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.

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Art by Jason Chatfield

While the pandemic precluded most live music last year, Ryan Burns recorded seven singles over six months with a variety of personnel and locations. The singles have been collected in an album titled "Postponed Parade." Ryan Burns composed all the music and plays piano, electric keyboard and organ on various tracks in the album issued on vinyl and CD.  Two selections from the recent album are featured on this week's Jazz Northwest. Also, on this week's show are selections by The Endemic Ensemble. Kelley Johnson, Steve Treseler Group and others. 

On this week's Jazz Northwest, we'll revisit an all-star Portland group from the '90s led by pianist-composer Gordon Lee. The great rhythm team of Leroy Vinnegar on bass and Dick Berk on drums was sparking the Portland jazz scene in those years, and alto saxophonist Warren Rand was the first call alto sax man. The quartet plays two contrafacts by Gordon Lee to begin this show. 

Jeff Clayton on sax and John Clayton on bass.
Jim Levitt

Saxophonist and flutist Jeff Clayton will be remembered Jan. 3 with a rebroadcast performance recorded in 2013 at Centrum's Jazz Port Townsend. Jeff Clayton passed Dec. 16 at the age of 65 at his home in Los Angeles. He had been diagnosed with kidney cancer two years earlier.

Art by Becca Duran | Layout by Miles Thomas

In a year when there were few highlights due to closures of entertainment venues and a paucity of jazz album releases, it's difficult to make a list of highlights for the year. We'll share a few on this week's Jazz Northwest, including two from Vancouver BC, the Tom Keenlyside Quartet and Daniel Hersog's Jazz Orchestra. We'll also hear releases from former Seattle residents who make up The Westerles brass quartet, and pianist and singer Diane Schuur. Jay Thomas plays tenor sax and trumpet on an album of previously unissued material from a 1997 concert at Seattle Art Museum.

Thomas Marriott solos with SRJO
Jim Levitt

All seasonal concerts and performances have been canceled this year, but we have some great memories to relive from previous years. The Duke Ellington Concert of Sacred Music has been presented annually in Seattle since 1989 and was one of the reasons why the Seattle Repertory Jazz Orchestra came into existence in 1994. Earshot Jazz took over the stewardship of the concerts in 1993 and will present this year's streamed version of highlights with some new material Dec. 26-Jan. 2.

David Gestrin

Jazz musicians are famous for taking unconventional approaches to familiar music and the holiday season is no exception. One of our Northwest favorites is an organ group from British Columbia that's been playing together for more than 15 years. The cartoon cover of their third Christmas CD gives a good impression of the quartet's spirited approach to seasonal music.

Our favorite opener for the holiday season on Jazz Northwest is Don Lanphere's 1989 album "Year 'Round Christmas." It begins with a combination of "Joy to the World" and "Jingle Bells" expertly woven together by Don Lanphere and his Sextet. Also, on this week's show are holiday songs by Hans Teuber and Dave Peterson, and Karin Plato to provide a backdrop for decorating your tree.

Portland trumpet player Charlie Porter, Seattle pianist Bill Anschell and Vancouver trumpet player lead their groups and we'll hear some others as well.

Robert Lannone

This week's show will showcase a couple of lush arrangements for larger jazz ensembles. We'll open with Jay Thomas leading and soloing with a ten-piece group playing "Mrs. Goodnight" composed and arranged by Oliver Groenewald. The Daniel Hersog Jazz Orchestra from Vancouver BC will be heard in an extended piece by Hersog we haven't heard before on this show, "Makeshift Memorial".

Jovino Santos Neto
Luzia Grob dos Santos

This week on Jazz Northwest, memories of jazz in Pioneer Square including two tunes featuring bassist Buddy Catlett, and a couple of pieces by pianist/composer Jovino Santos Neto for this month's (virtual) Savassi Festival in Brazil. Also, on this show are four gospel songs inspired by the Golden Gate Quartet, transcribed and arranged for brass quartet and played by The Westerlies.

Jazz Northwest is recorded and produced by host Jim Wilke and airs Sundays at 2 p.m. Listeners may also subscribe to the podcast on Apple, or Google.

Ernestine Anderson's birthday was last Wednesday and although she's been gone seven years, we still enjoy the rich collection of albums featuring her inimitable voice. On this week’s show, we will hear a couple of songs from a 2011 performance at Dizzy's Club at Jazz at Lincoln Center on Columbus Circle in New York City. The Seattle Jazz icon is joined by a soulful group featuring Houston Person and Lafayette Harris Jr.

PHOTO: LARRY GOREN AND DAVID EMMITE, DESIGN: TIA EMMITE AND JEN MANLEY LEE

"Dodger Blue" is a nostalgic song by baseball fan Dave Frishberg composed in 1977 but it's time to hear it again. The LA Dodgers won the World Series last week after a drought of 33 years since the last title. This performance played and sung by Dave Frishberg was captured at The Jazz Bakery in Culver City in 2005. Also featured on this week's show is the late Overton Berry Trio playing for a full house at Jazz Alley last year, The Jay Thomas Quartet playing at The Seattle Art Museum, The Daniel Hersog Jazz Orchestra from Vancouver, singer Kelley Johnson and more.  

Overton Berry
Alex Crick

Pianist Overton Berry played all over the world but he always called Seattle home, and Seattle jazz fans were proud to call him one of our own. When he passed at the age of 84 last Monday, he was one of the last of popular Seattle jazz artists from "The Jackson Street Era" that included Quincy Jones, Ernestine Anderson, Floyd Standifer, Buddy Catlett, Jabo Ward and others. His career developed around the time of the Seattle World's Fair, when he played at The House of Entertainment, Dave's Fifth Avenue, the Marine Room at the Olympic Hotel and the Doubletree Inn.

Janis Mann
Bill Olstead

This week on Jazz Northwest we'll debut the latest release from singer Janis Mann and pianist Kenny Werner. Janis performed regularly around Seattle before moving to L.A. where she's been active as well as touring on the West Coast and singing in New York City. Her musical partnership with pianist Kenny Werner has been striking and fruitful. Their second album "Dreams of Flying" illustrates their intuitive blend, particularly on "When October Goes". 

Ravi Coltrane
Deborah Feingold

John Gilbreath, Executive Director of Earshot Jazz, joins host Jim Wilke for a preview of the 32nd Annual Earshot Jazz Festival on this week's episode of Jazz Northwest. The Festival runs four weekends from October 16 through November 8 and will be an all-digital festival this year with live concerts delivered directly to the audience because of the pandemic. John Gilbreath talks about the special challenges of producing concerts for an unseen audience online. Music by Ravi Coltrane, Jovino Santos Neto, Fred Hersch and Marina Albero is included on this show. 

Ezra Weiss
Gary Norman

We hear new music from Portland-based composer Ezra Weiss on today’s episode of Jazz NorthwestVancouver BC tenor saxophonist is joined by a great New York rhythm section in his latest recording, while Karin Plato sings one of her original songs. Jack Wilson's Quartet with Roy Ayers will be heard in an excerpt from a 1966 radio broadcast from The Penthouse in Seattle, and the venerable saxophonist Don Lanphere will be heard in music from his last CD.

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. 

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