audience is to the jazz experience, and his successful recording company Greenleaf Music.


Aaron Hushagen / KPLU

KPLU recently garnered an impressive number of news awards – four national and three regional – for work produced in 2014. 

Aaron Hushagen / KPLU

The Bad Plus is one of the most in-demand trios in jazz.  Joshua Redman is one of the most in-demand saxophonists.  When the trio and the saxophonist joined forces to become The Bad Plus Joshua Redman, the star-power threatened to be blinding, so when they came to KPLU for a live session, we all had sunglasses near at hand.

Aaron Hushagen / 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.  

Joel Steinke from Edmonds Woodway High School is the Student DJ for the month of July.  Joel's hour aired from 8 p.m. to 9 p.m. on July 2.

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

Which instrument do you play and why?

Brenda Goldstein-Young / KPLU

The TD Vancouver International Jazz Festival is celebrating its 30th year from June 18th through July 1st.  Abe Beeson was there June 26-28 to promote KPLU’s jazz streaming service, Jazz24.org.

Over the weekend at the Jazz24 booth in David Lam Park, we met so many wonderful people – existing listeners and new friends.  Abe taped interviews with the legendary jazz saxophonist Jimmy Heath, Pink Martini’s Thomas Lauderdale and trumpeter Dave Douglas.  He also introduced Pink Martini in front of 2,800 enthusiastic fans of the band at the Orpheum Theatre. 

Friday morning: School of Jazz studio session

Abe recorded a studio session at The Farm Studios with the award-winning Point Grey Secondary School jazz band and their mentor, clarinetist James Danderfer, under the direction of Brent Taylor.  You can read about it and see photos here.

Friday night highlights

We (KPLU Promotions Director and the wonderful Judie Dahl, Marketing Director for the Coastal Jazz and Blues Society) caught the Bria Skonberg Quintet's set at Performance Works on lovely Granville Island. 

Brenda Goldstein-Young

It's School of Jazz, Canadian-style!  KPLU and Jazz24 host Abe Beeson recorded a studio session this morning at The Farm Studios in Vancouver, B.C. with the award-winning Point Grey Secondary School jazz band and their mentor, clarinetist James Danderfer, under the direction of Brent Taylor. 

Aaron Hushagen / KPLU

As we welcomed Lynnwood’s Meadowdale High School Jazz Combo into the KPLU live performance studio, they looked like normal, hard-working music students.  When they started to play, however, it was soon clear to us that we were hearing a band that was a cut above.  

Along with their mentor, trumpeter Michael Van Bebber, the combo nailed each of the 3 songs they performed.  If you have doubts about whether or not high school students can really play jazz, listen to this session.  Your doubts will disappear.  Out thanks to the band for such a fine performance and kudos to the band’s director, Jeff Horenstein.

Justin Steyer / KPLU

The first time we met pianist Justin Kauflin he was in Seattle as part of the Seattle International Film Festival, which was showing a documentary about the friendship between the young Justin and veteran jazz trumpeter Clark Terry.

The movie is called Keep On Keepin’ On and if you haven’t seen it, you’re missing a lovely story. Mr. Terry has since passed on but Justin is still very much with us (he’s only 29, after all) and growing by leaps and bounds as a musician.

Aaron Hushagen / KPLU

When trumpeter Lance Buller takes the stage, the audience knows it’s in for a good time.  He’s serious about his music but he’s also serious about making sure his listeners have fun.  Put another way:  he’s a terrific jazz trumpeter but he’s also an entertainer.  

Lance’s latest show is a tribute to his 3 greatest influences.  It’s called The 3 Louis—Louis Armstrong, Louis Jordan & Louis Prima.  We invited Lance and The Roadstars into the KPLU performance studio to give us a preview of the new show.  As we expected, good times ensued.  Enjoy!

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.

Issaquah High School's Danny Quaranta is KPLU's guest DJ for the month of June.  Danny's hour aired from 8 p.m. to 9 p.m. on June 4th.  To get to know him better, we asked 17-year-old Danny to answer a few questions about jazz:

Which instrument do you play and why?

Justin Steyer / KPLU

The Interlake High School Jazz Combo is doing it right.  They’ve got chops, poise and the ability to select and arrange great material.  

Of course, some of that ability to select and arrange might—just might—be aided and abetted by the band’s director, Paul Gillespie, and/or their mentor, jazz trumpeter, Thomas Marriott.  

In this studio session, the band (with Marriott sitting in) performed three songs:  This Is For Albert (by Wayne Shorter), Stoner Hill (by Brian Blade) and Sonny Rollin’s classic, Doxy, here given an inventive treatment by the band.

Justin Steyer / KPLU

McTuff is a Seattle organ trio consisting of Joe Doria (Hammond B-3 organ), Andy Coe (guitar) and Tarik Abouzeid (drums).  

The band breaks through the constraints of genre expectations and reaches a wide range of music lovers.  They can play for an audience of jazz purists who just want to listen to the music or they can play for an audience of people who just want to dance.  And they do that by being exactly who they are:  three inventive musicians who don’t mind bringin’ on the funk.

Michael Goude / KPLU

Since the late 1970's, Seattle pianist Dave Peck has been a bright spot in the regional jazz scene.  

From his early career as an accompanist for visiting jazz artists at Jazz Alley, through a long, productive partnership with saxophonist Bud Shank, to his continuing role as the leader of his own group, Dave's given us a lot of wonderful, adventurous music over the years.  

In this studio session, hosted by Jim Wilke, Dave talks about his career, his approach to performing and why his band never--never--rehearses.  It's a revealing conversation interspersed with 3 of Dave's favorite songs:  If I Were A Bell, Here's That Rainy Day and Stella By Starlight.  The Dave Peck Trio includes Eric Eagle (drums) and Jeff Johnson (bass).  

KPLU

For about a quarter-century Peter Bernstein has been one of the most in-demand guitarists in jazz.  So in-demand in fact, his fans were more likely to hear him on someone else’s CD rather than his own.  

However, even though he’s sought after as a side-man, Peter’s slowly been putting together a fine discography of his own, with 10 CD releases since 1992.  In this studio session with Abe Beeson, there’s no question about who’s leading the band.  

Here’s Peter Bernstein front and center, performing 3 of his favorite pieces in a trio setting that includes Chuck Deardorf on bass and Matt Jorgensen on drums.

KPLU's Community Advisory Board will be meeting on Wednesday, May 27 at 2pm Pacific.

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.

Zach Powers

For years, Pacific Lutheran University has had a first-rate jazz education program.  These days it’s overseen by Dr. David Deacon-Joyner, an honored jazz educator, a terrific pianist and a great guy to hang out with.

Thanks For Your Support!

May 5, 2015

Thank you for your generosity during The Seattle Foundation's GiveBIG day!

Michael Goude / KPLU

The members of Tyrant Lizard are all involved in the University Of Washington’s Improvised Music Project.  When they came to KPLU for a live studio session, they immediately stated their improvisational intentions by beginning the show with a gorgeous version of Don’t Fence Me In.  (So the first thing we knew about the band was that they have a sense of humor.)  

Aaron Hushagen / KPLU

Pianist and composer Omar Sosa left his home in Cuba in 1993 but carried his Yoruban spiritual beliefs with him.  These beliefs are the underpinning of his approach to jazz, as you’ll hear in this live studio session, hosted by Abe Beeson.

Quarteto Afrocubano consists of Sosa, Ernesto Simpson (drums), Childo Tomas (electric bass) and Leandro Saint-Hill (sax and flute).  Together they present music that is compelling, uplifting and somehow charmed…music that fills the soul while also always making room for the ‘spirits.’

Here are the three most underreported stories of the week according to the guests of our news roundtable: 

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