Blues

Thirty years after presenting its first concerts in San Francisco, the organization SFJAZZ has built a permanent home and performance venue. The SFJAZZ Center, conceived as the first stand-alone building for jazz in the U.S., opened with a star-studded concert on Jan. 23.

Listen to the concert. Video will be available in the following days. 

We are putting together a list of the 50 Quintessential Jazz Vocals of All Time. 

According to who? Well, according to you!  

This is your chance to cast your vote for the songs you think should be on a 'best-of'' jazz vocals list. Vote for up to three songs, and please include the song title and artist's name. 

After we compile the results, the quintessential 50 will be available for streaming on Jazz24.org and KPLU.org.

VOTE NOW!

When listening to Diana Krall's fun, smart new recording Glad Rag Doll, it's helpful to consider a question recently posed by Gyp Rosetti, the sensitive psychopath lending sparks to this season of HBO's Prohibition-era series Boardwalk Empire.

Justin Steyer / KPLU

The Fall Fund Drive is already half way over, and will end at 11:59 p.m. on Thursday. If you enjoy our studio sessions, and all of the programming you hear each day on KPLU, please show your support today and help us reach our goal of $400,000 in 4 days before time runs out!

Speaking of studio sessions, let's take a look back at the five most popular in-studio performances from the past year:

Tommy Johnson’s songs may not be very well known, but he was a hugely influential blues player and also may be the source of one of the most enduring legends of the blues – the Devil and the Crossroads.

While this legend is sometimes associated with Robert Johnson (no relation), it was Tommy Johnson who first cultivated a story about himself that he met the devil at a crossroads, and sold his soul in exchange for his musical ability.

I know. I know. It is widely assumed and believed that smell is the strongest sense tied to memory. But for me (and a handful of musicians that I spoke to), music – in some cases even just a few bars of a song -  can draw upon some of the most powerful memories in a persons life.

Read more on Groove Notes.

Justin Steyer / KPLU

Blues singer Janiva Magness just released a new CD, Stronger For It, and was recently in town performing at Jazz Alley. She and her 4-piece band visited KPLU’s Seattle Studio and performed 4 songs from the new CD. It’s her 9th release, but the first to feature songs written by her.

Justin Steyer / KPLU

Singer Tierney Sutton’s band were in deep discussion five minutes before their live in-studio performance on KPLU last Wednesday, trying to decide which three songs to play for our audience. It was just one example of how interconnected each member of this quartet really is.

We learned more about each band member’s extra-musical skills were divided, how they’d go about sharing their surely impending Grammy Award (they've been nominated for five so far), and Tierney told us about walking the fine line as lyrical story teller and vocal improviser.

Join KPLU for an exciting trip to the 28th TD Victoria International JazzFest, Friday, June 22 through Sunday, June 24. 

JazzFest features musical performances from around the world on 12 stages in the downtown area.  (This year's JazzFest is June 22-July 1.)  We've put together a fun-filled package for two that's specially priced (reflecting a 10% discount) for KPLU listeners!

More information

As another successful pledge drive ends this season we hope you will continue to enjoy the commercial-free programming on KPLU, especially knowing you did your part to make it happen.

If you missed the pledge drive and would like to support KPLU, you can still be counted through April 9th!

We would also like to thank the various businesses who supported our volunteers and staff during the Spring Pledge Drive

Blues singer and harmonica player, Kim Wilson, thinks it’s very healthy for people to drop their emotional guard every now and then and let themselves get smacked around by a great blues performance. 

The "Matriarch of the Blues" has died. Music legend Etta James died Friday morning at Riverside Community Hospital in California of complications from leukemia. She was 73.

She was born Jamesetta Hawkins in Los Angeles in 1938. Her first manager and promoter cut up Jamesetta's name and reversed it: Etta James.

Chick Corea's Website

On the heels of a nearly month-long celebration of his 70th birthday at the Blue Note in New York City (which included performances with ten different bands and 30 musicians) legendary jazz pianist Chick Corea will offer a rare opportunity for radio listeners tomorrow afternoon on KPLU.

At 12:15 p.m. Pacific Time Corea will be joining Kevin Kniestedt in the KPLU Seattle performance studio for a live interview and solo piano performance. This is a real treat for us as Corea so rarely offers performances of this type.

Read more on Groove Notes.

Chick Corea's Website

On the heels of a nearly month-long celebration of his 70th birthday at the Blue Note in New York City (which included performances with ten different bands and 30 musicians) legendary jazz pianist Chick Corea will offer a rare opportunity for radio listeners tomorrow afternoon on KPLU.

At 12:15 p.m. Pacific Time Corea will be joining Kevin Kniestedt in the KPLU Seattle performance studio for a live interview and solo piano performance. This is a real treat for us as Corea so rarely offers performances of this type.

Read more on Groove Notes.

William Gottlieb/Library of Congress via Flickr

When jazz fans talk about the Texas Tenor saxophone sound, they're talking about a sound which is very robust, sometimes raw, and which mixes the musical vocabularies of swing, bebop, blues and R&B

It's that honking, bar-walking saxophone sound that used to blast from jukeboxes coast-to-coast. Here are five examples of that sound from saxophonists who hail (and wail) from Texas.

All day today, your $60 pledge (or greater) earns you a 2 for 1 Coupon at Jazz Alley in Seattle!You don’t even have to give $60 all at once. Become a Sustaining Member and break that down to only $5/month and a hassle-free membership to KPLU!

Make your gift to KPLU now!

In addition, we have a special treat to donors pledging $365 or more during Morning Jazz, Afternoon Jazz and Evening Jazz.  We are celebrating Earshot Jazz Thursday, and have 25 pair of tickets to an exclusive Earshot Jazz Festival performance!

Associated Press

Delta blues guitarist David "Honeyboy" Edwards, one of the few living links to the mythic bluesman Robert Johnson, died on Monday at his home in Chicago, reports The New York Times. Edwards was 96.

“Blues in the Night” first was heard in the 1941 movie “Hot Nocturne."

Written by Harold Arlen and Johnny Mercer, it’s considered to be a landmark in American popular music because it was one of the first times that rural black dialect and an explicitly bluesy melody was used in a popular song.

For the first "Blues Time Machine," I’ve chosen “Rollin’ and Tumblin’," a song that goes through some major changes on it’s way to the 21st century.

The story of "Rollin' and Tumblin'" also shows us that although the sound may evolve through time, the song remains true to the original.

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.

Bengt Nyman / Flickr

"Morning Edition" host Kirsten Kendrick and “All Blues” host John Kessler discuss the creation and inspiration behind Kessler’s new KPLU series: “The Blues Time Machine.”

Each week the new series follows one song through history – from its earliest recordings to its latest and, sometimes, most surprising interpretations. “The Blues Time Machine” airs on KPLU 88.5 on Fridays at 12:10 p.m. and on Saturday and Sunday at 8 p.m. and 11 p.m.

Associated Press

When blues guitarist and vocalist Stevie Ray Vaughan released Texas Flood in 1983, he introduced Texas blues to a much broader audience than it had previously known. His impact was great enough that even today, 21 years after his death, if you ask a music lover to name a Texas blues guitarist, he or she will probably reply, "Stevie Ray Vaughan."

But, like many great musicians, Vaughan was not sui generis. He synthesized his unique style by combining a huge number of influences from Albert King and Johnny "Guitar" Watson to Lonnie Mack and Kenny Burrell. That being the case, here's a list of five Texas bluesmen (out of many) who, in addition to creating their own great legacies, paved the way for Vaughan to create a great legacy of his own.

There are only a few spots left to join All Blues host John Kessler for KPLU's "Red, White & Blues Weekend" 2011 at the 24th Annual Waterfront Blues Festival in Portland July 1-4, 2011.

If you have been waiting to book your spot, the time to act is now as we are almost at capacity!

KPLU has put together a specially-priced listener package which reflects a 25% discount compared to retail prices. 

A world-class blues lineup will perform against the backdrop of the Willamette River with a view of the glacial peaks of Mt. Hood, including: Buddy Guy, Robert Cray, Maceo Parker, Lucinda Williams, Ivan Neville's Dumpstaphunk, Chubby Carrier, Black Joe Louis and the Honeybears, and many, many more!

Book your reservation now!

Join us for KPLU's "Red, White & Blues Weekend" 2011 at the 24th Annual Waterfront Blues Festival in Portland July 1-4, 2011.

KPLU has put together a specially-priced listener package which reflects a 25% discount compared to retail prices. 

A world-class blues lineup will perform against the backdrop of the Willamette River with a view of the glacial peaks of Mt. Hood.  This year's artists include Buddy Guy, Robert Cray, Maceo Parker, Lucinda Williams, Ivan Neville's Dumpstaphunk, Chubby Carrier, Black Joe Louis and the Honeybears, and many, many more.

Irma Thomas celebrates her 70th birthday today.  She's been enthralling audiences for 50 years now, just as she delighted us with her Studio Session at KPLU last October.

Robin Lloyd will be playing a selection from that session on today's Blue Plate Special starting at noon.

zzazazz / Flickr

I’ll admit I wasn’t a big fan of the blues before I started working here at KPLU. I didn’t know much about the music. But that changed when I started listening to the blues songs we play. I discovered I really like the blues and the bare-bones, gritty nature of it. So, why mess that up with a fancy remix, right? Wrong.

Eric “Two Scoops” Moore is a big, gregarious man who's released seven critically-acclaimed CDs. The Washington Blues Society has honored him with numerous awards. Perhaps more than those accomplishments, the blues musician is better known for his musical spontaneity and his big heart. 

Despite life's challenges and some true hardships, he retains a keen sense of optimism. Flesh eating disease? No problem. His wife Amy's multiple sclerosis?  That's easy. You find out why when you listen to his philosophy. The wild look in his kind eyes starts to tell the story. His uncanny connection with a piano punctuates it.

Courtesy Sony/BMB Masterworks

He's made his list, and checked it twice. KPLU All Blues host John Kessler has his 2010 top 10 blues albums list, and he's ready to share it with you.  What albums are on your list? Which from John's list would you not include?  Let's hear what you have to say!

When blues singer, Shemekia Copeland performs live, it's almost guaranteed to be an electrifying experience. In this session, recorded in KPLU's Seattle studios, we get a rare opportunity to hear Shemekia's voice in an intimate performance context. Instead of bringing her whole band, Shemekia arrived with just her guitar player, Arthur Neilson.

Pages