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.  

10 Artists You Should Have Known In 2013

Dec 26, 2013
Courtesy of the artist

It's usually easy to keep up with your favorite artists. You can follow them on Twitter, like them on Facebook and check them out when they come to your town.

Falling in love with unfamiliar bands? That's not quite as simple. There are so many aspiring musicians out there, you can't possibly listen to all of them.

But a few lucky people get to listen to random new artists for a living, including public radio hosts. So we asked NPR stations around the country to highlight their favorite musical discoveries of the year. The results ranged from a Pulitzer Prize winner to stars of the Kansas City BBQ circuit.

Read on for more about the 10 artists you should have known in 2013.

Alex Crick


Seattle jazz icon pianist Overton Berry leads his trio in an "Art of Jazz" concert in this week's episode.

Overton Berry is a member of the Seattle Jazz Hall of Fame and his career goes back for six decades not only in Seattle and the West Coast, but beyond to Hong Kong, Viet Nam, and elsewhere.

Justin Steyer / KPLU

The 17th Annual KPLU Christmas Jam, our much-anticipated holiday concert, featured jazz vocalist Cheryl Jewell and her trio on December 5 live from the Lagerquist Hall in the Mary Baker Russell Music Center on the Pacific Lutheran University campus. 

Cheryl performed Christmas selections with the University Jazz Ensemble under the direction of Dr. David Deacon-Joyner.  

Watch a replay of the entire concert, or listen above.  The concert will also be rebroadcast at 2 p.m. on Christmas Day.

Northwest jazz artists have produced a great selection of holiday music, and you can hear a full hour of it this Sunday at 2 PM Pacific on Jazz Northwest from 88.5, KPLU.

Leading off the program is the by-now classic 1989 album "Year 'Round Christmas" by the late Don Lanphere, the same band that played the very first Christmas Jam live from KPLU.

The Dave Brubeck Quartet was one of the primary groups moving jazz from the dance hall to the concert hall in the 50s. The cooler, more intellectual style of music found great success on college campuses and music departments (which previously discouraged it) started adding jazz to the curriculum.

The Seattle Repertory Jazz Orchestra, co-directed by Clarence Acox and Michael Brockman recently presented a concert of big-band arrangements of music by Dave Brubeck and Paul Desmond and highlights from that concert can be heard in this episode of Jazz Northwest. 

Justin Steyer / KPLU

To say that the voice of singer Rachelle Ferrel  is supple would be to understate its magnificence. Ms. Ferrel’s voice has a 6-octave range which conveys deep and surprising levels of emotion.

As you can imagine, KPLU was very proud to host her and her pianist, Mo Pleasure, in an intimate studio session.

Justin Steyer / KPLU

On a beautiful fall day, jazz singer/songwriter, Halie Loren, made her second visit to KPLU’s performance studio. 

Her first live KPLU performance was so well received in the fall of 2012, we couldn’t resist inviting her back as she passed through town on a tour that celebrates the release of her latest CD, Simply Love

Justin Steyer / KPLU

Guitarist Pat Martino and saxophonist James Carter might be separated in age by a generation but musically, they’re absolute equals—Martino is just as agile and innovative on his guitar as Carter is on his saxophone.

Justin Steyer / KPLU

Every time her tour schedule brings her to Seattle's Jazz Alley, Grammy-nominated vocalist Karrin Allyson makes a stop in the KPLU performance studio to visit her friend, Dick Stein.

Justin Steyer / KPLU

OK, maybe "anarchist" is too harsh a word to apply to singer/songwriter/pianist/ukulele player, Nellie McKay, but as you will hear in this interview, Nellie is a woman of strong beliefs, which she presents pleasantly, politely and often with great wit.  But in her conversation and in her songs, her opinions and social observations are definitely on display.

Justin Steyer / KPLU

Forty years ago, a band called Eleventh House helped set the standard for what would become known as Jazz-Rock Fusion.  The band consisted of Larry Coryell (guitar), Alphonse Mouzon (drums), Mike Mandel (keyboards), Danny Trifan (bass) and Randy Brecker (trumpet).  

On this leg of the Eleventh House Reunion Tour, Mandel couldn’t make the gig so Larry brought in one of Seattle’s finest pianists, Marc Seales, to fill in. 

As you’ll hear in this performance, Marc more than holds his own.

Justin Steyer / KPLU

“’Nuff said,” is right.  When jazz fans hear the names Monty Alexander, John Clayton and Jeff Hamilton in conjunction, they know they’ll be treated great music, played with inspiration, joy and absolutely amazing technical chops.  

Monty (piano), John (bass) and Jeff (drums) have performed together off and on for almost 40 years. 

Justin Steyer / KPLU

During the 1960s there was a golden age of soul music in America. Some of the greatest songs from that era came from the Stax Recording Studio in Memphis, Tennessee. A short list of artists who recorded there could include Otis Redding, Rufus Thomas, Sam & Dave and the instrumental band led by Hammond organist, Booker T. Jones—Booker T. And The M.G.s.

Justin Steyer / KPLU

On his first trip to Seattle, Grammy-nominated vocalist Gregory Porter stopped by the KPLU Seattle studios for a live studio session that you do not want to miss.  This also happened to be the day that Blue Note Records announced the release of Porter's new album, Liquid Spirit. 

Justin Steyer / KPLU

Frank Vignola is well-known as one of the most amazing guitarists on today’s jazz scene. Five years ago he hooked up with a young, extremely accomplished guitarist named Vinny Raniolo.

Since then they’ve worked together in a number of different group configurations but they’re at their best when it’s just the two of them, each armed with an acoustic guitar and a great desire to have a good time.

And that’s exactly what they do in this studio session with jazz host, Abe Beeson.

Justin Steyer / KPLU

During this performance interview with The Greyboy Allstars, KPLU jazz host, Abe Beeson, called their latest CD (Inland Emperor) ‘the party album of 2013.’

The Greyboy Allstars’ reputation as a party/dance band is well-earned.

Justin Steyer / KPLU

Vocalist, pianist and composer, Ann Hampton Callaway has had success in the worlds of jazz, Broadway and cabaret. She’s also one of our favorite KPLU Studio Session guests.

We invite her to perform every time she passes through Seattle because, from one visit to the next, we never know what kind of surprises she’ll treat us to.

This time around, with host Abe Beeson and a small audience of KPLU Leadership Circle members, Ann turned Our Love Is Here To Stay into an audience-participation scat-along which was enjoyed by all.

Justin Steyer / KPLU

Want a good recipe for soul music?

Here’s what you do: Start with vocalist, Joan Osborne, who has had pop music hits, performed on The Grand Old Oprey, toured with members of The Grateful Dead and yet never strayed from her roots in rhythm ‘n blues music.

Justin Steyer / KPLU

In 2010, actress/singer, Molly Ringwald wrote her first book, Getting The Pretty Back. The "pretty" in the title is a reference to what is perhaps Molly’s most famous movie, "Pretty In Pink" (1986), directed by John Hughes.

She also worked with Hughes in "Sixteen Candles" and "The Breakfast Club." But before Molly Ringwald became one of the world’s most famous teenagers, she was a jazz singer. 

Yes. She recorded a traditional jazz (Dixieland) album when she was 6 years old, accompanied by her father, Bob Ringwald, and his Fulton Street Jazz Band.

Justin Steyer / KPLU

Need more Jimmy?

You can listen to the wildly popular, live radio performance of Jimmy Jazzoid Rides Again below! Want to take Jimmy Jazzoid with you, wherever you go?  You can download the podcast here

Canadian vocalist, Holly Cole, is one of greatest song interpreters alive. 

She can take a song you think you know and bring something out of it that you’ve never heard before. 

For example, her latest CD, Night, contains Holly’s inventive re-imagining of a James Bond theme (You Only Live Twice), as well as songs by Danny O’Keefe, Tom Waits, Captain Beefheart, Rod McKuen and Gordon Lightfoot. 

The 12th official Jazz Appreciation Month began when April did. But today, the Smithsonian Museum of American History, which founded the JAM campaign, kick started its own celebration with a series of performances, discussions and ceremonies.

Justin Steyer / KPLU

In this studio session singer, Jackie Ryan, gives us three of her favorites:  a gospel-tinged version of Accentuate The Positive, a beautiful reading of I Loves You, Porgy and the Spanish-language song, La Puerta, dedicated to her mother.

As you’ll hear Jackie  say in this interview, she grew up singing.  After years as a touring R&B singer, Jackie discovered jazz and never looked back.  Today, she’s one of America’s finest jazz singers. 

Verve Records

Over the past few years, Take 5’s theme-based music lists have covered a wide variety of subjects. We’ve covered all the seasons of the year, all the holidays, different types of weather, the careers of jazz legends, the cutting-edge work of up-and-coming jazz artists and have gotten into the musical minutiae of things like flowers, birds, baseball, prohibition and civil rights.  And now it’s time for Take 5 to go meta and present a five-song list of songs about….LISTS.  It had to happen sooner or later.

Time is on their side: Ageless jazz drumming

Mar 6, 2013

I've been listening to two very good new albums led by drummers. After learning that both men are in their early 70s, I can't help but wonder how I process that fact in what I hear.

"Killer" Ray Appleton (b. 1941) and Barry Altschul (b. 1943) practice different styles. But they both came of musical age in the hard-bop era, spent many years living in Europe and eventually returned to New York. In other words, they've each got a lot of experience.

Justin Steyer / KPLU

On a recent visit to Seattle, Juan de Marcos and The Afro-Cuban All Stars stopped by for a three-song studio session with KPLU in the KCTS 9 studios.  How good was it? 

Well, as host, Abe Beeson says, “If this music doesn’t move you, you’ve got no place to go.”

Watch the full interview and performance:


The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) encourages us to acknowlege World Radio Day

"...a day to celebrate radio as a medium; to improve international cooperation between broadcasters; and to encourage major networks and community radio alike to promote access to information and freedom of expression over the airwaves. "

Hör∂ur Sveinsson

A double bill featuring a piano trio from Iceland, and a six trombone band is featured on Jazz Northwest this week.  The groups were recorded on separate occasions playing at Tula's in Seattle.