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.

Dave Frishberg
Photo: Larry Goren and David Emmite, Design: Tia Emmite and Jen Manley Lee

Many jazz musicians are great story tellers, partly because jazz is a natural medium for personal expression. One prime example is pianist, singer and songwriter Dave Frishberg. After building his reputation and career in New York and L.A. Dave settled in Portland, where he continued to write and perform his unique songs from his personal perspective. This week's Jazz Northwest includes three of Dave's songs growing from his early experience as a sideman with Al Cohn, Zoot Sims and Bob Brookmeyer, recorded in performance in L.A.'s Jazz Bakery.  

Francesco Crosara on tour in Japan, 2008
Julia Crosara

Italian pianist Francesco Crosara became a part of the Seattle music community three years ago and had been gaining more public recognition here until public performances came to a halt with the pandemic. Fortunately, we have some representative performances on CDs and some recent streaming shows to enjoy. On this week's Jazz Northwest, we'll hear him playing a solo rendition of the ballad "Spring Can Really Hang You Up The Most."

Christlieb - Caliman
Jim Levitt

A memorable evening at the Ballard Jazz Walk in 2009 brought tenor saxophonists Pete Christlieb and Hadley Caliman together again to cap a week that also saw them make their first, and only, album together. The two veteran saxophonists first played together as young men at Marty's in L.A. and there was an obvious mutual admiration society when you saw and heard them together. Another historical note on this week's Jazz Northwest is the great singer Joe Williams performing in a live radio broadcast from The Penthouse in Seattle in 1965.  

Ray Larsen
Andrew JS

There's more attention given to recording and streaming with performance venues closed due to the pandemic. It provides an opportunity to grow, stretch out, create new music, exemplified by a couple of creative releases from Seattle musicians from different generations.

…and so is Jazz Northwest. This week's show features the title music from The Westerlies brass quartet's new album "Wherein Lies the Good."  It's a 15-minute suite originally composed for piano by Robin Holcomb but here arranged by Andy Clausen for brass quartet with two trumpets and two trombones.  It's a slice of Americana played by a quartet that the New York Times described as “an arty quartet…mixing ideas from jazz, new classical, and Appalachian folk”.

David Hazeltine, Ken Lister, Cory Weeds, Jesse Cahill
Jodi Kaldestad

Vancouver alto saxophonist Cory Weeds and Seattle soprano saxophonist Kate Olson are both featured in new releases on this week's episode of Jazz Northwest. Cory Weeds has just issued a second release with New York pianist David Hazeltine who has made several visits to Vancouver to play and record with Cory Weeds.  The new album "Day by Day" features mostly standards.

Songs for Jude

Apr 19, 2020
Jim Wilke

"Songs for Jude" will be featured this week on Jazz Northwest. Judy Cites was a concert organizer, promoter and producer, tour manager, ticket maven, active fan and patron of music, dance and theatre. Hers was a familiar face in most of this area’s concert halls, theatres and other performance spaces. She loved jazz, especially standards and we’ll play some of her favorites in tribute - Songs for Jude, played or sung by Dave Peck, Nancy King & Fred Hersch, Chuck Deardorf, The Garfield Jazz Ensemble, Kelley Johnson, Bill Anschell and Don Lanphere. 

Jay Thomas
Daniel Sheehan

Multi-instrumentalist Jay Thomas was named a Seattle Jazz Hero recently by the national Jazz Journalists Association, and will be featured on today’s episode with a pair of pieces drawn from Jay's recent album "High Crimes and Misdemeanors." The Jazz Journalists Association is a national organization that names a list of those who are "activists, advocates, altruists, aiders and abettors of jazz" every year. This year's list named 27 individuals in 23 U.S. cities, who in many cases have careers that extend far beyond their local region.

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.

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. 

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.

More great jazz by regional jazz artists is featured this week on Jazz Northwest.  From Frankie's Jazz Club in Vancouver, B.C. to Seattle groups with Ann Reynolds, Kiki Valera, Spokane's Whitworth Jazz Ensemble and former Seattle residents The Westerlies new brass quartet album, and Frank Kohl with Portland's John Stowell, every week we explore the great variety of top jazz artists performing in our region.

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. 

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.

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.

SRJO in concert at Edmonds Center for the Arts
Jim Levitt

In November concerts, The Seattle Repertory Jazz Orchestra played big band Jazz of the Harlem Renaissance. This is music created by some of the greatest African-American jazz orchestras led by Jimmy Lunceford, Horace Henderson, Fletcher Henderson, Cab Calloway, Duke Ellington and others.  It comes from a period in the 1920s and 30s known as The Harlem Renaissance, a great flowering of the arts in Harlem, NYC, including music, poetry, literature, painting, and dance.

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.

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.

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.  

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