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Kareem Kandi and George Colligan speak the language of jazz

Kareem Kandi
Parker Miles Blohm
/
KNKX

About 25 years into his career, Kareem Kandi is one of the key figures in the Northwest jazz community. For his third visit to the KNKX studios, Kandi's interchangeable World Orchestra band featured one of Portland's finest musicians, George Colligan, for this delightful meeting of extended I-5 neighbors.

Both of these talented musicians are deeply involved in jazz education. Kandi is a longtime artist in residence at the Tacoma School of the Arts and Colligan has nearly a decade under his belt teaching at Portland State University. Together, our studio session audience got a lesson in the language of jazz.

Filling out the quartet with bassist Greg Feingold and drummer Stefan Schatz, the band found fresh inspiration in standards from George Gershwin and Miles Davis. We also heard an original from Kandi, inspired by a new friend he met on a recent trip to Japan, where he keeps up musical relations with Tacoma's sister city of Kitakyushu.

No matter where the World Orchestra finds its special guests, the language of jazz is spoken fluently. Kandi and Colligan both spoke at length on the importance of jazz education for musicians as well as jazz fans.

In a bonus solo piano performance from Colligan on a beautiful Billy Strayhorn ballad, we learned that a monologue of music can be as compelling as a four-way conversation. This session was a reminder to people in the cultural bubble of Seattle that a trip south to Tacoma, and further to Portland, can pay off.

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