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

Poster for Cuban Chemistry
Kiki Valera and Coco Freeman photos by Raul Campoverde, Carlos Cascante photo courtesy of the Spanish Harlem Orchestra

Cuban Chemistry will sizzle at Seattle's Century Ballroom Saturday night, December 8.  The musical chemistry between Cuban cuatro master Kiki Valera, popular Cuban vocalist Coco Freeman, and award-winning vocalist and songwriter Carlos Cascante will be impossible to resist, and there will even be a dance lesson before the show, in case you need to brush up on your fancy steps.

A boy takes a break from his drum lessons at the Danilo Perez Foundation music school in Panama City, 2012
AP Photo/Arnulfo Franco

Musicians have always passed along their knowledge and experience to the next generation.  For some, taking on students is just an additional revenue stream.  But for many others, teaching is a serious mission. 

We'll hear from a couple of the most dedicated Latin Jazz professors this week on Saturday Jazz Caliente:

Chucho Valdés poses in the press room with the award for best latin jazz album for "Tribute to Irakere: Live in Marciac" at the 59th annual Grammy Awards at the Staples Center on Sunday, Feb. 12, 2017, in Los Angeles.
Chris Pizzello/Invision / AP

Chucho Valdés, the pianist/composer/bandleader often referred to as "The Duke Ellington of Cuba," will receive a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Latin Grammys in a private ceremony on Tuesday November 13.

Jane Bunnett and Maqueque
courtesy of the artist / janebunnett.com

A CD release party on Saturday and the final concert of the 30th annual Earshot Jazz Festival on Sunday are perfect reasons to celebrate women in Latin Jazz, and to mark the second anniversary of the debut of Saturday Jazz Caliente on KNKX!

Film poster A Tuba to Cuba
Nom De Guerre Films

In 2015, the Preservation Hall Jazz Band of New Orleans made a trip to Cuba.  Their life-changing journey is documented in the wonderfully entertaining and moving film A Tuba to Cuba.

A man dressed as devil dances to celebrate the "Day to demand the Bolivian origin of the Diablada dance" in La Paz,  2009.
Juan Karita / AP Photo

For the Halloween edition of Saturday Jazz Caliente, I've sprinkled the playlist with music about a Peruvian/Bolivian devil, a Cuban spirit, and even one of Dracula's minions; specifically, his chauffeur.  Here's some background:

Yamandu Costa in São Paulo, 2011
Fronteiras do Pensamento / courtesy of the artist

Brazil is known for producing an astonishing number of guitar virtuosi.  Leading the next generation of wizards of the strings, Yamandu Costa is a unique improviser, composer and master of the 7-string guitar.

Ben Thomas in the KNKX Seattle studios.
Parker Miles Blohm / KNKX

The Seattle-based group Torch took their name from a Thomas Mann quote:  “Art is the sacred torch that must shed its merciful light into all life’s terrible depths.”  

It’s a lofty idea that they not only live up to, but also turn into fun, expressive and soul-satisfying music.

All four band members are conservatory-trained, all are music educators, and all are masterful improvisers and composers. 

Enjoy this session of original music and delightful conversation!

Percussionist Samuel Torres
Adriana Mateo / courtesy of the artist

This week on Saturday Jazz Caliente, we'll hear part of a suite written by percussionist Samuel Torres and dedicated to the victims of violence in his native Columbia.  Also,  from composer/arranger/educator Socrates Garcia's project Back Home, a selection in remembrance of three sisters who were assassinated in 1960 for their actions against the Dominican Republic's bloodiest dictator, Rafael Trujillo.

Jane Bunnett and Maqueque
courtesy of the artist

The 2018 Earshot Jazz Festival starts on Sunday, October 7, and in keeping with Earshot's committment to diversity and variety, there's something for everyone on the concert schedule.  Let's preview the shows of particular interest to Latin Jazz fans:

Flautist Nestor Torres in the studio
courtesy of the artist / http://www.nestortorres.com/

Last week, the Latin Recording Academy announced the nominees for the 19th Annual Latin Grammy Awards.   On Saturday Jazz Caliente this week we'll hear from one of this year's nominees for Best Latin Jazz Album, flute master Nestor Torres.  Let me introduce you to the rest of the nominees:

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." 

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!

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.

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:

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.

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.

Dawn Clement
Parker Miles Blohm / KNKX

Pianist and vocalist Dawn Clement has made her mark on the Seattle music scene over the past several years, prompting music writer Paul de Barros to refer to her as the “Wonder Woman of Seattle.”  She’s won three Earshot Jazz Golden Ear awards, recorded 5 albums, and was last year’s Artist-in-Residence for the Earshot Jazz Festival.

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.

 Kiki Valera And La Serenata Cubana
Parker Miles Blohm / KNKX

Kiki Valera comes from the famous La Familia Valera Miranda, a multi-generational traditional musical group from Santiago de Cuba.  He’s known as one of the world’s greatest players of the Cuban guitar known as the cuatro.  

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."

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.

José Mangual, Sr. on the cover of the 1977 album Buyú
Turnstyle Records/Martin Cohen/congahead/Latin Percussion

Bongocero José Mangual performed with nearly all of the American musicians who were discovering Latin rhythms from the 1940s through the 1970s, including Count Basie, Miles Davis and Erroll Garner.  He was also a huge inspiration to the founder of the one of the most popular percussion instrument manufacturing companies in the United States.

Parker Miles Blohm / KNKX

We were thrilled to welcome Seattle’s longest-running Latin Jazz group Sonando to our Seattle studios for a live performance.  

Formed in 1990 by pianist and tresero Fred Hoadley, Sonando has recorded three stellar albums, won an Earshot Jazz Golden Ear award for Best Acoustic Jazz Group of 2007, and received a grant to arrange and perform the music of jazz great Charles Mingus, Afro-Cuban style, in 2011.

Pianist and bandleader Oscar Hernández
courtesy of the artist

The Spanish Harlem Orchestra returns to Seattle's Jazz Alley June 21-24.  It's their 15th anniversary tour, and a celebration of the release of their latest CD Anniversary.

I caught up with bandleader Oscar Hernández by phone, and we talked about his early days as musician and arranger in New York, forming the SHO, and more:

1974 album cover Fania All Stars Latin Soul Rock
courtesy of Fania Records/www.fania.com

This week's Latin Soul selection on Saturday Jazz Caliente is "Viva Tirado," from the Fania All Stars 1974 collection Latin-Soul-Rock.  The composition, written by the great jazz arranger Gerald Wilson, has an interesting history and has proved to be an enduring piece of shared culture. 

Here's the original and just a few of the many different recordings of "Viva Tirado."

Percussion master Steve Kroon tosses the chekeré
courtesy of the artist

Steven Kroon was raised in Harlem and Queens, and what he learned there has taken him on 15 world tours and given him 50 years in the business of professional percussion.

Cinco de Mayo Parade, Mexico City 2017
(AP Photo/Eduardo Verdugo)

As we celebrate Mexican and Mexican-American culture, let's go beyond tacos and tequila, and recognize Mexico's contribution to jazz and Latin jazz.  This week on Saturday Jazz Caliente, we'll hear from one prominent Mexican-American Latin jazz musician, Poncho Sanchez.  Here are a few more:

Pedrito Martinez of The Pedrito Martinez Group performs at the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival on Friday, April 28, 2017, in New Orleans.
Amy Harris/Invision / AP

Wynton Marsalis called him a genius.  Quincy Jones says listening to this man's band makes him feel like a teenager.   Let's meet Cuban-born percussionist Pedrito Martinez.  He'll be at Jazz Alley in Seattle next Tuesday and Wednesday, May 1st and 2nd.

Pianist Eliane Elias, cover photo from the album "Music From Man of La Mancha"
courtesy of the artist

Another stellar week of live Latin Jazz starts this Sunday in Seattle, including Cuban jazz and dance music, a Brazilian spin on the Tony-winning Broadway musical Man of La Mancha, and an artist who is at the forefront of the wave of Cuban millennials who are forging a new path with their music.  Here's the rundown:

Pages