Jazz and Blues

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

Soul Portrait

This week's Jazz Caliente on KPLU includes music from conguero, composer and bandleader Ray Barretto.  One of the first musicians to introduce Latin percussion to American be-bop, he was known as Manos Duras (Hard Hands), a power hitter of the congas. 

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.

Jazz Caliente debuts today at 2 p.m. on KPLU’s Mid Day Jazz.

It’s a three-song set featuring Latin Jazz:  the melodies and improvisation of jazz blended with Latin rhythms.

The house bassist for Saturday Night Live and credited on hundreds of studio and live recordings across a wide variety of genres, James Genus is one of the most in-demand bassists on the scene.

In this interview, Genus discuss being required to learn upright bass in college, his experiences with Horace Silver and Roy Haynes, what he credits for his versatility, his thoughts on the late Michael Brecker, and what it is like to be part of a television show band.

Read the interview on Groove Notes.

Several of Western Washington’s finest high school jazz bands and jazz professionals are showcased on KPLU School of Jazz-Volume 8, the station’s latest CD release which is the culmination of this year’s mentoring project.

Buy your copy of KPLU School of Jazz now

Sally Sheldon

Halie Loren talks with Groove Notes about her most recent release, “Heart First” – which rose to number one on the iTunes Canada Jazz chart – her path to becoming a jazz singer, her success in other countries and what it takes to convincingly sing a song that she didn’t write.

Read the story on Groove Notes.

More links from this week:

  • Interesting discussions at George Colligan's blog this week. An informed opinion on the charge that music schools produce "cookie cutter" musicians. Some thoughts on sight reading, that misunderstood skill among the jazz community. And a low brass forum erupts.

The Undead Music Festival, which lifted off last night, has grown every year. On Friday, it will outgrow New York City.

'Miles Davis And Gil Evans: Still Ahead' On JazzSet

May 10, 2012

Gil Evans was born on May 13, 1912. In three collaborations in the late 1950s, he and his friend and Miles Davis steered their projects into a new era for jazz.

Their first album was Miles Ahead. This Monterey Jazz Festival concert is called "Still Ahead," with music from the pair's second and third records, Porgy and Bess and Sketches of Spain.

His life reads like a blues song … 1920’s, a young preacher playing the blues, despite his church’s opposition. Kills a man in self-defense, 2 years in prison, and comes out to team up with the best-known blues man of the day, Charley Patton.

After limited commercial success of his own, he fades from view, working on farms and railroads. Thirtyfive years later, some dedicated blues fans track him down and he begins performing around the world, finally getting recognition as a blues master.

AP Photo

Known as the "First Lady of Jazz" singer Ella Fitzgerald was born April 25, 1917, in Newport News, Virginia.

From rather humble beginnings Fitzgerald and her smooth, silky voice climbed to the top of the jazz world, reports Biography.com. During her long career she worked with greats from Duke Ellington and Louis Armstrong to Dizzy Gillespie and Frank Sinatra. In all Ella recorded over 200 albums and around 2,000 songs in her lifetime. She died on June 15, 1996.

Here’s five videos celebrating the great singers career:

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

Because of their skill and versatility, a lot of jazz-trained musicians occasionally find themselves playing wedding gigs. But what happens when jazz musicians themselves get hitched? How do they decide who, among their many musician friends, gets the gig?

The trumpeter Ingrid Jensen is married to drummer Jon Wikan. Weeks before their 2004 wedding, NPR's Weekend Edition interviewed Jensen. Naturally, the subject came up:

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