Robin Lloyd | KNKX

Robin Lloyd

Jazz Caliente & Jazz Host

Robin Lloyd was born and raised in the Detroit area. She performed radio plays in junior high and high school, took various radio apprenticeships in high school and college, and has held a number of different positions at community and public radio stations in Michigan and Western Washington, including Jazz and Blues Host, Producer, Production Manager, Station Operations Manager and Program Director. Robin is married to drummer Michael Slivka; together they manage a household full of dogs, cats and percussion.

Her most memorable KNKX moment: dancing with the Wild Magnolias Mardi Gras Indians on stage at Jazz Alley on my birthday.

Ways to Connect

Cuban cuatro master Kiki Valera
courtesy of the artist

The 31st Earshot Jazz Festival starts Friday and runs through Nov. 6. This week on Saturday's Jazz Caliente, we'll hear from some of the great Cuban and Brazilian artists performing at the festival, including some of our Northwest favorites!

Cuban pianist Chucho Valdés with batá drum
Carol Friedman / courtesy of the artist

On Jazz Caliente this Saturday, we'll hear a selection from the latest release by Cuban pianist Chucho Valdés, "Jazz Batá 2."  The album was nominated this week for Best Latin Jazz Album by the 20th Annual Latin Grammys. Let's meet a few of the other 2019 Latin Grammy nominees.

Trombonist, singer and songwriter Natalie Cressman
FifthLegend from Eagan, Minnesota / Wiki Commons

This week on Jazz Caliente, we'll hear some great trombone playing from veteran bandleader Papo Vasquez, and also from relative newcomer Natalie Cressman.  Let's get to know some Latin jazz trombonists!

Percussionist Manny Oquendo (1931-2009) led and co-founded the influential Latin jazz ensemble called Conjunto Libre.  Like the "hard-bop academy" of Art Blakey's Jazz Messengers, it was a finishing school for the musicians who passed through it on their way to becoming leaders and luminaries of Latin jazz.

Puerto Rican dancers at the 35th annual Puerto Rican Festival Parade in Boston, 2002
AP Photo/Julia Malakie

Looking at the diversity of musicians just within this Saturday's Jazz Caliente playlist, I realize that the arts (and, for me, music in particular) are the common ground where we all can meet and get along like civilized beings.  

Master percussionist Paoli Mejías
Alex Diaz /

A Grammy-nominated Puerto Rican percussion master is bringing his Latin jazz quintet to the Pacific Northwest for two concerts this week. Let’s get to know Paoli Mejías!

Jim Coile plays flute with Sonando at KNKX, June 2018
Parker Miles Blohm / KNKX

Saxophonist and flautist Jim Coile died last week, in an accident on his way home from a kayaking and fishing trip in Mexico. Coile worked with several groups in the Pacific Northwest, and he was one of the original members of Seattle’s longest-running Latin jazz band, Sonando.

A toucan sits on a branch at the Biopark "La Reserva" in Cota, Colombia
Fernando Vergara / The Associated Press

For no particular reason, this week's Jazz Caliente show starts with a set of three tunes about birds.

Birds are well represented in music throughout Spain, Cuba, Mexico and South America. Here are a few more Latin jazz bird songs.

"Conversation" sculpture, Plaza de San Francisco, Havana, Cuba
Robn Lloyd / KNKX

This week, the Trump administration brought back drastic restrictions on travel to Cuba. Setting aside the political, economic and philosophical debates, here's a baker's dozen of fond memories from my trip to Cuba in 2013 with a delightful group of KNKX listeners.

Trumpeter Etienne Charles
courtesy of the artist

A troop of fine trumpeters from around the world liven up this week's Jazz Caliente. Here's the scoop.

Guitarist Daniel Girón
courtesy of the artist

The term "Latin jazz" may conjure images of lots of drums, percussion and horns, but let's not forget the guitars. This week on Jazz Caliente, we'll hear a few great guitarists from Columbia, Brazil and right in our own backyard.

Monika Herzig's Sheroes
courtesy of the artist

Jazz Caliente observes Mother's Day this Saturday with a focus on women instrumentalists, bandleaders and a couple of all-women bands.  Here's a sample.

Parker Miles Blohm / KNKX

Seattle Rep’s show “Nina Simone Four Women” plays through June 2. It’s not a biography and it’s not a musical review. This “play with music” imagines Nina Simone in the 16th Street Baptist Church in Birmingham, Alabama, just after the 1963 bombing that killed four young girls. 

Eddie Palmieri performing at at the Tito Puente Amphitheather in San Juan, Puerto Rico, 2005

Cinco de Mayo is Sunday, and we'll celebrate with some new music from Mexican artists like Lila Downs and Rodrigo y Gabriela on Jazz Caliente this Saturday. 

We'll also salute the "Sun of Latin Music," Eddie Palmieri, who brings his Latin Jazz Septet to The Triple Door on Tuesday, May 7.

Brazilian saxophonist Daniela Spielmann
courtesy of the artist

Centrum in Port Townsend is celebrating its 10th year of presenting Choro workshops and concerts. This week on Jazz Caliente, we'll get to know some of the visiting Brazilian artists who make this very popular Centrum program thrive.

Pianist/composer Ann Reynolds enjoying the movement of Cuban jazz
Steve Korn

Ann Reynolds' second Clave Gringa CD, Joy, will be celebrated at a release party at the Royal Room in Seattle on Sunday, April 21.

Ann and I recently chatted about her fascination with Cuban music, and about the new album, part of which was recorded in Cuba with Cuban musicians. 

The Rumba Kings performing
Courtesy of The Rumba Kings

There are only a handful of artists who have performed more than twice on our live KNKX Studio Sessions. We’re thrilled that The Rumba Kings have hit the mark!  

Drummer Ignacio Berroa
courtesy of the artist

The foremost authority on Afro-Cuban jazz drumming will appear with the Seattle Repertory Jazz Orchestra for three concerts next week. If you're quick, you might be able to pick up the last few remaining tickets.

Let's get to know Havana-born Ignacio Berroa!

Pianist, educator and social activist Danilo Pérez
photo courtesy of the artist / Mack Avenue Records/Danilo Pérez

The prolific pianist, educator and social activist Danilo Pérez will be appearing with the University of Puget Sound Jazz Orchestra on Friday, April 5.

Omar Sosa
Parker Miles Blohm / KNKX

The message of Transparent Water is to heed nature’s warnings and protect our most important resource.

Pianist Omar Sosa travels the world, looking to make musical connections. His Afro-Cuban heritage blends magically with the other members of this trio.     

Seckou Keita and Omar Sosa
Alicia Carrera / courtesy of the artist

Here are the Jazz Caliente recommendations for live music this week that you should not miss!

In the Blue Note recording studio, L to R:  Herbie Hancock, Marcus Strickland, Wayne Shorter, Ambrose Akinmusire
Mira Films

Jewish immigrants Alfred Lion and Francis Wolff fled Germany in the 1930s, escaping Nazi persecution.  The childhood friends shared a love of jazz, and together they slowly built an American recording company that became known for its integrity, fairness and nurturing of artists. 

This audio and video feast celebrates the 80-year history of the iconic label that laid claim to presenting “The Finest in Jazz,” Blue Note Records.

A bee flies towards a blooming crocus in a public garden
Focke Strangmann / APN

Muchas gracias, obrigado, and thank you!  Listener support has allowed Jazz Caliente to blossom and grow on KNKX.  Fund drive time is here, and you can be part of the spring renewal with your gift today at or 877-NPR-KNKX (677-5659).

Performer from Paraíso do Tuiuti Samba School in competition in Rio de Janeiro, 2018
Fat Press / LIESA

March 2019 is going to be an extraordinary month for live music, with performances by local favorites and internationally renowned masters of Brazilian and Afro-Cuban jazz. Here's the update, and a peek beyond March, too. Click on the links for details and ticket information.

Grammy nominee Elio Villafranca in the studio
Kasia Idzkowska / courtesy of the artist

The 61st Grammy Awards show is this Sunday at 5 p.m. We'll revisit some of the nominees for the "Best Latin Jazz Album" category this week on Saturday Jazz Caliente. Here's a Jazz Caliente video extravaganza to help introduce you to these outstanding artists:

Trumpeter Pete Rodriguez, son of salsero Pete "El Conde" Rodriguez
©Hannah Neal / courtesy of the artist

Musical genius seems like it could be a genetic trait. It's so often passed down through successive generations. That's certainly true in Latin jazz, and we'll hear from members of musical families this week on Saturday's Jazz Caliente.

Pianist André Mehmari, reflected
Anita Kalikies / courtesy of the artist

The Brazilian pianist and composer André Mehmari brings his trio to the Pacific Northwest for the first time next week for shows in Portland, Seattle and Bellevue.  I'm grateful that I was able to catch a phone interview with this truly brilliant musician.

Percussionist Mayra Casales at Chicago's Auditorium Theater, 2016
Vernon Hester / Windy City Times/

Mayra Casales is recognized as a powerful and versatile percussionist, and she's certainly done her share of advocating for women in music. Let's get to know our Jazz Caliente Rhythm Maker No. 14!

Daymé Arocena in concert in Havana, Cuba 2016
Diane Guerra / courtesy of the artist

At the very top of your New Year's resolution list, write this: See more live music performances! The Seattle-area live Latin jazz forecast for the first quarter of 2019 is impressive. Here's what we know so far.

Saxophonist Sonny Rollins in undated performance
Veryl Oakland

Details of the seemingly charmed life of an international jazz star. Memories of the rough-and-tumble heyday of Chicago blues, and the tiny independent record labels that nurtured it. A collection of exquisite moments in the lives and performances of some of the jazz greats, captured in real light. 

There's a new book for every jazz and blues enthusiast this year.