Wednesday, August 20, 2014

New Music Monday

New Music Monday for August 25, 2014


     Six-time Grammy winner Dr. John is New Orleans’ most prominent living musical icon. The embodiment  of his hometown’s freewheeling creative spirit and multiple traditions, he’s built a visionary, idiosyncratic body of work that’s deeply rooted in the Crescent City’s myriad blues, R&B, jazz and rock traditions. So it’s fitting that his new CD, “Ske-Dat-De-Dat…The Spirit of Satch,” pays heartfelt tribute to another larger-than-life New Orleans legend: the seminal trumpeter and vocalist Louis ‘Satchmo’ Armstrong, who musical innovations created the template for 20th century jazz. The disc honors Armstrong’s musical genius as well as his effervescent personality with 13 quintessential numbers drawn from various phases of his five-decade career, with Dr. John joined by a stellar supporting cast  including Terence Blanchard, Dirty Dozen Brass Band, Bonnie Raitt, Blind Boys of Alabama and Shemekia Copeland.

     Few people would fit the ‘jazz hero’ mold less than Tom Harrell, whose modesty and lack of pretense in in direct inverse proportion to his talent.  And yet, Harrell is revered, not for playing fast, high or loudly, but for his supremacy at fashioning astonishingly beautiful aural shapes with a tone of immense gentleness and depth. Many listeners may be familiar with his compositions and his superb arrangements, while many will have remembered his fine work in the ‘70s alongside Bob Berg in Horace Silver’s band, and a decade later with Phil Woods. His essence, however, is most apparent in the small groups that he leads. For his new CD, “Trip,” Harrell is featured with saxophonist Mark Turner in his ‘experimental’ quartet, which also features drummer Adam Cruz and bassist Ugonna Okegwo. Together they explore some of Tom’s most recent and most stimulating compositions.

     Also this week, pianist Orrin Evans debuts one of his most impressive projects yet, a new quintet lineup that includes Sean Jones, JD Allen, Luques Curtis and Bill Stewart, on “Liberation Blues,” recorded live at Smoke in New York City; guitarist and composer Mark Elf unveils his first release in eight years, “Mark Elf Returns 2014”; and trumpeter Walter White pares down his 11-piece Small Medium @ Large ensemble to a quartet for “Most Triumphant.” 










New Music Monday for August 18, 2014


     “Broom has one of the few truly recognizable styles among modern guitarists, and one of the most satisfying solo concepts in mainstream jazz.” That’s writer Neil Tesser talking about Chicago-based guitarist Bobby Broom who, with his trio mates Dennis Carroll on bass and Makaya McCraven on drums, presents a program of striking musical Americana on his new disc, “My Shining Hour.” Recorded direct to ¼” tape—live in-studio, without headphones, instrument isolation or overdubbing—this first-step analog recording offers a delightful sonic experience for audiophiles. Breathing shimmering meaning into tunes that go as far back as the 1920s, the trio lends new life to timeless classics from Fats Waller, Cole Porter, Frederick Loewe, Richard Whiting and others.

     Few contemporary CDs bare as particular a narrative as “The Lagos Music Salon.” The new disc by the superb chanteuse Somi finds her breaking new ground with a hybrid style of music that organically integrates the essence of jazz and soul with the musical depth of her African heritage. She decided to move to Lagos, Nigeria, from her New York home base without a game plan but with a passionate desire to find a new direction for her vision and voice. While there, she kept a journal of her observations and collaborated with a community of musicians, writers and artists who helped her to envision what would become the new recording.

     Also this week, drummer Jae Sinnett presents a program of new originals on his twelfth release as a leader, “Subject to Change”; Ukrainian émigré composer and bassist Ark Ovrutski features pianist David Berkman and trombonist Michael Dease on his third release, “44:33”; and pianist and vocalist Mark Meadows is joined by guitarist Paul Bollenback and vibraphonist Warren Wolf for “Somethin’ Good.”

This Week's Special Shows

Week of August 25, 2014
Short List with Bob Naujoks                                           
Monday - Friday at 8:35 AM and Saturday at 7 AM  
The New Face of Jazz: Maria Schneider / Jen Shyu / Esperanza Spalding             
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 bandleader/arranger Maria Schneider, singer Jen Shyu and bassist/composer/singer Esperanza Spalding. 


Jazz Profiles with Nancy Wilson    
Monday at 6:00 PM
Louis Jordan: 'Jukebox King'            
Louis Jordan was among the first black entertainers to be successful in a wider pop market. Jordan and his Tympany Five influenced bands like Bill Haley and the Comets -- his music is often cited as one of the roots of rock and roll. He was also underrated as a jazz musician, both a fine clarinetist and alto saxophonist. But most importantly, Jordan is a part of the Library because his music is guaranteed to put a smile on the faces of all who heard him.         
                 
Jazz Corner of the World with Craig Kessler
Monday, 7:00 PM - 11:00 PM (follows Jazz Profiles)
"The 87th Birthday Celebration For Pianist Extraordinaire, Martial Solal"                 
Craig helps Mr. Solal celebrate his 87th, by spinning a tasty variety of jazz goodies from throughout Martial's 60+ years of jazz recordings! We'll hear from early 50's records from the Vogue Label, all the way up to his most recent recording from the Village Vanguard in 2009. Solal is truly one of the finest pianists in the history of jazz, and certainly one of the most overlooked!

Jazz at Lincoln Center with Wendell Pierce  
Tuesday at 6:00 PM
Sounds New: Ali Jackson with Yes! Trio and Warren Wolf Group

Drummer Ali Jackson and vibraphonist Warren Wolf each absorbed jazz from their childhoods. Now they are making their own marks. Jackson, the regular drummer of the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra, is now leading his own trio called “Yes!” Multi-instrumentalist Wolf (who learned jazz from with his father, Warren Wolf, Sr.) has gone from in-demand sideman to leader. Percussion leads in this double bill from the House of Swing.                         

JazzSet with Dee Dee Bridgewater
Wednesday at 6:00 PM
Juan-Carlos Formell at the Monterey Jazz Festival

Guitar from Havana with shades of New Orleans...Spanish lyrics... a fourth-generation Cuban musician who left for New York. Juan-Carlos Formell and his group Johnny’s Dream Club (named for a long-ago jazz spot) create a haunting, floating musical poem. Guest Harvey Wainapel on clarinet.             

Wednesday Night Special           
7:00 PM (Follows JazzSet)  
Dennis McPartland Quintet at Green Square Park        
Long time area jazz musician and educator Dennis McPartland brought his quintet to Green Square Park in Downtown Cedar Rapids for a free concert in the Spring of 2012. In addition to drummer Dennis McPartland, other members of the band are also well- known local and regional jazz professionals and educators including pianist and vocalist Gail Williams, Peter Hart on saxophones and flute, Bob Dunn on guitar, and Steve Charlson on upright bass.     

Piano Jazz with Marian McPartland     
Thursday at 6:00 PM
Makoto Ozoné        
A world-class jazz composer and pianist, Makoto Ozoné began playing organ at age two and picked up piano at age twelve after falling in love with the music of Oscar Peterson. On this Piano Jazz from 2002, Ozoné shows his total mastery of the keyboard as he solos on his own “Lullaby for Rabbit.” He and McPartland enjoy musical jokes on “Sonnymoon for Two.”                     

Jazz Corner of the World with Craig Kessler
Saturday, Noon - 4:00 PM
"The 75th Anniversary Celebration of Blue Note Records -- Show #16"                  
Craig continues his chronological survey of the evolution of Blue Note Records with more classic material from the early 60's. We'll hear selections from each and every Blue Note recording session, including tasty jazz nuggets from the likes of Donald Byrd, Leo Parker, Grant Green, Hank Mobley, Sonny Clark, and many others. Don't miss it!!  

Riverwalk Jazz
Sunday at 5:00 PM
In the Footsteps of Giants: Trumpet Dynamo Bria Skonberg

The Jim Cullum Jazz Band is joined by 20-something trumpet ace Bria Skonberg, who is among a group of brilliant young musicians revitalizing American classic jazz. She cites Louis Armstrong as her key influence, and clearly his exuberance shines through in her performances.    

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 August 18, 2014
Short List with Bob Naujoks                                           
Monday - Friday at 8:35 AM and Saturday at 7 AM  
The New Face of Jazz: Lee Ritenour / Ted Rosenthal / Brenda Russell / Maria Schneider             
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 guitarist Lee Ritenour, pianist Ted Rosenthal, singer Brenda Russell, and bandleader/arranger Maria Schneider.         
 
Jazz Profiles with Nancy Wilson    
Monday at 6:00 PM
Bill Evans: 'Piano Impressionism'           
Pianist Bill Evans turned out to be one of the most influential pianists of his generation. Before his untimely death in 1980, he had made nearly one hundred recordings. He became well known for his work with Miles Davis. He broke new ground with drummer Paul Motian and bassist Scott LaFaro in the development of the jazz trio.        
                 
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 #15"                
Craig continues his chronological survey of the evolution of Blue Note Records with more classic material from the early 60's. We'll hear selections from each and every Blue Note recording session, including sparkling jazz gems from Stanley Turrentine, Jackie McLean, Baby Face Willette, Lou Donaldson, Horace Parlan, and many others.


Jazz at Lincoln Center with Wendell Pierce  
Tuesday at 6:00 PM
Joe Lovano Us 5 (Plus Two!)           
One of the foremost improvisers in jazz today, Saxophonist Joe Lovano propels his double-drummer quintet, “Us Five,” into a polyrhythmic conversation – and weaves inspired solos in. Us Five features Joe Lovano (saxophone), Grammy Award winner Esperanza Spalding (bass), James Weldon (piano), Peter Slavov (bass), Otis Brown III (drums), and Francisco Mela (drums), plus special guests Lionel Loueke (guitar) and Judi Silvano (vocals). Enjoy Joe Lovano Us 5 and all the main stage performers from the 2014 Iowa City Jazz Festival during KCCK's special Labor Day re-broadcast September 1st starting at 9:00 a.m.!


JazzSet with Dee Dee Bridgewater
Wednesday at 6:00 PM
Dee Dee Bridgewater Quintet at the Caramoor Jazz Festival        
From “Lady Sings to Blues” (upbeat!) to “My Favorite Things,” from Billie Holiday to “Besame Mucho,” Dee Dee sings us a set with Craig Handy on saxophones and flute; Musical Director Edsel Gomez, piano; Michael Bowie and Kenny Phelps, bass and drums.             

Wednesday Night Special           
7:00 PM (Follows JazzSet)  
Saul Lubaroff Quintet: Live at the Englert         
Saxophonist/composer and Iowa City jazz icon, Saul Lubaroff leads his band through the changes of several classic jazz standards by many of the jazz giants of the 1950's and 60's. You'll hear echoes of Art Blakey, Cifford Brown, John Coltrane and Miles Davis when the band performs their versions of "Moanin'", "Joy Spring," "Moment's Notice," "Falling in Love with Love" and other great jazz tunes. The Saul Lubaroff Quintet features Joseph McKinley on piano, Scot Barnum on bass, Matt Bermanen, drums and Brett Messenger on trumpet.    

Piano Jazz with Marian McPartland     
Thursday at 6:00 PM
Christian McBride       
A veteran Piano Jazz sideman, Christian McBride has accompanied guests including J.J. Johnson and Cassandra Wilson. In this session from 2001, McBride takes the spotlight as a dynamic composer and stylist who leads a new generation of jazz players. He features his bass in duet with McPartland on the standard “Alone Together” and plays solo piano on his composition “Lullaby for a Ladybug.”


Jazz Corner of the World with Craig Kessler
Saturday, Noon - 4:00 PM
"The 87th Birthday Celebration For Pianist Extraordinaire, Martial Solal"                 
Craig helps Mr. Solal celebrate his 87th, by spinning a tasty variety of jazz goodies from throughout Martial's 60+ years of jazz recordings! We'll hear from early 50's records from the Vogue Label, all the way up to his most recent recording from the Village Vanguard in 2009. Solal is truly one of the finest pianists in the history of jazz, and certainly one of the most overlooked!                    

Riverwalk Jazz
Sunday at 5:00 PM
Reluctant Genius of Jazz: Artie Shaw                                 
Artie Shaw won accolades for his amazing talent on clarinet, but developed a reputation as an unpredictable and “reluctant” musical genius. Host David Holt welcomes Tom Nolan, author of the Shaw biography Three Chords for Beauty’s Sake, to discuss the music and mystique of one of America’s most celebrated jazz musicians.


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.”