Jazz Caliente | KNKX

Jazz Caliente

Saturday 5PM-6PM

Where jazz meets Afro-Cuban, Afro-Brazilian, Puerto Rican, and Pan-American rhythms.  A lively tour of the diverse world of Latin Jazz hosted by Robin Llloyd.

Percussionist Samuel Torres
Adriana Mateo / courtesy of the artist

This week on Saturday Jazz Caliente, we'll hear part of a suite written by percussionist Samuel Torres and dedicated to the victims of violence in his native Columbia.  Also,  from composer/arranger/educator Socrates Garcia's project Back Home, a selection in remembrance of three sisters who were assassinated in 1960 for their actions against the Dominican Republic's bloodiest dictator, Rafael Trujillo.

Jane Bunnett and Maqueque
courtesy of the artist

The 2018 Earshot Jazz Festival starts on Sunday, October 7, and in keeping with Earshot's committment to diversity and variety, there's something for everyone on the concert schedule.  Let's preview the shows of particular interest to Latin Jazz fans:

Flautist Nestor Torres in the studio
courtesy of the artist / http://www.nestortorres.com/

Last week, the Latin Recording Academy announced the nominees for the 19th Annual Latin Grammy Awards.   On Saturday Jazz Caliente this week we'll hear from one of this year's nominees for Best Latin Jazz Album, flute master Nestor Torres.  Let me introduce you to the rest of the nominees:

Pianist Harold Lopez Nussa on the street in Havana
Eduardo Rawdriguez / Mack Avenue Media

Un Dia Cualquiera (Just Another Day) is the name of Harold López-Nussa's latest trio album.  He says,  "The idea was to put the music and the trio together in a studio and just play, the way we three do every day, any day - like a concert in the living room of your house." 

Brazilian pianist Jovino Santos Neto
Daniel Sheehan / eyeshotjazz.com

Watch this space for information about upcoming Latin Jazz concerts in Seattle this fall, and more!

Jack Costanzo with bongos, 1947 or 1948, probably with Stan Kenton's Orchestra
William P. Gottlieb / Public Domain

Chicago-born Jack Costanzo fell in love with Afro-Cuban rhythm instruments when he was 14.  By the time of his passing last Saturday at age 98, he'd lived a life full of music, become a friend and teacher to Hollywood stars, and introduced a generation of Americans to bongos and conga drums.

Playing Claves
By Freddythehat at English Wikipedia (Transferred from en.wikipedia to Commons.) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

This week on Saturday Jazz Caliente, we'll hear a performance from the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra in Cuba.  It's called "2/3's Adventure," and the title is a reference to a configuration of the clave rhythm.  Let's learn more about clave:

Pianist/Composer Dayramir Gonzalez
courtesy of the artist/www.dayramirgonzalez.com

The effervescent Cuban pianist/composer/arranger Dayramir Gonzalez makes his Seattle debut on Wednesday July 25th at The Triple Door.  I'll introduce you to his latest album The Grand Concourse this week on Saturday Jazz Caliente.

Kiki Valera with La Familia Valera Miranda at Seattle's Town Hall 2013
EyeShot Jazz/Daniel Sheehan Photography / eyeshotjazz.com

Son Cubano is one of the most popular musical styles of Cuba.  We're lucky to have one of its foremost practioners right here in Seattle.  His name is Kiki Valera, and he's presenting a Cuban serenade at the Triple Door next week:  La Serenata Cubana.

José Mangual, Sr. on the cover of the 1977 album Buyú
Turnstyle Records/Martin Cohen/congahead/Latin Percussion

Bongocero José Mangual performed with nearly all of the American musicians who were discovering Latin rhythms from the 1940s through the 1970s, including Count Basie, Miles Davis and Erroll Garner.  He was also a huge inspiration to the founder of the one of the most popular percussion instrument manufacturing companies in the United States.

The New Cool: Duende Libre's American Drift

Jun 22, 2018
Abe Beeson

Seattle-based trio Duende Libre is releasing its new album Drift with a party at the Rainier Arts Center on Friday, June 29th. Band leader and keys player Alex Chadsey sat down to talk with me about the trio's latest release, and their continuing exploration of musical influences from around the globe.

Pianist and bandleader Oscar Hernández
courtesy of the artist

The Spanish Harlem Orchestra returns to Seattle's Jazz Alley June 21-24.  It's their 15th anniversary tour, and a celebration of the release of their latest CD Anniversary.

I caught up with bandleader Oscar Hernández by phone, and we talked about his early days as musician and arranger in New York, forming the SHO, and more:

1974 album cover Fania All Stars Latin Soul Rock
courtesy of Fania Records/www.fania.com

This week's Latin Soul selection on Saturday Jazz Caliente is "Viva Tirado," from the Fania All Stars 1974 collection Latin-Soul-Rock.  The composition, written by the great jazz arranger Gerald Wilson, has an interesting history and has proved to be an enduring piece of shared culture. 

Here's the original and just a few of the many different recordings of "Viva Tirado."

Percussion master Steve Kroon tosses the chekeré
courtesy of the artist

Steven Kroon was raised in Harlem and Queens, and what he learned there has taken him on 15 world tours and given him 50 years in the business of professional percussion.

Pianist/Composer/Bandleader/Educator Rebeca Mauleón
Chuck Gee / courtesy of the artist

This week's Saturday Jazz Caliente celebrates Mother's Day with an (almost) all-women show.  Favorites like clarinetist Anat Cohen, violinist Regina Carter, percussionist Sheila E, and pianist Eliane Elias are in the line-up.  Here are the rest; perhaps lesser known, but just as talented female instrumentalists:

Cinco de Mayo Parade, Mexico City 2017
(AP Photo/Eduardo Verdugo)

As we celebrate Mexican and Mexican-American culture, let's go beyond tacos and tequila, and recognize Mexico's contribution to jazz and Latin jazz.  This week on Saturday Jazz Caliente, we'll hear from one prominent Mexican-American Latin jazz musician, Poncho Sanchez.  Here are a few more:

Pedrito Martinez of The Pedrito Martinez Group performs at the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival on Friday, April 28, 2017, in New Orleans.
Amy Harris/Invision / AP

Wynton Marsalis called him a genius.  Quincy Jones says listening to this man's band makes him feel like a teenager.   Let's meet Cuban-born percussionist Pedrito Martinez.  He'll be at Jazz Alley in Seattle next Tuesday and Wednesday, May 1st and 2nd.

Pianist Eliane Elias, cover photo from the album "Music From Man of La Mancha"
courtesy of the artist

Another stellar week of live Latin Jazz starts this Sunday in Seattle, including Cuban jazz and dance music, a Brazilian spin on the Tony-winning Broadway musical Man of La Mancha, and an artist who is at the forefront of the wave of Cuban millennials who are forging a new path with their music.  Here's the rundown:

Cuban pianist Roberto Fonseca performs at the Five Continents Jazz Festival, in Marseille, southern France, 2014.
AP Photo/Claude Paris

So many wonderful Cuban musicians are performing in Seattle in the next few months, I've started to refer to it as the "Cuban Invasion," and I'm excited to be introducing you to their music on Jazz Caliente.

Gregor Huebner and El Violin Latino
Holger Keifel

Violinist Gregor Huebner has developed a signature sound inspired by traditional Latin American music.  This week on Saturday Jazz Caliente, we'll hear a selection from his recording El Violin Latino.

Pianist Brenda Hopkins Miranda
courtesy of the arist/brendahopkinsmusic.com

This week on Saturday Jazz Caliente, we'll hear a selection from innovative pianist and composer Brenda Hopkins Miranda.  Her sixth album is Puentes​ (bridges), and with this recording she succeeds in her intent to bridge differences in musical styles, traditions, languages and generations.

A Cuban flag waves in front of El Morro Castle in Havana, 2008
(AP Photo/Javier Galeano)

For St. Patrick's Day, Jazz Caliente takes a brief look at the long, rich history of Irish people in Cuba. 

Even the most iconic sight in Havana's harbor, the towering lighthouse at Morro Castle, was once known as the O'Donnell Lighthouse.  It was named in 1844 for Leopold O'Donnell, the Captain General and Governor of Cuba.

Jesus Alemany, center, band leader of Cubanismo, directs a performance while playing trumpet at the Singapore Arts Festival, Tuesday, June 11, 2002.
Naashon Zalk / AP

"Cubanismo" is defined as something that's uniquely Cuban; that is, specific to the culture of the island and not common to the rest of Spanish-influenced Latin America.

Pianist Ann Reynolds
photo by Jim Levitt / courtesy of the artist

This week on Saturday Jazz Caliente, we'll hear from some of the great Latin Jazz artists who make their home in the Seattle area.

Saxophonist David Sánchez and bassist Ricardo Rodriguez, 29 April 2007, Bimhuis Amsterdam
By Siebe van Ineveld Rotterdam, The Netherlands via Wikimedia Commons

Grammy-winning Puerto Rican saxophonist David Sánchez has a new musical project called "Carib."   The name of the project is a reference to the indigenous people of the region we know as the Caribbean.  Sánchez is performing this Saturday night at 8 at the Seattle Art Museum's Plestcheef Auditorium.

Percussionist Pete Escovedo performs at the "In Performance at the White House: Fiesta Latina," a concert celebrating Hispanic musical heritage held on the South Lawn, Oct. 13, 2009.
Official White House Photo by Samantha Appleton / Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

It's all about family for percussionist/bandleader Pete Escovedo.

Trombonist Doug Beavers whose latest CD "The Art of the Arrangement" got a Grammy nomination this year
Silas Green / courtesy of the artist

There was more Latin Jazz nominated for Grammys this year than you might have realized.  A couple of nominees went overlooked, because they were nominated in categories other than Latin Jazz.

Grammy Nominees Anat Cohen and Marcello Gonçalves
Shervin Lainez / courtesy of the artist

The 60th Annual Grammy Awards show will be televised on Sunday January 28, at 4:30pm Pacific Time.  This week on Saturday Jazz Caliente, we'll feature the nominees for Best Latin Jazz Album, a nice selection this year spanning Brazilian, Cuban, Puerto Rican and Argentinian jazz.

Daymé Arocena at the New Era concert in Havana, 2016
Denise Guerra / courtesy of the artist

No, it's not another story about immigration policy. 

Starting next week, Dimitriou's Jazz Alley in Seattle will be hosting some of the brightest stars in today's Cuban music.  Here's a preview.

Samuel Torres at Brooklyn Studio Loft 360
Emra Islek / courtesy of the artist

According to Nolan Warden, whose well-researched article "The History of the Conga Drum" appeared in the February 2005 edition of Percussive Notes (a publication of the Percussive Arts Society):  what North Americans call conga drums are actually "tumbadoras." 

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