John Kessler

All Blues Host

John has worked as a professional bassist for 20 years, including a 15 year stint as Musical Director of the Mountain Stage radio program. John has been at KPLU since 1999 where he hosts “All Blues”, is producer of the BirdNote radio program, and co-hosts “Record Bin Roulette”. John is also the recording engineer for KPLU “In-Studio Performances”. Not surprisingly, John's main musical interests are jazz and blues, and he is still performing around Seattle.

His most memorable and satisfying KPLU radio moment was getting an email from Jimmy Lane, a bluesman and the son of blues legend Jimmy Rogers, who said something like “You’re playing the good stuff, keep it up!”

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Record Bin Roulette
4:30 am
Thu December 22, 2011

The infamous 'Christmas Carol Bloodbath' of ... 2011

Can Lady Gaga defeat Bing Crosby?

This week we pit musical legends against upstarts and imitators, in a duel to the death. You be the judge and jury.

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Record Bin Roulette
4:30 am
Thu December 15, 2011

What are memories and what's the brain doing with them?

Memory explained
luciana christante Flickr

Whenever we think about the past it brings back so many memories.

But what are memories, exactly?

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Record Bin Roulette
4:30 am
Thu December 8, 2011

Exploring the 'sugar rush' phenomenon in music

There is a lot of disagreement about whether a “sugar rush” exists, but these studies have  obviously been conducted by scientists who don't have young children.

Nevertheless, there is agreement that anything this good must be bad for you. And it’s clear that sugar consumption is a factor in obesity, diabetes and dentists’s BMWs ...

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Record Bin Roulette
4:30 am
Thu December 1, 2011

Marking the decline of fashion ... and fashion music

Puttin on the Ritz

Fashion never goes out of style, and popular music has always provided the sonic accessory. From “Buttons and Bows” to “Chantilly Lace," musicians love to sing about fashions, but arguably there has been a decline in the looks — and the music.

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Record Bin Roulette
4:30 am
Thu November 24, 2011

Musical turkeys for Thanksgiving and beyond!

Know your bird.

Songs about Thanksgiving and about giving thanks.

The tone for our episode is set by the down-and-out Johnson family, who have no turkey on the table but enough moralizing from Dad that no one has an appetite anyway.

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Record Bin Roulette
4:30 am
Thu November 17, 2011

Don't worry, be happy (by whatever means!)

There are many paths to happiness. Spirituality, relationships, community, a warm puppy. Writing a hit song also helps, if you believe that happiness can be bought.

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Record Bin Roulette
4:30 am
Thu November 10, 2011

Honoring our veterans of military service and music

This week we salute our veterans and the music they made before, during and after their military service.

The first one that comes to mind is this Vietnam War-era classic from Staff Sergeant Barry Sadler, a real-life wounded Vietnam Vet. Even as protest was building against the war, it was the biggest single of 1966, spending 5 weeks at Number 1 on the charts.

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Record Bin Roulette
4:30 am
Thu November 3, 2011

Taking into account(ing) the 7 billionth baby

Where do Babies Come From?
janwillemsen Flickr

Where do babies come from? We may be unqualified to answer that one, but we can tell you with confidence that there’s a sucker born every minute.

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Blues Time Machine
8:00 am
Fri October 28, 2011

"I Ain't Superstitious" but the song is spooky

Howlin' Wolf

For Halloween, a spooky blues that influenced a generation of rock musicians.

“I Ain’t Superstitious” is a bridge between the acoustic blues of the South and the electric blues of Chicago.

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Record Bin Roulette
4:30 am
Thu October 27, 2011

Dancing with those musical skeletons from the closet

Kids used to have their own holiday. It was called Halloween. But now 50% of adults are celebrating Halloween, too. Giving up Halloween means admitting you're getting old, and no one wants to do that.

Here are some Halloween-ie tunes to help you get your spook on…

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Record Bin Roulette
4:30 am
Thu October 20, 2011

Zamfir and the magic of the ancient flute (flaut?)

The Snoot Flute!
wackystuff Flickr

It may be the first musical instrument ever: 40,000 years ago one of our ancestors blew into an animal bone and made music.

But were they fluting or flauting? There seems to be confusion, so let’s settle this right now.

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Record Bin Roulette
4:30 am
Thu October 13, 2011

Tears (and fears) of a clown

Scary or Happy?
Yvesanemone Flickr

COULROPHOBIA. Fear of clowns. More common than you might think. We got a bad case of it after hearing all the nasty stuff people dressed like clowns are doing.

Besides selling hamburgers and squeezing into Volkswagens, clowns have been committing robberies and even murders…

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Record Bin Roulette
4:30 am
Thu October 6, 2011

Jingles: The little melodic encouragements that birthed a nation

The Birth of Jingles

Scientifically crafted earworms, designed to make us buy things we didn’t even know we wanted, were invented in the early 1920’s. Since then, jingles have become an integral part of American culture.

And to think it all began with Wheaties …

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Blues Time Machine
8:00 am
Fri September 30, 2011

'Drop Down Mama' – Country blues or hard rock?

“Crying the blues” perfectly describes the style of Sleepy John Estes. His music is not very complex, and he was a solid, but not a great guitarist.

Instead, Estes is known more for his ability to write about universal themes and to sing with deep emotion. He was a big influence on early bluesmen like Big Bill Broonzy and Arthur Crudup. He also was a big inspiration for later players like Michael Bloomfield, with whom he worked in the 1960s.

“Drop Down Mama” is a song of his that has re-surfaced several times. Sleepy John Estes and Hammie Nixon recorded it in 1935.

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Record Bin Roulette
4:30 am
Thu September 29, 2011

Can you use any money (songs) today?

Greenbacks
AMagill Flickr

Just in time for fund drive we ponder some eternal questions about money.

Can money buy you love? No, but it puts you in better bargaining position. Can money buy you happiness? No again. But you can rent it for awhile.

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