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.

This week's Jazz Northwest includes a range of artists in both historical and recent recordings. Included is more music from the legendary "Jazz From The Penthouse" series featuring Harold Land leading a quartet with Hampton Hawes on piano. Ernestine Anderson, Jay Thomas, Walt Wagner, and contemporary groups Duende Libre and Xavier Lecouturier are also included.

Jazz Northwest is recorded and produced by host Jim Wilke and airs Sundays at 2 p.m. Listeners may also subscribe to the podcast at KNKX, NPR, Apple, or Google.

Jazz Northwest features jazz artists from around the Pacific Northwest, this week including Seattle, Portland, Vancouver and Spokane. We'll also feature another track from the historic live broadcasts "Jazz From The Penthouse" from a new album featuring Harold Land on three different occasions at the Seattle club in the 60s. 


Jim Levitt

Three original compositions by members of the Seattle Repertory Jazz Orchestra will be featured this week on Jazz Northwest. The selections are audio from the live streamed concert from Kirkland Performance Center on May 9. The concert was billed as "SRJO plays SRJO" and spotlighted original music composed by members of the orchestra, including these selections by Alex Dugdale, Jay Thomas and Michael Brockman. The full concert is available for streaming at srjo.org.

Jazz Northwest is our regular Sunday afternoon survey of the regional jazz sceene. This week, we have the Jill Townsend Big Band from Vancouver, Ingrid Jensen & Steve Treseler from The Royal Room and Jacqueline Tabor from The First Baptist Church in Seattle - and that’s just for starters.

Rebecca Kilgore, Randy Porter, Tom Wakeling
Sidney Smith, Absolute Images

Portland singer Rebecca Kilgore has appeared on more than two dozen albums. The Rebecca Kilgore Trio has been playing around the Portland area for almost 10 years but has just issued their debut recording. Understated but with a solid swing and great phrasing, the trio includes three of the Rose City's top jazz musicians. We'll hear a couple of blue-tinged songs from their new release, "Vol.1" too. 

Jazz Northwest features great regional artists and visitors every Sunday afternoon. Jay Thomas is one of our most active resident musicians and on this week's show, he's heard with visiting New York baritone saxophonist Gary Smulyan. The two were recorded in studio during a time when Smulyan was Thomas' guest during an engagement at Tula's. Gary Smulyan has also been a regular on the jazz faculty at Centrum's Jazz Port Townsend. They're heard here in Billy Strayhorn's beautiful "Lotus Blossom" mostly featuring the baritone saxophonist. 

This week's Jazz Northwest  is bookended by two excellent Vancouver musicians who lead their own groups in recent releases. Trumpeter Brad Turner leads off the show with a tune from his CD "Jump Up" and Tom Keenlyside closes the show with a standard from his all-flute CD "Fortune Teller." In between, the international flavor includes Brazilian-born Jovino Santos Neto playing solo piano for a festival in Brazil, German Oliver Groenewald's arrangements for Jay Thomas, and Cuban Kiki Valera's sparking CD recorded in Seattle.

Jim Wilke at Tula's Jazz Club, September 2019
Jim Levitt

He’s an Earshot Jazz Golden Ear Award Winner, broadcaster and originator of Jazz After Hours on public radio and champion of live jazz everywhere. For Jazz Appreciation Month, KNKX Music Director Carol Handley talked with Jim Wilke about his appreciation of the NW jazz scene and capturing it in live recordings.

This week on Jazz Northwest, you can hear a sample of saxophonist Harold Land appearances at The Penthouse, part of the legendary series of live broadcasts from the Seattle jazz club. Sourced from airchecks in 1962, 1964 and 1965 and not heard since, the album will be released on a vinyl, two LP set on Record Store Day, June 12, and on CD on June 18. Both packages will include extensive notes about the musicians, the club and the live broadcasts produced and mixed by Jim Wilke. These exciting, hard-hitting performances refute the image of West Coast cool. This premiere will be heard exclusively on today’s episode of Jazz Northwest. 

Floyd Standifer Quartet at The New Orleans, 1996
Eduardo Calderón

This week's Jazz Northwest includes The Floyd Standifer Quartet playing at The New Orleans Creole Restaurant in Seattle, and the Bridge Quartet playing at LV's Uptown in Portland. We'll preview singer Rebecca Kilgore's new CD coming out April 30, and hear former Seattle pianist Gene Argel who's been performing on Maui for years. There's also music from Eric Verlinde, The BC Double Quartet and Ann Reynolds Clave Gringa.  

New York World-Telegram and the Sun Newspaper Photograph Collection/Library of Congress, Washington, D.C.

Jazz is a music based on improvisation, and evolution. Moving through Dixieland, swing, bebop, free jazz, fusion and beyond can make describing what jazz is a difficult proposition. KNKX jazz host Abe Beeson spoke to three generations of musicians to find a definition.

A variety of Seattle Jazz from the '50s to now is featured on this week's Jazz NorthwestThe brilliant flash of the Cecil Young Quartet in the early '50s, to six decades later with the Jim Knapp Orchestra, Marc Seales Quartet and others including singer Kelly Eisenhour and Vancouver guitarist Bill Coon's Trio. 

Jazz Northwest features a variety of regional jazz talent every Sunday afternoon at 2, including classics like the Kellys Heroes band that developed at Red Kelly's bar in Tacoma in the 90s. Milt Kleeb and Bill Ramsay were old hands at arranging by that time and their skills are on display in the opening of this week's show.

Danny Kolke, Paul Gabrielson, Pete Christlieb, Linda Small, Greg Williamson
Jazz Clubs Northwest

Saxophonist Pete Christlieb (Tall) and trombonist Linda Small first formed a band in 2008 when they were living in Los Angeles. They first recorded as Tall and Small with an eleven piece band playing arrangements by Bill Holman. Since the couple moved to the Northwest, they've often worked as a quintet at Boxley's and Jazz Clubs Northwest with the Danny Kolke Trio.The Tall and Small Quintet has just issued a new album "And Now We're Here."

John Stowell and Dan Dean
Steve Korn

While limited live performance opportunities exist due to COVID-19 restrictions, many musicians have been creating new work in the studio, documenting existing groups as well as exploring new concepts. This week's Jazz Northwest provides examples from recent recording projects by pianist and composer Ryan Burns, Pete Christlieb and Linda Small with their "Tall and Small" quintet, the inventive duo of John Stowell and Dan Dean, trumpet player and composer Charlie Porter, and solo guitarist Frank Kohl. 

Photo by Lauren Desberg

Pronounced like beige, the vocal quartet säje is anything but bland. Sara Gazarek, Amanda Taylor, Johnaye Kendrick and Erin Bentlage formed the group in 2019 and are forging a new path and taking the vocal jazz ensemble into the 21st century. KNKX jazz host Abe Beeson spoke with the talented women about their unique style and the excitement of being nominated for a Grammy Award.

Alex Dugdale at SAM
Jim Levitt

Earshot's Golden Ear Awards will be announced next month, and we've been featuring some of the nominees this month on Jazz NorthwestThis week, we'll hear excerpts from concert performances by Alex Dugdale's Fade Quintet at Seattle Art Museum, and Marc Seales Quintet at Jazz Alley.

Photo by Eugenie Jones

Black History Month concludes at the end of the week, and Seattle jazz musicians and fans will be celebrating the legacy of African-American musicians in the Northwest Saturday and Sunday nights with the virtual Jackson Street Jazz Walk.

Duende Libre
Olli Tumelius

Earshot's annual Golden Ear Awards for achievements of regional jazz musicians will be announced next month and a virtual awards party is being arranged. The complete ballot is at earshot.org. Some of the nominees are featured this month on Jazz Northwest. Today’s episode features Duende Libre with vocalist Chava Mirel, The Bill Anschell Trio, Seattle Repertory Jazz Orchestra with vocalist Jacqueline Tabor, and saxophonist Hans Teuber are among artists nominated in various categories who will be heard on this week's show. 

Nominees for Earshot's Golden Ear awards have been announced, and we'll sample some of them on this week's Jazz Northwest. Nominated for Recording of the Year and Acoustic Jazz Ensemble of the Year is Thomas Marriott and we'll hear the title song from "Trumpet Ship." Also nominated and on this show are Ryan Burns' "Postponed Parade," and Johnaye Kendrick who has been nominated in the Vocalist of the Year category. Some of the other nominees will be featured on Jazz Northwest in coming weeks. Voting takes place this month.

Bob Winn was a well-known and highly regarded woodwind player around Seattle in the '50s and '60s. 

Art by Jason Chatfield

While the pandemic precluded most live music last year, Ryan Burns recorded seven singles over six months with a variety of personnel and locations. The singles have been collected in an album titled "Postponed Parade." Ryan Burns composed all the music and plays piano, electric keyboard and organ on various tracks in the album issued on vinyl and CD.  Two selections from the recent album are featured on this week's Jazz Northwest. Also, on this week's show are selections by The Endemic Ensemble. Kelley Johnson, Steve Treseler Group and others. 

On this week's Jazz Northwest, we'll revisit an all-star Portland group from the '90s led by pianist-composer Gordon Lee. The great rhythm team of Leroy Vinnegar on bass and Dick Berk on drums was sparking the Portland jazz scene in those years, and alto saxophonist Warren Rand was the first call alto sax man. The quartet plays two contrafacts by Gordon Lee to begin this show. 

Jeff Clayton on sax and John Clayton on bass.
Jim Levitt

Saxophonist and flutist Jeff Clayton will be remembered Jan. 3 with a rebroadcast performance recorded in 2013 at Centrum's Jazz Port Townsend. Jeff Clayton passed Dec. 16 at the age of 65 at his home in Los Angeles. He had been diagnosed with kidney cancer two years earlier.

Art by Becca Duran | Layout by Miles Thomas

In a year when there were few highlights due to closures of entertainment venues and a paucity of jazz album releases, it's difficult to make a list of highlights for the year. We'll share a few on this week's Jazz Northwest, including two from Vancouver BC, the Tom Keenlyside Quartet and Daniel Hersog's Jazz Orchestra. We'll also hear releases from former Seattle residents who make up The Westerles brass quartet, and pianist and singer Diane Schuur. Jay Thomas plays tenor sax and trumpet on an album of previously unissued material from a 1997 concert at Seattle Art Museum.

Thomas Marriott solos with SRJO
Jim Levitt

All seasonal concerts and performances have been canceled this year, but we have some great memories to relive from previous years. The Duke Ellington Concert of Sacred Music has been presented annually in Seattle since 1989 and was one of the reasons why the Seattle Repertory Jazz Orchestra came into existence in 1994. Earshot Jazz took over the stewardship of the concerts in 1993 and will present this year's streamed version of highlights with some new material Dec. 26-Jan. 2.

David Gestrin

Jazz musicians are famous for taking unconventional approaches to familiar music and the holiday season is no exception. One of our Northwest favorites is an organ group from British Columbia that's been playing together for more than 15 years. The cartoon cover of their third Christmas CD gives a good impression of the quartet's spirited approach to seasonal music.

Our favorite opener for the holiday season on Jazz Northwest is Don Lanphere's 1989 album "Year 'Round Christmas." It begins with a combination of "Joy to the World" and "Jingle Bells" expertly woven together by Don Lanphere and his Sextet. Also, on this week's show are holiday songs by Hans Teuber and Dave Peterson, and Karin Plato to provide a backdrop for decorating your tree.

Portland trumpet player Charlie Porter, Seattle pianist Bill Anschell and Vancouver trumpet player lead their groups and we'll hear some others as well.

Robert Lannone

This week's show will showcase a couple of lush arrangements for larger jazz ensembles. We'll open with Jay Thomas leading and soloing with a ten-piece group playing "Mrs. Goodnight" composed and arranged by Oliver Groenewald. The Daniel Hersog Jazz Orchestra from Vancouver BC will be heard in an extended piece by Hersog we haven't heard before on this show, "Makeshift Memorial".

Jovino Santos Neto
Luzia Grob dos Santos

This week on Jazz Northwest, memories of jazz in Pioneer Square including two tunes featuring bassist Buddy Catlett, and a couple of pieces by pianist/composer Jovino Santos Neto for this month's (virtual) Savassi Festival in Brazil. Also, on this show are four gospel songs inspired by the Golden Gate Quartet, transcribed and arranged for brass quartet and played by The Westerlies.

Jazz Northwest is recorded and produced by host Jim Wilke and airs Sundays at 2 p.m. Listeners may also subscribe to the podcast on Apple, or Google.