Jazz Northwest | KNKX

Jazz Northwest

Sundays at 2PM

Jazz Northwest focuses on the regional jazz scene from Portland to Vancouver. CDs by the best resident musicians from Seattle, Portland and Vancouver are featured, and the program also includes news about the best places to go for live jazz in the region. In addition, Jim goes "on location" to concerts, clubs and jazz festivals to record performances by resident and visiting artists for playback on Jazz Northwest. These one-of-a-kind recordings are available nowhere else!

Host Jim Wilke is a professional recording engineer and writer in addition to his radio programs which include "Jazz After Hours" on Public Radio International, heard nationwide since 1984.

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. 

Painting by Norah Johnston

Two musicians in a room invites interaction, introspection and interplay. Such is the case in an intimate duo recorded in a quiet room in a private home in Vancouver, B.C. last December. Edmonton alto saxophonist and bi-coastal pianist Bill Mays recorded this CD after playing four concerts last December. We'll hear them play two songs on this episode of Jazz Northwest.  


George Cables, Chuck Deardorf, Terell Stafford, Matt Wilson, Marquis Hill at Jazz Port Townsend 2019
Courtesy of Jim Levitt

Two great trumpet players were featured together at Jazz Port Townsend this summer. Terell Stafford and Marquis Hill traded brilliant solos during a matinee concert in McCurdy Pavilion at Fort Worden during this year’s festival. With George Cables at the piano, Chuck Deardorf on bass and Matt Wilson at the drums, the quintet generated a lot of excitement for a near-capacity crowd. 


Equal Time features Akiko Tsuruga, Jeff Hamilton and Graham Dechter. They performed at Centrum's 2019 Jazz Port Townsend.
Jim Levitt

Equal Time is an organ trio in the classic style that emerged in the 60s. All three are leaders of their own groups and equal partners in the present trio. They all compose and arrange and take turns introducing the tunes as in this performance recorded in McCurdy Pavilion at Fort Worden during Centrum's Jazz Port Townsend in July.  

Marçello Goncalves and Anat Cohen at Jazz Port Townsend
Courtesy of Jim Levitt

The first in a series of broadcast concerts from Centrum's Jazz Port Townsend will air on this episode of Jazz Northwest. The opening Friday evening concert of the 45th annual festival features the duo of clarinetist Anat Cohen and seven string guitarist Marçello Goncalves, recorded in McCurdy Pavilion at Fort Worden.


George Cables at Jazz Port Townsend, 2018
Courtesy of Jim Levitt

Summer afternoons seem made for jazz, hot and cool. For people heading home after Jazz Port Townsend, we lead off this Sunday's show with a festival favorite, George Cables. Although he's a native New Yorker, he's played at Port Townsend so many summers we've begun to think of him as a local piano hero, at least in July!

We're in the middle of summer jazz festival season. Outdoor concerts are going on around the country including Seattle and Tacoma. Jazz in The Valley (Ellensburg) and Jazz Port Townsend July 25-27 welcome audiences next week. Today Jazz Northwest, we're planning a breezy, lyrical, songful selection of music that will highlight a new CD by Vancouver saxophonist Mike Allen, songs sung by Greta Matassa, Elena Maque and Karin Plato, plus Larry Fuller who returns to Seattle later this month, and Northwest favorites Jay Thomas and Randy Halberstadt.

Reggie Goings channels Ray Charles with Randy Halberstadt & Joe Doria in background.
Courtesy of Jim Levitt

Ray Charles made some great records with his own big band and with Count Basie, and these tunes and arrangements were featured in the last set of concerts for the Seattle Repertory Concert season. Guest soloists Joe Doria on Hammond B3 organ, and singer Reggie Goings provided the necessary touch of Ray Charles' organ and vocals. 

New releases from Portland and Seattle and other jazz news is on this week's edition of Jazz Northwest. Dave Robbins is a mainstay drummer on the Vancouver, B.C., jazz scene, and his new release was inspired by his playing at Frankie's Jazz Club. He's also composer of most of the music on his new CD "Joan of Art." Also new this week is The Jim Cutler Jazz Orchestra's "The Wolfe Awakens." The band has an album release party at The Triple Door on Sunday, July 7. 


Steve Korn
Courtesy of Jim Levitt

Opening night at the 17th Annual Ballard Jazz Festival was again A Celebration of the Drum, featuring three drummer-led quartets playing at Conor Byrne in Old Ballard. The drummers are Steve Korn, DVonne Lewis, and Jeff Busch, each representing a different style of performing on drums and percussion. Excerpts from the night including two tunes by each group air on this week's Jazz Northwest.

Greta Matassa's beautiful "Portrait" — a delicious collection of songs with her regular band — and former Seattle pianist Larry Fuller's "Overjoyed" continues the tradition of his previous work with Ray Brown and Jeff Hamilton Trios. Greta Matassa's CD is a well-chosen selection of songs from Lil Armstrong to Johnny Mandel, Michel LeGrand and a swinger by Sam Jones.

Seattle vibraphonist Susan Pascal frequently dips into music made popular by other vibists, but recently at Tula's in Seattle she was playing music associated with guitarist Wes Montgomery. He recorded with vibraphone players including his brother, Buddy Montgomery, and Milt Jackson. Special guest on this night at Tula's was versatile guitarist Brian Monroney, a welcome addition to the Seattle jazz scene.

A reunion of an iconic Northwest group New Stories with L.A. saxophonist Ernie Watts headlines the Ballard Jazz Festival next week. Also featured is Norwegian guitarist Lage Lund in concert on Friday night. A preview of these and other artists playing at the four day festival in Ballard is the focus of this week's epsiode. Also on the show we include artists who are playing at The Bellevue Jazz and Blues Festival which runs concurrently. Mostly resident artists are featured in both festivals, so it's a good opportunity to get acquainted with our local talent.   

Ignacio Berroa
Courtesy of Jim Levitt

 

We recorded an abundance of great material from recent concerts with Ignacio Berroa guesting with the Seattle Repertory Jazz Orchestra. So much we had three tunes left over after last week's show, so we'll begin this week's Jazz Northwest with that music, including "Grease Bucket" by Wycliffe Gordon,  "Runferyerlife" by Bob Mintzer, and "Splanky" by Neal Hefti for the Count Basie Orchestra.  

Ignacio Berroa performing with The Seattle Repertory Jazz Orchestra
Courtesy of Jim Levitt

  

Ignacio Berroa was special guest with The Seattle Repertory Jazz Orchestra for three concerts in April.  The Cuban drummer, who has lived in the U.S. since 1980, was Dizzy Gillespie's last regular drummer beginning in 1981.

Photo by Francis Wolff and design by Jason Derek Williams

The Jill Townsend Big Band from Vancouver, B.C., plays music by Ross Taggart; Dave Frishberg, John Gross and Charlie Doggett team up in Portland, and Randy Halberstadt and Chuck Deardorf have recent releases from Seattle on this week's episode of Jazz Northwest. 


Naomi Moon Siegel at SAM
Courtesy of Lisa Hagen Glynn Photography

Highlights from an Art of Jazz concert by the Naomi Moon Siegel Band at The Seattle Art Museum, on the latest Jazz Northwest, feature the trombonist and composer in her original music with Wayne Horvitz, piano, Sean Woolstenhulme, guitar, Geoff Harper, bass, and Eric Eagle, drums.  

Origin Records

Scenes, the northwest jazz trio with musicians hailing from Portland and Seattle whose sixth album "Destinations" was released on the Origin label last year.

April is Jazz Appreciation Month, and this week's Jazz Northwest combines Seattle artists with others from Cuba, Japan and Los Angeles.

By a quirk of fate and booking, two outstanding visiting big bands will play opposite each other in Seattle on two nights next week. From New York, The Captain Black Big Band led by Orrin Evans will be at The Royal Room, and from New Orleans, Delfeayo Marsalis and the Uptown Jazz Orchestra will be at Dimitrious Jazz Alley.

Marina Albero and Jeff Johnson at Seattle Art Museum
Courtesy of Lisa Hagen Glynn photography

This month's Art of Jazz concert presented by Earshot Jazz at The Seattle Art Museum featured the duo of pianist Marina Albero and bassist Jeff Johnson. Both contributed original music and shared improvisations on jazz classics by Wayne Shorter, Bill Evans and Thelonious Monk. In addition to the piano-bass duo, Albero also performed a solo on hammered dulcimer. 

Probably the next best thing to hearing a jazz group playing live in a jazz club is a good recording of that performance. That's the latest offering from Vancouver, B.C., musician, presenter and label owner Cory Weeds.

This quintet plays some relatively unfamiliar titles by Lee Morgan, Mal Waldron, Jackie McLean, Walter Davis Jr. and others in a new CD recorded in performance at Frankie's Jazz Club in Vancouver, B.C. 

Courtesy of Jim Levitt

This week featrued several performances, not previously broadcast, as a special spring fundraising edition of Jazz Northwest. The show showcased performances by the Seattle Repertory Jazz Orchestra, Bill Anschell's Standards Trio, Kendra Shank and John Stowell, The Axiom Quartet, and an all-star group led by George Cables at Centrum's Jazz Port Townsend.

Jacqueline Tabor with Randy Halberstadt on piano.
Courtesy of Jim Levitt

Frank Sinatra, Billie Holiday, Ella Fitzgerald, Joe Williams, Sarah Vaughan were among the great singers of their generation. They all shared a love for the deep swing of the Count Basie Orchestra and made some great records with Basie. That was the inspiration for a recent set of concerts played by the Seattle Repertory Jazz Orchestra, as part of their season series.  

Kendra Shank performing at Seattle Art Museum.
Courtesy of Jim Levitt

Today on Jazz Northwest we highlight this month's Art of Jazz concert, which fell on Valentine's Day and featured an intimate duo with singer Kendra Shank and guitarist John Stowell.

We have recent releases ranging from traditional to modern this week on Jazz Northwest.

Chuck Deardorf performing in the KNKX studios from Sept. 2015.
Parker Miles Blohm / KNKX

Jazz Northwest features some of the most prominent Northwest jazz stars this week.  It's also the week of Valentine's Day, and that means lots of singers are performing around the region.  

Nicole Veneé Eskridge | Jazz Northwest on KNKX
Courtesy of Jim Levitt

The 30th annual Duke Ellington's Sacred Music concert was presented by Earshot Jazz on Dec. 28 and recorded in its entirety for Jazz Northwest. 

Duke Ellington wrote three suites of sacred music for his orchestra, chorus and soloists late in his career and performed them in many of the great cathedrals of the world.

Jack Wilson 1967
Photo by Francis Wolff and design by Jason Derek Williams

This week's show debuts new releases by bassist Chuck Deardorf and another night at The Penthouse with Jack Wilson Quartet in 1966.

Pages