Jazz and Blues

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

Schedule changes coming to KPLU's Sunday lineup

Oct 21, 2012

Beginning Sunday, October 28 we’re making some changes to our Sunday program schedule. Here’s a summary:

PIANO JAZZ

I decided to drop Piano Jazz with Marian McPartland because the show has been in reruns for over two years and listening has dropped off significantly over that time. It was not an easy decision as Marian McPartland has been on KPLU for 32 years!

If you still want to listen to Piano Jazz you can subscribe to the podcast: http://www.npr.org/rss/rss.php?id=24

Lori Shepler / Los Angeles Times

In my never-ending quest to learn as much as possible about the music I love, I often run across interesting books and movies that I'll occasionally share with you on Jazz Caliente.

While not specifically Latin jazz, these movies caught my eye recently, and each provides some insight into various Afro-Cuban music styles:

Wikipedia

Mark your calendar for some great live Latin Jazz in October and November!

Wednesday is the birthday anniversary of pianist and composer Thelonious Monk. Thursday is the birthday anniversary of drummer Art Blakey. The two were born two years and one day apart: Monk in 1917, Blakey in 1919. The two are among the most influential musicians in jazz history, and — appropriately, somehow — were close colleagues throughout their careers. In fact, Blakey played on Monk's first three recording sessions as a bandleader.

KPLU is now accepting applications for 2012/2013 (Volume 9) from schools that are new to the School of Jazz program. The goal is to work with diverse schools and jazz programs: those with award-winning jazz bands, those who crave mentoring, and/or those who want the experience of recording a CD.

Jeff Croft

Conguero and bandleader Poncho Sanchez will receive a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Latin Recording Academy (Latin Grammys) in November.  Poncho's collaboration with trumpeter Terence Blanchard Chano y Dizzy is also nominated for Best Latin Jazz Album.

When listening to Diana Krall's fun, smart new recording Glad Rag Doll, it's helpful to consider a question recently posed by Gyp Rosetti, the sensitive psychopath lending sparks to this season of HBO's Prohibition-era series Boardwalk Empire.

Justin Steyer / KPLU

The Fall Fund Drive is already half way over, and will end at 11:59 p.m. on Thursday. If you enjoy our studio sessions, and all of the programming you hear each day on KPLU, please show your support today and help us reach our goal of $400,000 in 4 days before time runs out!

Speaking of studio sessions, let's take a look back at the five most popular in-studio performances from the past year:

Clave (klah-vay) is the basic defining rhythm of Latin Jazz and other types of African, Cuban,  South American and even Australian Aboriginal music.  The claves are wooden sticks used to produce the rhythm.

For conservatory-trained jazz musicians, it's a scary job market out there. Saxophonist Dave Liebman, an NEA Jazz Master and veteran statesman, paints a bleak picture:

In the current world of jazz education, the situation vis a vis graduating more and more of the most equipped musicians in history (every year more so) in stark contrast to the scarcity of paid performance and recording opportunities has assumed epic disproportion. To deny this would be like ignoring global warming. Serious educators are and should be concerned.

Enter here to win!

The Gate (2011) pointed Elling in a new and satisfyingly emotional direction. He has somehow found a way to make a deeply personal statement out of the music of King Crimson, Joe Jackson, Stevie Wonder, and the Beatles, in addition to providing a new and vibrant understanding of Miles Davis, Bill Evans, and Herbie Hancock. That Elling is first and foremost a jazz singer makes the work searching and enthralling. His phrasing is cool and meditative as he ventures into areas usually reserved for instrumentalists. As a lyricist, Elling breathes new life into gems previously known only for their melodies.

The animated film Chico y Rita was released to DVD this week.  It's been playing in the UK and in film festivals world-wide for two years, to glowing reviews. It was nominated Best Animated Feature Film for the 2012 Oscars.

The music of saxophonist/clarinetist Paquito D’Rivera and trumpeter/ pianist Arturo Sandoval has been censored from Cuban airwaves for decades now,  since they both defected to the U.S.  

Bandmates and founding members of the legendary Cuban group Irakere, both took advantage of musical world tours to make their escape.  Both have also gone on to make incredibly successful international careers, but still, it has to hurt to know that your name has been erased from your native country's cultural history.

The Great Mississippi Flood of 1927 was a disaster that reshaped the South. With flooding in 10 states, the river below Memphis reached 60 miles across in some places. Not only was farmland swallowed up, but many poor blacks were forced to work rebuilding levees. With no crop that year, many headed north in what was part of a large migration to urban centers.

Alan Nahigian

Two informative, fun and  in-depth resources for learning about Latin music debuted  in 2009:  the interactive exhibit American Sabor  and the PBS series  Latin Music USA.

Nima Fatemi / Flickr

I literally had someone say that to me the other day. My head almost exploded.

So if I am not familiar with a band that you happen to know or like, that means I have NO musical knowledge, whatsoever?

What is worse is that this is not the first time I have heard this from someone.

Read more on Groove Notes.

Last week, the Thelonious Monk Institute of Jazz announced the 12 semi-finalists for its annual competition for young musicians, often seen as the most prestigious in jazz today.

fundrum.blogspot.com

Every art form needs its champions, its teachers, those who believe deeply and share their passion.

I have tremendous respect for two such champions of Latin Jazz (one based in San Francisco, the other in the Bronx): John Santos and Bobby Sanabria.

Andrea Corniel Photography

Latin Jazz is rich with percussion and compelling sounds.  Most of the percussion instruments originate from Africa, and are tied to spiritual and religious ceremonies.  Here are a couple of favorites:

Tommy Johnson’s songs may not be very well known, but he was a hugely influential blues player and also may be the source of one of the most enduring legends of the blues – the Devil and the Crossroads.

While this legend is sometimes associated with Robert Johnson (no relation), it was Tommy Johnson who first cultivated a story about himself that he met the devil at a crossroads, and sold his soul in exchange for his musical ability.

Sonny Watson's Streetswing.com

According to Rebeca Mauleon's indispensable "Salsa Guidebook for Piano and Ensemble,"  the Mambo is:

An up-tempo dance style, developed through the 1940s and 1950s, which blended several elements of North American instrumentation and harmony with the Cuban son (a style of popular dance music that combined Spanish and African elements).

I know. I know. It is widely assumed and believed that smell is the strongest sense tied to memory. But for me (and a handful of musicians that I spoke to), music – in some cases even just a few bars of a song -  can draw upon some of the most powerful memories in a persons life.

Read more on Groove Notes.

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.

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