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

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. 

Alex Dugdale tap dancing with Max Holmberg on drums
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.

Jacqueline Tabor with Seattle Repertory Jazz Orchestra
Jim Levitt

  

The iconic American singer Billie Holiday is subject of tribute concerts by the Seattle Repertory Jazz Orchestra and guest vocalist Jacqueline Tabor performed at Kirkland Performance Center and Benaroya Hall in Seattle.

The Westerlies

The Westerlies is a brass quartet including 3 former Seattle residents who formed the group when they were students at Juilliard and the Manhattan School of music. The quartet of two trumpets and two trombones is unusual in jazz, with no rhythm section or chordal instrument. Their repertoire is also unusually wide-ranging, including Americana, 20th century composers such as Bartok and Ives, original music and in their new album, spirituals inspired by the Golden Gate Quartet.

Jimmy Heath
Roger Galloway

The late saxophonist and composer Jimmy Heath appeared in Seattle several times, with The Heath Brothers and with The Seattle Repertory Jazz Orchestra. He was commissioned by the SRJO to compose a suite "The Endless Search" which the orchestra premiered in 2006 at a concert in Benaroya Hall. He returned a year later to make a studio recording of the suite with SRJO.  Parts 2 and 3 of the suites will be featured on today’s episode of Jazz Northwest. 

Michael Glynn, Xavier Lecouturier
Lisa Hagen Glynn Photography

This month's Art of Jazz concert presented by Earshot and The Seattle Art Museum featured exciting new compositions and arrangements for octet by Dylan Hayes and Xavier Lecouturier. The DX-Tet, co-led by Hayes and Lecouturier, played a rich program for four horns, piano, guitar, bass and drums. The co-leaders grew up in the Bay area and have lived in Seattle the last four years while attending Cornish College of the Arts. 

Barcelona-born pianist Marina Albero's ambitious 3 CD album featuring her piano and compositions is among recent releases on this week's episode of Jazz Northwest. Also on this show are Cuban cuatro player Kiki Valera, singers Jenny Davis and Kelley Johnson and Portland pianist Kerry Politzer. We also tap the way back machine for Floyd Standifer with the Local 493 Reunion Band, and Cannonball Adderley at The Penthouse.

Portland-based trumpet player and composer Charlie Porter has composed and recorded an ambitious suite of original music titled "Immigration Nation." The suite takes up an entire CD and is divided into two large sections, "Leaving Home" and "New Beginnings." We'll sample the suite today on Jazz Northwest. 

Also on this week's show are Dave Peterson, Greta Matassa, Cory Weeds Little Big Band and more from a 1962 live aircheck of Johnny Griffin and Lockjaw Davis playing at The Penthouse in Seattle. Best bets for live jazz in the coming week are also included. 

Origin Records

This week's Jazz Northwest features some of our favorite CD releases from 2019 by resident Northwest Jazz artists. Included on the show are selections by Kiki Valera, Xavier Lecouturier, Kelley Johnson, Chuck Deardorf, Marina Albero, and others.  

Jim Wilke

One of the Seattle area's best-known singers, Greta Matassa is featured in concert from the Seattle Art Museum on this episode of Jazz Northwest. Named to the Seattle Jazz Hall of Fame and seven times Earshot Vocalist of the Year, Greta Matassa has produced 11 CDs. She tours nationally and has also performed abroad. She sings several songs from her most recent CD "Portrait" on this concert.  

SRJO & chorus at St.Mark's in 2018.
Jim Levitt

Holiday music by regional jazz artists and some highlights from The Sacred Music of Duke Ellington as performed by The Seattle Repertory Jazz Orchestra last year at St. Mark's Cathedral in Seattle. The SRJO with chorus and soloists will perform the Ellington Sacred Music again on December 28 this year at Town Hall Seattle. This week's Jazz Northwest also includes seasonal music by Don Lanphere, B3 Kings, Karin Plato, Greta Matassa, Anton Schwartz and Dave Peterson and best bets for live jazz in the coming week.

Live Seattle radio broadcasts by Johnny Griffin and Eddie "Lockjaw" Davis from 1962 provide source material for a new release on the Reel to Real label from Vancouver BC. The broadcasts were part of a long-running weekly radio series featuring major touring jazz artists from the Pioneer Square jazz club. Two complete half-hour broadcasts are presented back to back on the new release "OW!" which was just released on a limited edition double vinyl LP on Record Store Day/Black Friday, and the polycarbonate CD will be released on December 6.

Kate Olson and Naomi Siegel at Seattle Art Museum
Lisa Hagen Glynn Photo

 

Saxophonist Kate Olson brought her KO Ensemble to The Seattle Art Museum for November's Art of Jazz concert presented by Earshot. The concert was one of a series marking a reunion of Kate Olson with trombonist Naomi Moon Siegel. The KO Ensemble also included Alex Guilbert, piano, Chris Symer, bass and Chris Icasiano on drums. The concert featured original music by Olson, Siegel and Guilbert and was recorded for today’s episode.

Gilllian Margot at Jazz Port Townsend 2019
Jim Levitt

Singer Gillian Margot and pianist Geoffrey Keezer performed as a duo on the last night of the 2019 Centrum's Jazz Port Townsend and their concert will air on this week’s episode of Jazz Northwest. Together, they performed a selection of songs including some of their original songs as well as popular standards by Jimmy Webb, Michel LeGrand and Stevie Wonder. Gillian Margot and Geoffrey Keezer included some songs from their 2018 album "On My Way To You." Both were on the jazz faculty for the Jazz Workshop preceding Jazz Port Townsend on the last weekend of July each year.

On the eve of what would be her 91st birthday, Ernestine Anderson is remembered with a selection of early, middle and late career recordings this Sunday on Jazz Northwest. In a career spanning more than six decades, she made over 30 albums and received four Grammy nominations. She began in Seattle at Garfield High School with Bumps Blackwell's Youth band which included Quincy Jones and Ray Charles.

As the Earshot Festival wraps up this week, the finale looms large. It's Chick Corea as featured soloist with The Seattle Symphony Orchestra in Benaroya Hall on November 6.  

Jim Levitt

Tenor sax "battles" have been a tradition in jazz since the late 30s and pairing tenor saxophonists with contrasting styles has continued to the present day. Usually, more of a friendly exchange than a battle per se, two examples recorded in Seattle in 1962 and 2009 are featured on this week's episode of Jazz Northwest.  

Ann Reynolds at Seattle Art Museum
Jim Levitt

Pianist and composer Ann Reynolds has been traveling to Cuba since 2000, engaging with the music, dance, culture and the people. Return trips have fueled her creativity and she has now produced two albums of her original music inspired by her travels. She brought her quintet Clave Gringa to the Art of Jazz series at the Seattle Art Museum this month.

Jay Thomas solos on trumpet with SRJO.
Courtesy of Jim Levitt

The Seattle Repertory Jazz Orchestra opened its 25th anniversary season with concerts in Seattle's Benaroya Hall and the Kirkland Performance Center last weekend. The program in both locations featured music from a 1961 album that brought the Count Basie Orchestra and the Duke Ellington Orchestra together in a recording studio for the first and only time. They shared repertoire and soloists from both bands and many selections recorded that day were performed in these concerts by the SRJO.   

Origin Records

Several new and recent releases from regional jazz artists are featured on this week’s episode of Jazz Northwest.  Kelley Johnson's new CD "Something Good" is her first in more than a decade and it shows a widening and deepening of her voice and repertoire. It's a welcome release from one of the top singers in the Northwest.  Guitarist Dave Peterson is something of a hidden treasure to most non-musicians, but insiders know and cherish his guitar work and his long, open melodic lines.

Thomas Marriott
Courtesy of Jim Levitt

Trumpeter Thomas Marriott has been playing at Tula's for all his professional life. He started there with his brother Dave on trombone when they were in their teens. The Marriotts represent an entire generation of Seattle musicians who have been regulars on stage at Tula's for more than two decades. Sadly, Tula's closes after 26 years at the end of this month, another victim of gentrification and high rents. Most of the one-story block in Belltown will be demolished for a new high-rise building.   

Jim Wilke

Singer Jacqueline Tabor, named Earshot Vocalist of the year for 2018, was accompanied by a quartet including Michael Brockman on saxophone, John Hansen on piano, Clipper Anderson on bass and D'Vonne Lewis playing the drums. Songs performed ranged from well-known standards to several more obscure songs and the title song from her most recent CD, "The Lady In The Gown."

Terell Stafford solos on flugelhorn, John Clayton conducts the Centrum Big Band
Courtesy of Jim Levitt

John Clayton, Artistic Director of Jazz Port Townsend, leads a specially assembled big band in concert on this week’s episode of Jazz Northwest. The all-star big band is an annual feature of the festival which celebrated its 45th year in July. Featured soloists from this performance include Jeff Hamilton, Terell Stafford, René Marie, Gerald Clayton and Akiko Tsuruga. 

Michael Mayo at Jazz Port Townsend 2019
Courtesy of Jim Levitt

Vocalist Michael Mayo won many new fans with his performance at the 2019 Jazz Port Townsend. His wide-ranging flexible voice was surprisingly supple and expressive in a program mostly given to the popular standards songbook, with the exception of the opening original song, in which he used loops and effects building to a choral effect in a solo performance. In the balance of the concert, he enjoyed all-star backing from Geoffrey Keezer (piano), Graham Dechter (guitar), Vicente Archer (bass) and Obed Callvaire (drums).

Ernie Watts
Courtesy of Jim Levitt

LA tenor saxophonist Ernie Watts and Seattle's New Stories Trio were reunited at the 2019 Ballard Jazz Festival on the mainstage at the National Nordic Museum. 

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