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.

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.

Kate Olson at Seattle Art Museum, Tim Kennedy in background
Lisa Hagen Glynn Photography

Saxophonist and composer Kate Olson brought her original music to this month's Art of Jazz concert presented by Earshot at The Seattle Art Museum. She is part of a cadre of Seattle musicians who've been drawn to the area by the freedom to explore new forms of expression in music and theater.

Stephen Newby at Ellington concert
Courtesy of Jim Levitt

The 30th annual presentation of the Sacred Music of Duke Ellington took place Dec. 28 at St. Mark's Episcopal Cathedral in Seattle, featuring vocal soloists Stephen Newby and Nichol Veneé Eskrdge, the Northwest Chamber Chorus and the Seattle Repertory Jazz Orchestra conducted by Michael Brockman. Part 1, recorded for radio, aired Sunday on Jazz Northwest. Part 2 airs Feb. 3. 

This week on Jazz Northwest we feature new and recent releases from Portland, Seattle and Vancouver, B.C., musicians.

Last week, Jazz Northwest shared some favorite jazz CDs from the past year. These are some we regarded as standouts, and we'll go back to again and again.  

Bill Anschell, Jeff Johnson, D'Vonne Lewis at Seattle Art Museum
Jim Wilke / KNKX

The final Art of Jazz concert for 2018 featured the Bill Anschell Standards Trio at The Seattle Art Museum. The trio is well know for its original approach to well-known standard repertoire and songs by Cole Porter, Jimmy Van Heusen, Antonio Carlos Jobim and others. The trio has recorded a CD "Shifting Standards," and Bill has been featured on over a dozen albums as soloist, co-leader, sideman and leader.  This trio often plays at Tula's in Seattle. Their next appearance at Tula’s will take place on Sunday, Dec. 30.

 Ingrid Jensen and Steve Treseler live at The Royal Room.
Courtesy of Jim Levitt

This week's show features several recent releases including Ingrid Jensen and Steve Treseler playing music by the late Canadian composer Kenny Wheeler in performance at the Royal Room in Seattle, and two recent recordings by Jay Thomas with Oliver Groenewald Newnet, and with Michael Van Bebber in a quintet.

Jean Baylor at Jazz Port Townsend 2018
Courtesy of Jim Levitt

The Baylor Project, featuring Jean and Marcus Baylor made their Jazz Port Townsend debut this Summer and they were instant hits.  Singer Jean and drummer Marcus Baylor headed the group which included Stefon Harris, vibes, Taylor Eigsti, piano and Jon Hamar, bass. All were also members of the faculty from Centrum's Jazz Workshop, which precedes the Festival the last weekend of July each year.  

Jazz Northwest celebrates the release of new albums ranging from the Sixties to the teens from sessions that took place in Seattle. A new gatefold double LP set recorded from live radio broadcasts in 1966-1967 features The Cannonball Adderley Quintet at The Penthouse, a jazz club in Pioneer Square during the Sixties.

Maria Schneider conducting the Seattle Repertory Jazz Orchestra
Courtesy of Jim Levitt

The multi-award-winning composer and arranger Maria Schneider conducted The Seattle Repertory Jazz Orchestra in two concerts of her music earlier this month.  The second concert, at Kirkland Performance Center, was recorded and excerpts will be featured on Jazz Northwest Sunday, Nov. 25 at 2 p.m. PST on 88.5 KNKX, streaming at knkx.org.  

D'Vonne Lewis performing at the Seattle Art Museum.
Courtesy of Lisa Hagen Glynn

Playing in front of a backdrop of Jodhpur, India, drummer D'Vonne Lewis and a new quartet named Passage played this month's Art of Jazz concert.  Passage blended several types of music and cultures in this concert presented by Earshot Jazz at the Seattle Art Museum. The international blend of African, South & Central American music and American Jazz provided additional international flavor to SAM's current exhibition Peacock in the Desert: The Royal Arts of Jodhpur, India. 

George Cables at Jazz Port Townsend.
Courtesy of Jim Levitt

This week on Jazz Northwest, we feature the complete concert "Celebrating George Cables" from this year's Jazz Port Townsend that took place during the last weekend in July.  Pianist George Cables has been a perennial favorite for many years at the festival, and also during the Jazz Workshop, the week preceding the festival.  Whether in the classroom, on the main stage or an intimate club, he has long been a favorite among fans and other musicians.