Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Jazz Under The Stars is "ICCY"--Dennis

A big night for the arts and culture crowd, KCCK in particular last night, as we were honored at the inaugural Iowa Cultural Corridor Alliance Awards for Innovation and Excellence, the "ICCYs" (Pronounced "Ickies").

Jazz Under The Stars was recognized in the Music Programming category, a field that also included Holiday Pops and Cabaret in the Courtyard.

It was a fun night, not only for awards but also great performances from City Circle Acting Company (whose collaboration with the Iowa Children's Museum and the Englert, "Suessical," won two ICCYs), the University of Iowa Opera company, Kevin "BF" Burt, Riverside Theatre and New Beat Society.

Z102.9's Schulte and Swann hosted the event and I served as booth announcer which meant, yes, when we won I was able to say... "Accepting the award for KCCK is...well, me."

Thanks to ICCA Executive Director Joe Jennison and his organizing committee for a great evening that reminded us just how much innovation and excellence there is in our arts and culture community!

Thursday, January 25, 2007

Paquito Interview Tomorrow, Abe on Saturday-Bob

In anticipation of his rescheduled concert next Friday, February 2, at Hancher Auditorium, we'll be having a chat with NEA Jazz Master Paquito D'Rivera tomorrow right around noon or so. Saturday will see the return to the KCCK airwaves of Abe Kellison, who'll be filling in for John Heim from noon-3pm. John will be plying his other trade of working musician that day. It's been some months since we've heard from Abe and it'll be nice to hear his voice again.

Looking ahead to New Music Monday, we have a new big band disc from Harry Connick, Jr., the latest in the Marsalis Music "Connick on Piano" series...some really nice arrangements by Harry of some original and traditional New Orleans jazz. Guitarist Bucky Pizzarelli is joined by cornetist Warren Vache, pianist John Bunch, bassist Jay Leonhart, and drummer Mickey Roker in saluting Basie's great guitarist Freddie Green with "5 for Freddie." Another guitar disc, "Joko," comes from Frenchman Sylvain Luc and his septet. Norah Jones fans can look forward to her third disc, "Not Too Late." And the very gifted young Japanese composer and arranger Chie Imaizumi makes her recording debut with "Unfailing Kindness." She leads an ensemble that features, among others, baritone sax man Gary Smulyan and trumpeters Ron Miles and Greg Gisbert.

Bob Stewart, Program Director bobs@kcck.org

Monday, January 22, 2007

GM in the House-Dennis

Monday, January 22
11:00 am

We start out the week with a lineup shift. I will be in for Gordon Paulsen this afternoon. It will certainly be a radio adventure as we'll learn whether I still know how to fly the control board.

I'll feature JJ Johnson, Teddy Smith and Lizz Wright on their birthday, and remember Jimmy Cheatham, who passed away this weekend. On Funk at Five, get ready for Tower of Power and local faves Grooveship.

Got a request? studio@kcck.org anytime after 3pm.

Thursday, January 18, 2007

Busy Weekend for Jazz Fans-Bob

There's lots of live jazz to take in this weekend in the area. In addition to Eddie Piccard's regular gigs at the Fireside Grill in Kalona tonight, Konstantino's in Cedar Rapids tomorrow night, and the Top of the Five Seasons Hotel in Cedar Rapids on Saturday, plus the Dick Watson Trio at the Lighthouse Friday and Saturday, there's a handful of other events of note. First off, it's the first installment of the KCCK series, "Looking at Jazz: America's Art Form" at the Cedar Rapids Public Library, which explores the culture and history of jazz. Our own Mark Yother is your host for "New Orleans: the Birthplace of Jazz" and "The Jazz Age & the 1920s," Friday night at 7 with pianist Brent Watkins providing the music. This three-part series continues February 16 and March 16.
The U of I School of Jazz is providing us with a couple of nights of great jazz. On Friday in Clapp Recital Hall at 8pm, it's the Jazz Extravaganza, featuring student groups the Jazz Guitar Ensemble, Chuck and the All-Nighters, Living Proof, and the Jazztet. Then on Saturday, the action moves to the Englert Theater downtown for the OftEnsemble, a collective of U of I jazz faculty and alumni, in concert at 8pm. This group features Brent Sandy, Bob Thompson, Chris Merz, Rich Medd, Steve Grismore, John Rapson, Greg Mazunik, Jim Dreier and Paul Cunliffe. They'll be featuring works by Rapson, Merz, Grismore, Chris Potter, Bennie Maupin and Jymie Merritt. You can follow this concert by staying downtown and heading to the Sanctuary for some late night jazz with saxophonist Saul Lubaroff and his quartet.
We've also learned of an appearance by Des Moines native Dick Oates on Saturday night. The nationally-known saxophonist appears with Al Naylor's jazz bands at Linn-Mar High School in Marion starting at 7:30pm. Who says there's never anything to do around here?!

Bob Stewart, Program Director bobs@kcck.org

Thursday, January 11, 2007

Notes From New York (Thursday)-Dennis

Another day of seminars and great music.

There is a jazz radio track at the IAJE, and we spent a great deal of time today in various meetings talking about what is wrong with, andright with, jazz radio.

The good news: Jazz radio's audience is not decreasing as fast as the overall radio listening audience. The bad news: The audience is in fact, declining, not growing.

The reasons for this are varied. Satellite radio takes some of the blame, but not all. Only a small percentage of satellite radio subscribers buy the service to listen to the jazz channels.

But, satellite, Ipods, the Internet and simply a busier lifestyle for all of us, siphon away time that previously might have been spent enjoying jazz on the radio.

And another prevalent theme is what can we do to attract more people, and in particular more young people, to the music and to our stations. Ironic, because the IAJE is the single largest gathering of middle, high school and college musicians anywhere.

I'm pleased to say that based on what I'm hearing from our peers, KCCK is doing a lot of things right.

But, there are also areas where we can improve. And we'll be working on those.

Tomorrow, I'll get my turn in the spotlight as I'll be on a panel about making your station important in your community, particularlythrough jazz education.

Brushes with greatness: I got to spend some time today with guitarist Fred Woodard, now of Boston but with Iowa roots, and a performer at Jazz Under The Stars 2003. Fred will have a new CD out later this yearand sends a shout out to his dad and friends in Iowa City.

Rode an elevator with Bob Mintzer as he tried to straighten out some sound issue over cell phone. Passed Nancy Wilson in the hallway, and followed behind her for a few minutes just so I could listen to her voice. But I wasn't stalkingher, honest....

Tonight, it's a reprise of the Iowa City Jazz Festival 2005, as ConradHerwig and Brian Lynch present an extended version of the "The Latin Side of Miles," included the full suite of "Sketches of Spain" a piece they didn't have time for in Iowa City. Then Randy Brecker takes the stagewith the Bill Evans Soul Jazz Project.

I love this job.

Notes from the IAJE-Dennis

Greetings from The International Association of Jazz Educators conference in Manhattan!

In between plenary sessions (I have no idea what that means, I just like to say the word "plenary") and concerts, I hope to sneak away to give you a little flavor ot the King of All Jazz Meetings here in the Jazz Capital.

Today, most of the business was done at the registration table and hotel bar...

"Whenja get in?" "When ya flying out?"

There are several jazz radio stations represented here. WBGO, the New York station, is doing several days of live broadcasts. At one point today, someone in their booth turned around, and there was Tony Bennett, knocking on the window, asking if he could sit down for a chat.

You can guess what the answer was.

My personal brush with greatness was bumping into Joe Lovano, who I thanked again for the great interview he had at KCCK in 2005.

I also spoke with Wendy Oxenhorn, the Executive Director of the Jazz Foundation of America, which is raising and investing hundreds of thousands of dollars to help indegent musicians all over the country, but these days they are primarily working to support the musicians of New Orleans. She told me they recently shipped several semi-trailers full of pianos to give to New Orleans musicians. One of them went to Fats Domino, who was so thrilled he had the movers set the piano down right in the middle of the street and played a mini-concert for the crew in thanks!

More tomorrow

Tuesday, January 9, 2007

Jazz in the New Year-Bob

Well, here we are a week into the new year. Historically, this is a slow time for new jazz releases. The record labels stop releasing new discs from about the end of November through mid-January, so things should start picking up again very soon. What we feature in the interim are things we haven't had room to fit in for the latter part of the year, usually up-and-coming artists and lesser-known musicians who have yielded to the more well-know jazz artists 'til now.

For instance, we've unveiled some really neat cds over the past few weeks from D.D. Jackson, Luther Hughes, Ximo Tebar, Scott Neumann and Osage County,Gil Golstein and George Duke, to name a few, all which came out between summer and fall of 2006. Plus something from jazz master Chico Hamilton, who put out four different discs last year in honor of his 85th birthday. If only he had spread those out a little more!

I can tell you, though, that 2007 looks quite promising for new releases. Just to note a few, there are discs coming soon from Joshua Redman, Nicholas Payton, another Pat Metheny/Brad Mehldau collaboration, a get-together with Chick Corea & Bela Fleck, as well as cds from Kurt Elling, Jane Monheit, and Joey DeFrancesco. On the contemporary side of things, we can look forward to new jazz from Norah Jones, Joe Sample with Randy Crawford, Jeff Golub, and Jeff Lorber. And that's just for starters! Enjoy.

Live From New York, it's ME! --Dennis

I'll be attending the first few days of the International Association of Jazz Educators Conference in Midtown Manhattan this week. Tough duty, eh? This is a huge and very exciting gathering of musicians, educators, recording people, vendors... anyone associated with jazz.

We've been asked to participate in a panel called "Jazz Radio in the Community-How To Make Your Station More Relevant." I'll be presenting information about Jazz Under The Stars, Jazz At the 'Brary and Schoolhouse Jazz.

But the real fun of this conference is the chance to rub shoulders with jazz stars. Among the many performers are Doc Severinson, Joey DeFrancesco, John Patitucci, Randy Brecker, Matt Wilson, and many more who will be attending or hosting sessions.

Watch this space for the remainder of the week and I'll let you know about any of my "brushes with greatness!"

Tuesday, January 2, 2007

Nightbreeze 2007 checking in-Markj

Happy New Year everyone! I will be back on the air "live" on Sunday night, January 7, 2007.
Seems like it was yesterday we were bringing in 2006. With the Winter season upon us(even though it feels like Spring) the music on Nightbreeze seeems more solemn and reflective. Nightbreeze tends to be seasonal. The longer nights of Winter lends a quieter and meditative note to Sunday evening on the program.
Hopefully, you, the listener, will tune in to hear and, if you have a favorite instrumental or vocal artist that fits this reflective mood, pleases let me know and I will see if it is in the Nightbreeze Library. It has quite a large selection of music from the mid 1970's until now and includes artists from David Arkenstone to Yanni.
Thanks for listening in 2006 and, I hope you will continue to listen and support Nightbreeze in 2007.
Mark Jayne
Producer and Host