Jazz Northwest

Jim Levitt

Bria Skonberg plays trumpet and sings as she leads an all-star sextet in concert at Centrum's Jazz Port Townsend on Jazz Northwest on 88.5 KPLU on Sunday, Sept. 29, 2013 at 2 p.m. PDT.  

Born in Chilliwack, British Columbia, she studied at Capilano University in North Vancouver before moving to New York. She has been endorsed by veteran musicians and is active on the New York scene as well as an international touring star while still in her 20s.

The 15th Earshot Jazz Festival begins October 1 with more than 50 concerts in various venues around Seattle.  On today's show we'll sample some of the music at this year's festival including Keith Jarrett, Vinicius Cantuaria, Dave Douglas, Darcy James Argue.  We'll also highlight live jazz for the coming week.

Jim Levitt

Two excellent jazz singers, René Marie and Sachal Vasandani team up in concert on this Jazz Northwest broadcast from Centrum's Jazz Port Townsend, held the last weekend of July each summer.  The concert aired on Sunday, September 15 at 2 PM Pacific on 88.5 KPLU.  It was recorded before a large audience in McCurdy Pavilion at Fort Worden during the Festival.  The two singers, obviously enjoying each other, trade songs and join in some duets.   They were accompanied by an all-star rhythm section of George Cables (piano), Chuck Deardorf (bass) and Joe LaBarbera (drums).

Jazz Northwest this week will feature several new CDs by Northwest jazz artists, including former Seattle flutist and pianist Anne Drummond who has an active career in New York.   Several artists appearing at this Sunday's Pony Boy Jazz Picnic have new or recent CDs on this show including The Greg Williamson Quartet, and Jay Thomas' neo Boogaloo band, the Cantaloupes.  

Jim Levitt

The Centrum All-Star Big Band directed by Clarence Acox played a Salute to Quincy Jones at Jazz Port Townsend last July, and Jazz Northwest was there to record the concert.  The full-length concert broadcast aired on Sunday, September 1 at 2 pm (PDT) as part of a series of live concert recordings from this year's festival.

This week on Jazz NW we'll remember some of the influence the late Cedar Walton had on Seattle musicians.  He played Seattle jazz clubs like Parnell's and Jazz Alley, did workshops at Cornish College and arranged and played on Jay Thomas' first album.   We'll hear a young Jay Thomas playing with the seasoned Cedar Walton Trio in 1984, and Cedar Walton's tune "Bolivia" played in concert by Chris Amemiya & Jazz Coalescence issued this year.

Jim Levitt

Anat Cohen has been winning both critics and readers national jazz polls for several years and she tours continually, playing major jazz festivals and clubs around the world.  The last week of July found her in Port Townsend, WA where she was teaching and performing at Centrum's annual jazz workshop and festival at Fort Worden State Park.  Her performance with Dawn Clement, piano, Chuck Deardorf, bass and Jeff Hamilton, drums was recorded for Jazz Northwest and aired on Sunday, August 18 at 2 PM (PDT) on 88.5 KPLU and simultaneously  stream at kplu.org.

"This isn't just midsummer's madness, 

a passing glow, a moment's gladness, 

This is love, I knew it from the night we met. "

Those are Mack Gordon's lyrics for Harry Warren's song, "This Is Always".   It's one of the songs included on Jay Clayton's new CD of Harry Warren songs, "Harry Who?" and it aired on Jazz Northwest this Sunday, August 11 at 2 PM Pacific on 88.5 KPLU and kplu.org.

Jim Levitt

A concert by the Clayton Brothers quintet and special guest Stefon Harris is the first of a seven concert series from Centrum's Jazz Port Townsend which aired on Jazz Northwest, Sunday August 4 at 2 PM PDT on 88.5 KPLU.

Co-led by brothers John Clayton (bass) and Jeff Clayton (alto sax and flute), the group also includes John's son Gerald on piano, Terell Stafford on trumpet, and Obed Calvaire, drums.  John Clayton is also Artistic Director of Jazz Port Townsend and the Jazz Camp which leads up to the weekend festival, now in its 40th year.  Special guest on this concert is the vibraphonist Stefon Harris, who is one of the brightest stars on the insrument.  He has seven CDs as a leader and has been a popular sideman in many situations including the Clayton Brothers.

Every Sunday afternoon at 2 we check out the local jazz scene with the latest CDs by resident musicians and on alternate weeks, location recordings that are available nowhere else!   This week, there's music from CDs by Jay Thomas, Chris Amemiya, Jovino Santos Neto, Larry Barilleau, Clipper Anderson and others.  We'll also remember Floyd Standifer and Don Lanphere.

Vibes master Joe Locke re-visted Seattle recently to play at Tula's with musical friends Thomas Marriott (trumpet, flugelhorn), Jeff Johnson (bass)and John Bishop (drums).   Highlights from that appearance will air on Jazz Northwest, Sunday, July 21 at 2 PM PDT on 88.5 KPLU.  The music includes mostly standards with one stellar original, "Verrazano Moon" by Joe Locke.

Jim Levitt

The longest-running Jazz Festival in the Pacific Northwest is Jazz Port Townsend on the last weekend of July each year.  On Sunday, July 21 at 2 PM (PDT) on Jazz Northwest we’ll sample some of the world-class artists who’ll be at Jazz Port Townsend this year to teach workshops during the week and perform in concerts and intimate clubs on the weekend. Included in this preview are The Clayton Brothers, Steffon Harris (pictured), Anat Cohen, René Marie, Cyrille Aimée & Diego Figueiredo, and Anthony Wilson.

Jim Levitt

Highlights from a concert by the Seattle Repertory Jazz  Orchestra featuring the Great American Songbook aired on Jazz Northwest on Sunday, July 7 at 2 PM PDT.  The concert features Stephanie Porter and Primo Kim as guest vocalists with the SRJO, co-directed by Clarence Acox and Michael Brockman. This is the fifth program in a series featuring great popular songs by George Gershwin, Irving Berlin, Jerome Kern, Cole Porter and others.

Tom Concordia

The Pacific Northwest has continued to produce an unbroken stream of excellent musicians since the days of Ray Charles, Quincy Jones and Ernestine Anderson.  This week on Jazz Northwest, we'll introduce you to Bria Skonberg, a trumpet player and singer from Chilliwack, BC who's now active in New York.  She'll return to the Pacific Northwest to teach and perform at Centrum's Jazz Port Townsend at the end of July.

Pianist and composer Eric Verlinde leads a quartet in an Art of Jazz concert on the next Jazz Northwest on Sunday, June 23 at 2 PM.  The concert highlights come from a monthly series presented by Earshot Jazz at The Seattle Art Museum.   Joining Eric Verlinde in this concert are Thomas Marriott, trumpet and flugelhorn, Dean Schmidt, electric bass and Jeff Busch on drums.

Bert Wilson was an inspiration, mentor, and brilliant saxophonist who passed on June 6 in Olympia at age 73.  Some of his large output of music was featured on Jazz Northwest on Sunday June 16 at 2 PM Pacific on 88.5 KPLU and kplu.org. Although not widely known to the jazz public, he was sought out by saxophonists who regarded him as a guru of improvisation, extended techniques and the history of the instrument.

Multi-instrumentalist Jay Thomas has two tunes with "Cantaloupe" in the title on his latest CD  ("Cantaloupe Island" and "Cantaloupe Woman."  His quartet has hence become known as  "The Cantaloupes" and they've been playing many gigs around the area.  We'll hear them this week on Jazz Northwest , plus a pair of Portland singers Mary Kadderly & Nancy King, Chris Amemiya and Jazz Coalescence, more - plus best bets for live jazz in the coming week including samples from an upcoming Brazilian Choro festival!

Jim Wilke

Jazz Northwest visits two gigs this week. First is a two-guitar trio with John Stowell and Dave Peterson on guitars and Bruce Phares on bass playing at Skarbos during the Ballard Jazz Walk last April. The trio of long-time friends plays a set of standards in very comfortable surroundings with an attentive audience.

Jazz Northwest for May 26

May 26, 2013

The Sixth Annual Bellevue Jazz Festival starts next Wednesday and runs through the weekend.  There will be more than 40 live free performances in restaurants and other public areas in downtown Bellevue, plus three headliner concerts featuring Carlos Cascante y su Tumbao, Kendrick Scott Oracle, and the Cyrus Chestnut Trio + Stefon Harris.   This week we preview the festival and provide more info about other jazz events on Jazz Northwest.

Daniel Sheehan

Noted Dutch saxophonist Tineke Postma recently played in Seattle as part of the Art Of Jazz Series at The Seattle Art Museum.  The concert was recorded for broadcast on Jazz Northwest and aired this Sunday, May 19 on 88.5, KPLU.

Steve Korn

"In the Rain Shadow," a new release by trombonist Chris Amemiya & Jazz Coalescence is one of the features on this week's Jazz Northwest. This sextet includes several top Northwest jazz musicians, including Jay Thomas, Travis Ranney, John Hansen, Jon Hamar and Steve Korn in a live studio session at Music Works Northwest.  The CD has the benefit of imaginative arrangements as well as  the immediacy of a live performance and the quality of a studio recording.  The individual musicians are all at the top of their game.

This concert, given last month at Kirkland Performance Center, was the third SRJO musical program drawn from the rich cultural period of New York’s Harlem in the Twenties and Thirties when African-American writers, visual artists and musicians were creating new and in many cases, daring works.  The concert airs Sunday, May 5 at 2 PM Pacific. 

April is Jazz Appreciation Month, and April 30 is International Jazz Day.  Originally organized and named by the Smithsonian Institution, JAM concludes with International Jazz Day on April 30 with jazz celebrations in many countries around the world.  

The Jazz Journalists Association supports both and adds further encouragement by announcing 26 JJA Jazz Heros, cited for their exemplary work in keeping jazz alive and well in their communities.  Special awards celebrations are taking place in these communities including Seattle, where trombonist and educator Julian Priester will receive his Jazz Hero award on April 30.  (more on the link below)

On this week's Jazz Northwest we'll hear music by Julian Priester and some of the other Jazz Heros in the Pacific Northwest who go above and beyond in keeping the music alive and encouraging new audiences and young musicians.

More Information:

JJA Jazz Awards  

A Seattle all-star group played this month's Art of Jazz concert at The Seattle Art Museum.  Co-led by Chuck Deardorf on bass and Dave Peterson on guitar, the group also includes Rich Cole on tenor sax, Bill Anschell, piano, and John Bishop on drums.   Highlights from the concert aired on Jazz Northwest, 88.5 KPLU on Sunday, April 20 at 2 PM PDT.

April is Jazz Appreciation Month, and it's being celebrated with three jazz festivals around Seattle this month.  On this week's Jazz Northwest we'll preview The Ballard Jazz Festival with over 60 musicians performing in various locations around Ballard, April 17-20.  Included are The Brotherhood of the Drum, The Guitar Summit, and The Ballard Jazz Walk with a dozen locations featuring many of Seattle's favorite jazz artists.  The Festival concludes with the mainstage event at the Nordic Heritage Museum featuring Gary Bartz with the George Colligan Trio, and the Lew Soloff Quartet.

The Northwest jazz scene is not only robust, but varied. Sample it on Jazz Northwest Sunday afternoons.  We’ll hear Latin jazz from Johnny Conga and Lary Barilleau,  straight- ahead from Jay Thomas, Milt Kleeb and Kareem Kandi, singer Eugenie Jones makes her debut and some well worn tunes getting unusual treatments.  

Seattle musician Jay Thomas frequently performs in Japan and has become friends with numerous musicians there with whom he has performed and recorded.   A new release by this "East West Alliance" presents Jay in Japan with his friends and the CD is sampled on this week's Jazz NW.  There's also music by Vern Sielert’s Dektet, Kelley Johnson, Douce Ambiance (a string trio), some Latin jazz with Lary Barilleau and much more, including recommendations for live jazz in the coming week.

High on any list of all-time classic jazz albums is the 1949-50 Miles Davis album "Birth of The Cool" which grew out of an informal composers/ arrangers workshop with Gil Evans, Gerry Mulligan and John Lewis among others.  That album continues to be influential among jazz musicians today, one of them being trombonist Andy Clausen who has studied these recordings and arrangements extensively.  Last summer, he organized a concert of this music which was presented by Earshot Jazz at The Chapel performance space in Seattle.