Justin Steyer / KPLU

John Scofield is one of the most innovative and genre-bending guitarists in jazz.  Over the years, his great talent and eclectic tastes have garnered him a huge international following; a following which includes a lot of people who didn’t know they liked jazz until they heard Scofield. 

On a recent swing through Seattle, Scofield, along his pianist Michael Eckroth, stopped by our studios for a duet performance, hosted by Abe Beeson. 

Roy Manzanares /

I had the opportunity this week to speak by phone with tenor saxophonist Anton Schwartz.

Anton recently moved to the Seattle area. I had the chance to ask him about what brought him to the Puget Sound, and how he has networked himself into the local jazz scene so far.

Music superstars Eric Clapton and Wynton Marsalis got together last April for a concert at the Rose Theater at Lincoln Center in New York City. The concert featured songs hand-picked by Eric Clapton, then arranged by Marsalis, and included highlights such as a guest appearance by Taj Mahal.

While the concert will be released on September 13th on a CD/DVD combo pack (Warner Brothers, CLICK HERE TO BUY), there is an even better opportunity to hear this show for those of us who weren’t able to make the cross country trip to see the show live.


This week features eight festivals that will keep you entertain all weekend long! Follow the links below to see what all the fun is about and bounce around to all the different events.

Anacortes Arts Festival

This weekend's events (and one tonight) will surely make your weekend even better! From one with a very creative event name to the good ol' street fair, you'll want to take a look at the links provided to see more information.

It's been a little damp in the Pacific Northwest these past couple of days, but that doesn't stop any fun from happening. Bring your raincoats and umbrellas and take a peek at this week's fun fests!

Seattle Art Museum

The sun has been shining and the heat has been rising! It's time to get outside and enjoy the wonderful season of summer. This weekend's event varies from activities in a park to annual fun festivals. Take a look at the links inside for some great times to come.

Courtesty of Pearl Django

UPDATE: Tickets are now sold out for this event

Join us Sunday, August 14 for our 19th Summer Jazz Brunch Cruise, a relaxing, two-and-a-half hour cruise on Elliott Bay aboard the Royal Argosy.  Enjoy a scrumptious all-you-can-eat brunch, spectacular views, and great music from "that mighty engine of rhythm," Gypsy jazz masters, Pearl Django

The 27th Annual Victoria International JazzFest is underway now through July 3 in various venues in downtown Victoria.

JazzFest presents a culturally and musically diverse program of 85 stunning performances and four workshop/clinics on 12 stages in downtown Victoria. Over 350 musicians in 66 bands from over nine of the world's most diverse countries including Australia, Cuba, Denmark, Norway, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland and the U.S. will be performing in Victoria during the Fesival.

Mike Murry / Flickr

It's the first weekend of summer and the state is buzzing with events and festivals from Vancouver, B.C., to Port Orchard. Follow the link for five fun events happening this weekend.

dboling40 / flickr

After 25 successful years, Emerald Queen Casino’s Taste of Tacoma still remains Tacoma’s best and most affordable family festival!

"If this isn't the best jazz festival in the world, please send us tickets to a better one."

~Paul de Barros, The Seattle Times

Vancouver's signature festival and British Columbia's biggest music showcase will animate the city for ten days, June 24 - July 3.

From noon to the wee small hours, a rich tapestry of jazz, blues, funk, Latin, fusion, electronica and world music will fill the air at venues big and small, indoor and outdoor across the city.

John Cavanaugh / The Stone Pony

NEW YORK — Bruce Springsteen says the loss of fellow band member Clarence Clemons is "immeasurable" and that he and his bandmates are honored and thankful to have been able to stand beside him for nearly 40 years.

John Cavanaugh / The Stone Pony

ASBURY PARK, N.J. — Dozens of fans have gathered at a legendary New Jersey rock club to mourn the death and celebrate the life and music of saxophonist Clarence Clemons.

The Stone Pony in Asbury Park was the place where Clemons, Bruce Springsteen and other E Street band mates got their musical starts. It opened its doors Sunday to a crowd of about 150 people, many adorned in Springsteen T-shirts.

The Jazz Journalists Association held its annual awards ceremony on Saturday June 11.  A new award category was added this year:  Jazz Hero.  According to JJA,  Jazz Heroes are activists, advocates, altruists, aiders and abettors of jazz who have had significant impact in their local communities.

Honored as a Jazz Hero this year was Seattle's John Gilbreath, executive director of Earshot Jazz, radio host, artistic director of the Bellevue Jazz Festival and Seattle Art Museum's Art of Jazz concert series.  Congratulations, John!

See the complete list of this year's winners, including Lifetime Achievement in Jazz and Musician of the Year.

There are only a few spots left to join All Blues host John Kessler for KPLU's "Red, White & Blues Weekend" 2011 at the 24th Annual Waterfront Blues Festival in Portland July 1-4, 2011.

If you have been waiting to book your spot, the time to act is now as we are almost at capacity!

KPLU has put together a specially-priced listener package which reflects a 25% discount compared to retail prices. 

A world-class blues lineup will perform against the backdrop of the Willamette River with a view of the glacial peaks of Mt. Hood, including: Buddy Guy, Robert Cray, Maceo Parker, Lucinda Williams, Ivan Neville's Dumpstaphunk, Chubby Carrier, Black Joe Louis and the Honeybears, and many, many more!

Book your reservation now!

KPLU has received the Service to America Award from the National Association of Broadcasters Education Foundation (NABEF) for its School of Jazz program. 

The award recognizes outstanding community service by local broadcasters.  Winners will be honored at the Celebration of Service to America Awards dinner on Monday, June 6, at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center in Washington, D.C.

Read more

Join us for KPLU's "Red, White & Blues Weekend" 2011 at the 24th Annual Waterfront Blues Festival in Portland July 1-4, 2011.

KPLU has put together a specially-priced listener package which reflects a 25% discount compared to retail prices. 

A world-class blues lineup will perform against the backdrop of the Willamette River with a view of the glacial peaks of Mt. Hood.  This year's artists include Buddy Guy, Robert Cray, Maceo Parker, Lucinda Williams, Ivan Neville's Dumpstaphunk, Chubby Carrier, Black Joe Louis and the Honeybears, and many, many more.

The New York Times heralds Kurt Elling as "the standout male vocalist of our time." We can't wait to heard Elling perform live at KPLU on April 15, 12:15 p.m. He'll is in town at Dimitriou's Jazz Alley April 14-17 in support of his new album, The Gate.

Elling talked about his new album with Liane Hansen on NPR's Weekend Sunday Edition.

All day your $60 pledge (or greater) earns you a 2-for-1 coupon at Jazz Alley in Seattle!

You don’t even have to give $60 all at once. Become a Sustaining Member and break that down to only $5/month and a hassle free membership to KPLU!

Click here to make your gift and receive the 2-for-1 coupon!

Click here or call 1-800-NPR-KPLU to make your gift receive the 2-for-1 coupon!

Many of our Studio Sessions feature musicians who have shows at Jazz Alley, so be sure to check out some of our recent performances!

We really appreciate your support! Here are some fun extras to get you in the giving mood this spring:

Alec Baldwin doesn't want you to pledge ... or does he?  -  VIDEO: Public Radio Rap  -  Jake Shimabukuro live at KPLU

Herman Ernest III, the beloved drummer and musical director for Dr. John lost his nearly 3-year-long battle with cancer on Sunday morning.  

A funeral service will be held in New Orleans on Saturday, March 12 at First Pilgrim Baptist Church, 1228 Arts Street, preceded by a viewing at the church starting at 8 a.m. Burial will follow at St. Louis No. 3, 3421 Esplanade Avenue.

Photo by Rozarii Lynch

Seattle Opera’s latest production is “Don Quixote.” The show is a spectacle, featuring sets that look like humongous books; computer-animated windmills; and flamenco dancers.

The cast also features a memorable pair from Bothell who is making its operatic debut: Millie, a donkey, and Desperado, a horse.

So now you’ve seen the Jazz 100 list selected by our listeners, and you’ve got some introductory analysis on by Kirsten Kendrick and myself.

I felt that it was appropriate for the next step to be getting some thoughts from a fresh pair of eyes…and who better than two of the best in the business, KPLU’s Midday Jazz host Robin Lloyd and Evening Jazz host Abe Beeson?

See their thoughts on the Groove Notes blog

Irma Thomas celebrates her 70th birthday today.  She's been enthralling audiences for 50 years now, just as she delighted us with her Studio Session at KPLU last October.

Robin Lloyd will be playing a selection from that session on today's Blue Plate Special starting at noon.

Sad to report the passing of British jazz pianist George Shearing, who died Monday from congestive heart failure in New York. He was 91. 

He came to the U.S. in 1947 and quickly established himself as a popular instrumentalist and composer. His recording of "September In The Rain" sold nearly a million copies, and his tune "Lullaby of Birdland" became a popular jazz favorite.

Mr Tickle - Wachoo Wachoo Tribe Congressman / Flickr

It's a sign of the times for the lowly CD: Sony closes a huge CD manufacturing plant, and the same week the band Cake sells a dismal 44,000 copies, the lowest ever for a number one album.

Downloads and file sharing are undeniably edging out the Compact Disc. So, in memoriam, we offer a retrospective of the short but flashy career of the venerable CD.

Over the past few weeks, we’ve asked you to vote for your favorite jazz songs so that KPLU (along with our 24-hour jazz stream - can create a webstream of the 100 quintessential jazz songs of all time. 

Well, the response has been overwhelming! Thousands of votes have come in and we’re now tabulating the results and gathering the songs.

Courtesy Sony/BMB Masterworks

He's made his list, and checked it twice. KPLU All Blues host John Kessler has his 2010 top 10 blues albums list, and he's ready to share it with you.  What albums are on your list? Which from John's list would you not include?  Let's hear what you have to say!

Gail Pettis and Dr. David Deacon-Joyner perform at the KPLU Christmas Jam
Justin Steyer / KPLU

The 14th-Annual KPLU Christmas Jam, our much-anticipated annual free holiday concert and live broadcast, was held on the Pacific Lutheran University campus on December 9, 2010.

This year we featured acclaimed jazz vocalist Gail Pettis, as well as the PLU Jazz Ensemble under the direction of Robert Miller. They performed classic holiday favorites from "This Christmas" to "Baby It's Cold Outside," and closed the program with an audience sing-along of "White Christmas."

Seven years in the making, ‘JAZZ: The Smithsonian Anthology’ will be released by Smithsonian Folkways on March 29th, 2011.

The six-CD box set traces the turning points of this 20th-century tale through its legendary innovators and exemplary exponents: Armstrong, Ellington, Basie, Parker, Gillespie, Davis, Hancock, Corea, Coltrane and many more. The set opens with Scott Joplin’s 1899 “Maple Leaf Rag” and spans the entire century, closing with Tomasz Stańko’s 2003 “Suspended Night Variation VIII.”