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:

8/22/2016 - "Five Man Trio" Jazz Combo from I Corps Army Band,  JBLM @ 12:15 p.m.

8/29/2016 - Marina Christopher @ 12:15 p.m.

9/13/2016 - Joey Alexander @ 12:15 p.m.

9/23/2016 - School of Jazz: 322 Band from PLU @ 12:15 p.m.

Justin Steyer / KPLU

It’s no wonder that pianist, Bill Charlap, loves the music that has come to be called The Great American Songbook—the songs of great Tin Pan Alley composers such as Jerome Kern, George Gershwin and Irving Berlin.  

He grew up with it. 

Justin Steyer / KPLU

Vocalist, Catherine Russell was raised in a musical family.  Her father, Luis, was Louis Armstrong’s band-leader and her mother, Carline Ray, was a member of the International Sweethearts Of Rhythm.

Justin Steyer / KPLU

Curtis Stigers is a singer, songwriter, saxophonist who loves the great Tin Pan Alley songs of George Gershwin and Cole Porter, but finds a greater creative challenge in doing jazz versions of songs by more contemporary songwriters. 

Justin Steyer / KPLU

In this studio session, hosted by Kevin Kniestedt, we’re pleased to introduce you to a woman who we believe is one of the finest up-and-coming international jazz talents to come along in years, Halie Loren. 

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

Bellingham jazz singer, Cheryl Jewell, was raised in Oak Harbor, Washington.  When she went to college in Bellingham, she fell in love with that city.  She left only to pursue her singing career in Chicago, Detroit and Los Angeles. 

After working for several years as a rock and country singer, Cheryl decided to move back to Bellingham and pursue her first musical love—jazz.  With the release of her first jazz CD, My Blue Heaven, Cheryl has placed herself on the top shelf of West Coast jazz singers. 

Justin Steyer / KPLU

Over the past 20 years, vocalist, Karrin Allyson, has recorded 13 albums that cover a vast musical territory. She’s explored The Great American Songbook, the musical styles of Brazil and France, the blues and the work of more contemporary songwriters. She’s recorded a tribute to John Coltrane, a CD of late-night ballads and earned 4 Grammy nominations.

Despite being so busy, every time her tour schedule brings her to Seattle, she visits her friend, jazz host Dick Stein, in the KPLU/Jazz24 performance studio to give us a sample of the music she currently exploring ... and there’s no telling what that might be.

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.

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