Studio Sessions | KNKX

Studio Sessions

Live Studio Sessions from KNKX feature some of the best jazz and blues musicians performing in the KNKX studios in downtown Seattle, WA. Featuring artists such as Arturo Sandoval, Gregory Porter, Christian McBride and more!

Kandace Springs in the KNKX Seattle Studios.
Parker Miles Blohm / KNKX

Growing up a jazz fan in the country music capital of the world, Nashville native Kandace Springs has never fit comfortably into any single musical category. Today, that's just the way she likes it, and we do, too.

The singer, songwriter and pianist has just released her second album. Indigo is a collection of original songs, and soulful interpretations of her favorite pop tunes. It's also a showcase for Springs' incredible voice and impressive piano skills.

SRJO in the KNKX Seattle Studios.
Parker Miles Blohm / KNKX

It just wasn't possible to fit the entire Seattle Repertory Jazz Orchestra in our Seattle studios, so a more reasonably sized quintet came in to preview the SRJO's exciting 24th season beginning this weekend.

Our listeners were treated to three highlights from the opening concerts, A Night at the Village Vanguard, at Nordstrom Recital Hall at Benaroya Saturday night and the Kirkland Performance Center Sunday afternoon.

Bria Skonberg live in the KNKX Seattle studios.
Parker Miles Blohm / KNKX

Bria Skonberg and her quartet treated KNKX to a wonderful studio performance filled with original tunes back in September. The group featured Mathis Picard on piano, Devin Starks  bass and Darrian Douglas on drums.

The group began with an original song called “Time to Go,” which Skonberg said felt fitting since she’s been traveling and touring and always feels on the go as she moves from place to place.  It was a fun lively piece.

Parker Miles Blohm / KNKX

Chris Icasiano and Neil Welch were both studying jazz at the University of Washington when they formed Bad Luck. Now, after more than a decade of thinking beyond the limits of genre classifications, the band and their fans have no need to define this music.

Mixing free jazz with folk, metal and electronic styles, Bad Luck are a band in pursuit. Icasiano and Welch both mentioned feeling better about their music than they ever have, now four albums and ten years along.

Christian McBride's New Jawn in the KNKX Studios.
Parker Miles Blohm / KNKX

When great musicians push themselves to do something different, it can be an exciting prospect. Christian McBride's New Jawn is a great example of that. And when those musicians really enjoy that challenge, that's when the magic of jazz happens.

Nancy Erickson Quintet

Sep 14, 2018
Nancy Erickson
KNKX

Nancy stopped by our Seattle studios for a Live Studio Session to promote her new album “Here & Now.” Joining her was the 200 Trio with Cole Schuster on guitar, Greg Feingold on bass and Max Holmberg on drums and Saxophonist Alex Dugdale.  

Erickson’s delightful warm and wise voice filled our studios as she began singing her own composition ‘Let Love Begin.’  The song inspired by a budding relationship where there was some reluctance from the other party, the song actually worked to win her partner over.

You could tell by the smiles on the musicians backing singer Johnaye Kendrick in the KNKX studios, they really enjoy working with her. Since her arrival teaching at Cornish College nearly a decade ago, Kendrick is proving to be a musician's singer.

When it comes down to it, though, Kendrick is a musician. She's spent years studying jazz, including the Thelonious Monk Institute and Loyola University. Now a Professor of Music in Seattle, her bio at Cornish refers exclusively to her jazz bona fides. But she grew up listening to pop music. 

Victor Wooten
Parker Miles Blohm / KNKX

Victor Wooten's trio is a powerhouse outfit, even when it's just a duo. A saxophonist working with just bass and drums usually has a lot of work to do, but sax/flute player Bob Franceschini told me that working with Wooten and Dennis Chambers on bass and drums is a different story.

Even without Chambers' drumming, Victor Wooten was more than able to provide a fat rhythm section on his own live in the KNKX studios. Franceschini did provide some rhythm on sax, in tight collaboration with Wooten's bass, but was mostly adding his own flowing melodic lines.

Dmitri Matheny returning to Seattle, and Tula's on September 7
Parker Miles Blohm / KNKX

Dmitri Matheny is one of the country's preeminent flugelhorn players, and a serious movie lover. In his second performance in the KNKX studios, Dmitri returned to a pair of film melodies and gave us a look at an upcoming project with a pair of top Seattle jazz musicians and two more from out of town.

Singer Holly Pyle is a friend of Dmitri's from the Phoenix area, an exciting vocalist who's known to push beyond the limits of jazz. She's an expert in looping vocal effects and also has experience in opera, pop, funk and hip-hop styles.

Parker Miles Blohm / KNKX

Cary Morin is simply one of the best acoustic guitarists you are likely to hear, and a master storyteller as well. His 2017 album Cradle to the Gravewas on my Top 10 List for the year in Blues, and also received rave reviews from the Bluegrass and Folk communities. 

Eric ‘Two Scoops’ Moore is a singer/songwriter/pianist/poet/artist. He has a joyous, honky-tonk heart and lots of songs about food.  Also songs about love, busted-down cars, having two left hands and whatever else comes to his unique mind.  In this studio session, accompanied by Kevin ‘Muscle Mouth’ Buster on alto saxophone, Scoops served up a few of his classic numbers:  Big Buffet, Tip Well, Left-Handed, Hamburger Time, You Don’t Have To Be Good Lookin’,and Make Me Some Time To Go Home.  His stated goal with his music is simply to make people happy. Mission accomplished

Seattle native Kassa Overall came up drumming in the celebrated Garfield High School jazz band, but he's always been exploring the action behind the scenes in music.

Early opportunities with samplers and keyboards led Overall to a passion for not just making music, but producing music for himself and others. Settling in New York about a decade ago, he's been busy in both rolls, and then some.

Hunter Gather in the KNKX Studios
Parker Miles Blohm / KNKX

Jazz musicians have always found inspiration from a wide world of music, and Seattle-based quartet Hunter Gather continue that tradition in a time when consideration of genres is becoming passé.

Growing up as lovers of a wide variety of musical styles, Hunter Gather continues the jazz musicians' constant quest to find a personal sound. They've done that, with echoes of American folk music, indie-rock youthfulness, and less-obvious hints of progressive metal and punk rock.

Dawn Clement
Parker Miles Blohm / KNKX

Pianist and vocalist Dawn Clement has made her mark on the Seattle music scene over the past several years, prompting music writer Paul de Barros to refer to her as the “Wonder Woman of Seattle.”  She’s won three Earshot Jazz Golden Ear awards, recorded 5 albums, and was last year’s Artist-in-Residence for the Earshot Jazz Festival.

 Kiki Valera And La Serenata Cubana
Parker Miles Blohm / KNKX

Kiki Valera comes from the famous La Familia Valera Miranda, a multi-generational traditional musical group from Santiago de Cuba.  He’s known as one of the world’s greatest players of the Cuban guitar known as the cuatro.  

It could be her charming, drawling vocals or the contagious smile on Marina Christopher's face that instantly wins over fans. Just as likely, she'll draw you in with the music she makes with her Dreamboats band - an addictive blend of jazz, soul and classic pop.

Parker Miles Blohm / KNKX

This roots-rock band from Atlanta has been in heavy rotation on All Bluessince the release of their 2017 album Peach. Larkin Poe consists of Rebecca Lovell on guitar and lead vocals, with her sister Megan on lap-steel guitar and harmony vocals. They are both formidable instrumentalists, classically trained as kids, and as teenagers had a successful Bluegrass band called The Lovell Sisters. Along the way they’ve served as session musicians for T-Bone Burnett and Elvis Costello and are currently touring with Keith Urban for several months.

Parker Miles Blohm / KNKX

Considering the mix of the nine (or ten) members of Seattle's future funk fusion group High Pulp, it has to be fusion. Their new album Bad Juice is out this week and they're celebrating live at Nectar with Industrial Revelation Saturday night. We got a powerful preview live in the KNKX studios that you've gotta hear.

Madeleine Peyroux in the KNKX Studios.
Parker Miles Blohm / KNKX

Some artists hit you with a soaring voice or a technical prowess.  But Madeleine Peyroux approaches her music with a sublime sense of heartbreak and healing that feels more therapeutic than entertainment.  She’s affected audiences that way for over 22 years with a wizened vocal sensibility reminiscent of Tom Waits, Leonard Cohn and Billie Holiday.  

Parker Miles Blohm / KNKX

We were thrilled to welcome Seattle’s longest-running Latin Jazz group Sonando to our Seattle studios for a live performance.  

Formed in 1990 by pianist and tresero Fred Hoadley, Sonando has recorded three stellar albums, won an Earshot Jazz Golden Ear award for Best Acoustic Jazz Group of 2007, and received a grant to arrange and perform the music of jazz great Charles Mingus, Afro-Cuban style, in 2011.

Kenny Washington in the KNKX Public Radio Studios
Parker Miles Blohm / KNKX

It's not a well-kept secret, at least in the Bay Area where he's been called the "Superman" of their jazz scene, but Kenny Washington's incredible vocal talents are just starting to get noticed. When he performed live in our studios, it was easy to see he's more comfortable as Clark Kent than the Man of Steel.

Kenny Washington was raised in America's jazz and party capital of New Orleans, but his father kept him away from the wild atmosphere of the French Quarter. His early musical training was in the gospel church, and he only picked up on jazz in his late teens.

Jacqueline Tabor in the KNKX Studios.
Parker Miles Blohm / KNKX

As a sharp-witted friend noted recently, singer Jacqueline Tabor is " ruining the dour jazz musician stereotype!" The KNKX studio session audience was certainly drawn into the fun when Jacqueline celebrated her new album with The 200 Trio live on KNKX.

The Lady in the Gown, title inspired by our own Nick Morrison's thoughts on Tabor's previous studio session here, features mostly classic jazz standards. There's a reason these songs are still performed, they're both perfectly constructed and open to personal interpretation.

Frank Vitolo of Bad News Botanists live at KNKX Public Radio.
Parker Miles Blohm / KNKX

Enjoying a year that has brought his band a lot of positive attention, saxophonist Frank Vitolo brought his Bad News Botanists to our studios for a fun session of original funky jazz. It was a preview of their performance on The New Cool stage at the Northwest Folklife Festival, and more proof that this band is making its mark.

José James Performs Bill Withers
Parker Miles Blohm / KNKX

Like a painter that uses the entire range of his color palette, vocalist Jose James has spent the last ten years working in a wide variety of musical arenas - jazz, soul, R&B, hip hop, pop, electronica, and experimental music. His albums have ranged from a brilliant tribute to Billie Holiday, all the way to a very personal and modern work called "Love In A Time Of Madness." One music critic has noted that his albums are like "a box of chocolates." One thing though, whatever Jose James does, he does it really well.

Jacob Szekely in the KNKX Studios
Parker Miles Blohm / KNKX

He's not just a terrific player and songwriter, cellist Jacob Szekely is blazing a path for future jazz cellists to follow. With his trio live in our studios, it's clear that his instrument is ready for the jazz spotlight.

Szekely told us that the traditional way of learning cello makes it nearly impossible to translate those skills to improvisation, so he retrained himself to play in a new way. He's also co-founded the String Project of Los Angeles to give other cellists a fresh direction in their musical expression.

Parker Miles Blohm

May 16 - 19, the Ballard Jazz Festival presents a big change in scheduling this year, but you'll find the same fantastic lineup of the Northwest's finest jazz musicians and internationally acclaimed talent over 4 nights in the city's increasingly crowded fishing village. Let's take a look at the changes, and preview some of my "must-see" performances.

Parker Miles Blohm / KNKX

Before his performance in our studios, pianist Danny Green told me he hadn't played many solo shows. In fact, his new album One Day It Will adds a string quartet to his long-running trio. After three dazzling songs, however, it was clear Green has plenty to say on his own.

Parker Miles Blohm / KNKX

This truck-driving, harmonica-blowing Bluesman won multiple awards in his hometown Minneapolis for his ace songwriting, singing and playing. Then about 10 years ago, Joe Cook moved his family to Seattle and had to start his musical career over again. He started going to some of the many local Blues jam sessions, where he met and teamed up with some of this area’s hottest Blues players.

Spike Wilner in the KNKX Studios.
Parker Miles Blohm / KNKX

On his path to musical self-discovery, pianist Spike Wilner set out to make himself a part of his New York City community. He'd buy old pianos and give them to bars for free, in exchange for a regular night for Spike to play there. We were happy to provide a freshly tuned piano to Spike when he brought his New York friends with him for a spirited Studio Session.

Pianist and songwriter Marcia Ball brought her signature swampy, bluesy, boogie-woogie roadhouse sound to our studio to celebrate the impending release of her latest album Shine Bright, which comes out April 20.

Marcia’s won ten Blues Music Awards, ten Living Blues Awards, and had five Grammy Award nominations. She has been inducted into both the Gulf Coast Music Hall of Fame and the Louisiana Music Hall of Fame. The Texas State legislature named her the official 2018 Texas State Musician.

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