Wednesday, August 27, 2014

New Music Monday

New Music Monday for September 1, 2014

     Master drummer Michael Carvin waited eight years after releasing his last album to add another recording to his impressive catalog for one simple reason. “I just didn’t feel like it. I wanted to take a break,” explains the 70-year-old Carvin, whose talents have been on display for five decades, through his work with such artists as B.B. King, Freddie Hubbard, Dizzy Gillespie, Pharoah Sanders, McCoy Tyner, and Jackie McLean, as well on ten discs as a leader. Now, with the release of his new CD “Flash Forward,” the first with his new band, the Michael Carvin Experience, Carvin is eager to impress fans old and new with a reinvigorated sound, one which layers a modern approach over a strong traditional foundation.

     “Around the Horn” is the culmination of over 30 years of big band experience from New York City-based trumpeter Tony Kadleck. A veteran of several legendary big bands (Maria Schneider, Buddy Rich, Bob Mintzer, John Fedchock, Joe Henderson, John Hollenbeck, Ron Carter, etc.), Kadleck has always wanted to record his own arrangements. He’s draw upon his vast experience to form his own unique voice, which can be heard in both his playing and his writing throughout the new release. Featuring a cast of New York’s finest jazz and studio musicians, the disc includes ten Kadleck arrangements of popular contemporary jazz, jazz standards and R&B classics.

     Also this week, trombonist Michael Dease unveils his own big band debut, “Relentless”; the Mack Avenue Superband,  featuring Rodney Whitaker, Gary Burton, Sean Jones, Kirk Whalum, Carl Allen and others, are captured “Live From the Detroit Jazz Festival-2013”; and veteran Kansas City-based vocalist David Basse offers up his ninth recording, “The Hero and the Lover.”

This Week's Special Shows

Week of September 1, 2014 

2014 Iowa City Jazz Festival – Labor Day Special!  

Monday: 9 am – 12 Midnight  
KCCK brings you all of the 2014 Iowa City Jazz Festival Main Stage performances plus our exclusive, behind the scene, backstage interviews with the major artists during our special Labor Day broadcast September 1st from 9 am - Midnight. Enjoy 11 different bands during 15 hours of non-stop coverage from all three days of this year’s festival recorded over the July 4th weekend! Hear several of today’s top international jazz artists, some outstanding local players, plus many of the area’s best high school jazz musicians. Our line-up features United Jazz Ensemble, the Jared Gold Trio, The Pedrito Martinez Group, North Corridor All-Star Jazz Band, Nordic Connect with Ingrid Jensen, Etienne Charles Creole Soul, Joe Lovano Us Five, The Commons Collective, Melissa Aldana & Crash Trio, Anat Cohen Quartet, and Tom Harrell Colors of a Dream with Esperanza Spalding. 

Don't forget... listen from wherever you happen to be on Labor Day. With our IOS and Android apps, KCCK goes where you do.  

Short List with Bob Naujoks                                           
Monday - Friday at 8:35 AM and Saturday at 7 AM 

The New Face of Jazz: Esperanza Spalding / Steve Swallow 

Our encore Short List summer series is inspired by the book The New Face of Jazz by Cicily Janus. Like the book, the series covers a wide variety of jazz players --- some are on the fringes of success, some are older but overlooked, some are active but have limited exposure, and some have devoted their lives to educating the succeeding generations of jazz musicians. Still, there are many good stories of how music in general and jazz in particular has shaped their lives and inspired them. Producer Bob Naujoks continues The New Face of Jazz Short List this week with bassist and singer-songwriter Esperanza Spalding and bassist/composer Steve Swallow.         
Jazz Profiles with Nancy Wilson    
Monday at 6:00 PM
(pre-empted this week for our special Labor Day broadcast of the 2014 Iowa City Jazz Festival)            
Jazz Corner of the World with Craig Kessler
Monday, 7:00 PM - 11:00 PM (follows Jazz Profiles)
(pre-empted this week for our special Labor Day broadcast of the 2014 Iowa City Jazz Festival)                 

Jazz at Lincoln Center with Wendell Pierce  
Tuesday at 6:00 PM
Gerry Mulligan & John Lewis             
Post-war America saw the hard edges of Bebop segue to the Cool. The music bewitched baritone sax man Gerry Mulligan, and it enchanted classically trained pianist John Lewis; both became pioneers of this sophisticated style. Pianist Jonathan Batiste and baritone saxophone master Joe Temperly join the Jazz at Lincoln Center orchestra to make the Cool all new. The set includes “Django,” “Delawny’s Dilemma,” and “Animal Dance.”

JazzSet with Dee Dee Bridgewater
Wednesday at 6:00 PM
Miles Davis / Gil Evans: Still Ahead at the 2011 Monterey Jazz Festival

Davis and Evans, trumpet and orchestrator, collaborated unforgettably on the albums Porgy and Bess and Sketches of Spain. For this occasion, Miles Evans (the son of Gil) provides the original charts for both. Terence Blanchard is the trumpet soloist, with the Still Ahead Orchestra from Los Angeles, Vince Mendoza conducting.

Wednesday Night Special           
7:00 PM (Follows JazzSet)  
Jazz in the Stacks: The Beatles in Jazztime (new!)         
The music of John Lennon and Paul McCartney is reimagined by the Dennis McPartland Sextet featuring several outstanding area jazz musicians with expert commentary by KCCK’s Bob Naujoks. Featuring Dennis McPartland, drums; Gail (piano and vocals) and Paul (guitar and vocals) Williams, Dave Sharp, saxes and flute; Craig Dove, bass and vocals; and Pat Smith, guitar. Recorded before a live audience in Whipple Auditorium at the new downtown Cedar Rapids Public Library.  

Piano Jazz with Marian McPartland     
Thursday at 6:00 PM
Helen Merrill         
Helen Merrill’s voice is an instrument that sometimes carries the melody and sometimes complements the improvisational skills of her co-musicians. In this session from 1995, McPartland performs a “Portrait of Helen Merrill.” Merrill joins McPartland to perform songs popularized by Billie Holiday, including Bob Haggart’s “What’s New” and Holiday’s “Don’t Explain.”                     

Jazz Corner of the World with Craig Kessler
Saturday, Noon - 4:00 PM
"Tribute to Horace Silver – The Conclusion"                   
Craig presents the 4th and final installment of his tribute to jazz pianist, HORACE WARD MARTIN TAVARES SILVER, who passed away June 18th earlier this summer. We'll hear from a number of sessions spanning the 1950s to his final recordings, that we have yet to sample in this series of "tribute" shows -- a Clark Terry session from 1955, a Lester Young Birdland broadcast from 1953, more Bluenote recordings from the 60s and 70s, and some of his more recent material from several different labels. Silver will remain one of the true pillars of modern jazz.                     

Riverwalk Jazz
Sunday at 5:00 PM
Ride, Red, Ride: New Orleans Trumpeter Henry “Red” Allen Jr. 
The Jim Cullum Jazz Band and special guests play the music and tell the story of Henry ‘Red’ Allen Jr. — an inventive New Orleans trumpeter whose long career took him from the Crescent City to the Apple.             

KCCK's Midnight CD
The Monday - Sunday Midnight CD for this week can be found at:

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Iowa City Jazz Fest Channel Returns for 2014

KCCK's Craig Kessler and Bob Stewart interview singer Cyrille Aimee.
Iowa’s Jazz Station, KCCK-FM, along with Summer of the Arts, has launched the “Iowa City Jazz Festival Channel.” The program stream will consist solely of artists performing at the Iowa City Jazz Festival, July 3-5.
“We did this last year, and got a great response,” says KCCK General Manager Dennis Green. “So, the Jazz Fest Channel is back for another 24-7 preview of the Festival.”
The channel was created in recognition of the fact that how people listen to music has changed with the advent of on-demand services like Pandora and Spotify.
“We’ve always given heavy play to Jazz Fest artists in the weeks preceding the Festival, and aired interviews and other features,” says Green. “But today, if someone wants to hear a particular artist or tune, they aren’t always willing to wait for it to show up in our rotation. They want it now. The Jazz Fest Channel is our way of making that content available whenever people want it.”
Programming on the Jazz Fest Channel consists of recordings of the groups performing on both the main stage and side stages. Artist interviews and profiles, as well as schedule information and updates, will be carried as well.
The Iowa City Jazz Festival will take place July 3-5 on the UI Pentacrest. Headliners include Joe Lovana, Tom Harrel and “Colors of a Dream,” Anat Cohen, Etiene Charles, Pedrito Martinez and Jared Gold.
A variety of local and regional bands will play on three side stages, including several high school and college ensembles. Their music, is also be a part of the Jazz Fest Channel.
The Iowa City Jazz Festival Channel will pre-empt KCCK’s second program stream, The Iowa Channel, for a little over a month. The station as a stream choice on the KCCK app for IOS or Android, online at or at 88.3-2 on HD Radio.
KCCK’s main channel, 88.3 and 106.9 FM, and online, will broadcast all of the main stage performances live.
The Iowa City Jazz Festival is presented by Iowa City’s Summer of the Arts. Information is available at There is also a Jazz Fest Channel “button” for quick access from that site.

Sunday, April 27, 2014

He'll Always Be a DJ - The KCCK Interview with Doug Jackson

Doug Jackson, Eastern Iowa theatre star and host of KCCK's "Smooth Brunch," passed away on April 25. Last fall, Doug sat down with us for an interview that originally appeared in KCCK's 2013 Year In Review. It's reprinted here for your enjoyment as the entire Corridor community celebrates the life and memory of our "Smooth Operator."

Doug Jackson is one of the Corridor’s most celebrated stage performers, and is also one of KCCK’s most popular program hosts. His “Smooth Brunch” has been a Saturday morning staple of Iowa’s Jazz Station since June 2004.
Doug was born in Memphis, Tennessee and grew up in East St. Louis. He says he doesn’t remember a time when music wasn’t part of his home. “Dad was a blues fan. Momma was the jazz fan, and singers like Dinah Washington, Brook Benton and Sarah Vaughn. They’d have fish fries and card parties, and there would always be a stack of LPs on the album changer.”
Doug’s mother claims music calmed him even as a baby. “There was a radio next to my crib, and she’d put me down with a bottle, turn on the radio, and never hear another peep out of me.”
After college at Southern Illinois University, Doug moved to Cedar Rapids to take a job with Rockwell Collins. He had performed all through school, and soon after settling in, got involved with the Cedar Rapids Community Theatre (Now Theatre Cedar Rapids) and The Follies.
Through the years, Doug created such memorable characters that he was asked to reprise his performances time and again. He has portrayed Jim in “Big River” and Audrey II in “Little Shop of Horrors” three times each. His role as Hoke in “Driving Miss Daisy” won him Theatre Cedar Rapids’ Volunteer of the Year award. TV audiences remember his many performances as “The Right Reverend Douglas Q. Jackson” on Liars Theatre. And 2014 marked his 22nd Follies show.

Doug’s radio career began when he hosted a volunteer show on Cedar Rapids community station, KOJC, which left the air in 1992. He created several elements that live on in today’s Smooth Brunch during those years. His KOJC show included a Gospel Hour, just like the Smooth Brunch, and mixed smooth jazz, R&B and Urban Contemporary sounds, also like his KCCK program.
Doug and Craig Boche at KCCK's "Night With The Rat Pack"
In 2004, Doug approached his good friend and fellow Follies performer, KCCK station manager Dennis Green, and asked if there might be a slot on KCCK for him.
“We jumped at the chance,” says Dennis. “Not only was Doug a celebrity, whose many friends and fans would tune in for his show, but I remembered from his time at KOJC that he had a great knack for show construction, stirring up smooth jazz, Motown oldies and Urban tunes to create a very appealing mix.”
“I also respect Doug’s dedication to KCCK,” Dennis continues. “Doug works full-time at GE Capitol, and does three or four stage shows a year. But no matter how busy he is, or how late rehearsal or a performance went Friday night, he’s in his chair with a smile, bright and early each Saturday morning.”
Making Doug’s dedication even more amazing is that he juggles work, family, performing and a KCCK show while also battling prostate cancer.
“I was diagnosed in 2008,” he says. “The first round of chemo and radiation was pretty tough. Hair fell out, everything tasted like metal. The usual.”
Doug has responded well to subsequent treatment, although he is still on a chemo regimen, and reports that his situation is “stable.”
Doug lives in Cedar Rapids with his wife Janice and daughter Anisha, who attends Washington High School.

As far as the future goes, Doug intends to continue performing, and says he’ll never give up The Smooth Brunch. “With my initials,” he says with his trademark, gap-toothed grin, “what else would I be besides a DJ?”

WATCH: Doug Jackson singing his signature song, "Wonderful World."

Thursday, February 20, 2014

KCCK's IOS App - New and Improved!

KCCK's app for IOS devices has been updated, with a very cool new look and improved functionality. When you load the app, you'll see some rotating screens featuring KCCK's signature events, like Jazz Under The Stars and the Iowa City Jazz Festival. The screen is now optimized for the iPhone 5/5s, but looks good with previous phones as well.

Other improvements:

  • You can choose between both our program streams, KCCK and The Iowa Channel, from within the app, no need any longer to download a separate Iowa Channel App.
  • Title, artist, and album art from what is currently playing display on the lower portion of the screen.
  • On wi-fi, the app will feed our 128K, high-quality audio stream. When the data connection is not so good, it will automatically dial down to a lower bit rate.
  • Links to, our program schedule, and an alarm clock widget are at the bottom of the screen.
Android users: We haven't forgotten you! A refresh of the Android app is in process, and should be up in a week or two.

KCCK's IOS app is primarily for mobile listening on your phone, but can also be used on the iPad.

Download the new version in the iTunes App Store.

Monday, January 27, 2014

Kennedy Student wins Corridor Jazz Project CD Cover Contest

Cover Art for Corridor Jazz CD, by Kelsey Bills
Kelsey Bills, a junior at Kennedy High School in Cedar Rapids, has been chosen as the winner of the Corridor Jazz Project CD Cover design. Bills will receive a $100 cash prize from KCCK-FM and her design will adorn the cover of the “The Corridor Jazz Project VII”, a compilation of recordings from the top jazz bands from Jefferson, Kennedy, Prairie, Xavier and Washington High Schools in Cedar Rapids, Linn Mar and, Marion in Marion; City and West High Schools in Iowa City, Solon High School and Lisbon High School.

Receiving Honorable Mention in the contest were seven other students, also from Kennedy:
  • Elektra Noble
  • Emily Fitzpatrick
  • Lydia Luton
  • Brittainy Gail
  • Aimee Ermer
  • Rowan Bergen
  • Ryann Jensen

The Corridor Jazz Project CDs, along with tickets for the CD Release Concert, March 31st at Iowa City West High School, will go on sale February 15th. Tickets are $10, and will be available at the door.

Bills’ original piece, and those receiving Honorable Mention will all be exhibited during the March 31st concert. 

The Corridor Jazz Project is a jazz education and mentoring program for jazz band students at the public high schools in the Creative Corridor  The program, developed as a part of the education outreach of Jazz 88.3 KCCK, matches each school’s top jazz band with a professional jazz player, who performed as a guest soloist with the band. The subsequent recordings have been collected and will be released on a compilation CD. CDs will be made available to each school to sell and keep the proceeds. CDs will be available at local retail outlets as well.  

Support for the Corridor Jazz Project comes from MidWestOne Bank, Rockwell Collins, and West Music.

Sunday, January 19, 2014

New Music Monday for January 20, 2014

     Award-winning soprano saxophonist Jane Ira Bloom has always had a special feeling for ballad performances. Her love for melody comes directly from her earliest exposure to American standards.  A few years ago, she noticed that the two or three ballads she would regularly include in live settings attracted special attention from the audience. This led to the idea of ‘all ballads’ programs in her concert and club performances, and is what ultimately informed the concept for her CD, “Sixteen Sunsets.” The beautiful new recording features expressive interpretations from the American Songbook along with five original compositions. Her 15th CD as leader teams her up with long-time colleagues Cameron Brown on bass and Matt Wilson on drums and the exciting new pianist Dominic Fallacaro.
     Picture a giant New Orleans brass big band playing wild funk-jazz with some wild odd meters and twisted melodies. Add in a dollop of whacky lyrics and you have Frank Macchia’s “Grease Mechanix. Jazziz magazine describes the three-time Grammy nominated composer and saxophonist as “an inventive composer and arranger who deserves comparison to Gil Evans and Pat Metheny.” Macchia, who composed and arranged the project, is joined by some of Los Angeles’ best jazz players including Peter Erskine, Eric Marienthal, Bob Shepard, Bill Reichenbach and Wayne Bergeron.

     Also this week, drummer Matt Wilson and his quartet are joined by special guest keyboardist John Medeski for “Gathering Call”; alto saxophonist Matt Criscuolo is joined by veteran pianist Larry Willis for his fourth CD as a leader, “Blippity Blat”; and pianist Larry Gelb offers up a new trio recording, “The Love Songs of Ian Ops.”