Jazz Northwest | KNKX

Jazz Northwest

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.

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. 

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.

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.

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".

Ernestine Anderson's birthday was last Wednesday and although she's been gone seven years, we still enjoy the rich collection of albums featuring her inimitable voice. On this week’s show, we will hear a couple of songs from a 2011 performance at Dizzy's Club at Jazz at Lincoln Center on Columbus Circle in New York City. The Seattle Jazz icon is joined by a soulful group featuring Houston Person and Lafayette Harris Jr.

Overton Berry
Alex Crick

Pianist Overton Berry played all over the world but he always called Seattle home, and Seattle jazz fans were proud to call him one of our own. When he passed at the age of 84 last Monday, he was one of the last of popular Seattle jazz artists from "The Jackson Street Era" that included Quincy Jones, Ernestine Anderson, Floyd Standifer, Buddy Catlett, Jabo Ward and others. His career developed around the time of the Seattle World's Fair, when he played at The House of Entertainment, Dave's Fifth Avenue, the Marine Room at the Olympic Hotel and the Doubletree Inn.

Janis Mann
Bill Olstead

This week on Jazz Northwest we'll debut the latest release from singer Janis Mann and pianist Kenny Werner. Janis performed regularly around Seattle before moving to L.A. where she's been active as well as touring on the West Coast and singing in New York City. Her musical partnership with pianist Kenny Werner has been striking and fruitful. Their second album "Dreams of Flying" illustrates their intuitive blend, particularly on "When October Goes". 

Ravi Coltrane
Deborah Feingold

John Gilbreath, Executive Director of Earshot Jazz, joins host Jim Wilke for a preview of the 32nd Annual Earshot Jazz Festival on this week's episode of Jazz Northwest. The Festival runs four weekends from October 16 through November 8 and will be an all-digital festival this year with live concerts delivered directly to the audience because of the pandemic. John Gilbreath talks about the special challenges of producing concerts for an unseen audience online. Music by Ravi Coltrane, Jovino Santos Neto, Fred Hersch and Marina Albero is included on this show. 

Ezra Weiss
Gary Norman

We hear new music from Portland-based composer Ezra Weiss on today’s episode of Jazz NorthwestVancouver BC tenor saxophonist is joined by a great New York rhythm section in his latest recording, while Karin Plato sings one of her original songs. Jack Wilson's Quartet with Roy Ayers will be heard in an excerpt from a 1966 radio broadcast from The Penthouse in Seattle, and the venerable saxophonist Don Lanphere will be heard in music from his last CD.

Diane Schuur
Tim Courtney

Pianist and singer Diane Schuur began her career as a pre-teen in the Seattle-Tacoma area and was soon performing at a Holiday Inn. She became a regular at jam sessions in the area and attended the University of Puget Sound. Discovered and encouraged by Doc Severinson, Stan Getz, Don Grusin and others she was soon appearing at major festivals and recording regularly for GRP for whom she made 11 albums plus two collections. She has also recorded with Ray Charles, Maynard Ferguson and the Count Basie Orchestra.

Ralph Towner

This is the last weekend of a most unusual Summer, and we mark the change of season on Jazz Northwest with two versions of a beautiful and poignant composition, "Summer's End" by guitarist and keyboard player Ralph Towner. We recorded him and saxophonist Denney Goodhew playing the piece on several occasions in various locations before his definitive version for an ECM album, "Lost and Found."

Gary Peacock   (c.1977)
Roberto Masotti

World-renowned bassist Gary Peacock passed September 4 at his home in upstate New York. He made his mark playing with Albert Ayler, Paul Bley and Bill Evans, but is best remembered for his work with Keith Jarrett's Standards Trio. In the late 70s and early 80s he lived in Seattle while teaching at Cornish School of the Arts and giving private lessons and exerting a profound influence on the Seattle jazz scene.

Dave Robbins
Jesse Cahill

CDs by the Dave Robbins Sextet from Vancouver BC and Jay Thomas are featured on this week's episode of Jazz Northwest. Drummer Dave Robbins leads a sextet playing his original music with Brad Turner, trumpet and Mike Allen, tenor sax. The album "Joan of Art" is dedicated to Joan Mariacher, an active booster and benefactor of the Vancouver jazz scene. 

Brad Turner, Seamus Blake
Aslam Husain

Jazz from Vancouver BC and Spokane as well as Seattle is on this week’s Jazz Northwest.  Vancouver is represented by trumpet player-composer Brad Turner whose quartet is joined by New York-based tenor saxophonist Seamus Blake, who grew up in Vancouver. From Spokane comes The Whitworth Jazz Ensemble directed by Dan Keberle, playing music by the multi-award-winning composer-arranger Maria Schneider.  

Matt Wilson, drums, Tamir Hendelman, piano, Martin Wind, bass at The Upstage, Jazz Port Townsend 2012
Jim Wilke

In an ordinary year we would be broadcasting highlights from this Summer's Jazz Port Townsend this month on Jazz Northwest. But like all performance activities the festival was cancelled this Summer. This week we're presenting some location recordings from our archives including a couple of tunes played by Tamir Hendelman, Martin Wind and Matt Wilson making up an all-star trio in the cozy confines of The Upstage in Port Townsend. The enthusiastic audience surrounds the band in an exciting performance captured at the 2012 festival  

Pianist Jessica Williams' musical career was mostly on the West Coast, San Francisco in the 70s and 80s, and the Pacific Northwest thereafter, though she toured widely as a soloist and with trio. Her years in the Northwest brought several albums recorded in Portland, including two with the great bass player Leroy Vinnegar and drummer Mel Brown. On this week's Jazz Northwest we'll hear this trio in a joyfully swinging rendition of "Berkshire Blues" recorded in 1994 at Atwater's, a posh Portland jazz club.

Bass player Red Kelly (back row, third from left) was a veteran of Stan Kenton, Charlie Barnett, Harry James and Woody Herman bands among others before he retired from the road and operated a jazz club near Olympia called the Tumwater Conservatory in the 70s, and later, Kellys in Tacoma in the 80s and 90s.  Saxophonists Bill Ramsay and Milt Kleeb put together a great book for an 11 piece band that played at Kellys monthly and they made one CD. We'll hear a Milt Kleeb arrangement featuring Bill Ramsay from that CD on this week's Jazz Northwest. 

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