Wednesday, October 22, 2014

New Music Monday

New Music Monday for October 27, 2014

Click here for the New Music Monday Playlist on YouTube, or on the individual links below to check out this week's new music on demand.

     After years of experimentation and exploration, it can be beneficial and, occasionally, revelatory to look backwards to known paths and accomplishments. The reexamination of an older composition can lead to new discoveries and goals for an ensemble that has been performing together for years. Pianist and composer Greg Reitan has led his fantastic trio of bassist Jack Daro and drummer Dean Koba since 1996, formed shortly after their graduation from University of Southern California’s Thornton School of Music. Their long and fruitful tenure has created a fantastic partnership, which can be fully enjoyed on the new recording, “Post No Bills.” The rearranged title track is the very first tune the trio ever played together, for the 1996 Hennessy Cognac Jazz Search in New York City.

Listen to it here!

      With her burnished voice, penetrating emotional interpretations, solid sense of swing, and hip repertoire, Julie Kelly’s vocals never fail to capture all the senses at once. A seasoned veteran, Julie has appeared and recorded with luminaries including Ray Brown, Gary Foster, Alan Broadbest, and Chris Botti. Legendary jazz critic Leonard Feather has said that Julie “radiates a sense of joy and spontaneity. Listening to her, you are reminded that jazz singing is alive and well.” Her new CD, “Happy to Be,” which combines the talents of Grammy Award-winning masters and young virtuosos alike, offers up a feast of storytelling that draws from classic vocal jazz, bebop roots and fresh originals.

     Also this week, saxophonist Harry Allen’s celebration of the intermingling of Brazilian music and jazz is a stunning and beautiful blend of the jazz of two Americas on “Flying Over Rio”; pianist Shamie Royston unveils her debut release, “Portraits”; and Italians Alessandro Collina on piano, Rofolfo Cervetto on drums, and Fabrizio Bosso on trumpet along with French bassist Marc Peillon pay tribute to the late, great French pianist and composer Michel Petrucciani with “Air Michel.”
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New Music Monday for October 20, 2014

Click here for the New Music Monday Playlist on YouTube, or on the individual links below to check out this week's new music on demand.

Freddy Cole is one of American popular music’s great performers. Like Tony Bennett, Cole is a beloved musician’s musician and a living link not just to the Great American Songbook but to jazz and blues history. His total command of his voice and his beloved stage personality combines the bluesy minimalism of Count Basie, the urbane sophistication of George Shearing and the uptown swagger of Duke Ellington. Cole matured as a musician at a time when the blues was the basis of much of the popular music of the day and his take on the genre is second to none. With his new CD, “Singing the Blues,” Cole pays tribute to the people, places and performing spaces that shaped his life and career.

"My Mother Told Me" from SINGING THE BLUES

     The sound of a truly fine big band makes a lasting aural impression, combining sheer grandness with the finest, intimate improvisations. This is the point where we welcome back to the stage the Peter Hand Big Band. A native of New York City, Hand has had an active and diverse career in this music. He has been a guitarist in a wide variety of groups, has composed an impressive number of tunes, and has also studied big band arranging and composing with the legendary Herb Pomeroy. Hand’s band includes a stellar array of New York jazz players including Houston Person, Don Braden, Eddie Allen, Ralph Lalama, James Weidman and Harvie S. “Out of Hand,” the newest recording of the Peter Hand Big Band, includes a mix of standards and Hand originals.


Also this week, award winning composer Ezra Weiss and his sextet are captured live at Ivories Jazz Lounge in Portland, Oregon, on “Before You Know It”; Larry Fuller, who was the last pianist with the legendary Ray Brown Trio, offers up his second, self-titled release as a leader; and, for his debut CD as a leader, bassist John Webber turns to his preferred second axe, the guitar, on “Down for the Count.”

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This Week's Special Shows

Week of October 27, 2014

Short List with Bob Naujoks

Monday - Friday at 8:35 AM and Saturday at 7 AM 
Sax Soiree 2: Joshua Redman                    
Tenor saxophonist Joshua Redman is one of the “young lions” who emerged in the early 1990s to become a well-known jazzman, and his first album on Warner Brothers in 1993 earned him a Grammy nomination. Redman’s father was Dewey who worked with the avant-garde Ornette Coleman and his uncle Don was famous big band arranger and composer. He’s had several Iowa connections too --- at Hancher in 1997; the Iowa City Jazz in 2008; and in Des Moines in 2013. His home is in San Francisco where he spearheaded the remarkable S-F Jazz Collective.   
Jazz Profiles with Nancy Wilson    
Monday at 6:00 PM
Bessie Smith: Blues Empress   
No blues singer can escape the influence of Bessie Smith, "The Empress of the Blues". For over 100 years, this legendary, singer has been and continues to be a major influence on singers and instrumentalists of today. She was larger than life, inexhaustibly creative, and undeniably distinctive. Her legacies of songs speak to everybody; she gave the music its raw, regal poignancy -- and marketability.                
Jazz Corner of the World with Craig Kessler
Monday, 7:00 PM - 11:00 PM (follows Jazz Profiles)
"The 75th Anniversary Celebration of Blue Note Records -- Show # 20"                           
Craig continues his chronological survey of the evolution of Blue Note Records, with more classic material from the mid-sixties. We'll hear selections from each and every Blue Note recording session, including fine jazz nuggets from the likes of Andrew Hill, Lee Morgan, Joe Henderson, Freddie Hubbard, Grant Green, and many others. Essential material from the premier modern jazz label of the 20th century!                        

New Orleans Calling with George Ingmire    
Tuesday at 6:00 PM  
"Lipstick Traces"                     
Experience the culture of the Crescent City with this hour-long show featuring exclusive New Orleans stories, interviews and music. 

In the 1950s, the sound of New Orleans was Rhythm and Blues. And like everything else here, New Orleans R&B brought something different to music - it was more alive, more fun, with some serious rhythm. This week, we check out the music from that era, meet some of the people responsible for that sound, and find out how they got their start.  

Jazz Night in America with Christian McBride
Wednesday at 6:00 PM  

“Reimagining Brubeck”               
Dave Brubeck’s music is reimagined by members of the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra. Jazz Night in America explores various Brubeck compositions, as we sit down and discuss with the arrangers the decisions they made when approaching the material. Also, we unearth recordings from the JALC archive of Brubeck himself performing with the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra.

Wednesday Night Special            
7:00 PM (Follows Jazz Night in America)   
Jared Gold Trio at the 2014 Iowa City Jazz Festival          
Jared Gold's recent emergence as one of New York's most in demand organists comes from years of dedication to and respect for the Hammond B-3. His most recent recording is “Intuition” and like many of his recordings features Gold's original compositions combined with reworks of classic Motown tunes. Gold has also released “Golden Child”  (2012), "All Wrapped Up" (2011), "Out of Line" (2010), "Supersonic" (2009), and "Solids and Stripes" (2008).

In 2004, Dave Stryker included Jared in his newly formed organ trio with drummer Tony Reedus. With a mixture of adventurous original music and new takes on some old standards this group has been performing often from NYC to Europe to the Midwest. Jared's writing and arranging skills are also featured in his collaboration with guitarist Randy Napoleon and drummer Quincy Davis. They have produced two CD's of which "Enjoy the Moment" (pko records) has received high acclaim and radio play throughout the country.

Jared's discography also includes "The Chaser" with the Dave Stryker Trio, "Makin It" and "Plan", with the Oliver Lake group, "Going Somewhere" with the Avi Rothbard Trio, "Broadway Alley" with the William Ash Trio, and "Springloaded" with the Dan Pratt Organ Quartet. Jared's most recent Positone Records release “JG3 + 3” reunites him and guitarist Dave Stryker with the addition of three horn players.

Piano Jazz with Marian McPartland      
Thursday at 6:00 PM
Kenny Drew Jr.                
This broadcast of Piano Jazz is in memory of pianist Kenny Drew Jr. (June 14, 1958 - August 3, 2014). The son of pianist Kenny Drew, who rose to fame in the fifties and sixties, Kenny Drew Jr. made his own way with a virtuosic career in both jazz and classical. He favored distinct, single-note lines but could also play in a full orchestral style. In this 1992 session, Drew interprets Monk’s “In Walked Bud,” then he and McPartland collaborate on “Falling in Love with You.” 

Jazz Corner of the World with Craig Kessler
Saturday, Noon - 4:00 PM
"Lou Donaldson Birthday Celebration"
Craig helps celebrate the 88th birthday of alto sax star Lou Donaldson by presenting a tasty program of jazz delights from the lengthy career of this jazz giant! Lou is one of the oldest surviving masters from the earliest of modern jazz days at Blue Note Records. He was there at the beginning, performing along side of the likes of Thelonious Monk, Clifford Brown, Horace Silver, Art Blakey, and many others. Although he doesn't travel as much as he once did, he still performs regularly and maintains his "alto chops". Don't miss this exciting get together with music from one of the true living legends of jazz!     

Riverwalk Jazz
Sunday at 5:00 PM  
A Night at Nick's: Hot Jazz in the Big Apple          
The Jim Cullum Jazz Band and longtime fans revisit Nick’s Steak House, the Greenwich Village nightspot where for almost three decades veteran jazzmen like Bobby Hackett, Eddie Condon and Muggsy Spanier wowed the crowds that gathered to hear hot jazz in the Big Apple.
KCCK's Midnight CD
The Monday - Sunday Midnight CD for this week can be found at:

Week of October 20, 2014

Short List with Bob Naujoks

Monday - Friday at 8:35 AM and Saturday at 7 AM   
Sax Soiree 2: Peter Christlieb                   
Tenor saxophonist Peter Christlieb has been a key soloist with fellow instrumentalists and numerous vocalists for five decades, yet, he seems to live just below the surface of the jazz lovers’ awareness. Just out of high school, Christlieb took to the road with the Sy Zentner and ended up playing with the Woody Herman and Louie Bellson bands, and toured with Chet Baker. Bellson became a mentor and got christlieb the job of a lifetime with the Doc Severinson “Tonight Show” band when Johnny Carson was host --- a 20-year gig. In addition, Pete Christlieb was the key soloist on Steeley Dan’s classic recording of “Deacon’s Blues” in 1977.  
Jazz Profiles with Nancy Wilson    
Monday at 6:00 PM
Charles Mingus: 'Fables of Bass' Part 2  
By the time Charles Mingus' groundbreaking 1956 composition, "Pithecanthropus Erectus" came out, Charles Mingus had grown out of Watts, out of Los Angeles and the west coast, to establish himself as an innovative bassist and challenging composer. He moved east to New York, jazz central, and established his legacy as one of jazz's finest writers and most provocative bandleaders.                
Jazz Corner of the World with Craig Kessler
Monday, 7:00 PM - 11:00 PM (follows Jazz Profiles)
"Tribute to Kenneth Vincent John 'Kenny' Wheeler (1/14/30 to 9/18/14)"                          
Craig pays tribute to the recently departed composer, bandleader, trumpet and flugelhorn master, with an overview of Kenny's lengthy career. We'll hear interesting gems from his early days with a variety of vital English musicians, his time with Keith Jarrett, his many ECM records, up through to his most recent recordings for CAM Jazz and other labels. Mr. Wheeler has been an important part of the jazzscape for many years now. Don't miss this loving look back at his legendary career.                      

New Orleans Calling with George Ingmire (new series from WWOZ, New Orleans)    
Tuesday at 6:00 PM  
"Didn't It Rain"                     
Experience the culture of the Crescent City with this hour-long show featuring exclusive New Orleans stories, interviews and music. 

This week's episode, titled "Didn't It Rain," focuses on the connection between R&B singers and gospel music, particularly in New Orleans. Through the voices of Mahalia Jackson, Tricia Boutte, Chuck Carbo, Irma Thomas and more, we start to look at another side of these singer's careers.  

Jazz Night in America with Christian McBride (new series from NPR/WBGO, Newark)
Wednesday at 6:00 PM
“To Miles, From Wayne”   

In the late 1960s, when trumpeter Miles Davis was leading his famous second quintet, saxophonist Wayne Shorter wrote a series of new works featuring Davis with orchestra. When the quintet broke up, Shorter put the scores away. Now, trumpeter Wallace Roney -- a protégé of Davis -- has received the scores from Shorter and prepared them for a performance at the 2014 Detroit Jazz Festival. Jazz Night in America presents the very first recording of “Universe” and other rare Wayne Shorter works performed by the Wallace Roney Orchestra, featuring Victor Gould (piano), Buster Williams (bass), Lenny White (drums) and members of the Detroit Symphony Orchestra.

Wednesday Night Special            
7:00 PM (Follows JazzSet)   
Uniphonics at KCCK’s Jazz Under the Stars 2014 (new!)          
Uniphonics formed in 2007, and in the years since have played on bills with internationally touring superstars like Victor Wooten, EOTO, Primus, The Roots, Rusted Root, and Parliament Funkadelic. They are also regular performers at Euforquestra’s Camp Euphoria. Their 2010 release "CRAWL" featured Grammy award winner Robin Eubanks and Iowa blues guitar legend Dennis McMurrin.

The Uniphonics performance was the first Jazz Under the Stars concert at the new McGrath Ampitheatre in downtown Cedar Rapids.            

Piano Jazz with Marian McPartland      
Thursday at 6:00 PM
Roy Hargrove               
Grammy Award-winning trumpeter Roy Hargrove has played with such jazz greats as Dizzy Gillespie, Mulgrew Miller, and Bobby Watson. His blazing sound, depth of feeling, and joy in playing was evident even from a young age, when he was discovered by Wynton Marsalis at a high school jazz clinic. On this 1998 Piano Jazz, Hargrove joins McPartland for “I Wish I Knew,” and McPartland performs “Threnody.”                           

Jazz Corner of the World with Craig Kessler
Saturday, Noon - 4:00 PM
"The 75th Anniversary Celebration of Blue Note Records -- Show # 20"                           
Craig continues his chronological survey of the evolution of Blue Note Records, with more classic material from the mid-sixties. We'll hear selections from each and every Blue Note recording session, including fine jazz nuggets from the likes of Andrew Hill, Lee Morgan, Joe Henderson, Freddie Hubbard, Grant Green, and many others. Essential material from the premier modern jazz label of the 20th century!    

Riverwalk Jazz
Sunday at 5:00 PM  
Keyboard Wizard: Art Tatum         
Piano virtuoso Shelly Berg and Broadway veteran Vernel Bagneris team up with the Jim Cullum Jazz Band for a tribute to pioneering keyboard wizard Art Tatum. The jazz pianist set a new standard in the 1930s — playing faster, cleaner and more imaginatively than anyone thought possible.                                                  

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.”