Jazz Caliente | KNKX

Jazz Caliente

Saturday 5PM-6PM

Where jazz meets Afro-Cuban, Afro-Brazilian, Puerto Rican, and Pan-American rhythms.  A lively tour of the diverse world of Latin Jazz hosted by Robin Llloyd.

A street in Havana, Cuba

ICYMI: The long-suffering people of Cuba have had enough. And, as always, Cuba's musicians and artists lead the way.

Pablo Gil, Sheila E. and Tony Succar.
Photo by Leigh Kelly

Two Latin music documentaries premiere on the PBS series "Great Performances" this month, starting Friday, July 9, with Gloria Estefan presenting "Sangre Yoruba," which focuses on Brazilian music. On Friday, July 16, it's "The Roots of Latin Jazz" hosted by Sheila E. and featuring Tony Succar's Raices Jazz Orchestra.

The Rumba Kings in action at the Triple Door, Seattle
courtesy of the artists

The Pacific Northwest's favorite Latin/Mediterranean/guitar extravaganza band The Rumba Kings have been busy during the COVID-19 lockdown. They've spent months improving and expanding their live show, and you can see it at the Triple Door Nov. 19 and 20.  

Grammy nominee Aymee Nuviola
Paulo Simeon / CC BY-SA 4.0 via Wikimedia Commons

The Grammy Awards will be televised this Sunday at 5 p.m. Pacific Time. On Saturday's Jazz Caliente, we'll sample the five nominees for Best Latin Jazz Album. Here's some background on each album, in the artists' own words.

Fania All-Stars, 1980
Judy Morales / Fania Records

Johnny Pacheco, one of the "Fathers of Salsa," died on Feb. 15. He was 85. Jazz Caliente remembers this influential and beloved Dominican musician who brought a cross-cultural phenomenon to the world.

Carlos Cascante y su Tumbao, KNKX Studio Session 2013

Sunday is Valentine's Day, and Saturday's Jazz Caliente celebrates early with songs of love and longing, including a few slow-dance boleros for cuddling with your cutie.

George Gershwin 1898-1937
Bain News Service / Public Domain

Known as one of the most significant composers of American music, George Gershwin excelled in popular songs, Broadway musicals and even classical compositions. 

In February of 1932, George treated himself to a two-week vacation in Cuba. When he came back to the U.S., he wrote a short piece of music inspired by the rhythms he heard on the island.

Pete Escovedo and his daughter Sheila E in Rome, 2013
Jun Sato / Wireimage

Bay Area percussionist and bandleader Pete Escovedo was honored at last week's Jazz Education Network Virtual Conference as this year's Legend of Latin Jazz.

Cuban singer Omara Portuondo
Johann Sauty/Courtesy of the artist

The 21st annual Latin Grammy Awards will be televised on Thursday, Nov. 19, at 8 p.m.  The Latin Grammys are incredibly complex and diverse. I encourage you to explore other categories, but for this week, Jazz Caliente samples five nominees for Best Latin Jazz/Jazz album and one for Best Contemporary Tropical/Fusion. 

Unheard mid-60s recordings from Don Cherry highlight Saturday's second Record Store Day drops.
Album cover courtesy of Gearbox Records

For the second edition of this year's pandemic-altered Record Store Day celebrations, there are fewer headlines for jazz fans. A new collection of previously unheard, edgy hard bop from cornet player Don Cherry tops the list.

Brazilian songwriter extraordinaire Milton Nascimento
João Couto

The music of two beloved Brazilian songwriters is being celebrated with two new albums that we'll sample this week on Saturday's Jazz Caliente.

CD cover Charlie Parker The Latin Bird
High Definition Jazz CD re-issue

Jazz Caliente this week starts with a Latin jazz tribute to the musical genius and innovator, Charlie "Yardbird" Parker, on what would have been his 100th birthday.  We'll also get up to date on what's happening with Northwest favorites The Rumba Kings, and sample new music from the Bay Area's resident expert on rhythm, John Santos.

Brazilian drummer Vanderlei Pereira
courtesy of the artist

This week on Jazz Caliente, I'll feature another song from Cuban pianist Harold López-Nussa's latest album, Te Lo Dije, revisit the uniquely gifted trumpeter Gabriel Alegria and his Afro-Peruvian Sextet, and sample something new from Brazilian drummer Vanderlei Pereira and his group The Blindfold Test.

Harold Lopez-Nussa shouts "I TOLD YOU SO" on the cover of his new album "Te Lo Dije"
courtesy of the artist

The capricious gods of remote broadcasting prevented us from hearing the new music that I had planned for last Saturday's Jazz Caliente. We're making up for it this week. Here is what's in store:

Photo by Luz Mendoza on Unsplash

For Jazz Appreciation Month, Robin Lloyd focuses on three influential Latin Jazz musicians and composers who shaped their creative talents to lead others in new directions as bandleaders.

Mongo Santamaria plays the conga drums at the Super Jazz Concert at the Apollo Theater in New York on Saturday, Dec. 10, 1988.
William I. Ballinger / The Associated Press

April is Jazz Appreciation Month, and we'll join the festivities on Jazz Caliente this Saturday by celebrating some Latin jazz artists' birthdays.

Percussionist and bandleader Ray Mantilla at Tuscia in Jazz Festival, 2008
Massimo Manconi / courtesy of the artist

Percussion master and beloved bandleader Ray Mantilla died on March 21. He was 85.

Album cover, Eddie Palmieri's Doin' It in the Park
courtesy of the artist / Alala Records

In case you missed it: Back in 2012, pianist/composer/bandleader Eddie Palmieri contributed his considerable skills to the soundtrack for a documentary film, Doin' It in the Park, an intense look at pick-up basketball culture in New York City parks. 

"You can play high school or college for four years. You can play pro for a decade. You can play pick-up...for life."

Omar Sosa and Yilian Cañizares
Franck Socha / courtesy of the artist

The gods of Latin jazz are truly smiling on Seattle right now. Here's a bit of background on two shows that you really should see.

Pianist Kenny Barron
courtesy of the artist

What do a Philadelphian pianist, an Israeli guitarist and a musician/novelist/radio host/actor from Italy have in common? This week on Jazz Caliente, they're all playing Brazilian music.

Trumpeter Brian Lynch with his Grammy for "The Omni American Book Club"
Robby Klein, Recording Academy

Grammy Sunday has come and gone, but in case you missed it, we'll be listening to some of the Grammy winners on Jazz Caliente this Saturday.

Claudio Roditi plays piccolo trumpet at Jazz Club Unterfahrt, Munich  2010
OhWeh / Wiki Commons CCA-SA 2.5

Playing horns ranging from valve trombone to piccolo trumpet, Claudio Roditi made his mark on Latin jazz with his beautiful tone, his wonderful compositions, and his absolute belief that music and laughter were the best things in life.  

Cuban drummer Ignacio Berroa with SRJO, April 2019
Jim Levitt

Drummer Ignacio Berroa was a guest artist with the Seattle Repertory Jazz Orchestra last April, and he returns to join the SRJO Sextet for the inaugural concert of Northwest Music Mondays, presented by KNKX at Dimitriou's Jazz Alley on Jan. 27.

Pianist Josean Jacobo
courtesy of the artist

This week on Saturday's Jazz Caliente, we'll hear Dominican pianist Josean Jacobo and his group Tumbao play an instrumental version of "Aunque Me Cueste La Vida," a ballad written by prolific Dominican songwriter Luis Kalaff and made popular by singer Alberto Beltran. Here's a little background:

CD cover for Marina Albero's "A Life Soundtrack"
Cover art by Koldo Barroso / Courtesy of the artist

Spanish pianist and composer Marina Albero's new release, "A Life Soundtrack," is an impressive three-disc collection of her life (so far) in music. 

Ninety Miles CD cover, Concord Music Group 2011
Devin DeHaven / devindehaven.com

In 2011, Concord Music Group released a CD and DVD called Ninety Miles, documenting a trip to Cuba by American jazz musicians Stefon Harris, David Sánchez and Christian Scott.

Actor, musician, lawyer, activist Rubén Blades
courtesy of the artist

Last week the Recording Academy announced the nominees for the 2020 Grammy Awards. The 62nd awards ceremony and televised extravaganza will be held on Jan. 26. Let's sample the nominees for Best Latin Jazz Album!

Percussionist Sammy Figueroa
Daniel Azoulay / courtesy of the artist

Learn more about the multi-talented percussionist Sammy Figueroa, as Jazz Caliente marks his 71st birthday this Saturday.  

Roy Rogers, Badi Assad and Carlos Reyes are StringShot
courtesy of the artist

StringShot is a collaboration between an American blues guitarist, a Brazilian guitar and vocal percussion specialist, and a Paraguayan violinist/harpist. They're coming to Seattle to perform at The Triple Door on Thursday, Nov. 7, presented by KNKX.  

Brazilian pianist and guitarist Egberto Gismonti
Roberto Cifarelli (robertcifarelli.com) / courtesy of the artist

The 2019 Earshot Jazz Festival brings us a rare opportunity to see Brazilian guitar master Egberto Gismonti on Wednesday, Oct. 30. Jazz Caliente invites you to learn more about this unique artist.