Wednesday, July 1, 2015

New Music Monday for July 6, 2015

Listen to the playlist on YouTube and Spotify!

     Charenee Wade is not one to hold back or let fear stand in her way. The first artist ever to enter two Thelonious Monk Vocal competitions, she walked away from the second in 2010 with instant buzz and second place to her new friend Cecile McLorin Salvant. Known for expert vocal improvisational ability and her seriously swinging groove, Wade evokes a classic jazz sound akin to Betty Carter and Sarah Vaughan, two of her musical touchstones. Her new CD, “Offering: the Music of Gil Scott-Heron and Brian Jackson,” pays tribute to another inspiration, the socially conscious poet and musician Gil Scott-Heron. She is joined in this endeavor by notable guests including guitarist Dave Stryker, vibraphonist Stefon Harris and bassist Lonnie Plaxico.
     Tenor saxophonist, composer and arranger Bob Mintzer recorded his first big band album in 1983. Five of his subsequent big band discs have been nominated for Grammys, one of which won the coveted award. Now comes Mintzer’s 20th big band release, “Get Up!,” recorded live last year at the Manchester Craftsmen’s Guild in Pittsburgh. It’s something of a stylistic departure for the adventurous musician, as all nine selections utilize syncopated grooves that draw on Rhythm and Blues and funk traditions. Besides five original Mintzer compositions, the set is made up of the leader’s vibrant arrangements of classic tune by Weather Report, the Isley Brothers, Sam and Dave, and Sly and the Family Stone.
     Also this week, composer, arranger and bandleader Maria Schneider celebrates a long-awaited reunion with her vaunted jazz orchestra with “The Thompson Fields,” a homecoming nearly a decade in the making; trumpeter Terell Stafford celebrates jazz master Lee Morgan with “BrotherLee Love”; and one of America’s premiere gypsy jazz groups, the Seattle-based Pearl Django, stretches the genre in new directions with “Time Flies.”

This Week's Special Shows


Week of July 6, 2015

Short List with Bob Naujoks
Monday - Friday at 8:35 AM and Saturday at 7 AM
Jazz and the Spoken Word: Lawrence Ferlinghetti and Kenneth Rexroth                                
“Jazz & the Spoken Word” Short List series is about a small group of writers and musicians who have worked to blend the rhythm of jazz with the rhythm of poetry and the spoken word. The series reveals some of the best attempts at combining the two art forms during the past 90 years. This week on “Jazz & the Spoken Word” enjoy Beat Generation poet and publisher, Lawrence Ferlinghetti. He was a major figure in the wedding of jazz and poetry readings. His work at the Cellar nightspot was a seminal event. His, friend and associate, Kenneth Rexroth, will also be heard spouting his discontent with the American society and his sharp observations on life in the 1950s.                         
   
Jazz Profiles with Nancy Wilson
Monday at 6:00 PM
Miles Davis, Part 1: Miles' Styles    
Trumpeter Miles Davis dominated jazz for much of the latter half of the twentieth century. While his trumpet sound is instantly recognizable, he refused to be boxed in any one style, consistently developing fresh musical shapes and structures. Miles's powerful influence did not end with his death in 1991; his restless spirit continues to intrigue and inspire artists of all kinds.      

Jazz Corner of the World with Craig Kessler
Monday, 7:00 PM - 11:00 PM (follows Jazz Profiles)
"The Music of Eric Dolphy -- Part One"              
For a special Monday night "live" broadcast, Craig will take a first of 2 looks at the career of genius reedman, Eric Dolphy. In Part one, we'll profile Dolphy's early years beginning in early 1949 with "Roy Porter's 17 Beboppers", "Charlie Mingus and his 22-Piece Bebop Band", and in '58 and '59, with the Chico Hamilton Quintet. We'll also hear form his first Prestige/New Jazz recordings in 1960 and '61, as well as a variety of other early '60s performances. As a very influential cog in the advancement of modern jazz, the music of Eric Dolphy continues to stand as 'extremely important' in the literature of jazz!         

New Orleans Calling with George Ingmire    
Tuesday at 6:00 PM 
"City of The Dead"                
New Orleans is known for jazz, Mardi Gras, food, parties, architecture, festivals... and also for its above-ground cemeteries. When you wander into one, it’s a world unto itself. These places are the focus of so many myths and stories, and questions. We’re taking a walk into the famous St Louis #1 cemetery on Basin Street, with Tony Paone, an expert to guide us, and a soundtrack of jazz, blues, and more.  

Jazz Night in America with Christian McBride
Wednesday at 6:00 PM
A Celebration of Coleman Hawkins     
Pianist Eric Reed celebrates the 110th birthday of tenor saxophone master Coleman Hawkins. Reed brings Tivon Pennicott, tenor saxophone; Warren Vache, cornet; Dezron Douglas, bass; and drummer Willie Jones III to honor his legacy. Interviews from the band come from leader Eric Reed and Tivon Pennicott. We also speak with jazz historical and tenor saxophonist Loren Schoenberg to learn more about the life and music of Coleman Hawkins.                        

Wednesday Night Special              
7:00 PM (Follows Jazz Night in America)   
Commons Collective at KCCK’s Jazz Under the Stars 2014           
We’re gearing-up for this summer’s Jazz Under the Stars concerts with encore performances from last August.
Commons Collective is a quintet that formed when the members were attending UNI. The group consists of: Jon Snell, piano; Nolan Schrader, saxophone; Brian Crew, trombone; Joel Conrad, bass; and Christopher Jensen, drums. Commons Collective plays mainly original music, and they have two CDs – the most recent, “(un)common” was released last year. They have played Orchestra Iowa’s First Friday Jazz series an unprecedented four times, and also performed on the main stage at the 2014 Iowa City Jazz Festival.
For a schedule of our 2015 Jazz Under the Stars concert series on Thursday nights in August go to: http://www.kcck.org/juts/

Piano Jazz with Marian McPartland     
Thursday at 6:00 PM
Willie Ruff
Willie Ruff is a master of the bass and the French horn, which he reveals as a singularly beautiful jazz instrument. Trained as a classical musician, he studied with Paul Hindemith at the Yale School of Music and signed as first horn with the Tel Aviv Symphony. He went on to team up with pianist Dwike Mitchell, forming the Mitchell-Ruff duo and performing worldwide. In this 1991 Piano Jazz session, Ruff plays horn on “Prelude to a Kiss” and bass on “There is No Greater Love.”                     

Jazz Corner of the World with Craig Kessler
Saturday, Noon - 4:00 PM
"Tribute to Randolph Denard Ornette Coleman -- 3/9/1930 to 6/15/2015"      
Craig salutes the life and legacy of Ornette Coleman...a major innovator in modern jazz and the so-called "free jazz" of the 1960s. We'll hear classic material from throughout his lengthy career, beginning in 1958, and spanning into the 2000s. Ornette is certainly one of a small handful of the absolutely most important figures in jazz history. His imprint on jazz and his continued inspiration of younger generations of musicians, will live forever!                                           

Riverwalk Jazz
Sunday at 5:00 PM 
Talking Trumpet: A Salute to Clark Terry        
Clark Terry reminisces about a remarkable career in music — and he surely had stories to tell. He talks trumpet and sits in with The Jim Cullum Jazz Band to perform some favorite numbers — including his famous "Mumbles" routine.                                 
 
KCCK's Midnight CD
The Monday - Sunday Midnight CD for this week can be found at:
http://www.kcck.org/onair/midnight_cd.php






                      

Week of June 29, 2015


Short List with Bob Naujoks
Monday - Friday at 8:35 AM and Saturday at 7 AM
Jazz and the Spoken Word: The Harlem Renaissance and Langston Hughes                               
“Jazz & the Spoken Word” Short List series is about a small group of writers and musicians who have worked to blend the rhythm of jazz with the rhythm of poetry and the spoken word. The series reveals some of the best attempts at combining the two art forms during the past 90 years. This week on “Jazz & the Spoken Word” enjoy The Harlem Renaissance and Langston Hughes.
   
Jazz Profiles with Nancy Wilson
Monday at 6:00 PM
Art Tatum, 'The Musician's Musician'   
Though Tatum was almost completely blind from birth, it never held him back. He often doubled and even tripled the tempo of a piece without losing any articulation or sacrificing his light touch. This technique enabled him to express an enormous flow of ideas in just a few measures, in a way that no one before or since has been able to duplicate.     

Jazz Corner of the World with Craig Kessler
Monday, 7:00 PM - 11:00 PM (follows Jazz Profiles)
"The 2015 Iowa City Jazz Festival Preview Show"             
Craig gives us an interesting program of music and biography of all of the "main stage" performers for this year's festival, as well as some fine examples of music from many of the "side stage" performers.  We'll hear from Brian Charette, Becca Stevens, Colossus, James Dreier & Ritmocano, Rudresh Mahanthappa, Dave Douglas, Julian Lage, Ben Allison, Charles Lloyd, Koplant No, Laranja, Blake Shaw, Andrew DiRuzza, Jeff Miguel, Commons Collective, Chris Merz, Jon Snell, Steve Grismore, Sam Salmone, Ron Miles, KROM, and others. As per usual, we have another fantastic festival on tap for our pleasure!!        

New Orleans Calling with George Ingmire    
Tuesday at 6:00 PM 
"Summer Days and Nights"               
This week's episode, titled "Summer Days And Nights," focuses on ways to pass a summer day and night in New Orleans, with music by Bobby Charles, Allen Toussaint, the Iguanas and many others. We also spend time fishing with piano player Matt Lemmler, and eating snowballs with locals before catching a streetcar uptown for a night of music.  

Jazz Night in America with Christian McBride
Wednesday at 6:00 PM
David Murray at Winter Jazz Fest    
David Murray is known as one of New York's most monstrously talented and astoundingly prolific artists — a tenor saxophonist who has played and written for just about every imaginable context.  Hear highlights from three (3!) different David Murray concerts. Featuring Geri Allen and spoken word from Saul Williams.                       

Wednesday Night Special              
7:00 PM (Follows Jazz Night in America)   
2015 Iowa City Jazz Festival Preview Show          
KCCK's Dennis Green and Craig Kessler along with Don Thompson, Chairman of the Jazz Festival Committee, share a sneak peak of what we may expect to hear at this year's festival July 2nd - 4th in downtown Iowa City. Our one hour special will feature music from all the main stage artists appearing at this year's festival - including Brian Charette, Becca Stevens, Colossus, James Dreier and Ritmocano, Rudresh Mahanthappa, Dave Douglas, Julian Lage, Ben Allison, and headliner Charles Lloyd.         

Piano Jazz with Marian McPartland     
Thursday at 6:00 PM
(pre-empted this week for KCCK’s live broadcast of the 2015 Iowa City Jazz Festival)                        

Jazz Corner of the World with Craig Kessler
Saturday, Noon - 4:00 PM
(pre-empted this week for KCCK’s live broadcast of the 2015 Iowa City Jazz Festival)                        

Riverwalk Jazz
Sunday at 5:00 PM 
Louis Armstrong: Memories & Reflections       
Tune in for memorable stories about Louis Armstrong from producer George Avakian, opera star Robert Merrill, former Armstrong band member Peanuts Hucko and more. Nicholas Payton and Bob Barnard join The Jim Cullum Jazz Band to play classic Armstrong tunes.                                
 
KCCK's Midnight CD
The Monday - Sunday Midnight CD for this week can be found at:
http://www.kcck.org/onair/midnight_cd.php



Wednesday, June 24, 2015

New Music Monday for June 29, 2015

Listen to the playlist on YouTube and Spotify!

     Ten years after making his Blue Note Records debut, and following two Grammy Award-winning volumes of his critically and commercially successful rhythm-and-blues-oriented “Black Radio” albums, Robert Glasper has announced a return to his acclaimed acoustic jazz trio for his new CD, “Covered.” Along with Glasper on piano, the trio features Vicente Archer on bass and Damion Reid on drums. The ensemble, the original trio from Glasper’s first two Blue Note releases, reconvened at the legendary Capitol Studios in Hollywood in December to record in front of an intimate live audience. The material mainly consists of covers, drawing from some of the pianist’s favorite songs by Joni Mitchell, Radiohead, John Legend, and more, as well as several Glasper originals.
     JD Allen’s career ascendance suggests that he’s making plenty of the right choices. The native of Detroit has been on the New York scene since 1993, when his youthful precociousness earned him a spot in Betty Carter’s acclaimed touring program for up-and-comers.  TimeOut New York says he will “remind you of giants like Coltrane and Rollins but placing a special kind of premium on concision, directness and accessibility.” The Chicago Reader adds, “Allen has gravitated toward a more brooding, elliptical approach with a strong jolt of John Coltrane at his most probing.” One of the telltale symbols of his upward trajectory is the fact that his trio, with bassist Greg August and drummer Rudy Royston, has remained solid throughout his rise. Their new disc, “Graffiti,” features an entire program of Allen originals.
     Also this week, pianist Jeb Patton’s arrangements on “Shades and Tones” run the gamut from trio to quartet, quintet and sextet settings; the Gary McFarland Legacy Ensemble, highlighted by vibraphonist Joe Locke, saxophonist Sharel Cassity and pianist and arranger Bruce Barth, take on a set of McFarland compositions on “Circulation: the Music of Gary McFarland”; and pianist, composer and arranger Pete Malinverni salutes eight great American cities that have persevered through challenging times on “Emerging Markets.”


Tuesday, June 23, 2015

IC Jazz Festival Performers Bring Home The Gold

By Dennis Green

Artists who perform at the Iowa City Jazz Festival regularly receive some of music's biggest honors. This year is no exception, as several musicians who will play on the Jazz Festival stage have just received recognition in the prestigious Downbeat Critic's Poll.


Rudresh Mahanthappa
Leading the pack is Rudresh Mahanthappa, who hit the Downbeat trifecta. He was named Rising Star Composer, topped the poll for Alto Saxophone, and his latest release, "Bird Calls" is Jazz Album of the Year. Mahanthappa performs July 3rd.

Jazz legend Charles Lloyd's quartet, which will close out the mainstage performances on July 4th, was named the #4 jazz ensemble in the world. Lloyd ranked #2 on Tenor Saxophone, just behind 2014 Jazz Festival headliner Joe Lovano.





Other Jazz Festival performers who ranked highly in the poll include:

  • Dave Douglas - #2 Trumpet
  • Brian Charette - #4 Jazz Organ
  • Julian Lage - #2 Jazz Guitar
  • Becca Stevens - #4 Rising Star Female Vocalist
  • Ben Allison - #4 Rising Star Arranger


Past Jazz Festival headliners on the list, besides Lovano:
  • Ambrose Akinmusire (2010) - #1 Trumpet
  • Joey DeFrancesco (2002) - #1 Jazz Organ
  • Dr. Lonnie Smith (2013) - #2 Jazz Organ
  • Larry Goldings (1993) - #3 Jazz Organ
  • Bill Frisell (2000 & 2009) - #1 Jazz Guitar
  • Cyrille Aimee (2012) - #1 Rising Star Female Vocalist

Cyrille Aimee with KCCK's Craig Kessler & Bob Stewart




The Iowa City Jazz Festival celebrates its 25th anniversary in 2015, and will take place July 2-4 on the UI Pentacrest in Iowa City. Click here for the full 2015 Iowa City Jazz Festival performance schedule.

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

New Music Monday for June 22, 2015

Listen to the playlist on YouTube and Spotify!

     The Bad Plus has almost exclusively performed as a trio for its nearly 20-year existence. Guests occasionally join the band in concert, but only one of their previous 10 discs has included a fourth member. In 2011, bassist Reid Anderson, pianist Ethan Iverson and drummer David King invited saxophonist Joshua Redman to join them for a week of enthusiastically received performances at the Blue Note in New York City. They then played a handful of dates before heading into the studio last year to record their debut album, “The Bad Plus Joshua Redman.”  “Playing with The Bad Plus has allowed me to explore a part of my playing, and my musical heritage, that I’ve never before accessed in quite the same way with any other group,” Redman explains. “The adventure with The Bad Plus pushes me toward the fringes and draws me into the core.”
     To pay proper tribute to a legend, an artist must do more than pay homage but must extend that storied legacy, demonstrating its timelessness by offering a musical vision that is immediate and of the present. “I’ve wanted to do this tribute to J.J. Johnson for 20 years but I never felt quite ready,” explains trombonist Steve Davis of his new CD, “Say When.”  “Something kept telling me, ‘Just wait. Just wait.’ Then a year-and-a-half ago, we did the J.J. weekend at Smoke with this sextet and I finally realized it was time.” Davis and his team of collaborators—trumpeter Eddie Henderson, tenor saxophonist Eric Alexander, and the sterling rhythm section of Harold Mabern, Nat Reeves and Joe Farnsworth—deliver the tribute powerfully and with clear affinity and devotion.
     Also this week, pianist Janice Friedman and her trio—bassist Ed Howard and drummer Victor Lewis—deliver “Live at Kitano,” recorded in 2011 and featuring classics from the likes of George Gershwin and Billie Holiday, a few more obscure jazz tunes as well as Friedman’s own compositions; the Moroccan-born, Australia-based guitarist Albare and his multicultural ensemble (Venezuelan, Cuban and Italian) release “Only Human”; and after four discs co-led with saxophonist Ken Fowser, vibraphonist Behn Gillece debuts as a leader in his own right with “Mindset.”

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

New Music Monday for June 15, 2015

New Music Monday Playlist on YouTube and Spotify.

     There are certain venues that become a home away from home for many musicians. Places where the vibe is right, the crowd is always involved and management is friendly. The Kuumbwa Jazz Center in Santa Cruz, California is one of these places and the favorite venue of pianist Benny Green. Returning to the site where he recorded a live album on his 30th birthday, Green recorded “Live in Santa Cruz” to mark both the 20th anniversary of that gig and his 50th birthday. The night and the performance were magical, as the trio featuring bassist David Wong and drummer Kenny Washington lit up Kuumbwa with a program of all original compositions by Green.
     “Passion World” from vocalist Kurt Elling certainly lives up to its title. It is indeed his most ‘worldly’ CD to date, as Elling casts his net far and wide, from Brazil to Ireland, Germany to France, Scotland to Cuba to Iceland. In terms of its conceptual scope and its breadth of influences, it’s the most ambitious project yet from the preeminent male vocalist in jazz. It is also Elling’s most star-studded disc, featuring a small battalion of guest collaborators working in tandem with the singer’s much-traveled quintet. The guests include veteran trumpeter Arturo Sandoval; the widely lauded young vocalist Sara Gazarek; German trumpet star Till Bronner; French accordion virtuoso Richard Galliano; the Scottish National Jazz Orchestra and its founder-leader, saxophonist Tommy Smith; and the world-renowned WDR Big Band and Orchestra from Germany, featuring pianist Frank Chastenier.
     Also this week, pianist and composer Aaron Diehl follows up his 2012 debut with “Space, Time, Continuum,” as his core trio is joined by the iconic tenor saxophonist Benny Golson and the magisterial baritone saxophonist Joe Temperly; 11-year-old jazz sensation and piano prodigy Joey Alexander debuts with “My Favorite Things”; and guitarist Al Di Meola introduces his new six-piece band on “Elysium”.