Jim Wilke | KNKX

Jim Wilke

Jazz Northwest Host

Jim has been a fixture on Seattle radio since 1961. He was the host of Jazz After Hours on Public Radio International from 1984-2014.  Currently Jim has been producing Jazz Northwest for KNKX since 1988.  This weekly program focuses on the regional jazz scene and frequently includes performances Jim records on location for Jazz Northwest.  

His most memorable KNKX  moment was hosting the 20th Anniversary Live at Jazz Alley show, two hours of live music. He is also a recording engineer and writer. Jim has been named one of the top jazz radio producers nationally by JazzTimes and the Jazz Journalists Association. He is in the Seattle Jazz Hall of Fame and several musicians have composed songs in his honor.

Ways to Connect

Diane Schuur
Tim Courtney

Pianist and singer Diane Schuur began her career as a pre-teen in the Seattle-Tacoma area and was soon performing at a Holiday Inn. She became a regular at jam sessions in the area and attended the University of Puget Sound. Discovered and encouraged by Doc Severinson, Stan Getz, Don Grusin and others she was soon appearing at major festivals and recording regularly for GRP for whom she made 11 albums plus two collections. She has also recorded with Ray Charles, Maynard Ferguson and the Count Basie Orchestra.

Gary Peacock   (c.1977)
Roberto Masotti

World-renowned bassist Gary Peacock passed September 4 at his home in upstate New York. He made his mark playing with Albert Ayler, Paul Bley and Bill Evans, but is best remembered for his work with Keith Jarrett's Standards Trio. In the late 70s and early 80s he lived in Seattle while teaching at Cornish School of the Arts and giving private lessons and exerting a profound influence on the Seattle jazz scene.

Dave Robbins
Jesse Cahill

CDs by the Dave Robbins Sextet from Vancouver BC and Jay Thomas are featured on this week's episode of Jazz Northwest. Drummer Dave Robbins leads a sextet playing his original music with Brad Turner, trumpet and Mike Allen, tenor sax. The album "Joan of Art" is dedicated to Joan Mariacher, an active booster and benefactor of the Vancouver jazz scene. 

Brad Turner, Seamus Blake
Aslam Husain

Jazz from Vancouver BC and Spokane as well as Seattle is on this week’s Jazz Northwest.  Vancouver is represented by trumpet player-composer Brad Turner whose quartet is joined by New York-based tenor saxophonist Seamus Blake, who grew up in Vancouver. From Spokane comes The Whitworth Jazz Ensemble directed by Dan Keberle, playing music by the multi-award-winning composer-arranger Maria Schneider.  

Matt Wilson, drums, Tamir Hendelman, piano, Martin Wind, bass at The Upstage, Jazz Port Townsend 2012
Jim Wilke

In an ordinary year we would be broadcasting highlights from this Summer's Jazz Port Townsend this month on Jazz Northwest. But like all performance activities the festival was cancelled this Summer. This week we're presenting some location recordings from our archives including a couple of tunes played by Tamir Hendelman, Martin Wind and Matt Wilson making up an all-star trio in the cozy confines of The Upstage in Port Townsend. The enthusiastic audience surrounds the band in an exciting performance captured at the 2012 festival  

Pianist Jessica Williams' musical career was mostly on the West Coast, San Francisco in the 70s and 80s, and the Pacific Northwest thereafter, though she toured widely as a soloist and with trio. Her years in the Northwest brought several albums recorded in Portland, including two with the great bass player Leroy Vinnegar and drummer Mel Brown. On this week's Jazz Northwest we'll hear this trio in a joyfully swinging rendition of "Berkshire Blues" recorded in 1994 at Atwater's, a posh Portland jazz club.

Bass player Red Kelly (back row, third from left) was a veteran of Stan Kenton, Charlie Barnett, Harry James and Woody Herman bands among others before he retired from the road and operated a jazz club near Olympia called the Tumwater Conservatory in the 70s, and later, Kellys in Tacoma in the 80s and 90s.  Saxophonists Bill Ramsay and Milt Kleeb put together a great book for an 11 piece band that played at Kellys monthly and they made one CD. We'll hear a Milt Kleeb arrangement featuring Bill Ramsay from that CD on this week's Jazz Northwest. 

Photos by Jim Wilke & layout and design by John Bishop for Origin Records

The late saxophonist Don Lanphere enjoyed mixing things up on each album and he recorded a dozen albums in late life. In 1996, Don Lanphere invited Pete Christlieb to join him in a one-day studio session that produced an appropriately titled CD, "Get Happy."  The pianist on the date, Marc Seales contributed a tune titled "Remember Why" which will open Jazz Northwest  this Sunday. Also on this week's show, a tune celebrating the H.O.E.

Downbeat magazine's annual Jazz Critics Poll named an album recorded in Seattle as one of the top ten historical albums of the past year. It comes from a pair of 1962 radio broadcasts of Johnny Griffin and Lockjaw Davis playing at The Penthouse in Pioneer Square. An excerpt from the album which also includes Seattle bassist Buddy Catlett will air on Jazz Northwest this Sunday at 2 on 88. KNKX. Also, more music from the new Daniel Hersog Jazz Orchestra from Vancouver, as well as Greta Matassa, the band Oregon and more on this week's show. 

Rosette Jordaan

We're approaching the "dog days" of Summer, and inspired by the photo on the CD we're leading off this show with an outstanding big band led by composer/arranger Phil Kelly. Mostly Northwest residents with a few guests from L.A. and New York, it's an exciting band playing great originals by Phil Kelly, I had you with the puppies, right? Also, on this edition of the show, Portlander Dave Frishberg sings a couple of songs about baseball, and we remember Clarence Acox group playing at The New Orleans Creole Restaurant.

 Johnny Mandel
Steve Banks/MPTV

The justly celebrated composer and arranger Johnny Mandel died June 29 at the age of 94 in Oaji CA. He received multiple Grammy awards and Oscars for his songs and music for films and was a member of the Songwriter's Hall of Fame. Mandel made one appearance at Centrum's Jazz Port Townsend in 2012, when he was the featured composer-arranger and conducted the Centrum All-Star Big Band in a concert of his music. This brought his career full-circle, he began his career as a big band arranger in the 40s and 50s.

Shorty Rogers, Bud Shank and the Lighthouse All-Stars
William Claxton

Jazz Northwest is celebrating Canada and US national holidays this first weekend of July. We have a brand-new rendition of "O Canada" in a virtual performance from all ten provinces played by the O Canada Jazz Orchestra arranged and conducted by Daniel Hersog for an opener. Then, an extended performance of "America the Beautiful" by the Lighthouse All Stars at Centrum's Jazz Port Townsend in 1991. The group includes some of the best L.A. musicians from the heyday of "West Coast Jazz" co-led by Shorty Rogers and Bud Shank.

This week's show includes music by Dan Balmer from Portland, Kelby MacNayr from Victoria, The Endemic Ensemble, Jay Thomas and Kelley Johnson from Seattle. There's also a never published recording of Ernestine Anderson singing "Georgia" in a Seattle club engagement and more.

While we are still denied the pleasure of attending live jazz performances with our friends, we have lots of enjoyable recordings made on location during concerts. We have two examples on this week's Jazz Northwest. The Jack Wilson Quartet with Roy Ayers on vibes is heard from a 1966 performance at The Penthouse on Pioneer Square in Seattle. The album came out on CD last year, but has just been re-issued in a limited edition 2 LP vinyl set. Also on this week's show, the Jay Thomas Quartet is heard from an Art of Jazz concert at the Seattle Art Museum in 2012.  

This week's Jazz Northwest starts in Ellensburg, with Barney McClure at the Hammond B3 and the Central Washington University Big Band playing a Phil Kelly arrangement of Barney's tune, "Spot."  Also this week, recordist and studio owner David Lange is featured on accordion with Pearl Django from a recent release, and vintage live recordings of Cannonball Adderley in Seattle and Ernestine Anderson in Culver City, CA. 

Daniel Hersog Jazz Orchestra
Robert Iannone

A rich collection of original compositions and arrangements by Daniel Hersog has just been issued on a new CD "Night Devoid of Stars" to be issued this week. Recorded in Vancouver BC, the orchestra includes some outstanding talent from Western Canada and a pair of pieces from the album will be featured today on Jazz Northwest. 

Also on this week's show are recent releases by Kate Olson's KO Ensemble at The Royal Room, Jenny Davis with Jovino Santos Neto, and a classic Floyd Standifer performance at the New Orleans Creole Restaurant in 1996, and more. 

Francesco Crosara on tour in Japan, 2008
Julia Crosara

Italian pianist Francesco Crosara became a part of the Seattle music community three years ago and had been gaining more public recognition here until public performances came to a halt with the pandemic. Fortunately, we have some representative performances on CDs and some recent streaming shows to enjoy. On this week's Jazz Northwest, we'll hear him playing a solo rendition of the ballad "Spring Can Really Hang You Up The Most."

Christlieb - Caliman
Jim Levitt

A memorable evening at the Ballard Jazz Walk in 2009 brought tenor saxophonists Pete Christlieb and Hadley Caliman together again to cap a week that also saw them make their first, and only, album together. The two veteran saxophonists first played together as young men at Marty's in L.A. and there was an obvious mutual admiration society when you saw and heard them together. Another historical note on this week's Jazz Northwest is the great singer Joe Williams performing in a live radio broadcast from The Penthouse in Seattle in 1965.  

Ray Larsen
Andrew JS

There's more attention given to recording and streaming with performance venues closed due to the pandemic. It provides an opportunity to grow, stretch out, create new music, exemplified by a couple of creative releases from Seattle musicians from different generations.

…and so is Jazz Northwest. This week's show features the title music from The Westerlies brass quartet's new album "Wherein Lies the Good."  It's a 15-minute suite originally composed for piano by Robin Holcomb but here arranged by Andy Clausen for brass quartet with two trumpets and two trombones.  It's a slice of Americana played by a quartet that the New York Times described as “an arty quartet…mixing ideas from jazz, new classical, and Appalachian folk”.

David Hazeltine, Ken Lister, Cory Weeds, Jesse Cahill
Jodi Kaldestad

Vancouver alto saxophonist Cory Weeds and Seattle soprano saxophonist Kate Olson are both featured in new releases on this week's episode of Jazz Northwest. Cory Weeds has just issued a second release with New York pianist David Hazeltine who has made several visits to Vancouver to play and record with Cory Weeds.  The new album "Day by Day" features mostly standards.

Songs for Jude

Apr 19, 2020
Jim Wilke

"Songs for Jude" will be featured this week on Jazz Northwest. Judy Cites was a concert organizer, promoter and producer, tour manager, ticket maven, active fan and patron of music, dance and theatre. Hers was a familiar face in most of this area’s concert halls, theatres and other performance spaces. She loved jazz, especially standards and we’ll play some of her favorites in tribute - Songs for Jude, played or sung by Dave Peck, Nancy King & Fred Hersch, Chuck Deardorf, The Garfield Jazz Ensemble, Kelley Johnson, Bill Anschell and Don Lanphere. 

Jay Thomas
Daniel Sheehan

Multi-instrumentalist Jay Thomas was named a Seattle Jazz Hero recently by the national Jazz Journalists Association, and will be featured on today’s episode with a pair of pieces drawn from Jay's recent album "High Crimes and Misdemeanors." The Jazz Journalists Association is a national organization that names a list of those who are "activists, advocates, altruists, aiders and abettors of jazz" every year. This year's list named 27 individuals in 23 U.S. cities, who in many cases have careers that extend far beyond their local region.

Musicians from Portland, Seattle, Vancouver, and elsewhere in the Pacific Northwest are featured today on Jazz Northwest. Johnaye Kendrick was to have been featured in a concert at Seattle Art Museum last month so we're including one of her songs along with music by Randy Halberstadt, Cory Weeds Little Big Band, Kerry Politzer, Jenny Davis and others.

Two new releases by trumpeter Thomas Marriott and saxophonist Steve Treseler are featured ontodays epsidoe of Jazz Nortwest. Both Marriott and Treseler are composers and their latest releases feature compositions from both.

Thomas Marriott's new release was recorded in one day during a Seattle visit from Orrin Evans Trio that brought him to Tula's. The bi-coastal combination has played and recorded together over the last ten years in Philadelphia, New York and Seattle. Musically they share a lot of common interests which makes for an easy blend of talents.  

Radio continues to be your best source for jazz and we focus on regional artists on Jazz Northwest.  Virtually all live performance venues are closed, but some artists are mounting their own virtual performances, see the KNKX Calendar for details. Meanwhile, we'll feature an hour with Jay Thomas, Marina Albero, Gail Pettis, Chuck Deardorf, Danny Kolke & Pete Christlieb, Charlie Porter, Kiki Valera and a new CD from Pearl Django today on Jazz Northwest.  

Bill Smith
Virginia Paquette Smith

Internationally renowned clarinetist, composer, educator and musical experimentalist Bill Smith died last weekend at the age of 93.  A varied selection of his music will be heard on today’s episode of Jazz Northwest. Smith came to Seattle in 1966 to start The Contemporary Group, an experimental music ensemble which he co-led with trombonist Stuart Dempster for many years. 

Marc Seales performs at Jazz Alley in Seattle, Wash.
Jim Levitt

KNKX and Dimitriou's Jazz Alley are teaming up to present a monthly series featuring top Northwest regional artists on the last Monday of each month. February's event featured the Marc Seales Quintet playing a program of mostly original music by Marc. The concert was recorded for radio, and the first part will air today on Jazz Northwest. Playing for an enthusiastic full house at Jazz Alley, the group includes Marc Seales, piano and keyboards, Jesse Seales, guitar, Thomas Marriott, trumpet, Chuck Deardorf, basses and Moyes Lucas, drums. 

The prolific Jay Thomas has a new album, and it's all about getting together with good friends and playing some favorite tunes. Despite the provocative title, the album focuses on jazz standards by Fats Navarro, Horace Silver, Duke Ellington, Thelonious Monk and others as well as two originals by Thomas himself. We'll play a couple of tunes from this new album as well as music by Greta Matassa, Marina Albero, Charlie Porter, and Edmonton altoist PJ Perry this week on Jazz Northwest. 

Jim Levitt

Saxophonist Alex Dugdale brought his Fade Quintet to the February Art of Jazz concert at the Seattle Art 

Museum and entertained an enthusiastic crowd in the Brotman Forum. Playing saxophones and tap dancing in duets with members of the group, Alex Dugdale featured mostly his appealing original music.

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