Studio Sessions

Coming Up:

9/4/2015 - Terence Blanchard @ 12:15 p.m.

9/11/2015 - Anton Schwartz Trio @ 12:15 p.m.

9/17/2015 - Susan Pascal Quartet @ 12:15 p.m.

9/24/2015 - Jovino Santos Neto Quinteto @ 12:15 p.m.

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). 

Justin Steyer / KPLU

Blues singer Janiva Magness just released a new CD, Stronger For It, and was recently in town performing at Jazz Alley. She and her 4-piece band visited KPLU’s Seattle Studio and performed 4 songs from the new CD. It’s her 9th release, but the first to feature songs written by her.

Justin Steyer / KPLU

Drummer Jack DeJohnette was 23 years old when he made his first recording with The Charles Lloyd Quartet in 1966.  Since that time he’s been a driving (and we do mean ‘driving’) force in the world of jazz.  This year he’ll be celebrating his birthday (August 9th) all year long with a number of special events, such as his current tour with his old friends, Chick Corea on piano and Stanley Clarke on bass.

Justin Steyer / KPLU

Singer Tierney Sutton’s band were in deep discussion five minutes before their live in-studio performance on KPLU last Wednesday, trying to decide which three songs to play for our audience. It was just one example of how interconnected each member of this quartet really is.

We learned more about each band member’s extra-musical skills were divided, how they’d go about sharing their surely impending Grammy Award (they've been nominated for five so far), and Tierney told us about walking the fine line as lyrical story teller and vocal improviser.

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.

Justin Steyer / KPLU

In the first generation of be-bop musicians, Ray Brown was King of the Jazz Bass.  Today, the ‘go-to’ jazz bassist is Christian McBride, so we felt quite lucky when he said he had the time to stop into to KPLU studios for a performance with pianist, Peter Martin.

Justin Steyer / KPLU

Tenor saxophonist/composer, Benny Golson is now in his second half-century as a touring and recording jazz artist.  He began performing almost 60 years ago and recorded his first LP as a bandleader 55 years ago … and if his stop by the KPLU studios last week is any indication, he shows no signs of slowing down now.

Blues singer and harmonica player, Kim Wilson, thinks it’s very healthy for people to drop their emotional guard every now and then and let themselves get smacked around by a great blues performance. 

Justin Steyer / KPLU

"If you’ve got music in your heart, you’re gonna be a happy person, no matter what."

That’s what trumpeter Arturo Sandoval told KPLU's Jazz on the Grooveyard host Kevin Kniestedt, as he recalls growing up in rural Cuba and having a trumpet teacher tell him (at age 10) that he had no talent and should not pursue music. 

Obviously, Sandoval, who is now known as one of the world’s foremost jazz trumpeters, didn’t listen to the teacher and it’s a pure delight to hear him tell the story in this latest installment of KPLU's Studio Sessions. 

A Mis Abuelos by trumpeter Arturo Sandoval is a song in which during 5 minutes and 25 seconds, Sandoval manages to record a song with literally everything a trumpet player ever wanted to do in it.

Lightening fast fingers, unbelievable range that didn’t compromise the tone, and intense energy. Trumpeter and former Tonight Show bandleader Doc Severinsen is quoted as saying “Who in the hell is this guy?”

Find out this Friday (1/13 at 12:15 PM PST) when Sandoval comes in for a studio session  at KPLU.

Read more on Groove Notes.

Justin Steyer / KPLU

In November, Chick Corea celebrated his 70th birthday with four weeks of concerts at The Blue Note in New York. However, when he walked into the KPLU studios in early December it was impossible to see him as a 70-year-old man.

He looks 20 years younger, acts 40 years younger and plays piano with as much passion, creativity and fire as he ever did.

Chick Corea's Website

On the heels of a nearly month-long celebration of his 70th birthday at the Blue Note in New York City (which included performances with ten different bands and 30 musicians) legendary jazz pianist Chick Corea will offer a rare opportunity for radio listeners tomorrow afternoon on KPLU.

At 12:15 p.m. Pacific Time Corea will be joining Kevin Kniestedt in the KPLU Seattle performance studio for a live interview and solo piano performance. This is a real treat for us as Corea so rarely offers performances of this type.

Read more on Groove Notes.

Justin Steyer / KPLU

It would seem that jazz vocalist, Sophie Milman is in motion constantly.  She was born in Russia, raised in Israel and moved to Canada when she was in her late teens.  Now, at age 27, she’s just released her 6th CD and seems to be perpetually on tour.

With someone moving as fast as Sophie, we were lucky to get her and her band into the KPLU studios for a live performance/interview, hosted by Kevin Kniestedt.

Justin Steyer / KPLU

19-year-old saxophonist/singer, Grace Kelly is immensely gifted.  She’s also a lot of fun to hang around with.  Right before this studio session, interviewer Kevin Kniestedt asked her if she had already chosen the songs she would be performing that day. 

She said she might not know what songs she’d be doing until she did them, which prompted someone behind to say (in jest), "Well, that’s just unimaginably inappropriate."

Grace turned around, unleashed one of her disarmingly charming smiles and replied, “That’s me!”  Right then and there knew we were in for a good time. 

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. 

Justin Steyer / KPLU

When Joe Sample (piano), Wilton Felder (saxophone), and Wayne Henderson (trombone) moved from Houston to LA to being their collective recording career, they called their band The Jazz Crusaders.  Their focus was acoustic be-bop tinged with R&B and soul music.  In 1971, they dropped the word ‘Jazz’ from their name, began delving into jazz-funk and became world-famous as The Crusaders

Justin Steyer / KPLU

Brazilian-born, New York-based pianist/vocalist, Eliane Elias, has covered a lot of musical territory in her recording career.  Some of her CD’s have been straight-ahead be-bop. Others have focused on Brazilian music. She has also very successfully transformed familiar pop tunes into fresh-sounding jazz. 

In this interview, KPLU’s Nick Francis asks Eliane how she balances all these approaches to music.

Justin Steyer / KPLU

In this studio session, we welcomed Donald Harrison (alto saxophone, congas) and Glen David Andrews (trombone), both of whom were born in New Orleans’ Treme neighborhood, cut their musical teeth on the music of Treme, and can be seen in the HBO television series, Treme

Currently they’re also part of an ever-changing line-up of New Orleans musicians touring with a show called A Night In Treme which is bringing the music of Treme’s Congo Square to cities all over America - including Seattle's Jazz Alley through Sunday night.

Justin Steyer / KPLU

Relive last week’s studio session with vocalist/pianist, Karrin Allyson, who was joined by guitarist Rod Fleeman.

When Julian Lage was 8 years old, his skill as a guitarist was the subject of a documentary film, Jules at Eight. Before he entered his teens, he had already performed with Carlos Santana and jazz vibraphonist, Gary Burton.

He made his first jazz recording with Burton at age 15, and at age 22 he released his first CD as a band leader. Now, at the ripe old age of 24, he's just released his second CD, called Gladwell.

To celebrate and promote the new recording, Julian is traveling the country with his quintet, and stopped by the KPLU studios last week to treat us to three delightful pieces of music.

Pianist, vocalist, producer and songwriting legend (and Rock n Roll Hall Of Fame inductee), Allen Toussaint stopped by the KPLU studios on June 1 and took us on a sweet and uplifting trip to New Orleans with his music.

Mr. Toussaint has crossed many paths in his illustrious career in music. He has produced, written for, and performed with music giants such as Dr. John, Paul McCartney, Paul Simon, Elvis Costello, Boz Scaggs and Irma Thomas to name a few.

We were pleased to welcome jazz violin virtuoso, Regina Carter to the KPLU studios on June 1 for a unique performance and interview with Evening Jazz host, Abe Beeson.

Accompanying Carter were Will Holshouser on accordion, and Yacouba Sissoko on the kora, a beautiful and unique African harp. The trio performed two selections from Carter’s latest CD, Reverse Thread: Kanou and N’teri (video below) which explore African music in very fresh, surprising and delightful ways.

Pianist, Taylor Eigsti and vocalist/guitarist, Becca Stevens, stopped by the KPLU Seattle studios on May 16th to brighten an otherwise rainy Monday afternoon in the Pacific Northwest with an performance and interview, hosted by Evening Jazz host Abe Beeson.

Live sessions in the KPLU Performance Studio are always fun.  However, when saxophonist, Joe Lovano, stopped by with his group, Us Five, it was more than fun.  It was also an honor. 

Some jazz singers excel at singing standards. Others excel at scat-singing or vocalese (writing lyrics for instrumental improvisations and singing them). However, Grammy award-winning vocalist Kurt Elling can do it all.

He easily proved it in front of a small studio audience of Leadership Circle members on April 15th with along with two long-time musical colleagues; pianist, Laurence Hobgood, and guitarist, John McLean.

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.

KPLU was pleased to welcome ukulele virtuoso, Jake Shimabukuro, into our studios on March 29, 2011. Jake played before not only a record number of KPLU Leadership Circle members, but four young ukulele players from Foster High School we recently featured in an installment of Artscape, which explored the rising popularity of the ukulele in local schools.

We've said it before and we'll say it again: Having guitarist/vocalist/storyteller, John Pizzarelli, as a guest in the KPLU studios is always great fun. He loves making music, he loves telling stories and he loves entertaining his fans.

When he visited us recently for this performance/interview with Abe Beeson, several members of the KPLU Leadership Circle attended the event, and John Pizzarelli played to this small group the same way he'd play to a full house at Lincoln Center.

Guitarist, singer, radio host and snappy dresser John Pizzarelli joins us for a Studio Session on Thursday, March 3 at 12:15pm.  Here's a clip of his appearance on the PBS  show "Legends of Jazz."

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