Jazz

It's The Fall Pledge Drive!
12:00 am
Wed October 3, 2012

Fall Fund Drive: 5 of your favorite studio sessions from the past year

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:

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KPLU Studio Sessions
12:34 pm
Thu September 27, 2012

Bela Fleck & Marcus Roberts Trio 'Crossing the Imaginary Divide'

The Marcus Roberts Trio and Bela Fleck perform in the KPLU Seattle studios earlier this month.
Justin Steyer KPLU

On a tour to promote their first collaboration, Crossing The Imaginary Divide, Bela Fleck and the Marcus Roberts Trio stopped by the KPLU Seattle studios for a live performance and interview, hosted by Mary McCann.  If you’re looking for music that will lift your heart, this is the session for you!

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NPR jazz
3:12 pm
Wed September 26, 2012

Sure the job market's tough, but jazz is also a liberal arts education

David Liebman.
Naoki Hayashi Courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Fri October 5, 2012 9:17 am

For conservatory-trained jazz musicians, it's a scary job market out there. Saxophonist Dave Liebman, an NEA Jazz Master and veteran statesman, paints a bleak picture:

In the current world of jazz education, the situation vis a vis graduating more and more of the most equipped musicians in history (every year more so) in stark contrast to the scarcity of paid performance and recording opportunities has assumed epic disproportion. To deny this would be like ignoring global warming. Serious educators are and should be concerned.

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KPLU Studio Sessions
2:07 pm
Fri September 21, 2012

Cyrus Chestnut: Solo piano with ‘The Nutman’

Pianist Cyrus Chestnut performing live in the KPLU Seattle studios on August 28, 2012.
Justin Steyer KPLU

Pianist Cyrus Chestnut came onto the jazz scene slowly. From the mid-1980’s to mid-1990’s, he apprenticed as pianist for Jon Hendricks, Better Carter, Donald Harrison and Wynton Marsalis. Since then he has toured the world numerous times and recorded 15 albums as a leader.

Take Five
12:20 pm
Thu September 20, 2012

Cannonball Adderley: 5 Songs From A Joyous Soul

Cannonball Adderley.
Michael Ochs Archives Getty Images

Originally published on Sun September 16, 2012 5:56 pm

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KPLU Studio Sessions
10:45 am
Sun September 2, 2012

Bellingham vocalist Cheryl Jewell: Coming home to jazz

Vocalist Cheryl Jewell performing live in the KPLU Seattle Studios on August 2.
Justin Steyer KPLU

Bellingham jazz singer, Cheryl Jewell, was raised in Oak Harbor, Washington.  When she went to college in Bellingham, she fell in love with that city.  She left only to pursue her singing career in Chicago, Detroit and Los Angeles. 

After working for several years as a rock and country singer, Cheryl decided to move back to Bellingham and pursue her first musical love—jazz.  With the release of her first jazz CD, My Blue Heaven, Cheryl has placed herself on the top shelf of West Coast jazz singers. 

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Jazz
7:43 pm
Tue August 28, 2012

Could Thelonious Monk win the jazz competition named after him?

Pianist Kris Bowers performs in the 2011 Thelonious Monk International Jazz Competition. He was later named the winner.
Brendan Hoffman WireImage

Originally published on Tue September 18, 2012 2:12 pm

Last week, the Thelonious Monk Institute of Jazz announced the 12 semi-finalists for its annual competition for young musicians, often seen as the most prestigious in jazz today.

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KPLU Studio Sessions
3:26 pm
Mon August 27, 2012

Karrin Allyson: Relaxin' in the KPLU studios

Karrin Allyson performing live in the KPLU studios on August 16, 2012.
Justin Steyer KPLU

Over the past 20 years, vocalist, Karrin Allyson, has recorded 13 albums that cover a vast musical territory. She’s explored The Great American Songbook, the musical styles of Brazil and France, the blues and the work of more contemporary songwriters. She’s recorded a tribute to John Coltrane, a CD of late-night ballads and earned 4 Grammy nominations.

Despite being so busy, every time her tour schedule brings her to Seattle, she visits her friend, jazz host Dick Stein, in the KPLU/Jazz24 performance studio to give us a sample of the music she currently exploring ... and there’s no telling what that might be.

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Jazz Northwest
1:00 pm
Sun August 19, 2012

Carlos Cascante y su Tumbao in concert on Jazz NW

Carlos Cascante at the Olympic Sculpture Park concert
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.   

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Jazz Northwest
12:00 pm
Sun August 12, 2012

Johnny Mandel concert at Jazz Port Townsend

Johnny Mandel conducting at Centrum's Jazz Port Townsend 2012, Bill Ramsay & Travis Ranney saxes.
Credit 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”.  

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Jazz Caliente
11:49 am
Thu August 9, 2012

What's that sound? Beaded gourds and laughing drums

chekere
Andrea Corniel Photography

Latin Jazz is rich with percussion and compelling sounds.  Most of the percussion instruments originate from Africa, and are tied to spiritual and religious ceremonies.  Here are a couple of favorites:

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Jazz Caliente
12:01 pm
Thu August 2, 2012

What Mambo is – improvisational near-riots and 'forbidden fruit'

Mambo Madness movie poster, 1955
Sonny Watson's Streetswing.com

According to Rebeca Mauleon's indispensable "Salsa Guidebook for Piano and Ensemble,"  the Mambo is:

An up-tempo dance style, developed through the 1940s and 1950s, which blended several elements of North American instrumentation and harmony with the Cuban son (a style of popular dance music that combined Spanish and African elements).

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Jazz & Blues
11:36 am
Fri July 27, 2012

Hearing, more than smell, brings (my) memories to life

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.

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KPLU Studio Sessions
3:49 pm
Wed July 25, 2012

Live in the KPLU Studios: A rare solo performance by Ramsey Lewis

In his visit to the KPLU studios this afternoon, we heard Ramsey in a very rare solo piano setting, playing songs that are dear to his heart.
Justin Steyer KPLU

Just in case you haven’t noticed, pianist Ramsey Lewis is having a great career. 

He’s won Grammy awards, hosted successful television and radio jazz programs and even had cross-over hit records on the pop music charts (quite by accident, he assures us).  He’s been playing professionally since about 1950 and has released more than 80 albums so far. 

jazz
10:56 pm
Mon July 23, 2012

For jazz musicians looking for mentors, things ain't what they used to be

Trumpeter Terence Blanchard (center) is known as one of jazz's great cultivators of young talent, whether as an educator or leading bands with younger musicians like saxophonist Walter Smith III or pianist Fabian Almazan.
John Rogers for NPR johnrogersnyc.com

Originally published on Tue September 18, 2012 2:14 pm

One of the great things about jazz is that it bridges generations. Because it relies on interactive improvisation and live performance, and thus can't be completely taught in a classroom or with a book, aspiring younger musicians seek the direct guidance of older, wiser ones. And more experienced musicians have plenty of reasons to take fresh talent under their wings, like gaining new bandmates with fresh skill sets, or helping future torch-bearers to thrive.

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