Studio Sessions

Live Studio Sessions from KPLU feature some of the best jazz and blues musicians performing in the KPLU studios in downtown Seattle, Washington. Featuring artists such as Arturo Sandoval, Gregory Porter, Christian McBride and more! This is an audio version of the podcast. A video version is available as well. 

Coming Up:

7/25/2016 - Project Paradiso (the music of Ennio Morricone and Henry Mancini!) @ 12.15 p.m.

7/28/2016 - Manhattan Transfer @ 12:15 p.m.

8/5/2016 - Trio Subtonic @ 1:30 p.m.

When Anat Cohen returned to the KPLU studios this spring, the bright young star of the clarinet was joined by a piano great who’s been looking back on a fantastic career. Live in our studios, the two friends were intently focused on the moment at hand.

The pair talked about their shared love of New York City, where they both live and play, and about the intimacy of the duet setting. Fred also shared his thoughts on the new documentary "The Ballad Of Fred Hersch," and his own upcoming memoir, "Good Things Happen Slowly."

Parker Miles Blohm / KPLU

At a certain point in her not-too-distant past, Seattle’s Eugenie Jones decided she needed to give herself a challenge, something to make her feel more alive.  She decided to try her hand at jazz singing.  It worked out.  

In 2013, Eugenie won the Earshot Jazz Society award for best recording of the year with her debut CD, "Black Lace, Blue Tears".  Her second CD, "Come Out Swingin’," nabbed her the Earshot award for best vocal recording of the year.  So, how did she do it?  Listen to this live studio session and find out.

Eugenie Jones - vocals

Michael Goude

In his third visit to the KPLU studios, Christian McBride’s recent trio album "Live at the Village Vanguard" had just earned him a Grammy for best improvised jazz solo, and let us in on the little-known fact that 99 percent of the big awards that night are awarded well before the national telecast, and that he never gets tired of the red carpet.

McTuff — Back In Da House

Jul 6, 2016

The funk-jazz trio, McTuff did their first KPLU live studio session at 12:15 on an otherwise ordinary afternoon in 2015.  Before the performance, McTuff’s leader and organist, Joe Doria, asked if they should "tone things down" since it was early in the day.  We said they should follow their collective muse.  They did, and they rocked the house.  

A year later they came back and did it all over again — only different.  Here it is.

Joe Doria—organ

D’vonne Lewis—drums

Andy Coe—guitar

Back it 2012, pianist Cyrus Chestnut came to KPLU and treated us to a live, solo piano studio session and a delightfully lively conversation.  Recently, he did it again, only differently.  Different songs and different stories with the same result as his earlier visit—a good time was had by all. 

You’ll love all the songs and we think you’ll particularly like the story about the 9-year-old Cyrus begging his mom to buy him a Thelonious Monk album at Woolworth’s and then taking it to school for show and tell.

Jazz pianist, composer and political activist Abdullah Ibrahim is a true citizen of the world.  He was born and raised in South Africa and has since lived in many countries, spreading the messages of music and freedom wherever he is. 

In this rare and wonderful live studio session, Abdullah treats us to solo piano performances of three of his many compositions as well as a wide-ranging and open-hearted conversation with KPLU/Jazz24 host, Mary McCann.

Parker Miles Blohm / KPLU

Cory Weeds is a key member of the Vancouver B.C. jazz scene. The longtime owner of the Cellar jazz club is now focused on live jazz all around the city, including the TD Vancouver International Jazz Festival (June 24 through July 3).

He's also one of Vancouver's top sax players. His latest album, "This Happy Madness," features the trio of all-star drummer Jeff Hamilton, and shows Cory at the top of his game.

Parker Miles Blohm

The first Ballard Jazz Festival took place in 2003.  The most recent Ballard Jazz Festival (the fourteenth annual) took place this past May.  In the intervening years the festival has grown, continued to get better and better and is now internationally known.

New Soul From Janiva Magness

Jun 1, 2016

Few singers can match the sheer emotional power of Janiva Magness's voice. Over a 30-year career she has gradually found her own songwriting voice as well. 

“The voice is something that allows us to communicate past the limitations of the left brain,” Magness says. “It’s the primary instrument, the first instrument … and more than that, too. The voice has the power to link all the parts of ourselves—the brain, the heart, and even the spirit and the soul. That’s why the ability to sing is a gift, and I love nothing more than sharing it.”

Parker Miles Blohm / KPLU

Two-time Grammy nominee Jane Monheit returned to our studios for another exclusive session this spring, hot on the heels of her latest album, a tribute to Ella Fitzgerald's legendary recordings of the Great American Songbook.

Monheit is no stranger to these timeless standards, as she reminds us with gorgeous, intimate performances of classics by Cole Porter, Duke Ellington, and the Gershwins - with her longtime musical partner Michael Kanan her only accompaniment at the piano.

Jacqueline Tabor: The Lady In The Gown

May 6, 2016
Parker Miles Blohm / KPLU

Northwest vocalist Jacqueline Tabor discovered jazz when she was a kid watching old movies on TV.  She dug the black-and-white films noir that featured beautiful women in gowns singing jazz in dark, smoky nightclubs—she wanted to grow up to do that.  And, whaddaya know?  She’s now a lovely woman in a gown singing jazz from here to Japan.  

The nightclubs aren’t as smoky as they once were, but here she is, living her childhood dream—and doing it with a terrific band (see credits).  Together, they’ll treat you to three lovely pieces of music and a few good stories.

Parker Miles Blohm

To Seattle jazz lovers, guitarist Greg Ruby is probably best-known for the five years he spent as a member of the gypsy-jazz group, Pearl Django.  Since then, Greg has been involved in a number of groups and projects, the latest being ‘The Rhythm Runners.’ 

The band specializes in Prohibition-era jazz and, more specifically, the Prohibition jazz composed by a man named Franklin D. Waldron. 

Mr. Waldron was one of the pioneers of the Seattle jazz scene, and his music is featured on The Rhythm Runners new CD, ‘Washington Hall Stomp.’

Velocity — South Sound Sound

Apr 13, 2016

In the Puget Sound area, many may see Seattle as the hub of the regional jazz community, but Tacoma, just about 30 miles down I-5 has an extremely happening scene, as well. 

Take the band, Velocity—these guys get up on their back legs and howl. Their music is jazz rooted in funk and fusion and they can definitely throw down some killer grooves.  And they’re always challenging themselves.

Seattle pianist Ann Reynolds has been in a passionate relationship with Cuban music since her first visit to that country in 2000.  She fell in love with the music and people of that island and has returned there many times to study, compose and perform. 

Here at home she leads a band called Clave Gringa as a vehicle for her Cuban-flavored compositions.  When Clave Gringa came in for their first (of many, we hope) studio sessions, they performed three of Ann’s songs from their latest release, "Para Cuba Con Amor."  And, yes, you definitely feel the love.

The 200 Trio — 'It’s Fun To Swing'

Apr 1, 2016
Parker Miles Blohm / KPLU

The three members of The 200 Trio are all in their early 20s, but as you’ll hear in this live KPLU Studio Session, they have a great affection for tried and true jazz standards from the 1940s, ‘50s and early ‘60s. 

When asked by host Abe Beeson why they were draw to this material their answers were varied, but all right on the money.  They said that they all really loved listening to that music and that the chord progressions were fun to play.  The last answer, though, is the one we liked best:  “And it’s fun to swing.” 

Amen.  It’s fun to listen to, as well.  Have at it.

Since the early 1990s, Seattle jazz lovers have had (and continue to have) the highly rewarding opportunity to see and hear the development of a great talent — pianist and composer Nelda Swiggett.  When she recorded with her first band, Room To Move, her lyrical improvisatory and composition skills were already on display. 

Parker Miles Blohm / KPLU

When trumpeter Terell Stafford was nearing the completion of his classical trumpet studies in college, he was also developing an interest in jazz.  Since jazz was frowned upon by his classical mentors, Terell had to meet covertly with the school’s jazz studies professor, pianist Kenny Barron.  Barron agreed to help Stafford, but only if they could keep it a secret from the classical professor.  So Terell began going to jam sessions.  

One night — well, no, we’ll stop here.  Terell tells the story much better in this performance/interview with KPLU’s Abe Beeson.  

The a cappella group, Take 6, really needs no introduction.  They’re loved by fans all over the planet and are the most award-winning vocal group in history — awards that just happen to include 10 Grammys. 

And, as if having these guys in the KPLU performance studio wasn’t enough of a treat, Take 6 did a song they’d never done live.  It was their first live performance of what would become their most recent single, "When Angels Cry," and will also be released on their next album, coming out sometime this year.

Singers:

Parker Miles Blohm / KPLU

All the members of this U.S. Navy Sextet agree that serving their country by playing jazz is a pretty sweet gig. 

Heck, yes!  Unlike most young jazz musicians, they have steady work, decent pay, job security and great benefits.  And do they ever have fun.

Other military jazz bands that we’ve hosted seem to gravitate to music from the golden age of jazz—the ‘modern jazz’ of the late 50s through mid-60s—guided by the greats: artists like Miles, Coltrane and Bill Evans. 

Michael Goude

 

 

In 2012, at age 24, drummer/vocalist Jamison Ross won the prestigious Thelonious Monk International Jazz Competition, without singing a note. After all, it was a drumming competition. Part of the prize was a recording contract with the Concord Jazz recording label. 

 

Earlier this year his record (titled 'Jamison') was released and this time it was his singing that caught the ears of critics and jazz fans, alike.  And now he’s been nominated for a ‘Best Jazz Vocal Album’ Grammy award. 

 

Parker Miles Blohm / KPLU

Pink Martini founder/pianist Thomas Lauderdale described the band this way: “If the United Nations had a house band in 1962, hopefully we’d be that band.”  

Fair enough, but after their visit to the KPLU studios for a live performance and interview with our All Things Considered host Ed Ronco, we feel strongly that they should be the house band for the planet from this day forward.  Their music is pan-global; their hearts are pure, and they make you want to dance.  So, why not?  Enjoy.

Pianist Danae Greenfield grew up and went to high school in Bellevue, Washington, where her talent and instinct for improvisation made her a standout in her school jazz band. 

She’s now a student at the prestigious Berklee School Of Music in Boston, playing and studying music during almost all of her waking hours. 

So, Christmas 2015 comes along and what does she do?  She returns to Bellevue to visit her friends and family —and play music during almost all of her waking hours. 

The Chairman of the Board.  Ol' Blue Eyes.  Those are just two of the appellations applied to Frank Sinatra over his long and revolutionary career.  To celebrate Sinatra’s 100th birthday (December 12, 1915) the Tierney Sutton Band launched a tour called "A Century Of Sinatra."  When they brought the show to Seattle, we invited this marvelous singer and her long-time trio for a studio session.

Parker Miles Blohm

Hugh Masekela is a man of many facets. He’s one of the world’s most famous jazz trumpet/flugelhorn players.  He’s also a singer, composer, political activist and (probably most germane to what you’re about to hear) a wonderful, witty and wise story-teller.

Parker Miles Blohm

Clarinetist (and sometime saxophonist) Anat Cohen is a one-woman music-blender.  Born and raised in Tel Aviv and now living in New York, Anat lays out a world of influences in almost every song she plays.  Jazz, classical, klezmer, tango, Brazilian — whatever style or genre of music you can think of, you’ll hear at least echoes of it in Ms. Cohen’s music if you listen long enough.  (And by "long enough" we mean, like, an evening’s performance from her and her band.) 

Chances are, you’ve never heard a quartet quite like The Westerlies.  Generally, a jazz quartet is a rhythm section (piano, bass, drums) with a lead instrument (say, saxophone).  Not The Westerlies.  No, no.  Here you have two trumpets and two trombones.  With this unique configuration, they present what is best described as chamber jazz—original compositions, unique arrangements and beautiful improvisation.

Parker Miles Blohm

For 15 years, The Seattle Women’s Jazz Orchestra has been a mainstay of the Northwest jazz scene, and ever since KPLU has been doing studio sessions in our Seattle studios, we’ve wanted to have them come in and play live for you.  One problem:  our studio isn’t big enough for the entire orchestra. 

Parker Miles Blohm

Karrin Allyson, a world-renowned jazz singer and a great friend to KPLU, has released a new album of some of her favorite songs from the musicals of Rodgers & Hammerstein—musicals that include "Oklahoma!", "The King And I" and "The Sound Of Music".    

Parker Miles Blohm

Trumpeter Marcus Printup can really, really play.  He’s also really, really devoted to jazz education and mentorship, which is what brought him to the Northwest.  

Parker Miles Blohm / KPLU

New Orleans trumpeter Christian Scott aTunde Adjuah has a new record out.  It’s called ‘Stretch Music,’ which is a perfect title.  Not only does Christian stretch the idea of ‘jazz’ over all genres of music with this release, he also stretches how a record can be heard.  

‘Stretch Music’ has its own app—which turns the album into the first interactive media player as a record.  This means that the casual listener, or a musician who wants to play along with the songs, can listen to the instruments he or she selects.  

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