Piano

Justin Steyer / KPLU

For many years, pianist Helen Sung devoted herself fully to classical piano studies.  So much so, in fact, that when a friend invited her out to hear Harry Connick, Jr., Helen had no idea who he was.

When she heard Harry do a series of solo piano jazz pieces she says she nearly jumped out of her skin. She’d never heard piano played like that.

From that point on, Helen focused her considerable talents on jazz. Today, Helen Sung is one of the most inventive and respected jazz pianists of her generation.

Justin Steyer / KPLU

Jon Cleary has the rare ability to transcend his geographical background. As you will learn in his interview with All Blues host, John Kessler, Cleary grew up in England and was exposed to the New Orleans sound by his uncle at a young age. 

Cleary saved up enough money to visit New Orleans, planning to stay a few weeks, but 33 years later he is still there and has become one of the city's best known musicians. 

Justin Steyer / KPLU

Though this was not guitarist John Scofield's first stop into the KPLU Seattle studios this time he was joined John Medeski (piano), Billy Martin (drums), and Chris Wood (bass). As you will hear in this session, the group mixes jazz, funk and modern soul to create what host Abe Beeson called a groovy sound of their own. 

Justin Kauflin: A Pianist And His Mentor

Jun 26, 2014
Aaron Hushagen / KPLU

Justin Kauflin is a 23-year-old jazz pianist who is also one of the subjects of a new documentary film called Keep On Keepin’ On.

The other subject of the film is Justin’s musical and spiritual mentor, jazz trumpet legend, Clark Terry. Kauflin has been a musician since childhood. He’s also been blind since age 11. The film deals with Justin’s apprenticeship and friendship with the 93-year-old Terry.

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

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

Pianist/singer Marcia Ball is one of the best-known  players of Louisiana blues, swamp blues and boogie-woogie. While in town for a show at Jazz Alley, we were lucky enough to have Marcia stop by for a solo performance and interview hosted by All Blues' John Kessler. 

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. 

Jazz pianist Dave Brubeck, responsible for the recording of the seminal album Time Out which still ranks as one of the best selling albums of all-time, and the first jazz musician to have a single sell 1 millions albums, died this morning of heart failure. He was 91.

In 1951, he formed the Dave Brubeck Quartet, and made a regular habit of touring and and performing at college campuses, bringing his musical approach to a younger audience. In 1954, Brubeck became only the second musician at that time to appear on the cover of Time Magazine.

The career that Brubeck sustained had an enormous impact on musicians and fans.

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Wikimedia Commons

Jazz icon Dave Brubeck has died this morning in a Connecticut hospital one day short of his 92nd birthday. 

Long-time manager-producer-conductor Russell Gloyd told The Chicago Tribune that Brubeck died of heart failure en route to "a regular treatment with his cardiologist." 

Brubeck attained pop-star status over the course of his long career with songs such as "Blue Rondo a la Turk" and "Take Five" (which easily secured the #1 spot on our Jazz 100 list).

Justin Steyer / KPLU

On a tour to promote their first collaboration, Crossing The Imaginary Divide, Bela Fleck and the Marcus Roberts Trio stopped by the KPLU Seattle studios for a live performance and interview, hosted by Mary McCann.  If you’re looking for music that will lift your heart, this is the session for you!

Justin Steyer / KPLU

Pianist Cyrus Chestnut came onto the jazz scene slowly. From the mid-1980’s to mid-1990’s, he apprenticed as pianist for Jon Hendricks, Better Carter, Donald Harrison and Wynton Marsalis. Since then he has toured the world numerous times and recorded 15 albums as a leader.

Justin Steyer / KPLU

Just in case you haven’t noticed, pianist Ramsey Lewis is having a great career. 

He’s won Grammy awards, hosted successful television and radio jazz programs and even had cross-over hit records on the pop music charts (quite by accident, he assures us).  He’s been playing professionally since about 1950 and has released more than 80 albums so far. 

Justin Steyer / KPLU

If we were to make a list of all the recording and composing credits of the members of The Cookers, it would go on for many pages. 

This is an amazing collection of jazz musicians—Billy Hart (drums), Cecil McBee (bass), Eddie Henderson (trumpet), David Weiss (trumpet), Billy Harper (sax) and George Cables (piano). 

When pianist Lynne Arriale released her first CD in 1994, KPLU began playing music from it right away.  It was clear to us that Lynne had that "something extra" that separates good musicians from great musicians.

Over the course of her career she’s continued to build on that quality, so we were especially pleased to finally welcome her as a guest artist in our Seattle performance studio.

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