Jazz and Blues

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

Chances are you’ve heard Peggy Lee’s iconic version of “Fever”– it’s one of the steamiest love songs ever written. But the original recording was released two years earlier by Little Willie John in 1956.

“Sweet Home Chicago” is one of the best known blues songs ever written. But historians seem to agree that when Robert Johnson recorded the song in 1936, he borrowed heavily to make his masterpiece.

“Kokomo Blues” is clearly one of the building blocks of that better known blues song. Scrapper Blackwell came out with it in 1928.

Here’s a perfect example of a song that changed with the times, and was at the cutting edge of those changes.

Drummer and singer Rabon Tarrant recorded “Blues With a Feeling” in 1947, a time when big band swing music was in transition to rock and roll. This version straddles both genres with the beat of rock and roll, but the more jazzy instrumentation of piano, sax and trumpet.

Hooks Brothers

If I had to pick one person to represent Delta blues at the peak of its expression, it would be Robert Johnson.

Saying that he was a superlative guitar player, impassioned singer and masterful lyricist seems barely adequate to convey the importance of the work he accomplished in his 27 years. Many of his songs became not only blues standards but would be a huge influence on rock music.

Steve Korn

Pianist, composer, arranger, humorist and world traveler Bill Anschell brings his "Peru Trio" to the Art of Jazz series at the Seattle Art Museum tonight at 5:30.  It's part of the Earshot Jazz Festival.

The 17th Annual KPLU Christmas Jam, 88.5 KPLU’s much-anticipated FREE holiday concert, features jazz vocalist Cheryl Jewell and her trio--Thursday, December 5, 2013 from noon to 1 p.m. at Lagerquist Hall in the Mary Baker Russell Music Center on the Pacific Lutheran University campus.  Cheryl will perform Christmas selections with the University Jazz Ensemble under the direction of Dr. David Deacon-Joyner.  The event will be hosted by KPLU’s Nick Morrison and broadcast live on KPLU.  A live video stream will also be available at www.kplu.org

Sonny Boy Williamson was a blues originator who helped shape the sound of modern blues. In his life, he knew the first generation of Delta bluesmen, and would go on to see the birth of modern rock music. He played with Robert Johnson in the 1930’s, and with Eric Clapton in the 1960’s. His ability to span eras is a testament to the timelessness of his voice and harmonica.

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 Latin jazz flutist Dave Valentin suffered a stroke in March 2012, and has been unable to work since then.  A benefit concert will take place tonight, Nov. 7, at the Tarrytown Music Hall in Tarrytown, N.Y.  The show will help raise funds to pay his medical expenses and basic living needs.

David Sproule

Cuban-born pianist, composer and bandleader Omar Sosa received a lifetime achievement award from the Smithsonian Associates in Washington, DC in 2003 for his contribution to the development of Latin jazz in the United States.  His latest CD Eggun (spirit guides) grew from a commission by the Barcelona Jazz Festival in 2009.  The idea was to pay tribute to Miles Davis’ seminal album, Kind of Blue, on its 50th anniversary.

Robert Johnson has become a mythical figure of the blues, who acquired his prodigious skills in a deal with the devil at the crossroads. The truth is he was a man who worked very hard to turn himself into a musician. His early attempts at music – sitting in with legends Charley Patton and Son House—were not successful, and he didn’t appear to have much in the way of musical talent.

But then Johnson found a teacher in Ike Zinneman, an unrecorded Mississippi blues player, spending a year developing his musicianship.

It’s hard to trace the exact source of “Crow Jane”, but it’s a song that has outlasted many others from the early days of the blues. Its roots lay in the Piedmont region of Virginia and North and South Carolina. Rev. Gary Davis was known to perform it during the 1920’s, and the first recording was made in 1927 by guitarist Julius Daniels. Daniels is important partly because he was one of the first Black guitarists to record in the Southeast, inspiring others to follow.

Tacoma-based saxophonist Kareem Kandi brought his band to the Art Of Jazz Series at The Seattle Art Museum this month and played a hard-swinging concert enjoyed by an enthusiastic audience that filled Brotman Forum at SAM.  Saxophonist Kreem Kandi was joined by B3 organist Delvon Lamarr and drummer Adam Kessler in a classic organ trio performance that included standards and originals.  

The Mississippi Sheiks were a popular string band of the 1920’s and 30’s, with a sound that was a crossover between country music and blues. Though Mississippi-based, their music differed from delta blues in some important ways.

bunky's pickle

Female instrumentalists of all types have been part of jazz since its inception, but for the most part, they have been erased from the history of the music. The film "Lady Be Good: Instrumental Women in Jazz" intends to put the spotlight on the many talented women who have nearly been forgotten.

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