Jazz and Blues

Jazz & Blues
12:45 pm
Fri May 4, 2012

Son House's masterpiece 'Death Letter' tracked through time

His life reads like a blues song … 1920’s, a young preacher playing the blues, despite his church’s opposition. Kills a man in self-defense, 2 years in prison, and comes out to team up with the best-known blues man of the day, Charley Patton.

After limited commercial success of his own, he fades from view, working on farms and railroads. Thirtyfive years later, some dedicated blues fans track him down and he begins performing around the world, finally getting recognition as a blues master.

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Jazz Northwest
1:00 pm
Sun April 29, 2012

Music from Esperanza Spalding & Hailey Niswanger

Jazz Northwest this week (4/29) features two outstanding young women originally from Portland who have new jazz CDs. They are  Esperanza Spalding and Hailey Niswanger, both in their twenties.  Esperanza Spalding sings and plays "City of Roses", a musical portrait of her hometown, There's also an unusual duo with Tom Varner, French horn, and Bill Anschell, piano from a recent concert, plus Chuck Deardorf, Chad McCullough and others. There's also updates about upcoming live jazz gigs around Seattle.

Jazz & Blues
1:22 pm
Wed April 25, 2012

5 videos celebrating Ella Fitzgerald’s birthday

Louis Armstrong, left, makes a guest appearance as Ella Fitzgerald opens at the Empire Room of the Waldorf Astoria in New York City, March 30, 1971.
AP Photo

Known as the "First Lady of Jazz" singer Ella Fitzgerald was born April 25, 1917, in Newport News, Virginia.

From rather humble beginnings Fitzgerald and her smooth, silky voice climbed to the top of the jazz world, reports Biography.com. During her long career she worked with greats from Duke Ellington and Louis Armstrong to Dizzy Gillespie and Frank Sinatra. In all Ella recorded over 200 albums and around 2,000 songs in her lifetime. She died on June 15, 1996.

Here’s five videos celebrating the great singers career:

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Jazz Northwest
1:00 pm
Sun April 22, 2012

New Works Ensemble on Jazz Northwest

The New Works Ensemble is one of five jazz ensembles operated by Seattle JazzED to provide jazz education for students who otherwise wouldn't have the opportunity to study and play jazz. The groups range from introductory, through beginning and intermediate to advanced plus The New Works Ensemble plays mostly original music.

Jazz Northwest
6:10 am
Sun April 15, 2012

Golden Ear Awards & 10th Annual Ballard Jazz Festival

We'll have a double feature on this week's show.  First, we'll review and sample music by some of the winners of Golden Ear Awards presented by Earshot Jazz on Wednesday. This the annual celebration of notable achievements by Seattle musicians in the past year.

In the second part of the show we'll preview the 10th Annual Ballard Jazz Festival which takes place in multiple locations around Ballard next week, April 18-21.  We'll also be there recording for future Jazz Northwest shows.

More info -

KPLU Listener Trip
9:40 am
Fri April 13, 2012

Join us for our Victoria JazzFest Weekend!

We'll be starting the jazz-filled weekend off the right way with multi-Grammy Award-winner and one of the world's pre-eminent female jazz vocalists, Diane Reeves on June 22nd!

Join KPLU for an exciting trip to the 28th TD Victoria International JazzFest, Friday, June 22 through Sunday, June 24. 

JazzFest features musical performances from around the world on 12 stages in the downtown area.  (This year's JazzFest is June 22-July 1.)  We've put together a fun-filled package for two that's specially priced (reflecting a 10% discount) for KPLU listeners!

More information

A Blog Supreme
9:09 am
Thu April 12, 2012

When jazz musicians get married, who plays the wedding?

The band on Ingrid Jensen's At Sea includes (left to right) Geoffrey Keezer, Jon Wikan, Jensen, Lage Lund and Matt Clohesy. Jensen and Wikan are married.
Angela Jimenez

Originally published on Thu April 12, 2012 8:30 am

Because of their skill and versatility, a lot of jazz-trained musicians occasionally find themselves playing wedding gigs. But what happens when jazz musicians themselves get hitched? How do they decide who, among their many musician friends, gets the gig?

The trumpeter Ingrid Jensen is married to drummer Jon Wikan. Weeks before their 2004 wedding, NPR's Weekend Edition interviewed Jensen. Naturally, the subject came up:

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Groove Notes
5:18 pm
Mon April 9, 2012

One of Louis Armstrong's final performances (favorite recipes) out this month

Louis Armstrong

Originally, a limited vinyl release by the National Press Club in 1972, one of the last recordings of Louis Armstrong will be available widely for the first time via Smithsonian Folkways Recordings on April 24th as part of the Smithsonian’s celebration of the 11th annual Jazz Appreciation Month.

Armstrong often signed letters “Red Beans and Rice-ly Yours,” which makes for an apt title for the recording especially since his favorite recipes ― everything from Louisiana Caviar to the Sazerac ― are included in the liner notes, as they were in the original pressing.

Read more on Groove Notes.

Jazz Northwest
1:00 pm
Sun April 8, 2012

Benny Carter's "Peaceful Warrior Suite" by The Seattle Repertory Jazz Orchestra

Guest vocalist Everett Greene sings with a string section and the Seattle Repertory Jazz Orchestra (Phil Sparks, bass, Clarence Acox, drums)

Highlights from a recent concert by The Seattle Repertory Jazz Orchestra will air on Jazz Northwest from 88.5 KPLU on Sunday, April 8 at 1 PM PDT.  The concert features music by jazz great Benny Carter and the centerpiece is "The Peaceful Warrior Suite" - a Tribute to the Rev. Dr.Martin Luther King.  The five-movement suite includes excerpts from Rev.King's speeches, bass-baritone Everett Greene and a small string section with The Seattle Repertory Jazz Orchestra, co-directed by Clarence Acox and Michael Brockman.

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Groove Notes
2:03 pm
Tue April 3, 2012

Enough with the search for a ‘Jazz Savior’

Is Esperanza Spalding, seen here performing at the annual Starbucks shareholders meeting in Seattle, the jazz savior?
The Associated Press

Every so often, a barrage of articles and blog posts come out claiming that jazz has found the musician or musicians that are going to “save” jazz. More often than not, these musicians are achieving some current commercial success and popularity among a broad audience outside of the typical “jazz head” community.

But what would it mean to "save jazz"? And, what exactly does it need "saving" from?

Read more on Groove Notes.

Spring Pledge Drive
12:00 pm
Mon April 2, 2012

Thank you for supporting the KPLU Spring Pledge Drive!

As another successful pledge drive ends this season we hope you will continue to enjoy the commercial-free programming on KPLU, especially knowing you did your part to make it happen.

If you missed the pledge drive and would like to support KPLU, you can still be counted through April 9th!

We would also like to thank the various businesses who supported our volunteers and staff during the Spring Pledge Drive

Jazz Northwest
1:00 pm
Sun April 1, 2012

Jazz Northwest on location

Jim Wilke on location

This week's special Spring Membership Drive edition of Jazz Northwest contains music Jim has recorded on location since last Fall.  The artists include Peter Bernstein, Anton Schwartz, The Seattle Repertory Jazz Orchestra,Thomas Marriott, Johnaye Kendrick and others.  Jazz Northwest presents regional jazz artists every Sunday afternoon at 1 on 88.5 KPLU.  Programs on alternate weeks feature music recorded on location at from small jazz clubs, to large concerts, and festivals.

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Jazz & Blues
11:44 pm
Mon March 26, 2012

Dick Hyman: A living, breathing encyclopedia of jazz

Dick Hyman
Michael Loccisano Getty Images

Dick Hyman was born March 8, 1927, in New York City. Classically trained, Hyman was drawn to jazz at an early age. Today, he's a living, breathing, swinging encyclopedia of jazz piano history, from ragtime and stride to bebop and beyond.

To hear my conversation with KPLU's Morning Edition host Kirsten Kendrick, click on the listen button above.

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Jazz Northwest
1:00 pm
Sun March 25, 2012

Jazz Northwest

Jazz Northwest full program podcast for March 25, 2012.

Groove Notes
1:59 pm
Thu March 22, 2012

How Marilyn Monroe changed Ella Fitzgerald's life

Jazz icon Ella Fitzgerald’s voice is recognized by millions around the world. But few know about her career-defining friendship with Marilyn Monroe, to whom Fitzgerald said she “owe a real debt.”

While touring in the ’50s under the management of Norman Granz, Fitzgerald, like many African-American musicians at the time, faced significant adversity as a result of her race, especially in the Jim Crow states. Granz was a huge proponent of civil rights, and insisted that all of his musicians be treated equally at hotels and venues, regardless of race.

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