Dave Brubeck called her “one of the greatest jazz pianists I have ever heard.” She digs up an old tune and calls two Monk numbers on this 1992 episode of the program.
We were very excited to welcome back singer/songwriter, Sara Gazarek, a graduate from the Roosevelt High School jazz program who has since made a home in the L.A. jazz scene. Sara stopped by the KPLU Seattle studios for this interview and performance while in town at Jazz Alley with Band members Josh Nelson (piano), Hamilton […]
Though this was not guitarist John Scofield’s first stop into the KPLU Seattle studios this time he was joined John Medeski (piano), Billy Martin (drums), and Chris Wood (bass). As you will hear in this session, the group mixes jazz, funk and modern soul to create what host Abe Beeson called a groovy sound of […]
Justin Kauflin is a 23-year-old jazz pianist who is also one of the subjects of a new documentary film called Keep On Keepin’ On. The other subject of the film is Justin’s musical and spiritual mentor, jazz trumpet legend, Clark Terry. Kauflin has been a musician since childhood. He’s also been blind since age 11. […]
Most KPLU listeners are familiar with tenor saxophonist, Ernie Watts, though his excellent work with Charlie Haden’s Quartet West. However, as we learn in this performance/interview with jazz host Abe Beeson, Mr. Watts has had a multifaceted career, working with everyone from Buddy Rich to The Rolling Stones. Ernie is joined in this […]
Trumpeters Ray Vega (East Coast) and Thomas Marriott (West Coast) have joined forces once again for the newest edition of their East-West Trumpet Summit with pianist George Colligan, bassist Phil Sparks and drummer Matt Jorgensen. Set list: Caravan What’s New Bags’ Groove You can also find our Studio Sessions available as a video podcast in […]
In recent years, like many people around the world, I’ve become a lover and collector of vinyl LPs. Sure, nothing can beat the convenience of having most of the world’s recorded music in your hand at all times via Spotify, iTunes, Pandora and the like on your cell phone. But nothing can beat the sound […]
Over the years, many films have tried to capture the feeling and spirit of jazz. Bert Stern and Aram & George Avakian’s “Jazz on A Summer’s Day” brought us into the heart of the 1958 Newport Jazz Festival through stunning cinematography and extended performances. In “Round Midnight,” Dexter Gordon brings the musician’s world to life, playing a […]
We wrapped up KPLU’s School of Jazz week with a special treat for our audience: a live in-studio performance from the Bellevue High School Jazz Combo, accompanied by trombonist David Marriott and led by director Edd George. The combo includes: Trumpet: Alex Clark Alto Sax: Griffin Hale Tenor Sax: Winston Zhang Baritone Sax: Jungwoo Lee […]
Regina Carter has been pushing the limits of what jazz violin can be. Last time Ms. Carter was in the Jazz24/KPLU studios, she had just released her album, Reverse Thread: Kanou and N’teri, which explored African music in a fresh new way. On this visit to Seattle, with guitarist Marvin Sewell and bassist Jesse Murphy, she had […]
It’s hard to imagine a musical career that included musicians as varied as Charlie Parker and Carlos Santana. But such was the resumé of Armando Peraza after almost 70 years of making music.
Hear the prodigiously gifted jazz guitarist perform songs with his bassist and percussionist, recorded live on stage in Morgantown, W.Va.
With this year’s International Jazz Day concert taking place in Osaka, an East Asian historian (a musician himself) describes how the music came across the Pacific — and how it took off after that.
Today is International Jazz Day. UNESCO created this celebratory day in 2011 to promote “the virtues of jazz as an educational tool, and a force for peace, unity, dialogue and enhanced cooperation among people.” The centerpiece of the celebration is a concert that has already taken place in Osaka, Japan, featuring Toshiko Akiyoshi, John Beasley […]
Horace Silver is another one of the true originals in jazz. All jazz musicians strive to have a unique, identifiable sound, and Horace achieved that early on in his career. His percussive, hard-driving style is recognizable within a few notes and his compositions are some of the most well crafted and beloved in jazz history. […]
Nowhere is the legacy of Edward Kennedy “Duke” Ellington — among the greatest composer/bandleaders in history — more profound than at the Washington, D.C., arts high school which bears his name.
Sam Rivers is another of those musicians who’s profile is huge among musicians and almost non-existent among non-musicians. His contributions to jazz as a player, composer and host of jazz “loft” shows cannot be overstated. He was an early adopter of free jazz and combined very outside playing with compositions with structure in new ways […]
O’Farrill’s new album transforms big-band Latin jazz into something familiar, but with a new look. Its music moves forward in a subtle and graceful way that’s likely to have a lasting impact.
Gretchen Parlato is one of the most exciting vocalists to come along in years. She has a unique, breathy delivery that immediately brings the listener into her intimate world. She’s won almost every award you can think of since her debut album in 2005, and her latest album, The Lost And Found has been hailed […]
Performing Eartha Kitt’s music, the jazz singer says, isn’t just hero worship: It’s a window into how power, seduction and vulnerability intertwine.
It’s a gorgeous sun-filled day here in Seattle, and I can feel summer coming! The weather put me in mind of one of the greatest jazz documentaries of all time, “Jazz On A Summer’s Day.” Bert Stern documented the 1958 Newport Jazz Festival in a film that has incredible cinematography, amazing music, and no dialog […]
Once upon a time, Lahore was home to a booming film industry and studio musicians to match. Now, the sounds of Lollywood have made a comeback, thanks to a jazz fan — who’s also a philanthropist.
D’Rivera and bassist David Fink joined host Marian McPartland in 1995 for “Birk’s Works,” in honor of composer Dizzy Gillespie. They also perform “A Night in Englewood.”
This weekend’s Art of Cool Festival in Durham, N.C., aims to expand the audience for improvised music. So it’s booked performers from modern R&B, hip-hop and beyond with deep jazz influences.
In the liner notes to the album “Blues’ Moods,” where you’ll find today’s song, trumpeter Blue Mitchell is referred to as the “middleweight champion of the trumpet.” This was actually stolen from a line someone used about the tenor saxophonist Hank Mobley, but I think it suits both men well. The gist of the comment is […]
Take a tour of the MacArthur genius’s home in Harlem, including a look at his Steinway, favorite books and percussion instruments from India.
Even today’s musicians know jazz has a rapidly-changing, living, breathing history. In a new video, young gun Kris Bowers takes a YouTube tour from ragtime and stride through the present day.
The Doris Duke Charitable Foundation has announced recipients of its 2014 performing arts grants. Noted composers such as Roscoe Mitchell, Oliver Lake and Randy Weston received a first tier award.
Ingrid Jensen, one of my favorite trumpet players, has one of the most distinctive sounds on the instrument today. I’ve described her approach to the horn as “vocal,” and she’s said she’s just trying to sing her ideas through the instrument. This is not a new concept, but when I listen to her playing, I […]
Today we don’t just have a song of the day, but a whole album! I was going to feature drummer Brian Blade and his Fellowship Band anyway, then noticed that NPR has his forthcoming album on its “First Listen” series today. So buckle in and prepare to be transported to another world. If you’re not familiar with […]
One of the world’s best jazz drummers is also a singer-songwriter, session man for Bob Dylan and Joni Mitchell and the son of a preacher man. It’s all potently distilled for his band of over 15 years.
Pianist Vijay Iyer is one of the most celebrated and talked-about musicians of his generation. His list of accomplishments and accolades is impressive, including Grammy Nominations, Jazz Musician of the Year awards, and even a MacArthur Genius Award. His body of work is as broad as it is creative, and he’s a powerful piano player […]
Donald Fagen and Walter Becker are masters of irony and erudition. The pair perform their Steely Dan hit “Josie” and standards “Mood Indigo” and “Hesitation Blues.”
Metal superstar Robert Trujillo never spoke with the late Jaco Pastorius. But Trujillo is funding a film and a new compilation of demo recordings from his personal bass guitar hero.
A “jazz standard” is defined as “a musical composition which is an important part of the musical repertoire of jazz musicians, in that they are widely known, performed, and recorded by jazz musicians, and widely known by listeners” (forgive me for quoting Wikipedia, but I think that’s a pretty good description). By these terms, one […]
Joe Henderson is one of those musicians that didn’t gain huge recognition from the casual jazz lover, but every jazz musician and fanatic will sing his praises for days. He had awesome command of the tenor saxophone, a unique sound and harmonic conception, and composed some classics of the jazz idiom, including “Recorda Me” (which […]
Longtime friends and collaborators Herbie Hancock and Wayne Shorter headline the numerous performing artists, ensembles and recordings awarded for achievement in the year 2013.
“There are no natural barriers. It’s all music. It’s either hip or it ain’t.” – Lee Morgan Lee Morgan is one of the most recorded and celebrated trumpeters in jazz, and one of my personal favorites. His playing is brash, assured, big-toned and has a swagger not matched by many other trumpeters of his day […]
“My music is the spiritual expression of what I am — my faith, my knowledge, my being. When you begin to see the possibilities of music, you desire to do something really good for people, to help humanity free itself from its hangups…I want to speak to their souls.” ― John Coltrane We could spend […]
“A genius is the one most like himself.” – Thelonious Monk Pianist and composer Thelonious Sphere Monk is another true original. He did what very few other people have done, which is to develop a distinctive, unique sound on the piano. It’s much harder to sound different on the piano because so many of the […]
“Just don’t give up on trying to do what you really want to do. Where there is love and inspiration, I don’t think you can go wrong.” – Ella Fitzgerald Yesterday I mentioned that we’d talk about Thelonious Monk today, but I realized that it’s Ella Fitzgerald’s birthday, so I’d be remiss if I didn’t […]
Cape Cod’s “First Lady of Jazz” performs a medley of tunes by Fats Waller, her stride-piano mentor, in this session from 1983.
The singer performs two of Billie Holiday’s signature songs, “Loverman” and “God Bless the Child,” and discusses the haunting experience of portraying Holiday onstage.
Structured and free, sonic and rhythmic, poems and jazz music seem like natural partners. For National Poetry Month and Jazz Appreciation Month, here are some notable collisions between the two.
“Anyone can make the simple complicated. Creativity is making the complicated simple.” – Charles Mingus Bassist and composer Charles Mingus was a true original. Everything he did was from his heart and was remarkably fresh while still respecting the tradition of jazz. He led his own bands of various sizes from the ’50s until his […]
Over the past several years, solo jazz guitarist, Martin Taylor, has basically become one of the gang here at KPLU. He’s such good company and such a brilliant guitarist that we invite him into our studios for a session almost every time he comes to town. He’s performed for us in a variety of musical […]
“Jazz isn’t dead, it just smells funny” – Frank Zappa Since the 1980s, there has been much talk about the “death” of jazz. Some people claim that since that time jazz music has become a kind of museum piece, with current musicians just trying to recreate what has happened in the past. This view came […]
Today we turn our attention to drummer and band leader Art Blakey. Blakey was one of the most powerful and gregarious drummers in jazz, and not many can match his sheer exuberance and communication. However, he is most known for his band, The Jazz Messengers, which he led from the early 50′s until his death […]
Freddie Hubbard was one of the most powerful and expressive trumpet players in the history of jazz. He started playing professionally in his teens, moved to New York at 20, and immediately began playing with the top jazz musicians of the day, including Sonny Rollins, Quincy Jones, Eric Dolphy and others. He is primarily associated […]
The trombonist and three fellow musicians from Houston started one of jazz’s most popular groups in the 1960s. As the times changed, so did their music — and their success magnified further.
“What we play is life. You blows what you is” – Louis Armstrong While Louis Armstrong wasn’t the first jazz musician, he is considered the father of us all musically. Like Charlie Parker, his importance to the music — to all music — cannot be overstated. He is one of the few people who changed […]
Music is your own experience, your own thoughts, your wisdom. If you don’t live it, it won’t come out of your horn. They teach you there’s a boundary line to music. But, man, there’s no boundary line to art. I kept thinking there’s bound to be something else? I could hear it sometimes, but I couldn’t […]
In a 2002 session, Miller’s unique harmonic and rhythmic style comes through in his composition, “Carousel.” He also joins host Marian McPartland for Duke Ellington’s “What Am I Here For?”
As part of the Fall Fund Drive Jazz24/KPLU welcomed in The David Sanborn trio into the Seattle studios for an electrifying live studio session, hosted by Abe Beeson. Accompanying Sanborn were organ master Joey DeFrancesco and drummer Gene Lake. You can also find our Studio Sessions available as a video podcast in iTunes. https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/kplu-studio-sessions-video/id657517777
“The language of jazz is built on small phrases — riffs that pass like coveted currency from one musician and one generation to the next. But every now and then, there comes a moment when that tried-and-true vocabulary no longer serves, and by rejecting it, an artist arrives at a statement that nudges or catapults […]