Jazz and Blues

News about jazz, blues, Studio Sessions, and music samplings from jazz artists in the northwest and around the world.

Trumpeter, composer, bandleader and jazz educator Clark Terry will be 91 years old this week. His 70-plus year career is being celebrated with a couple of biographical events.

Read more on Groove Notes.

Groove Notes writer and KPLU jazz host Kevin Kniestedt lists the 10 releases that stood out to him over the past year (with an informal ranking).

Read more on Groove Notes.

Randy Brecker Website

The nominations have been released for the 2011 Grammy Awards, and there are some great selections for jazz categories. The winners are named on Feb. 12. Until then, vote on Groove Notes for your favorite.

Vote on Groove Notes.

Justin Steyer / KPLU

I was fortunate enough to have the opportunity to sit down in the KPLU performance studio last Friday with jazz legend Chick Corea for an interview and live performance.

One of the topics we covered was how he has remained so versatile over the years.

“I keep a student kind of mentality in my life, so that I am always learning something, and that keeps me fresh,” he said.

Read more on Groove Notes.

Wikimedia Commons

Each week in a new feature on our jazz blog – Groove Notes – we'll tell you about a few of the songs added to KPLU’s "All That Jazz" rotation by our music director Nick Francis.

This week’s picks are three tracks from Sarah Vaughan’s first long-play album “In Hi-Fi.”

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.

Legendary jazz musician Paul Motian, who stood as one of the most influential drummers of the last 50 years, died early this morning at Mount Sinai Hospital in New York.

Read more on Groove Notes.

“Some people ask me why I don’t bring my cell phone up on stage with me. It’s because I don’t want to interrupt you.” – Keith Jarrett addressing the crowd after intermission at Tuesday's show at Benaroya Hall.

I had never seen Keith Jarrett perform live before. I had only heard his wonderful recordings and heard some interesting stories about the demands he has on his audience.

Read more on Groove Notes.

The Bad Plus aren’t the kind of trio that swings, you’re much more likely to hear after-show comments like “That rocked!” or “Those guys are epic!”

Playing songs mostly from their upcoming as-yet-untitled new album, the trio used all of the acoustic advantages of Seattle’s Town Hall – having no problem filling the room with at-times pounding piano-bass-n-drums, at times so quiet as to have all of us in the audience holding our breath.

Read the full review on Groove Notes.

For Halloween, a spooky blues that influenced a generation of rock musicians.

“I Ain’t Superstitious” is a bridge between the acoustic blues of the South and the electric blues of Chicago.

We Four and Sonando was an inspired Earshot pairing Saturday at Town Hall. The concert was a tribute to two “restless geniuses” of jazz in one night.

Read more on Groove Notes.

Friday night during the Earshot Jazz Festival, Nordstrom Recital Hall was the scene of a mesmerizing solo piano performance from Brad Mehldau. The intimate setting was perfect for this concert, which was completely acoustic. No wires, no amps, no microphones, simply Mehldau and the piano.

Read more on Groove Notes.

The Earshot festival runs through Nov. 6, and through the duration of the festival Groove Notes will be delivering in-depth, ongoing coverage. We’re using a new tool for pulling in information from a wide range of sources – Twitter, Facebook and more – so come follow the action on Groove Notes.

The documentary More to Live For screens at the Gig Harbor Film Festival this Saturday. People from the Pacific Northwest will finally get an opportunity to view the story of three men affected by Leukemia seeking out a bone marrow transplant, including the late tenor saxophonist Michael Brecker.

Read more on Groove Notes.

Monktail Creative Music Concern / Flickr

KPLU’s Kevin Kniestedt kicks off his preview of the Earshot Jazz Festival today by interviewing executive director of Earshot, John Gilbreath.

“There is so much that wants to be done and needs to be done and should be done, and this is our attempt to do as much of it as we can,” Gilbreath said.

Leading up to opening night, we will be posting posts and questions as part of a preview to the festival, and during the festival we will be bringing you reviews, updates, and most importantly, your feedback.

Read more at 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.

“Crying the blues” perfectly describes the style of Sleepy John Estes. His music is not very complex, and he was a solid, but not a great guitarist.

Instead, Estes is known more for his ability to write about universal themes and to sing with deep emotion. He was a big influence on early bluesmen like Big Bill Broonzy and Arthur Crudup. He also was a big inspiration for later players like Michael Bloomfield, with whom he worked in the 1960s.

“Drop Down Mama” is a song of his that has re-surfaced several times. Sleepy John Estes and Hammie Nixon recorded it in 1935.

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!

Tired of all that quantum foam leakage coming from your regular grocery tote? Say goodbye to yesterday’s tired tote-tech … and hello to the new, improved KPLU “Turbo” Tote Bag!

For a gift of only $60 during our Fall Fund Drive, you too can own this modern marvel of space-age technology.

Web Wednesday exclusive: Make your pledge today, and in addition to receiving the "Turbo" Tote, your gift will count towards our goal of planting trees in a public radio forest (through the National Forest Foundation) in Spring 2012!

Jeff Bizzell

Singer Jacqui Naylor releases her 8th album, Lucky Girl, tomorrow. She is also performing tonight at Jazz Alley in Seattle as she kicks off her international tour. KPLU's Kevin Kniestedt spoke to Jacqui today about letting her fans choose the songs for her new album, her continued success with “acoustic smashing” and being the subject of a new documentary.

Read more on Groove Notes.

Now in its 11th season, Djangofest Northwest brings a world-class musical lineup to Langley on Whidbey Island to celebrate the music and spirit of Django Reinhardt and Gypsy Jazz.

Artists scheduled to perform this year range from local favorites to world-class international recording artists, making it the the premier showcase of Gypsy Jazz in North America.

Read more on Groove Notes.

Justin Steyer / KPLU

Three-time Grammy winner Ramsey Lewis, who rose to prominence in the early 1970′s, released his 80th album, Ramsey, Taking Another Look today with his Electric Band.

“The idea of the electric quintet came up and having played mostly in an acoustic trio arrangement for twelve-fifteen years, I decided to get together with the guys to see how it felt," Lewis said.

Read more on Groove Notes.

Perhaps the most prolific time in the career of Miles Davis was from 1949 to 1959, and to pay tribute to these historic years in jazz and Davis’ career, CAMI Music has joined forces with Miles Davis Properties and Blue Note Records for an innovative music and historical production, The Miles Davis Experience: 1949-1959.

The tour will feature three shows in Washington State.

Read more on Groove Notes.

What to do this weekend … well if you are anywhere near Seattle, it’ll be tough to stay out of earshot of Bumbershoot.

But, let’s say you want to hear jazz at the mega-music-arts fest. Is there any there? Yes, but only on Sunday.

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.

The Ellis Marsalis Center for Music opened last week in the Musicians’ Village in New Orleans’s Upper 9th Ward.

The center is a performance hall and place where local students and musicians can make recordings, take classes and have access to computers and community rooms.

KPLU’s Kevin Kniestedt visited the site of the center in 2010.

Read more on Groove Notes.

“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.

Roy Manzanares / antonjazz.com

I had the opportunity this week to speak by phone with tenor saxophonist Anton Schwartz.

Anton recently moved to the Seattle area. I had the chance to ask him about what brought him to the Puget Sound, and how he has networked himself into the local jazz scene so far.

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.

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