Jazz Northwest

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.

Continuing a series of unique live-on-location recordings for Jazz April, the Jacob Zimmerman Quintet plays music of the 40s in an Art of Jazz concert on Jazz Northwest, Sunday, April 18 at 2 PM Pacific on 88.5 KPLU and streaming at kplu.org.  

The quintet takes on some challenging music from the transitional period which saw jazz morph from swing to bebop. Composers range from Benny Goodman's guitarist Charlie Christian to Tad Dameron and Charlie Parker.

John Cline

Multi-generational bands are not uncommon in jazz, but a bit more unusual is a Father and Son front line.  Tatum Greenblatt (trumpet) and his father Dan Greenblatt (tenor saxophone) have been playing gigs together since Tatum was in elementary school.  Both are now veterans of both New York and Seattle jazz scenes and still enjoy playing together.  

Tatum is active in New York and Dan lives in Seattle and they've been fronting a quintet several times a year for a reunion at Tula's.  Earlier this month, their gig was recorded for Jazz Northwest and highlights will air on 88.5 KPLU on Sunday, April 12 at 2 PM  PDT and stream at kplu.org.  

John Rogers

April is celebrated as National Jazz Month, and the month begins in Seattle with a flurry of activity including both touring and resident musicians playing in the the first week.  One of the visiting groups featured on Jazz Northwest this Sunday is Ryan Keberle & Catharsis (pictured) which begins a West Coast tour at the Poncho Theatre at Cornish College in Seattle on April 7.  

Some singers you may not have heard before are featured on this Sunday's Jazz Northwest from 88.5 KPLU.

Perhaps most surprising is a seven member a cappella vocal group called Groove For Thought which will perform next Friday at Boxley's in North Bend.  Also on this week's show is a new vocalise release by Paul Green. He is well established as a blues singer and blues harp player, but he's making his CD debut as a jazz singer with his lyrics to jazz instrumental standards. He's also at Boxley's next Saturday.

Two jazz performances which took place only a few blocks apart but separated by 53 years in time are featured on this week's Jazz Northwest on 88.5, KPLU.  

In the first half of this week's show, The Seattle JazzEd New Works Ensemble is directed by Wayne Horvitz in excerpts from an Art of Jazz concert at the Seattle Art Museum.  

Jim Levitt

The poll-winning, critically acclaimed international clarinet star Anat Cohen played two concerts with The Seattle Repertory Jazz Orchestra in February. The concerts, billed as "A World View of Jazz"  were among the highlights of the 20th anniversary season of the SRJO, co-directed by Clarence Acox and Michael Brockman. The sold-out Sunday concert at Kirkland Performance Center was recorded for Jazz Northwest and broadcast on Sunday, March 15.

Jim Levitt

Kenny Wheeler (1930-2014) was born in Toronto but lived in London from the 1950s on, playing trumpet and flugelhorn and composing in a unique style that ranged from soft lyricism to explosive free expression.  His many recordings for ECM and CAM Jazz are widely praised by critics and studied by musicians.  

In a pair of concerts at The Royal Room in Seattle, Steve Treseler and Ingrid Jensen co-led a Tribute to Kenny Wheeler featuring two evenings of his music.  Joining Ingrid Jensen on trumpet and Steve Treseler on tenor sax were Geoffrey Keezer on piano, Martin Wind on bass and Jon Wikan on drums, with vocalist Katie Jacobson.

Jim Levitt

There's lots of current music to listen to and talk about on Jazz Northwest this week.   Ingrid Jensen and Steve Treseler head an all-star Quintet at The Royal Room where they'll record a show for NPR, Dee Daniels is Artistic Director at the DeMiero Jazz Festival in Edmonds next week, Thomas Marriott has a great new video and there's much more.  

There’s lots of good live jazz in the Pacific Northwest right now and into next week, including the Portland Jazz Festival and the Lionel Hampton Jazz Festival in Moscow, Idaho. On this week's Jazz Northwest, we’ll hear musicians playing both festivals, update you on the Seattle jazz scene, and sample new CDs from Seattle musicians Marc Seales and Eric Huyllander.

Richard Bell

A photo from the 1984 Bellevue Jazz Festival brought back nice memories and a desire to have a reunion for four Northwest musicians. Jay Thomas, John Stowell, Bruce Phares and John Bishop hadn't played together as a group since the mid-80s but after a single rehearsal they said it was just like it was then, only better!  

Jazz Northwest samples the ever-changing jazz scene from Portland to Vancouver BC, with the latest jazz CDs and news about where to hear live music around the region.  This week's show includes new releases from Portland bassist David Friesen, Seattle singer Reggie Goings and news about upcoming performances by Gregg Williamson's Big Bad Groove Society,  Eugenie Jones, the Dave Peck Trio, and Collier and Dean with samples of each.

Maria Joyner-Wulf led several ensembles drawn from a pool of ten musicians for her concert in the Black Box Cabaret Jazz series at the Washington Center for the Performing Arts in Olympia.  All the music in this concert was from original compositions by Maria Joyner-Wulf or saxophonist Cynthia Mulllis, who was also one of the principal soloists.

Over 3 decades of jazz from the Pacific Northwest is featured on this week's Jazz Northwest Sunday, January 25 at 2 PMPacific.  An upcoming two trombone tribute to Frank Rosolino and Carl Fontana will feature Rodger Fox (NZ) and David Marriott Jr (WA) at the Royal Room.  It seemed like a good excuse to listen again to the spectacular trombonists Rosolino and Fontana as they played at The Bayside in Vancouver BC in 1978.

Jim Wilke

A hard-swinging piano trio led by Danny Kolke will be featured in highlights from this month's Art of Jazz concert at the Seattle Art Museum airing at 2 PM Sunday, January 18 on 88.5 KPLU and streaming at kplu.org.

The concert broadcast includes standards, spirituals and blues by the trio which includes Danny Kolke, piano, Jon Hamar, bass and Greg Williamson on drums.  The trio plays regularly on Sunday evenings at Boxley's in North Bend and has recorded two CDs live at the club and issued on Pony Boy Records.

Neida Bangerter

Nine recent and forthcoming jazz CDs will be sampled on Jazz Northwest today.  Among them is a name that will be familiar to longtime followers of the Seattle Jazz scene, Gene Argel.

Originally from Tacoma, he played both organ and piano up and down the West Coast before finally settling on the island of Maui where he's lived and worked since 1982.  He still visits Seattle periodically and over the last three years has recorded material for his debut release (!) titled Luminescent.

Stan Froehner

One of the best jazz piano trios in the Pacific Northwest, or anywhere, is featured in performance on Jazz Northwest, Sunday, Jan. 4 at 2 p.m. PST on 88.5 KPLU and streaming at kplu.org.  Pianist Dave Peck, long a mainstay on the Seattle jazz scene, leads his trio with Jeff Johnson, bass and Eric Eagle, drums in a program of American standards recorded during a two-night engagement at Tula's in Seattle.

Top Ten lists abound at this time of year, but why Ten?  There were many great CDs by Northwest Jazz artists in 2014 and we play some of our favorites on Jazz Northwest.  It's not a Top Ten countdown, but we think these are representative of great jazz talent  from Seattle.    

An all-star sextet led by saxophonist and trumpeter Jay Thomas is featured in highlights from an Art of Jazz concert at The Seattle Art Museum on Jazz Northwest.  The group played jazz classics ranging from Miles Davis in the 50s to an original by Jay Thomas.  

Jazz musicians are often an unconventional lot, and when it comes to holiday music you can expect re-harmonizations, different tempos, unexpected rhythms and other surprises as they find new ways to play old music and old ways to play new music.  

This week's Jazz Northwest provides ten explorations of familiar holiday music and some new songs as well. Among the Northwest resident artists featured are Don Lanphere, Greta Matassa, Larry Fuller, Dave Frishberg, the B3 Kings and Karin Plato.

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