Wednesday, July 23, 2014

New Music Monday

                                          New Music Monday for July 28, 2014





     If it weren’t so true it would sound like a cliché: there really is no other ensemble quite like Diva. A 15-piece all-women band in the classic tradition—yet wholly un-retro in their approach—Diva is all about dynamics and innovation, class and sass. Led by drummer Sherrie Maricle, Diva has released more than a dozen discs, drawing raves from prestigious outlets like the Washington Post and JazzTimes magazine. On their new CD, “A Swingin’ Life,” the band presents a program of pieces from the Great American Songbook and beyond. Joining them for the occasion—recorded at Dizzy’s Club Coca Cola in New York and the Manchester Craftsmen’s Guild in Pittsburgh—are two of our greatest divas, the inimitable Nancy Wilson and Marlena Shaw.

     Cyrus Chestnut is one of the great piano voices of his generation or any generation, as he proves again with his latest release, “Midnight Melodies.” For this his first-ever live recording, he’s captured at Smoke in New York City. Chestnut claims that the club’s Steinway B is the best piano in the city. “It’s just my ticket. We connect. It’s warm and it’s sharp at the same time with a lot of earth in it. I like clubs like the Jazz Standard or Smoke, where you can sit down at the piano and get down-home, because that’s the kind of audience they attract.”  Joining Cyrus are bassist Curtis Lundy and drummer Victor Lewis on a musical odyssey that includes music by Billy Strayhorn, John Coltrane, and one of his important influences, John Hicks.  

     Also this week, we’ll have new discs from vocalists on the opposite ends of the generational spectrum: veteran Barbara Morrison’s “I Love You, Yes I Do,” and the first domestic release from the widely acclaimed young French singer Cyrille Aimee, “It’s a Good Day”; and trumpeter Joe Magnarelli is joined by trombonist Steve Davis on a new quintet date, “Lookin’ Up!”.































This Week's Special Shows

Week of July 28, 2014

Short List with Bob Naujoks                                           
Monday - Friday at 8:35 AM and Saturday at 7 AM  
The New Face of Jazz: Lewis Nash / Ted Nash         
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 drummer Lewis Nash and saxophonist Ted Nash.        

Jazz Profiles with Nancy Wilson    
Monday at 6:00 PM
Nat "King" Cole, Pt. 1: The Pianist        
Nat "King" Cole's popularity as a vocalist obscured the many significant contributions he made to American music and culture as a jazz pianist and as a groundbreaking performer. This show examines Cole's distinctive piano style and the influential "King Cole Trio," one of the earliest jazz piano trios.     
                 
Jazz Corner of the World with Craig Kessler
Monday, 7:00 PM - 11:00 PM (follows Jazz Profiles)
"The Jazztet"                  
Craig takes a close look at the two distinct periods of the jazz sextet formed by trumpeter Art Farmer and tenorman and composer Benny Golson, known as the "JAZZTET". We'll hear selections from the early years, 1959 to 1962, and from the later period (1982 to1986). The JAZZTET was known for its creative writing and arrangements, and for introducing some very important artists (McCoy Tyner, Julian Priester, and others). Tune in for this exclusive look at a unique band and a fascinating period in modern jazz.            

Jazz at Lincoln Center with Wendell Pierce  
Tuesday at 6:00 PM
Monty Alexander: Nat King Cole and Frank Sinatra        
Monty Alexander discovered jazz at a Nat King Cole concert and played his first New York gig at Sinatra’s old haunt called “Jilly’s.” Alexander offers fresh, inventive readings on “Sweet Lorraine,” “Come Fly with Me,” and more – with vocalists James DeFrances and Allan Harris.                         

JazzSet with Dee Dee Bridgewater
Wednesday at 6:00 PM
Charles Lloyd at Newport      
For his uncompromising, serious music, the 2011 Newport Jazz Festival was eager to present Charles Lloyd. He could bring any group, they told him. Charles said he would bring Sangam (means confluence), his east-west trio with Zakir Hussain on tablas, Eric Harland on drums, and Lloyd on saxophone. Join three musical spirits, flowing together.          

Wednesday Night Special           
7:00 PM (Follows JazzSet)  

Our Wednesday Night Specials for July feature highlights from KCCK’s Jazz Under the Stars concerts from the past as a run-up to our 2014 season of free concerts on Thursday nights in August!

Orquesta Alto Maiz at KCCK’s Jazz Under the Stars       
Orquesta Alto Maiz, a.k.a. The Salsa Band, has introduced Latin jazz to the Midwest for a quarter of a century. Orquesta Alto Maiz is something of a musical enigma. It is a popular eleven-piece Latin-jazz-dance band made up of musicians now living in the "heartland" of America. The Latin tinged music they perform, usually found in the clubs of New York City, L.A. or Miami, has secured them a reputation as one of the hottest bands in the Midwest. 
This strange mix of "salsa" and tall corn works because of the years of musical experience the band members bring to the group, and because of their love for the music. Alto Maiz has been performing regionally and internationally since 1986 and has steadily built a strong base of Latin music fans and supporters wherever they've played. Orquesta Alto Maiz plays a wide range of Latin musical styles, including merengue, samba, cha-cha-cha, salsa, calypso, and boleros. In addition to Latin-jazz standards by Tito Puente, Ray Barretto, Eddie Palmieri, Ismael Miranda, Mario Bauzá, Poncho Sanchez and others, the band has produced many successful original compositions as well. 
The Salsa Band was the featured guest at a special fifth concert, celebrating 25 years of Jazz under the Stars. The concert was extra special because it was also the farewell performance for several founding members of the Orquesta, who have announced they are retiring from the band.  

Piano Jazz with Marian McPartland     
Thursday at 6:00 PM
Alicia Keys   
Grammy Award-winning vocalist Alicia Keys has rocked the pop and R&B worlds with her velvet voice. A New York native, Keys brings the influence of jazz greats like Fats Waller to her piano playing, while her songwriting style is inspired by Stevie Wonder, Nina Simone, and Donny Hathaway. In this 2004 session, Keys plays one of her signature tunes “Fallin’” and joins McParland on “Good Morning Heartache.”                

Jazz Corner of the World with Craig Kessler
Saturday, Noon - 4:00 PM
 "The 75th Anniversary Celebration of Blue Note Records -- Show #14"            
Craig continues his chronological survey of the evolution of Blue Note Records with more classic material from 1960-61. We'll hear selections from each and every Blue Note recording session, including ground-breaking greats from Art Blakey, Ike Quebec, Kenny Drew, Grant Green, Freddie Hubbard, and many others. Don't miss it!                 

Riverwalk Jazz
Sunday at 5:00 PM
Sophisticated Ladies and Red-Hot Mammas                            
Heartbreakers, man-takers, vamps, tramps  and the girl next door — through the decades, they've all shown up in song. Topsy Chapman joins the Jim Cullum Jazz Band to explore the feminine mystique and sing tunes of sophisticated ladies and red-hot mammas.                                    

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 July 21, 2014

Short List with Bob Naujoks                                           
Monday - Friday at 8:35 AM and Saturday at 7 AM  
The New Face of Jazz: Jim McNeeley / Matt and Jason Moran / Mike Moreno        
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 Jim McNeeley, Matt and Jason Moran, and Mike Moreno.        

Jazz Profiles with Nancy Wilson    
Monday at 6:00 PM
Oscar Pettiford: Bass Beyond Bop       
Though he lived just 37 years, the jazz world will never forget bassist, composer, and bandleader Oscar Pettiford. The man helped define and refine the bass into the melodic, solo instrument we hear today. He also wrote tunes that lay easy on the large resonant bass body. From his birthplace on a Native American reservation in Oklahoma to his death in 1960 in Copenhagen, Pettiford's musical breadth was a match for the distances he'd traveled, finding a home for himself and his music.     
                 
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  #13"         
Craig continues his chronological survey of the evolution of Blue Note Records with more classic material from 1960. We'll hear selections from each and every Blue Note recording session, including dazzling jazz goodies from Jackie McLean, Horace Parlan, Lee Morgan, Tina Brooks, Harold Land, Duke Jordan, and many others.           

Jazz at Lincoln Center with Wendell Pierce  
Tuesday at 6:00 PM
“The Improvisors: Paul Bley and Charlie Haden”       
We celebrate the life of Shenandoah, Iowa native Charlie Haden (he passed away July 11th at age 76) with this rare presentation of the bassist in a minimal, duet setting with pianist Paul Bley. Live at the Kaplan Penthouse, the pair "played as if every form shattered at their touch", according to the NYTimes. Enjoy this set from the late NEA recognized Jazz Master, whose work on the bass resonated over seven decades of jazz, and stints with luminaries like Ornette Coleman and Keith Jarrett.                        

JazzSet with Dee Dee Bridgewater
Wednesday at 6:00 PM
Bill Frisell and Music of John Lennon    
Like balloons floating above the Newport Jazz Festival, the guitarist and his group send up "Beautiful Boy," "Come Together," "In My Life," and a piece by the late drummer Paul Motian. Frisell opens on violinist Jenny Scheinman's stage, playing duets.         

Wednesday Night Special           
7:00 PM (Follows JazzSet)
  
Our Wednesday Night Specials for July feature highlights from KCCK’s Jazz Under the Stars concerts from the past as a run-up to our 2014 season of free concerts on Thursday nights in August!  

Equilateral at KCCK’s Jazz Under the Stars      
Equilateral plays original, progressive jazz and is comprised of UNI faculty member Chris Merz (saxes), and UI faculty member Brent Sandy (trumpet), who are joined by Greg Mazunik (bass) and Eric Thompson (drums). Merz and Sandy have worked together extensively since 2000. Mazunik has freelanced around the Iowa City area for the past 10 years. Thompson returned to eastern Iowa from New York City, where he lived and worked following graduation from NEC (Boston).
The ensemble has no chording instrument, giving freedom to their improvisations while allowing them to utilize forms, textures, and harmonies to their advantage. Their 2012 studio recording “Loud & Dark" on Realtown Records was a “Featured CD of the Month” on KCCK.
Individually, the members of Equilateral have won many awards including: several DownBeat awards, Outstanding Soloist at MusicFest USA, and outstanding soloist at the Notre Dame Jazz Festival.

Piano Jazz with Marian McPartland     
Thursday at 6:00 PM
Jessica Williams  
Pianist and composer Jessica Williams has gained critical acclaim and multiple Grammy nominations for her writing and remarkable skill at the keyboard. Dave Brubeck called her "one of the greatest jazz pianists I have ever heard.” On this Piano Jazz from 1992, Williams solos on “Why Do I Love You” and gets together with host McPartland for Monk’s “Straight, No Chaser.”               

Jazz Corner of the World with Craig Kessler
Saturday, Noon - 4:00 PM
 "The Jazztet"          
Craig takes a close look at the two distinct periods of the jazz sextet formed by trumpeter Art Farmer and tenorman and composer Benny Golson, known as the "JAZZTET". We'll hear selections from the early years, 1959 to 1962, and from the later period (1982 to1986). The JAZZTET was known for its creative writing and arrangements, and for introducing some very important artists (McCoy Tyner, Julian Priester, and others). Tune in for this exclusive look at a unique band and a fascinating period in modern jazz.                

Riverwalk Jazz
Sunday at 5:00 PM
Hot Jazz Down Under: Gems from Aussie Jazzman Bob Barnard 
The spotlight is on Australian cornetist Bob Barnard, longtime friend and “musical soul mate” of bandleader Jim Cullum. From hot jazz to sweet ballads, the two share tunes and swap stories about their lives in jazz.                                   

KCCK's Midnight CD
The Monday - Sunday Midnight CD for this week can be found at:
http://www.kcck.org/onair/midnight_cd.php

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 www.iowachannel.org or at 88.3-2 on HD Radio.
KCCK’s main channel, 88.3 and 106.9 FM, and www.kcck.org 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 www.summerofthearts.org. 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 kcck.org, 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.”