Jazz and Blues

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

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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.

"If this isn't the best jazz festival in the world, please send us tickets to a better one."

~Paul de Barros, The Seattle Times

Vancouver's signature festival and British Columbia's biggest music showcase will animate the city for ten days, June 24 - July 3.

From noon to the wee small hours, a rich tapestry of jazz, blues, funk, Latin, fusion, electronica and world music will fill the air at venues big and small, indoor and outdoor across the city.

The Jazz Journalists Association held its annual awards ceremony on Saturday June 11.  A new award category was added this year:  Jazz Hero.  According to JJA,  Jazz Heroes are activists, advocates, altruists, aiders and abettors of jazz who have had significant impact in their local communities.

Honored as a Jazz Hero this year was Seattle's John Gilbreath, executive director of Earshot Jazz, radio host, artistic director of the Bellevue Jazz Festival and Seattle Art Museum's Art of Jazz concert series.  Congratulations, John!

See the complete list of this year's winners, including Lifetime Achievement in Jazz and Musician of the Year.

Do you have a musical instrument that you no longer play? 

If so, donate it to KPLU's Instrument Drive, in support of Seattle JazzED.  They're building a musical library where students can check out an instrument and learn to play jazz. With your help, we can get instruments into the hands of aspiring young musicians who want to learn to play music.

Get more information, and find a drop off location near you!

Only available online – purchase here

Several of Western Washington’s finest high school jazz bands and jazz professionals are showcased on KPLU School of Jazz – Volume 7, the station’s latest CD release which is the culmination of this year’s mentoring project.

It may not be a time-honored tradition just yet, but the Bellevue Jazz Festival is starting to become a regular habit for jazz fans across the region.

The Festival enters its fourth year featuring more than 35 jazz shows in downtown Bellevue, including free shows in clubs and restaurants. Ticketed concerts in the Meydenbauer Theatre include the Charles Lloyd Quartet with Zakir Hussain, Regina Carter, Chris Potter Underground, Tierney Sutton, and the Seattle Repertory Jazz Orchestra plus the Bellevue Jazz Festival Rising Stars.

You'll find a complete schedule and ticket information at BellevueJazz.com

The Bellevue Jazz Festival is sponsored by KPLU.

Life Magazine

Miles Davis would have been 85 years old today, and the birth of the legendary trumpeter is being celebrated in several ways and places around the country today.

LIFE.com just posted never-before-seen photos of Miles from 1958.

Read more:

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!

Dianne Reeves On Piano Jazz

May 18, 2011

This Piano Jazz episode from 1999 features one of today's preeminent jazz singers. Dianne Reeves brings her rhythmic virtuosity to a sparkling set of standards, including duets with host Marian McPartland on "Close Enough for Love" and "Softly, As in a Morning Sunrise."

Paul deBarros / Twitpic

Two Western Washington high school bands finished in the top three at the "Jazz at Lincoln Center’s 16th Annual Essentially Ellington High School Jazz Band Competition & Festival Saturday.

KING 5 TV reports Seattle's Roosevelt High School took second place and Mountlake Terrace High School took third.

tayjazz.com

Two, young and talented musicians: pianist Taylor Eigsti and vocalist Becca Stevens, will be in the KPLU studios for a live interview and performance today at 12:15 p.m

Stevens will join the Taylor Eigsti Quartet later tonight at Dimitriou's Jazz Alley for a 7:30 p.m. performance.

KPLU has received the Service to America Award from the National Association of Broadcasters Education Foundation (NABEF) for its School of Jazz program. 

The award recognizes outstanding community service by local broadcasters.  Winners will be honored at the Celebration of Service to America Awards dinner on Monday, June 6, at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center in Washington, D.C.

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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.

Justin Steyer / KPLU

Imagine inventing something that enhanced a hobby that you were passionate about. That's what happened to KPLU music director Nick Francis.

He invented a musical mixing device called The Choppertone. He built it from a MIDI controller kit. And with it, he's able to mix different bits of audio together, to create a whole new sound or remix an old song.

JoeLovano.com

Joe Lovano and his band, Us Five Live - is performing live in an 88.5 KPLU Studio Session today at 12:15 p.m. KPLU's Abe Beeson hosts.

April 2011 is the 10th anniversary of Jazz Appreciation Month (JAM), presented by the Smithsonian Institution's National Museum of American History.  

The annual celebration pays tribute to jazz both as an historic and living art form, and encourages educators, jazz societies, musicians and the general public throughout the country to take part.

Steve Korn

Last night at Tula's, Earshot Jazz presented the annual Golden Ear Awards for top achievements in Jazz for the past year.  The Kora Band, whose members split their time between Seattle and Portland, picked up an award for Northwest Recording of the Year for their OA2  Records release, Cascades

Vocalist Gail Pettis was named Northwest Vocalist of the Year for the second time, and Bill Anschell, a pianist, composer and arranger was also honored for the second time as Northwest Instrumentalist of the Year. 

The full list of Golden Ear Award winners, including inductees to the Hall of Fame:

www.earshot.org/Events/golden.html

billieholiday.com

 Billie Holiday, considered one of the greatest jazz vocalists of all time, will be inducted into the National Women's Hall of Fame later this year, on September 30-October 1, 2011 in Seneca Falls, NY, the birthplace of the American Women's Rights Movement.  Holiday, known for her deeply moving and personal vocals, remains a popular musical legend more than fifty years after her death.

The National Women's Hall of Fame, formed in 1969, has inducted 236 women including vocalists Ella Fitzgerald and Bessie Smith.

123people.com

Herman Ernest III, the beloved drummer and musical director for Dr. John lost his nearly 3-year-long battle with cancer on Sunday morning.  

A funeral service will be held in New Orleans on Saturday, March 12 at First Pilgrim Baptist Church, 1228 Arts Street, preceded by a viewing at the church starting at 8 a.m. Burial will follow at St. Louis No. 3, 3421 Esplanade Avenue.

allaboutjazz.com

Today at the White House, President Obama will present the National Medal of Arts to ten creative Americans, including Sonny Rollins and Quincy Jones.

"I'm very happy that jazz, the greatest American music, is being recognized through this honor, and I'm grateful to accept this award on behalf of the gods of our music," Rollins said of the award.

Other honorees include author Harper Lee (To Kill A Mockingbird), actress Meryl Streep and singer/songwriter James Taylor.

Watch the ceremony today at 10:45am PT (1:45pm ET) at www.whitehouse.gov/live

I want to wrap up this little series on the Jazz 100 with my own personal thoughts on the list and some of the comments and questions left by listeners/readers.

There were some thoughts that kept popping up in readers posts. One was “Why didn’t (insert song here) show up on the list?”. Another is “My list would look completely different from this one.” A third was “There is no way that Take Five” should be number 1.”

Let me start by saying that my own personal list would also look a bit different from this one. I’ve seen emails and posts from casual listeners to the very jazz educated saying the exact same thing.

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I'll be playing Nina Simone's "I Want A Little Sugar In My Bowl" today at noon PT to start the Blue Plate Special.

Nina Simone's music inspired many, including a claymation artist.  This video comes from Aardman Animations, the folks who make Wallace & Gromit and Shaun the Sheep. 

Does anyone else think the bass player in this video looks like George Mraz?

If I Had My Way

Feb 23, 2011

Reverend Gary Davis was a legendary country blues/gospel guitarist and songwriter.  His song If I Had My Way was performed by the Peter, Paul and Mary and by the Grateful Dead (as Samson and Delilah).

Peter Yarrow's daughter Bethany and her musical partner Rufus Cappadocia played it for our Studio Session back in November.

Katy Bourne / Seattle Jazz Scene, allaboutjazz.com

Ron Hudson, internationally known jazz photograper and Seattle resident, passed away yesterday.  He had a career spanning 30-plus years full of breathtaking images and music.  A memorial service is being planned. 

A collection of images from Ron's website

Ron Hudson's book Right Down Front

So now you’ve seen the Jazz 100 list selected by our listeners, and you’ve got some introductory analysis on by Kirsten Kendrick and myself.

I felt that it was appropriate for the next step to be getting some thoughts from a fresh pair of eyes…and who better than two of the best in the business, KPLU’s Midday Jazz host Robin Lloyd and Evening Jazz host Abe Beeson?

See their thoughts on the Groove Notes blog

Sad to report the passing of British jazz pianist George Shearing, who died Monday from congestive heart failure in New York. He was 91. 

He came to the U.S. in 1947 and quickly established himself as a popular instrumentalist and composer. His recording of "September In The Rain" sold nearly a million copies, and his tune "Lullaby of Birdland" became a popular jazz favorite.

Listen to the Q&A here:

What is the greatest jazz recording ever? That's the questions we asked listeners of KPLU and our jazz stream Jazz 24. From that, we came up with our list of the Top 100 Quintessential Jazz Songs of All Time.

KPLU music and news host Kevin Kniestedt tabulated the nearly 3,000 votes.  One thousand five hundred songs were nominated over a period of several weeks.

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.

Over the past few weeks, we’ve asked you to vote for your favorite jazz songs so that KPLU (along with our 24-hour jazz stream - Jazz24.org) can create a webstream of the 100 quintessential jazz songs of all time. 

Well, the response has been overwhelming! Thousands of votes have come in and we’re now tabulating the results and gathering the songs.

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!

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