Jazz and Blues

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

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.

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.

The Earshot Jazz Festival gets kicked off in Seattle on October 14th and runs through November 6th. While the full schedule does not get released until September, the early bookings feature a wonderful variety of top tier musicians.

Read more.

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.

Rick Diamond / WireImage.com

With students such as Quincy Jones and Miles Davis and a playing career that includes Duke Ellington and Count Basie, one would expect jazz great Clark Terry to have some pearls of wisdom and a few great stories to share.

And now that influence and inspiration will be brought to the screen in a documentary called “Keep on Keepin’ On.”

Read more.

The end of the Jazz Masters

Aug 2, 2011

For thirty years, the National Endowment for the Arts has honored jazz musicians with the highest award for the genre, the NEA Jazz Masters Award. However, in its latest appropriations request, the NEA removed specific reference to Jazz, Folk, and Opera.

The way KPLU’s Groove Notes blogger and Jazz on the Grooveyard host Kevin Kniestedt reads it, the new language means no more Jazz Masters.

Read more.

Katie Weilbacher / Flickr

With the non-summer we've been having and the fact that a lot of people can't afford to get away, allow us to give you a vacation for your mind.

Think beaches. Sunshine. Frozen drinks. Your soundtrack? Five great musicians who hail from the Caribbean.

Justin Steyer / KPLU

I’ve known Jazz Alley manager, Rob Perry, for almost 30 years.  At the end of July, Rob will retire from that job and I will join the many, many Jazz Alley habitués who will miss him.  In fact, though I sort of envy Rob for getting to retire while he’s still good-lookin’, we’re all gonna miss his presence at the club a lot.

In 2009, four busy jazz musicians — saxophonist Joshua Redman, pianist Aaron Parks, bassist Matt Penman and drummer Eric Harland — gathered on a rare off day to see what they might cook up together. Out of that came a band they call James Farm, and an album of the same name.

Courtesty of Pearl Django

UPDATE: Tickets are now sold out for this event

Join us Sunday, August 14 for our 19th Summer Jazz Brunch Cruise, a relaxing, two-and-a-half hour cruise on Elliott Bay aboard the Royal Argosy.  Enjoy a scrumptious all-you-can-eat brunch, spectacular views, and great music from "that mighty engine of rhythm," Gypsy jazz masters, Pearl Django

Wikimedia.org

The 27th Annual Victoria International JazzFest is underway now through July 3 in various venues in downtown Victoria.

JazzFest presents a culturally and musically diverse program of 85 stunning performances and four workshop/clinics on 12 stages in downtown Victoria. Over 350 musicians in 66 bands from over nine of the world's most diverse countries including Australia, Cuba, Denmark, Norway, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland and the U.S. will be performing in Victoria during the Fesival.

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