Jazz NW

Sundays at 2PM

Jazz Northwest focuses on the regional jazz scene from Portland to Vancouver. CDs by the best resident musicians from Seattle, Portland and Vancouver are featured, and the program also includes news about the best places to go for live jazz in the region. In addition, Jim goes "on location" to concerts, clubs and jazz festivals to record performances by resident and visiting artists for playback on Jazz Northwest. These one-of-a-kind recordings are available nowhere else!

Host Jim Wilke is a professional recording engineer and writer in addition to his radio programs which include "Jazz After Hours" on Public Radio International, heard nationwide since 1984.

"Lorraine Feather was born in Manhattan. Her parents named her Billie Jane Lee Lorraine after godmother Billie Holiday, her mother Jane (formerly a big band singer), her mother's ex-roommate Peggy Lee, and the song "Sweet Lorraine." She is the daughter of the late jazz writer Leonard Feather."

This week on Jazz Northwest we'll hear some great resident musicians from Portland to Vancouver, and recordings from the 70s to the present.

Daniel Sheehan

Bassist and composer Evan Flory-Barnes is the Featured Seattle Artist at this year's Earshot Jazz Festival and is playing six concerts at various locations during the festival, each with a different ensemble and distinct music.  

Pianist Sumi Tonooka was born in Philadelphia and has spent most of her career playing, touring and recording while based on the East Coast.  On this week's Jazz Northwest, she talks with Jim Wilke about her development as a musician and how and why she recently moved to Seattle.  

The Seattle Repertory Jazz Orchestra, co-directed by Clarence Acox and Michael Brockman is featured on Jazz Northwest. The program highlights a concert of Jazz of the Harlem Renaissance with guests Meschiya Lake, a New Orleans-based singer of traditional jazz,  and narrator Robin Lloyd of KPLU, who describes scenes at the Apollo Ballroom where this music was first heard in the Twenties and Thirties.

Seattle’s biggest jazz event of the year begins this weekend. The wide-ranging Earshot Jazz Festival runs over three weeks and includes over 50 concerts by international and regional musicians who perform in many combinations and locations.

High on any list of all-time classic jazz albums is the 1949-50 Miles Davis album "Birth of The Cool" which grew out of an informal composers/ arrangers workshop with Gil Evans, Gerry Mulligan and John Lewis among others.  That album continues to be influential among jazz musicians today, one of them being trombonist Andy Clausen who has studied these recordings and arrangements extensively.  Last summer, he organized a concert of this music which was presented by Earshot Jazz at The Chapel performance space in Seattle. 

With the audience on three sides of the musicians, this performance was truly "up close and personal".  Three world-class musicians, Tamir Hendelman, Martin Wind and Matt Wilson provided an evening of spontaneous musical magic for a capacity audience in a cozy  Port Townsend club, The Upstage.  Recorded during this year's Jazz Port Townsend, the trio plays two standards, a Jobim tune and an original by each member of the group.  Each of the three musicians has toured and recorded widely, but this performance was unique, as Tamir Hendelman tells the audience after the first tune of the set.  

Sunday afternoons we savor some of the many tastes of jazz available to you on Jazz Northwest. This week, Clarence Acox and Jay Thomas from Seattle, Dave Frishberg from Portland, Karin Plato from Vancouver and many more. We'll also tell you about the best places to go for live jazz.

On the next Jazz Northwest from 88.5 KPLU, The Dena DeRose Trio plays a concert recorded at Jazz Port Townsend in July.  With Martin Wind on bass and Matt Wilson on drums, Dena DeRose sings from the piano, swinging hard on up tempo tunes, and deliciously slow on the ballads with fresh takes on some familiar songs. 

Daniel Sheehan / Eyeshotjazz.com

Gaye Anderson was owner and proprietor of the New Orleans Creole Restaurant from 1985 until her death on August 29.  Widely known as a staunch supporter of live music, she presided over thousands of nights of jazz and blues performances at her Pioneer Square restaurant.  Its fame spread all over the country as visitors remarked "I wish we had something like this back home."   The music ranged from traditional New Orleans and Chicago style jazz, through Swing, Bop and modern jazz on weeknights with blues on weekends.

On Jazz Northwest from 88.5 KPLU, the Benny Green Trio with special guest Gary Smulyan on baritone saxophone is heard in concert at Centrum’s Jazz Port Townsend.  The concert was recorded in McCurdy Pavilion at Fort Worden on July 28, and consists of original music by Benny Green.  

Sunday afternoons we check out the regional jazz scene with CDs and location recordings of jazz you can hear around here from Portland to Vancouver, including the very lively Seattle jazz scene.  This Sunday we’ll hear new CDs by a Seattle trio of Bill Anschell, Brent Jensen & Chris Symer, the Rob Scheps Big Band from Portland,  Vancouver saxophonist Cory Weeds playing in Edmonton, Human Spirit at last Fall’s Earshot Festival and more. 

photo by Jim Wilke

Carlos Cascante and Tumbao played this month’s Seattle Art Museum Art of Jazz concert outdoors at the Olympic Sculpture Park by Elliott Bay.  A large crowd and lots of dancers joined the celebration in the Seattle sunshine.  Highlights from the concert will air on Jazz Northwest on 88.5, KPLU on Sunday, August 19 at 1 PM PDT.   

Johnny Mandel playing at Jazz Port Townsend
Jim Levitt

Johnny Mandel has enjoyed a seven-decade musical career that began in the 40s as a trombonist and arranger in big bands of Woody Herman, Count Basie and others.  He went on to greater fame as a film composer after settling in LA in the 50s, where he penned scores for “I Want To Live,” “The Sandpiper,” “The Americanization of Emily,” “Mash” and many others including popular songs “Close Enough for Love” and “A Time for Love”.  


The first in a series of concert broadcasts from Centrum's Jazz Port Townsend features "Dynamic Duos" on KPLU's Jazz Northwest on Sunday, August 5 at 1 PM PDT.   The three duos selected by Artistic Director John Clayton for this unique concert are trombonists Wycliffe Gordon and Jiggs Whigham, guitarists Graham Dechter and Bruce Forman and drummers (drummists?) Jeff Hamilton and Matt Wilson.  

This week on Jazz Northwest we'll feature some songs for Summer including the Summer movement from Phil Dwyer's Changing Seasons suite for orchestra.  Pete Christlieb and Linda Small are visiting after Jazz Port Townsend and playing some great Bill Holman charts.  Something new from Pearl Django and other music from Portland to Vancouver BC as well as suggestions for live jazz around Seattle in the coming week.


Eduardo Mendonça and Show Brazil dancers at Olympic Sculpture Park.


 Exuberant Brazilian music and dance made for a perfect summer concert at the Seattle Art Museum's Olympic Sculpture Park earlier this month when Earshot Jazz presented Eduardo Mendonça and Show Brazil for this Month's Art of Jazz concert.  Seven musicians and three dancers, plus audience participation provided additional reasons to celebrate summer in Seattle at the park on Elliot Bay.


 It's not often the bass player steps from the back of the band to front his own group but there are notable exceptions.... Charles Mingus, Ray Brown, and Ron Carter among others come to mind.  There are three with strong Seattle connections on Jazz Northwest this Sunday: Chuck Deardorf, the late Chuck Metcalf and Clipper Anderson.   We'll also hear an outstanding young alto saxophonist from Portland, Hailey Niswanger who recently graduated from Berklee College of Music in Boston. She's playing two gigs in the area next week.

Nearly two dozen high school jazz musicians performed in three groups at the new Bake's Place in Bellevue on the closing night of this year's Bellevue Jazz Festival.  The three groups were comprised of young musicians selected from ten area high schools and were mentored by professional jazz musicians.  Highlights from their concert will air on Jazz Northwest on Sunday, July 8 at 1 PM PDT on 88.5 KPLU and stream at kplu.org

A variety of Northwest jazz groups are featured on this edition of Jazz Northwest.   Trio to big band, Jelly Roll Morton to brand new compositions,  from musicians who live and work from Portland to Vancouver BC.  July 1 is Canada Day and the last day of the Vancouver and Victoria Jazz Festivals.  We'll hear a modern day interpretation of a Jelly Roll Morton tune recorded where he played in Vancouver BC.  Former resident Diane Schuur is back at Jazz Alley this week, and Pearl Django's eleventh CD features several new compositions.

Paul Tolliver

The popular Seattle vocalist Reggie Goings sings bebop, blues, ballads and a bossa-nova in concert on Jazz Northwest Sunday, June 24 at 1 PM PDT on 88.5 KPLU.  The concert was presented by Earshot Jazz and recorded at the Seattle Art Museum earlier this month. The vocalist has roots in Texas and has become a fixture on the Seattle Jazz scene since he arrived in 1986.  He has been featured in The Jazz Offering at Tula's on the first Sunday afternoon of each month for 13 years.  His musical partner for many of those years was the late saxophonist Hadley Caliman.

Daniel Sheehan

Human Spirit with guest Orrin Evans, piano, Thomas Marriott, trumpet, Mark Taylor, alto sax, Phil Sparks, bass, and Matt Jorgensen, drums played the annual Ballard Jazz Walk in April and the performance was recorded for Jazz Northwest.  On this program, the group is heard in a complete set from Conor Byrne in Ballard playing selections from their new CD "Dialogue" recently issued by Origin Records.  The program airs Sunday June 17 at 1 PM PDT on 88.5 KPLU and is streamed at kplu.org

Pianist Eddie Creed passed on April 19 at the age of 77, and he'll be remembered on the next edition of Jazz Northwest (6/10) with a performance recorded by Jim Wilke in 1971 at The Jazz Gallery.   Eddie was one of the most active jazz pianists from the 60s through the 80s in Seattle.  There will be a memorial concert at The New Orleans on Sunday June 10 from 4 to 8 pm .

Also on this week's Jazz Northwest: The new CD by Human Spirit, Bill Anschell's Earshot Award-winning CD "Figments" and more, including news about upcoming opportunities for great live jazz.

Highlights from a concert featuring Northwest jazz composers played by the Seattle Repertory Jazz orchestra are featured on Jazz Northwest on Sunday, June 3 at 1 PM  PDT on 88.5 KPLU.  Eight Seattle area composers and arrangers are represented:  Jim Knapp, Bill Ramsay, Jovino Santos Neto, Thomas Marriott, David Marriott Jr., Phil Kelly, Wayne Horvitz and Bob Hammer.  A new four-movement suite, "Rockland Sketches" by Bob Hammer is given its world premiere performance in this concert recorded at the Kirkland Performance Center. 

This week on Jazz Northwest, Jim Wilke previews new releases by several Northwest resident jazz artists including Scott Cossu, Pearl Django,and Kareem Kandi as well as sampling some of the musicians featured at next weekend's Bellevue Jazz Festival. Included are The Clayton Brothers, Hubert Laws, Thomas Marriott and Jovino Santos Neto.   There's also info about other upcoming jazz events.

Jazz Northwest airs Sundays at 1 PM PDT on 88.5, KPLU and streamed at kplu.org.  The program is also available as a podcast following the airdate. 

More info:

Percussionist Lary Barilleau leads his new Latin Jazz Collective on the next Jazz Northwest, Sunday, May 20 at 1 pm PDT on 88.5, KPLU.   The concert was this month's installment of the Art of Jazz series presented by Earshot Jazz at The Seattle Art Museum. The quintet played music ranging from Latin Jazz classics to newer compositions by Lary Barilleau and Jay Thomas. 

The Pacific Northwest is blessed with outstanding jazz talent from Portland to Vancouver, BC and this week on Jazz Northwest we'll feature some new releases by some of them.  Former Seattle resident Dee Daniels now divides her time between New York and Vancouver, BC.  This weekend she's featured at the Grand Opening of the new Bake's Place, Bellevue through Sunday.  Human Spirit, with Thomas Marriott, Mark Taylor, Matt Jorgensen and guests Orrin Evans and Essiet Essiet has a new CD recorded at Tula's during last Fall's Earshot Festival.  

Jim Levitt

What better way to celebrate April's Jazz Month than the Tenth Annual Ballard Jazz Festival?  There were four nights featuring drums and guitars, a jazz walk among a dozen venues featuring some of Seattle's top jazz talent, and culminated in a concert which co-billed pianist Orrin Evans' Quartet and The Bobby Broom Trio.  The latter is featured in the first broadcast from this year's festival on Jazz Northwest, Sunday May 6 at 1 pm PDT on 88.5 KPLU and kplu.org.

Jazz Northwest this week (4/29) features two outstanding young women originally from Portland who have new jazz CDs. They are  Esperanza Spalding and Hailey Niswanger, both in their twenties.  Esperanza Spalding sings and plays "City of Roses", a musical portrait of her hometown, There's also an unusual duo with Tom Varner, French horn, and Bill Anschell, piano from a recent concert, plus Chuck Deardorf, Chad McCullough and others. There's also updates about upcoming live jazz gigs around Seattle.