Jazz Northwest

Daniel Sheehan

Seattle's Earshot Jazz Festival is coming into the final stretch of its nearly six-week series of events.  This Sunday, November 8 at 2:00pm on Jazz Northwest  (88.5 KPLU and online at KPLU), we'll sample some of the artists who'll be appearing at venues around the Seattle area. Included is music by vocal artist Jay Clayton, clarinetist Anat Cohen, pianist/composer Wayne Horvitz, Larry Fuller and Brad Mehldau,  In addition, this program opens with music of Billy Strayhorn whose centennial is being celebrated this year.  Several of the remaining concerts have already sold out.  


Two titans of American music, Count Basie and Frank Sinatra teamed up for concerts and made three albums together in the 1960s.  The Seattle Repertory Jazz Orchestra directed by Clarence Acox and Michael Brockman celebrated that fabulous combination in their November concerts when they were joined by Danny Quintero as guest singer. 

Sasha Arutyunova

The Earshot Jazz Festival continues through November 18 with a wide variety of performers in various venues around Seattle. Earshot's Executive Director John Gilbreath talks with Jim Wilke about some of artists appearing in the latter half of the festival.  

The music includes Flamenco jazz by Chano Dominguez, the brass quartet The Westerlies, solo guitarist Mimi Fox, retro bopper Jacob Zimmerman, the Seattle Repertory Jazz Orchestra celebrating the Billy Strayhorn centennial, and reunions with former Seattle musicians Jay Clayton and Art Lande.

Jim Wilke

Pianist Bill Mays and trumpet and flugelhorn player Marvin Stamm are longtime friends and musical partners in several projects including this duo which played this month's Art of Jazz concert at The Seattle Art Museum.  Describing what they do as "a musical conversation," the duo eschews long solos in favor of frequent exchanges of melody and improvisation.  

Jim Levitt

Bob Mintzer, Grammy-Award winning saxophonist and co-founder of the Yellowjackets, was featured arranger at Centrum's Jazz Port Townsend for 2015.  He conducted a special all-star big band at the Saturday matinee concert at the McCurdy Pavilion at Fort Worden State Park.  

The concert was recorded for radio and will be broadcast Sunday, October 12 at 2 p.m. Pacific Standard Time on KPLU’s Jazz Northwest. It will also be streamed live on KPLU.org.

Dorsay Alavi

Seattle's biggest jazz event of the year is the Earshot Jazz Festival, encompassing dozens of performances from Benaroya Hall to intimate jazz clubs such as Tula's.  The Wayne Shorter Quartet (pictured) headlines this year's festival on October 11, but there are many outstanding jazz groups playing all around Seattle from October 9 through November 18.  Earshot's Executive Director John Gilbreath joins Jim Wilke on Jazz Northwest (Sunday, 2 PM Pacific on 88.5 KPLU) to talk about and share music by some of the performers in the first weeks of the festival.

Jim Levitt

Next in a series of concert broadcasts from Centrum's Jazz Port Townsend is a performance by the Trio da Paz, airing on KPLU's Jazz Northwest on Sunday September 27 at 2 PM Pacific.  Trio da Paz was formed in 1990 by three outstanding Brazilian musicians equally skilled in jazz and Brazilian music, guitarist Romero Lubambo, bassist Nilson Matta, and drummer Duduka Da Fonseca.  Now New York-based. the three musicians have busy individual careers but still tour internationally as Trio Da Paz.

Photo (C) John Abbott,

Each Sunday, Jazz Northwest presents music by resident and visiting musicians in the Pacific Northwest. This week's show includes Triology from Vancouver BC, Wayne Horvitz and the Royal Room Music Collective Ensemble, Dave Frishberg from Portland, and New York based saxophonist Steve Wilson playing in downtown Port Townsend during the jazz festival in July.  Jazz Northwest airs Sundays at 2 PM on 88.5 KPLU and streams at kplu.org

Jim Levitt

Violinist Regina Carter demonstrated her varied training and experience during her concert at this Summer's Jazz Port Townsend, presented by Centrum.  The concert ,which will air exclusively on 88.5 KPLU and kplu.org on Sunday September 13 at 2 PM Pacific, includes standards and blues, African music and an original by her drummer Alvester Garnett.  Also joining Regina Carter in this concert are pianist Benny Green and bassist John Clayton.

Jim Wilke / KPLU

One of the main features of Jazz Northwest is regular location recordings wherever jazz is performed around the region, whether jazz clubs, concerts, festivals, museums or living rooms.  On September 6, JNW visits several locations with the Seattle Repertory Jazz Orchestra at Kirkland Performance Center, Mel Brown's Organ Quartet at the Britt Festival in Oregon, Jay Thomas and the Cantaloupes at Seattle Art Museum, and Ralph Towner and Denney Goodhew playing at Cornish College in 1991. 

Jim Levitt

Brazilian singer Maucha Adnet and a trio of countrymen charmed the audience in McCurdy Pavilion at Fort Worden during July's Jazz Port Townsend. The concert was recorded for radio and will air August 30 at 2 PM Pacific on Jazz Northwest on 88.5, KPLU and kplu.org.  With Jovino Santos Neto, piano, Nilson Matta, bass and Duduka Da Fonseca, drums, Maucha Adnet presented a program she titled "Bossa Always Nova" to illustrate the continuing appeal of the Brazilian music which gained world-wide popularity in the 60s.   Blending native Brazilian music with American cool jazz, Antonio Carlos Jobim and others became world-renown for their appealing, infectious music.  Maucha Adnet toured widely with Jobim from 1984-1994.  He said Maucha Adnet's rich, dark voice made him "long for the Brazilian forest." 

Maucha Adnet is accompanied by Brazilian-born Jovino Santos Neto who has resided in Seattle since 1992 and teaches at Cornish College,  Nilson Matta and Duduka Da Fonseca are two-thirds of the Brazilian Trio Da Paz which also played  at this year's Jazz Port Townsend.   Their concert will be heard on September 27 on Jazz Northwest.  Guests Romero Lubambo, guitar and Jay Ashby, trombone, make guest appearances with Maucha Adnet in her concert.

The 41st annual Jazz Port Townsend was presented by Centrum on the last weekend of July. Jazz Northwest is recorded and produced by Jim Wilke exclusively for 88.5 KPLU and kplu.org.  Programs are archived at jazznw.org.

Something about late Summer encourages reminiscence and as we planned this show, that seemed to emerge as a theme.  Included are a couple of songs from the 60s, "Wichita Lineman" and "Don't Think Twice, It's All Right" in new versions by Marc Seales and Alex Guilbert.   Wayne Horvitz' new CD "Some Places are Forever Afternoon" was inspired by the NW poet Richard Hugo (1923-1982).  Wayne Horvitz visited some of the places and people that inspired Hugo as he composed this music that balances between nostalgia and the future, chamber music and improvisation.

The first in a series of radio shows from the 41st Jazz Port Townsend airs Sunday, August 16 at 2 PM Pacific.  An all-star sextet drawn from the faculty of the Jazz Workshop opens the festival on the first of three nights of "Jazz In The Clubs" in several small venues in downtown Port Townsend.  After a week of sharing their knowledge with students, they’re ready to swing with their peers. In this group, we’ll hear musicians from New York and LA, Seattle and Portland... Terell Stafford on trumpet, Steve Wilson on alto, Eric Reed is the pianist, Dan Balmer on guitar, Chuck Deardorf is on bass, Matt Wilson is at the drums.  They play both standards and jazz classics, but in some non-standard arrangements.  

Jazz and Summertime are natural partners and next Tuesday night fans will be heading to the North City neighborhood of Shoreline for the 9th annual North City Jazz Walk from 7 to 10 PM.  This Sunday, Jazz Northwest previews the Jazz Walk with music by Greta Matassa, Pearl Django and Jacqueline Tabor. These are three of the ten artists and groups appearing on August 11 in ten venues within walking distance of each other around 175th and 15th Avenue NE.  


For its season finale, The Seattle Repertory Jazz Orchestra co-directed by Clarence Acox and Michael Brockman, played music by Charles Mingus (1922-1979).  Charles Mingus was one of the most significant American Composers of the Twentieth Century.  

Born in Nogales, New Mexico and raised in Watts,  he rose to prominence in New York during the 1940s Bop Era playing with Charlie Parker, Dizzy Gillespie and others.  As a leader himself from the 50s on, his groups toured around the world playing his original compositions exclusively.

On Jazz Northwest this week, we feature a tune by this all-star group on the 26th anniversary of the above recording. Except for the late Bud Shank, all were teaching and performing again this week at Centrum's Jazz Port Townsend.  Jiggs Whigham will also play with a quartet this Sunday evening (7/26) at Tula's in Seattle.

Also on this week's show is a sample from a forthcoming CD by John Pizzarelli, playing and singing a beautiful ballad from the post-Beatles music of Paul McCartney.  The CD "Midnight McCartney" will be released in September. John Pizzarelli is at Jazz Alley through this Sunday. Also, Jay Thomas & the Cantaloupes at SAM, Barney McClure plays organ with the Central Washington Big Band, Mimi Fox and Greta Matassa team up, and new CDs by Michael Waldrop Big Band and Bobby Medina are included on this week's show along with some best bets for live jazz in the coming week.

Jim Levitt

Tenor saxophonist Anton Schwartz leads a stellar quintet in performance at Tula's in Seattle on Jazz Northwest.   The quintet, featuring special guest pianist Russell Ferrante and Thomas Marriott on trumpet plays music from Anton Schwartz' CD Flash Mob.  Jon Hamar on bass and D'vonne Lewis at the drums complete the ensemble.

Jazz Port Townsend is the oldest and largest jazz festival in the Pacific Northwest... it celebrated its 40th year last year.

For the 2015 edition on the last weekend of July, there will be seven concerts on the main stage at  the 1200 seat McCurdy Pavilion at Fort Worden State Park, and over a dozen performances in cozy small venues in downtown Port Townsend.

Jim Levitt

The Lucas Pino No Net Nonet played an exciting concert of original music at the 2015 Ballard Jazz Festival, and the concert was recorded for broadcast on KPLU's Jazz Northwest

Lucas Pino is a New York-based tenor saxophonist who has been leading a similar band in monthly concerts at Smoke in New York City for the past three years.  The New York band has a new CD on the Seattle label, Origin Records, and Lucas Pino recently married Roxy Coss, another saxophonist who is a former Seattle resident who attended Garfield High.

Fifty years ago this week, vibist and composer Gary McFarland's career was on the rise and he was playing in Seattle at a Pioneer Square jazz club called The Penthouse.  Jim Wilke was there producing another weekly broadcast from the club which featured international talent during the 60s.

McFarland's music from those broadcasts has been issued for the first time as part of a DVD/CD set which includes a documentary by Kristian St.Clair about Gary McFarland. His quick rise to fame ended suddenly with his death under mysterious circumstances at the age of 38, six years after these Seattle broadcasts.  McFarland's "Train Samba" was a popular hit at the time and is featured on this week's Jazz Northwest.

Randy Cole

The Montreal-based trio Trifolia played at the Seattle Art Museum's Art of Jazz series as part of their recent West Coast tour, and highlights from the concert aired on Jazz Northwest on Sunday, June 21 at 2 PM PDT.  The trio consisting of Marianne Trudel, piano, Etienne Lafrance, bass, and Patrick Graham, percussion, plays original music by the pianist and draws upon elements of jazz, classical and world music.

Steve Sherman

Explore some of the many opportunities for excellent live jazz this weekend and next week on this week's Jazz Northwest, Sunday at 2 on 88.5 KPLU and kplu.org.  Tenor saxophonist Anton Schwartz is playing 3 nights in 3 different locations this weekend, world-renown pianist Fred Hersch plays Tuesday and Wednesday at Jazz Alley, the Seattle Repertory Jazz Orchestra plays two concerts of music by Charles Mingus.... and two jazz festivals are opening in Vancouver and Victoria, BC. Music by these artists and more are featured on this week's show.

Jim Levitt

Saxophonist Eric Alexander and guitarist Peter Bernstein were in Seattle for the 2015 Ballard Jazz Festival and were featured in a main stage concert at the Nordic Heritage Museum. The concert was recorded and aired on Jazz Northwest on Sunday June 7 at 2 PM Pacific on 88.5 KPLU and streaming at kplu.org.  

Eric Alexander and Peter Bernstein are joined in this concert by the Seattle rhythm team of Chuck Deardorf on bass and Matt Jorgensen on drums. They play jazz standards by Wes Montgomery, Horace Silver and George Coleman and a surprise YouTube hit by Eric Alexander.

For KPLU's Ken Wiley, a decades-long broadcast career didn’t begin from a passion for radio, exactly.

“A friend of mine – we were out drinking somewhere – he said, ‘You know a lot about the music, why don’t you get a job on the radio?’ ” Wiley recalled.

“I went, you know, 'Where?' ”

The friend said Pacific Lutheran University has a radio station.  A couple of weeks later, after the idea germinated a bit, Wiley pulled out the phone book and found the university’s number.  

He ended up on the phone with KPLU’s program director.  “He said, ‘Hey, you called at the right time. The one guy that we have doing the (jazz) program has to leave.  Why don’t you come out and we’ll talk?”

Jazz Northwest for May 31

May 31, 2015

New and recent CDs are featured on this week's Jazz Northwest, leading off with a new live recording of Jay Thomas and The Cantaloupes at the Seattle Art Museum.  

Vancouver-based saxophonist Cory Weeds is heard with a New York organ trio led by Mike LeDonne, and two singers debut new releases, Cherrie Adams with the Forman-Finley Band, and Tony Petrillo, who has a CD release party at Tula's Monday night..  There's more including news of upcoming live jazz gigs in the region.

Jim Wilke

Bulgarian born singer and songwriter Ana Velinova trained in Sophia, L.A. and Boston and has performed in New York, Toronto, Vancouver and Victoria and elsewhere.  

Now a resident of Seattle, she recently sang in the Art of Jazz series at The Seattle Art Museum with an all-star Seattle quartet including Marc Seales, Mark Taylor, Jeff Johnson and D'vonne Lewis.   

Jim Levitt

The Ballard Jazz Festival began 13 years ago with the Ballard Jazz Walk and the Jazz Walk continues to be the most popular element of the festival which this year ran four days with nightly concerts.  

Friday night, 17 bands played in 9 different venues within walking distance of each other in old Ballard and hundreds of fans circulated between the cozy, informal spaces.  The flavor is like fabled jazz streets including 52nd Street in New York, and Central Avenue in L.A.   We recorded four different groups that night and they are be featured on Jazz Northwest.

Jazz Northwest For May 10

May 10, 2015

The Northwest jazz scene continues to amaze and surprise, and Jazz Northwest Sundays at 2 PM on KPLU tracks it with location recordings, new CDs and news about upcoming performances.

Carmen Bradford graciously stepped in as a last minute replacement for an ailing Wycliffe Gordon as featured soloist with the Seattle Repertory Jazz Orchestra for its April concerts.  With less than a week to prepare a new concert with different music than planned, it was tense but everything just seemed right after the first rehearsal with Carmen Bradford.  

Playing for capacity audiences in Benaroya Hall and Kirkland Performance Center, Miss Bradford and the SRJO drew standing ovations and encores.  The concert at Kirkland Performance Center was recorded for broadcast on KPLU's Jazz Northwest and will air on Sunday, May 3 at 2 PM Pacific and stream at kplu.org.

This week on Jazz Northwest we'll sample some new and recent recordings including a new old one from 1962 being issued for the first time!  Ernestine Anderson was just 34 years old and in the first bloom of her career when she sang at The Penthouse, a Pioneer Square jazz club where Jim Wilke was producing a weekly live and direct broadcast on KING-FM.  The aircheck of the broadcast is the source for this new first time issue on a HighNote CD.