Jazz and Blues | KNKX

Jazz and Blues

News about jazz, blues, Studio Sessions, and music samplings from jazz artists in the northwest and around the world.

The New Cool: Good Times with Seattle's Bad Luck

Sep 21, 2018
Parker Miles Blohm

With ten years performing together as the duo Bad Luck, Chris Icasiano (drums) and Neil Welch (tenor saxophone) continue to strain the limits of the duo format. With the release of their new album Four (their 4th, natch), Bad Luck is reining in their longform free improvisations a bit, but without losing any of their epic energy.

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." 

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Dylan Hayes
Parker Miles Blohm / KNKX

We first encountered talented pianist Dylan Hayes performing with a trio at Centrum's Jazz Pt. Townsend camp this Summer, and we knew this young man was ready for the KNKX studios.

Hayes is in his final year studying jazz at Cornish College in Seattle, and he brought a fellow student and a few friends in town for a sonic display of his skills as a player, bandleader and composer.

Photo by Rene Huemer for Robert Walter.

Keys player Robert Walter has been a master of funky grooves with the Greyboy Allstars, his own bands, and as a guest in various settings. With his new release, Spacesuit, Walter is breaking free from the Earth's gravity and exploring the outer limits of electronic keyboard possibilities.

KNKX hosted students of Seattle JazzED's Summer Advanced Institute for a second time in August, and the kids set a new record for largest group to play in our studios.

A total of 29 students split into 3 combos with mentors Riley Mulhelkar (trumpeter with the Westerlies, this Seattle native now lives in New York City), Sammy Miller (New York-based drummer who leads Sammy Miller and the Congregation), and Marina Albero (the Spanish pianist who's thrilled Seattle audiences upon her arrival in 2014).

Clayton Lancaster

The Oakland based Negative Press Project are built from a variety of musical talents, some from the California Jazz Conservatory, but others employing skills honed in the realms of pop, rock, global folk and classical music. Together, the octet delivers a "jazz adjacent" sound that allows for countless creative possibilities. NPP will be exploring some of those possibilities at Cafe Racer in Seattle Sunday night, with the Racer Sessions jam following.

ABE BEESON / KNKX

Sixteen year-old Jahnvi Madan is a senior at Newport High School and is KNKX's guest DJ on September 6 from 8 - 9 pm. She plays clarinet and baritone saxophone.

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!

The New Cool: Cool Earshot Festival Preview

Aug 24, 2018
Abe Beeson

Our friends at Earshot have another amazing jazz festival coming up October 7th and continuing through November 4th. I'm particularly excited about the shows featuring some of the coolest modern musicians in the world, and on this week's New Cool, I'll preview a half dozen of my most eagerly anticipated concerts.

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.

The New Cool: A Taste of Shake Stew

Aug 17, 2018
Andreas Waldscheutz Photography

The New Cool's explorations of modern jazz in Europe moves to Austria this week with a spotlight on bassist Lukas Kranzelbinder's septet Shake Stew. Their new album Rise and Rise Again is a wild trip in itself.

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:

The New Cool: Alex Monfort's Modern Swing

Aug 10, 2018
Photo by Arthur Wollenweber

French pianist Alex Monfort honors his jazz heroes on the new trio release Introspection. Bill Evans, Keith Jarrett, Chick Corea are all on the list of legends who inspire him, but Monfort makes his own statements here. This is modern jazz piano that brings the legacy of jazz into the 21st Century.

Parker Miles Blohm / KNKX

It was a fun jazz session with a great group of students, which included two different schools and a variety of age groups.  The energy brought by some of the young lions melded nicely with the older aesthetic.

The first song by Sun Ra titled “El is a Sound of Joy.” Mentor Keyboardist Josh Rawlings was happy to hear the group was already doing the song and encouraged them to “get weirder on it” and to explore the dynamic range and tempo.

The New Cool: Nick Francis Edition

Aug 3, 2018
Sharon Styer (Nick's awesome wife)

He's been the KNKX Music Director since 2005, and this summer Nick Francis wraps up a stellar run on 88.5 as he enters a well-earned retirement. Before we let him go, Nick is covering for Abe Beeson on The New Cool this week.

Cuban drummer and bandleader Yissy Garcia at Festival Jazz Plaza, Havana, 2015
Michel Pou

Cuban drummer/composer/bandleader Yissy García is breaking new ground with her group Bandancha; a heady mix of jazz, Afro-Cuban rhythms and electronic music.  She's part of the wave of young, foward-looking artists creating the new sound of Cuban music.

ABE BEESON/KNKX

Eighteen year-old Ben McCall, who recently graduated Stadium High School is KNKX’s guest DJ on August 2 from 8-9pm on Evening Jazz. He will be attending Gonzaga University in the Fall.    


The New Cool: Heat Beating Live Preview

Jul 27, 2018
It's too hot for record deliveries left in the sun!
Abe Beeson

As temperatures rise around the Pacific Northwest, there are some extra cool modern jazz shows coming up soon. I'll preview of a few of them, and also play cool new releases from some of today's hottest musicians.

Bobby Medina live at Theolonius Jazz Club in Buenos Aires
Marcela Casarino, Buenos Aires / courtesy of the artist

This week's Saturday Jazz Caliente starts with a hot set of music from some Northwest favorites, and then we'll get into some cooler Latin Jazz sounds to help you beat the heat.

The New Cool: Corduroy Is Back in Fashion

Jul 20, 2018

Formed by English twins Scott and Ben Addison in the early 90s, the iconic acid jazz group Corduroy is back with their first new album in nearly two decades. It's a triumphant return to the top of a crop of exciting modern jazz groups in the UK. Don't miss The Return of the Fabric Four on the New Cool this Saturday!

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.

The New Cool: Producers Out Front

Jul 13, 2018
How can anyone know what all these knobs do?
Abe Beeson

Music producers have traditionally been behind the scenes, but this week's New Cool brings new releases from three multi-talented knob-twisters and fader-riders getting a lot of attention recently. Now to be sure, these three are multi-instrumentalists. But, like Ellington, Basie and all the big band leaders, they have their minds focused on the sound of the group first.

Herbert Behrens / Anefo / CC BY-SA 3.0 nl

Legendary trumpeter Lee Morgan would have celebrated his 80th birthday today.

The story of Lee Morgan's death in 1972 pops up every few years to be hashed over and nit-picked by jazz enthusiasts, critics and journalists.  I've read the articles, the essays, and even the transcripts of the taped interview of Helen Morgan, the "lady who shot Lee Morgan."  

None of the above prepared me for the emotional depths of the story told in the 2016 film "I Called Him Morgan."

The New Cool: Holiday Weekend Funk Party

Jul 6, 2018
Abe Beeson

With the Independence Day parties landing smack in the middle of this week, the New Cool helps you keep the barbecue hot through the weekend with two hours of funky modern jazz. It's a mix to get you moving Saturday afternoon, from the funk origins of New Orleans to Africa-via-London, from cutting edge dance floor experiments to good ol' greasy organ trios, KNKX has what you need.

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.

ABE BEESON/KNKX

Eighteen year-old Conrad Medina, who recently graduated Auburn Mountainview High School is KNKX’s guest DJ on July 5 from 8-9pm. Conrad received the “Louis Armstrong Award” at his High School in recognition of his outstanding musical achievement and an incredible dedication to the program. It is the highest level interscholastic award given to a musician. He will be attending The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in the fall. 

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