Jazz Northwest

Diane Schuur and Janis Mann, two former Seattle singers will come home for gigs in Seattle this week and their most recent CDs are featured on this week's Jazz Northwest.  Both launched successful recording and touring careers from Seattle and their most recent CDs are featured on this program.   Janis Mann will sing in the Art of Jazz series at Seattle Art Museum on Thursday September 11, and Diane Schuur will be at Jazz Alley September 11-14.   Don't be surprised if you see either of them at the other's gig, they're longtime friends as well. 

Jim Levitt

One of the most highly regarded composer-arrangers in jazz is Bill Holman, whose career stretches back over six decades and includes music performed by Stan Kenton, Count Basie, Woody Herman, Gerry Mulligan and many others.  He also leads his own L.A. big band which includes many top musicians who vie for the opportunity to play Bill Holman's exciting and complex music.   Winner of three Grammy Awards and 14 nominations, he's arranged for recording sessions by Tony Bennett, Sarah Vaughan, Carmen McRae and many others. 

New CD releases from Seattle, Portland and Victoria are featured on this week's Jazz Northwest.  Among them is the first new release in nine years from the long standing duo of vibist Tom Collier and bassist Dan Dean, recorded in Seattle and in L.A.

Jim Levitt

Sisters Ingrid and Christine Jensen were reunited in concert at Centrum's Jazz port Townsend in July. Their concert at McCurdy Pavilion was recorded for Jazz Northwest. The sisters grew up in Nanaimo, BC and have gone on to successful musical careers. Christine Jensen now lives in Montreal where she composes for and leads her own jazz orchestra. Ingrid is based in New York and leads her own groups and plays with the Maria Schneider Orchestra and other ensembles. Both have recorded numerous CDs and tour internationally.

New jazz releases from musicians in Portland, Seattle and Vancouver BC are featured on this week's Jazz Northwest. We have a sneak preview of pianist Gordon Lee with the Mel Brown Septet, the Tuesday night band at Jimmy Mak's in Portland. Tom Collier and Dan Dean are a long-standing pair of Seattle musicians who have a new CD titled Slick Buick, and we'll also sample Triology, a very smooth piano-guitar-bass trio from Vancouver BC.

Jim Levitt

Trombonist Wycliffe Gordon & Friends' Jazz Port Townsend concert aired on Jazz Northwest on 88.5 KPLU. The popular and critically acclaimed brass player (he plays several brass instruments) was recently named top trombonist by the DownBeat Critics Poll for the third year in a row and top trombonist by the Jazz Journalists Association. 

Daniel Sheehan

Pianist Bill Anschell is a Seattle native, though he's lived and toured around the US and internationally. Returning to Seattle to live, he quickly established himself as one of the key players through his own trio, accompanying singers and his regular appearance with Floyd Standifer at The New Orleans during the trumpet player's last years.

Highlights from the final concert of the season by the Seattle Repertory Jazz Orchestra is featured on this week's Jazz Northwest

  There are jazz festivals at each end of the Salish Sea this week, from The American Classic Jazz Festival in Lacey to the Vancouver International Jazz Festival. 

There's also jazz in the Seattle area ranging from the ambitious Alchemy Project premiering original music by Sumi Tonooka, Erica Lindsay, Salim Washington, David Arend and Samantha Boshnack with Max Wood and Willem De Koch, playing at The Royal Room Sunday. 

Jazz Northwest samples the wide variety of jazz available in the Pacific Northwest each week. This week we have a sneak preview of the forthcoming CD by the young Chilean saxophonist Melissa Aldana who will play a single gig on the West Coast next week.

It's at Jimmy Mak's in Portland presented by PDX Jazz. She was the winner of the Thelonious Monk Competition last year.

Miles Davis is still one of the most influential figures in jazz, even after more than twenty years since his death (1991). On what would have been his 88th birthday on May 26, a section of 77th Street in New York City where he lived and composed some of his most memorable music was renamed Miles Davis Way.

  This week on Jazz Northwest, we'll preview the featured artists at The Bellevue Jazz Festival, including The East-West Trumpet Summit with Ray Vega and Thomas Marriott, Carlos Cascante y su Tumbao, Poncho Sanchez, and Bill Frisell's Beautiful Dreamers. 

The festival also include many free performances in downtown Bellevue Wednesday through Sunday. 

McTuff on Jazz Northwest

May 18, 2014

The organ trio (Hammond B3 organ, guitar and drums) is one of the jazz institutions. From the late 50s through the 60s, organ trios were one of the most popular styles of jazz, particularly in hotbeds like Detroit and Philadelphia.

The Seattle band McTuff was formed in 2008 as a tribute to organ greats Jimmy Smith and Captain Jack McDuff, but they've added their own take on the classics and play a lot of original music, too. 


Robyn Kolke

This week on Jazz Northwest, new releases by The Danny Kolke Trio + Pete Christlieb "Live at Boxley's" and Nelda Swiggett's Stringtet, with her trio + two musicians from the Seattle Symphony Orchestra. Plus a sampling of music in the week to come with Bill Watrous, Fred Hersch and The Mercer Island High School Jazz Ensemble 1 and news of the best bets for live jazz.

Jim Levitt

Former Seattle resident Kendra Shank now lives in New York, and John Stowell resides in Portland when he's not touring. They first performed together in Portland over twenty years ago but when they re-discovered how much they liked making music together, it resulted in a new CD "New York Conversations."

The duo is currently on a West Coast tour with 13 dates which began in Seattle with a concert at The Seattle Art Museum.

David Belove

Jazz artists from around the US will join resident musicians April 16-19 for the 12th annual Ballard Jazz Festival, and Jazz Northwest samples some of the music to be heard over the four-day event.   Festival artists featured this week on Jazz Northwest include Corey Christiansen, Jay Thomas, George Colligan, Thomas Marriott, Mimi Fox, and Sonny Fortune.

Vibist Susan Pascal is a versatile musician who leads her ensembles in a variety of music. On previous appearances on Jazz Northwest she has played the music of The Modern Jazz Quartet at Seattle Art Museum and led a Standards Quintet at Tula's. 

Recently she brought her "Soul Sauce" Quintet to Tula's to play the music of the Latin jazz vibist Cal Tjader. 


Luzia Grob dos Santos

Jovino Santos Neto is a Brazilian musical ambassador who enjoys sharing his music with others as much as he enjoys playing it. The native of Rio has been a Seattle resident since 1993, but his roots run deep and he often returns to his native country to soak up more native culture and folklore.

He then reworks it into his own original compositions which are the basis of his live performances, often with the Quinteto which played this month's Art of Jazz concert at The Seattle Art Museum. Highlights from the concert are featured in this week's episode.

Duke Ellington's Such Sweet Thunder (1957) was inspired by and dedicated to the Stratford, Ontario Shakespeare Festival. This suite of musical portraits of Shakespearean characters ranks among his finest work. 

The Seattle Repertory Jazz Orchestra and the Seattle Shakespeare Company teamed up in February to present the first known performance of Ellington's music combined with related scenes from Shakespeare's plays.

  In 1957, Duke Ellington completed and presented "Such Sweet Thunder" in concert for the first time. Working with Billy Strayhorn, Duke Ellington composed a suite of musical portraits of characters from Shakespeare's plays; Hamlet, Lady MacBeth, Caesar, Cleopatra, Henry V, Iago and others. 

In two unique performances last month, The Seattle Repertory Jazz Orchestra was joined by actors from the Seattle Shakespeare Company to perform the Ellington suite with related excerpts from Shakespeare's plays. 

This week on Jazz Northwest, we check out some new releases by The Young Lizards, Scenes, Dee Daniels and others. On the live music scene, The Portland Jazz Festival ends this weekend, but the Frank DeMiero Jazz Festival begins Thursday with Dee Daniels back in the area to sing.

We'll also sample some of the music to be heard at the Highline Classic Jazz Festival next Saturday and include an old record with Ken Wiley playing trombone! (It is an electrical recording)

The Panama Hotel is more than a century old and it still operates today in what was known as Japan Town, between China Town and the historic Jackson Street district in Seattle. 

Jamie Ford's novel, Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet captures the World War II era when the hotel became a focal point for the Japanese community, when Japanese Americans were being forcibly removed from coastal areas and sent to inland internment camps.

Phil Sparks is one of the Seattle area's most popular jazz bass players, and every Friday afternoon he leads a hand-picked jazz trio for an informal session at The Latona Pub during Happy Hour from 5 p.m.to 7 p.m. 

Most of Seattle's top players have played here with Phil Sparks, and the personnel changes from week to week. It's crowded, it's noisy, but it IS happy and the nearest listeners are drawn in to the energetic but acoustic music. 


The Emerald City Jazz Orchestra At Tula's

Feb 2, 2014

This week on Jazz Northwest features highlights from an Emerald City Jazz Orchestra celebration of the Woody Herman Centennial at Tula's in December as well as excerpts from Steve Griggs' Panama Hotel Jazz suite which will receive a full performance at The Seattle Art Museum on February 13. 

Norman Durkee died January 12 after a rich and productive life that produced all kinds of music in many different settings. 


This week on Jazz Northwest, Jim Wilke picks some of his favorite CDs issued in 2013 by Northwest jazz artists.

Not necessarily an exhaustive nor exclusive list, this hour does provide some examples of the high level of jazz recordings produced in the Pacific Northwest.   

The complete list will be posted at jazzafterhours.org/bestcds.html which includes national and international releases as well.  

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