Jazz and Blues | KNKX

Jazz and Blues

News about jazz, blues, Studio Sessions, and music samplings from jazz artists in the northwest and around the world.

Mongo Santamaria plays the conga drums at the Super Jazz Concert at the Apollo Theater in New York on Saturday, Dec. 10, 1988.
William I. Ballinger / The Associated Press

April is Jazz Appreciation Month, and we'll join the festivities on Jazz Caliente this Saturday by celebrating some Latin jazz artists' birthdays.

Dylan Hayes artwork, layout by Regan Hagar.

You can hear a current of youthful energy flowing through everything Dylan Hayes plays. His newly released Songs for Rooms and People with his Electric Band really turns up the juice.

Percussionist and bandleader Ray Mantilla at Tuscia in Jazz Festival, 2008
Massimo Manconi / courtesy of the artist

Percussion master and beloved bandleader Ray Mantilla died on March 21. He was 85.

Jessica Lurie's packed Bandcamp page is one place to send financial support directly to artists.
Screen shot of jessicalurie.bandcamp.com page

There are myriad ways to support musicians during this extended period of shuttered bars and jazz clubs. All day this Friday, the online musician hub bandcamp.com is rallying their worldwide community to put much needed money directly into artists' pockets.

Marina Albero (right) and friends will stream a live concert from virus-ridden Seattle this Sunday night at 7. Left to Right: Adriana Giordano, Jacqueline Tabor, Chava Mirel
Marina Albero

Successful musicians often need to be creative hustlers to make a living as artists. With the COVID-19 outbreak leading to increasing concert cancellations, those hustling skills are being put to a serious test. One musician, pianist Marina Albero, is experimenting with a new way for musicians to connect with their audience — virtually.

Album cover, High Pulp's Light Fix EP courtesy of the artist.

Saturday night on Capitol Hill, the Seattle funk-jazz fusion group High Pulp performs their latest vocal collaborations EP Light Fix. They'll also plant another flag along their impressive journey to becoming one of the most intriguing improvisational outfits in the Northwest.

NICOLAS LOFGREN

Multi-instrumentalist Nicolas Lofgren from Bainbridge High School on Bainbridge Island will take over Evening Jazz with Abe Beeson as guest DJ at 8 p.m. tonight (March 5). Nicolas is a senior and plays lead alto in the jazz band at his high school. He also plays clarinet, soprano and tenor saxophones. Listen to the show and read his Q&A. 


Album cover, Eddie Palmieri's Doin' It in the Park
courtesy of the artist / Alala Records

In case you missed it: Back in 2012, pianist/composer/bandleader Eddie Palmieri contributed his considerable skills to the soundtrack for a documentary film, Doin' It in the Park, an intense look at pick-up basketball culture in New York City parks. 

"You can play high school or college for four years. You can play pro for a decade. You can play pick-up...for life."

Tom Marcello / Flickr Creative Commons

In honor of Black History Month, we are taking a look into the career highlights of African American artists and their contribution to the world of jazz and blues

Charles Mingus is perhaps the jazz world’s most famous bass-playing composer. There are three repertory bands playing his music on a regular basis, and those compositions are still provoking and inspiring musicians and music fans around the world. Abe Beeson highlights his story.

Adrian Florez / KNKX

In honor of Black History Month, we are taking a look into the career highlights of African American artists and their contribution to the world of jazz and blues.

Rhiannon Giddens is a modern songwriter and musician, who is carrying the tradition of African American work songs and Appalachia into contemporary music. KNKX's Paige Hansen takes a look into her work.

Violinist Regina Carter performs during the opening night concert of the SFJAZZ Center Wednesday, Jan. 23, 2013 in San Francisco.
Eric Risberg / The Associated Press

In honor of Black History Month, we are taking a look into the career highlights of African American artists and their contribution to the world of jazz and blues. Robin Lloyd celebrates the diverse artistry of Regina Carter.

Dressed as peacocks, a group of friends calling themselves "The Ostentation" form a dance line for revelers in the Society of St. Anne on Royal Street in New Orleans, Tuesday, Feb. 25, 2020.
Rusty Costanza / The Associated Press

In honor of Black History Month, we are taking a look into the career highlights of African American artists and their contribution to the world of jazz and blues. In our latest story, KNKX's John Kessler shares the culture and sounds of Mardi Gras. 

Lester Young in 1946.
Wikimedia Commons

In honor of Black History Month, we are taking a look into the career highlights of African American artists and their contribution to the world of jazz and blues.

KNKX's Carol Handley takes a look at saxophonist Lester Young, who was a key “bridge” player from Bebop to Cool Jazz.

Billie Holiday in 1947
Wikimedia Commons

As part of Black History Month, KNKX is highlighting figures who’ve made their mark in the rich world of African American jazz and blues culture. That list wouldn’t be complete without Lady Day. Here’s Paige Hansen with a story on Billie Holiday.

Gregory Porter performs at Sir Lucian Grainge's 2020 Artist Showcase Presented By Citi and Lenovo on Saturday, Jan. 25, 2020 in Los Angeles.
Mark Von Holden/Invision for UMG/AP Images

In honor of Black History Month, we are taking a look into the career highlights of African American artists and their contribution to the world of jazz and blues.

A big talent and a big man took a long time to launch his music career. He was close to 40 when he started making records, and within eight years he’d been awarded two Grammy Awards and earned fans all over the world. He has made his mark with compassion and humor and a special jazz hat. Here’s a story about Gregory Porter. It starts in wretched poverty and there is no end to how far he’ll go.

Omar Sosa and Yilian Cañizares
Franck Socha / courtesy of the artist

The gods of Latin jazz are truly smiling on Seattle right now. Here's a bit of background on two shows that you really should see.

Mary Lou Williams in 1947
Library of Congress via Flickr

In honor of Black History Month, we are taking a look into the career highlights of African American artists and their contribution to the world of jazz and blues. Here’s Robin Lloyd’s appreciation of jazz giant Mary Lou Williams.

Members of Ranky Tanky pose in the press room with the award for best regional roots music album for "Good Time" at the 62nd annual Grammy Awards at the Staples Center on Sunday, Jan. 26, 2020, in Los Angeles.
Chris Pizzello / The Associated Press

In honor of Black History Month, we are taking a look into the career highlights of African American artists and their contribution to the world of jazz and blues.

A modern-day band is drawing inspiration from Gullah, an American subculture that flourished in the low country of South Carolina and Georgia as far back as the 1600s. Meet Ranky Tanky, the jazz players taking their musical cues from Gullah.

Adrian Florez / KNKX

In honor of Black History Month, we are taking a look into the career highlights of African American artists and their contribution to the world of jazz and blues.

Dick Stein tells the story of an impromptu performance critique by piano master Jaki Byard for a hopeless – and hapless – would be clarinetist.

Justin Steyer

As your humble New Cool host, I'm out and about catching live jazz on a regular schedule. In fact, when I miss a show I feel a little guilty. So, while I'm out of town for a couple weeks, do me and yourself a favor. Enjoy some of the fantastic modern jazz concerts, featuring a ton of heavy-hitting drummers, heating up mid-winter in the Northwest.

Terence Blanchard in the KNKX studio in 2015.
Parker Miles Blohm / KNKX

In honor of Black History Month, we are taking a look into the career highlights of African American artists and their contribution to the world of jazz and blues.

Terence Blanchard just won his sixth Grammy for Best Instrumental Composition for his music from the Oscar-nominated Spike Lee film “BlacKkKlansman.” But film music is just one aspect of this amazing artist, as his music continues to evolve.

Photograph by Peter Daniel

Saxophonist Peter Daniel was excited to tell me about a new collaboration with his 45th St Brass band later this month. I heard what he told me, but I didn't quite understand. So we met up in Fremont to get to the bottom of an intriguing new way of hearing and playing music.

The smiles were wide and contagious when Martin Taylor and Frank Vignola returned to the KNKX studios for a guitar duet performance. Regarded as two of the best acoustic guitarists in the world, our studio audience was thrilled to share their intense love of music and joy of playing that came shining through.

G. Alvarado

Saxophonist and singer G. Alvarado from Bellarmine Preparatory High School in Tacoma will join Abe Beeson as guest DJ during Evening Jazz at 8 p.m. tonight (Feb. 6). G. is a senior and does solo and trio performances outside of school. Listen to the show and read his Q&A and playlist. 


Pianist Kenny Barron
courtesy of the artist

What do a Philadelphian pianist, an Israeli guitarist and a musician/novelist/radio host/actor from Italy have in common? This week on Jazz Caliente, they're all playing Brazilian music.

Snohomish High School's band program celebrates it's 90th year this year, and the allstar jazz ensemble showed us how talented their musicians are. With saxophonists Kate Olson and Brent Jensen in mentor and instructor roles, it's clear there's some fantastic jazz blowing down from the north.

Photo used by kind permission of the band.

Our New York City-based Northwest neighbors, The Westerlies, return to Seattle for their second annual Westerlies Fest. The brass quartet created the festival to "engage students and audiences in Seattle and give back to the city that raised them." This week, the New Cool previews the festival performances, special guests, and the new Westerlies album, Wherein Lies the Good, released today.

Trumpeter Brian Lynch with his Grammy for "The Omni American Book Club"
Robby Klein, Recording Academy

Grammy Sunday has come and gone, but in case you missed it, we'll be listening to some of the Grammy winners on Jazz Caliente this Saturday.

Justin Steyer

The bill is set at Seattle's Nectar Lounge Thursday, Jan. 30. The South Sound sequel follows Jan. 31 at Rhythm & Rye in Olympia. A two-fisted organ trio battle pitting our hometown heroes McTuff facing off in musical combat with Portland's Trio Subtonic. The New Cool has the tale of the tape and we'll give away tickets during the radio show Saturday afternoon.

Claudio Roditi plays piccolo trumpet at Jazz Club Unterfahrt, Munich  2010
OhWeh / Wiki Commons CCA-SA 2.5

Playing horns ranging from valve trombone to piccolo trumpet, Claudio Roditi made his mark on Latin jazz with his beautiful tone, his wonderful compositions, and his absolute belief that music and laughter were the best things in life.  

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