Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Corridor Jazz Project Cover Art Winner!

Jingyu “Lucy” Liu, a sophomore at Xavier High School in Cedar Rapids, has been chosen as the winner of the Corridor Jazz Project CD Cover design. Liu will receive a $100 cash prize from KCCK-FM and her design will adorn the cover of the “The Corridor Jazz Project VI”, 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, and Solon High School.

Liu’s drawing was chosen out of over 100 entries from art students in Iowa City, Cedar Rapids and Marion high schools.   

Receiving Honorable Mention in the contest were:
  • Alicia Allen – Jefferson
  • Ashley Johson – Jefferson 
  • Alex Sauer – Jefferson
  • Jessica Drees – Kennedy
  • Megan Dunham – Kennedy
  • Alicia Hayes-Kerr – Kennedy
  • Rachel Morrow - Xavier
  • Molly Vipond – Xavier
The Corridor Jazz Project CDs, along with tickets for the CD Release Concert, April 2nd at the Paramount Theatre, will go on sale February 15th.  Tickets are $12, and will be available at the Orchestra Iowa box office
Liu’s original piece, and those receiving Honorable Mention will all be exhibited during the April 2nd concert. 

The Corridor Jazz Project is a jazz education and mentoring program for jazz band students at the eight public high schools in Cedar Rapids and Iowa City.  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.

Monday, January 28, 2013

2013 Iowa City Jazz Festival Sneak Peak

A winter's day with snow, ice and fog is the perfect time to daydream about cool jazz on a hot summer day!
Craig Kessler and Bob Stewart interview Matt Wilson
at the 2012 Iowa City Jazz Festival

We were able to sneak an advance look at the lineup for the Iowa City Jazz Festival, July 5-7, and it's a good one!

Buy your sunscreen in bulk now while it's cheap, because you'll want to spend every moment of the entire three days where you can hear these great artists.

Friday, July 5
  • United Jazz Ensemble
  • Laranja
  • Sachal Vasandani with the Iowa Jazz Orchestra
Saturday, July 6
  • North Corridor All-Stars
  • Charlie Hunter/Scott Amedola
  • Christian Scott Quintet
  • Dr. Lonnie Smith
Sunday, July 7
  • Phillip Dizack Quartet
  • JD Allen Trio
  • Fred Hersch Trio
  • Pharoah Sanders
This lineup is pretty solid, but sometimes things change between January and July, so watch this space and also the Summer of the Arts website for the latest news.

The Jazz Festival lineup, including an excellent slate of side stage performers, along with the full schedule of Summer of the Arts 2013 events will be officially announced on March 26th.

Money Jungle Redux; Organissimo Dedicated - Bob Stewart

In 1962, Duke Ellington recorded a trio date with bassist Charles Mingus and drummer Max Roach that is today considered one of the pivotal jazz recordings of the '60s. The resulting disc was, among other things, a commentary on the perennial tug-of-war between art and commerce. In some ways, the songs were intended as a sort of counterbalance to the capitalist bent of the "Mad Men" generation. Fifty years later, the precarious balance in the world of jazz hasn't changed much. Enter drummer Terri Lyne Carrington, who enlists the aid of keyboardist Gerald Clayton and bassist Christian McBride, to pay tribute to Duke, his trio and his creative vision with "Money Jungle: Provocative in Blue", her interpretation of his historic recording with guests Clark Terry, Lizz Wright, Herbie Hancock and others.

Following up on their live release of a few years back, the Michigan-based trio Organissimo emerges from the studio with "Dedicated" -- a stunning collection of soul jazz for modern ears. Formed in 2000, the trio has wowed audiences across the globe with its unique take on the jazz organ tradition. The new disc not only extends that illustrious heritage but also introduces the band's new guitarist, Ralph Tope, whose playing adds a visceral immediacy to the band. Featuring ten new original songs and one very funky cover, the album is laid-back, swinging jazz infused with soul.

Wednesday Night Special - Gordon

Hot Latin Jazz for a Cold January Night: Orquesta Alto Maiz at KCCK's Jazz Under the Stars 2012
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. 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.
7 p.m. following JazzSet.

Monday, January 21, 2013

Sound the Trumpets - Bob Stewart

It was only after Michael Jackson's death that Italian trumpeter Enrico Rava gradually became aware that he had for many years been ignoring, in his words, "one of the great protagonists of 20th century music and dance. A total artist. A perfectionist. A genius. I felt the need to delve more deeply into Michael's world. There was only one to do that: play his songs." Thus a new live disc -- "Rava on the Dance Floor" -- recorded in the Rome Auditorium with the Parco della Musica Jazz Lab. Rava's trumpet is at its most extroverted, vaulting above the spirited arrangements by Mauro Ottolini. Michael Jackson's protean pop songs have never been heard quite like this.
Master trumpeter Ron Miles injects his radiant, lyrical tone directly into the lifeblood of American music on his latest release, "Quiver." A compelling, inviting trio date with guitarist Bill Frisell and drummer Brian Blade, the disc combines the singing melodicism of America folk music, the heightened communication of the most progressive jazz forms, and an entrancing, airy openness. "I conceived it so that there was a lot of space in the music," Miles comments, "which just makes it a perfect vehicle for Brian and Bill, who are so purposeful in the way they think through a phrase with all of the silences intact and create all of this motion and energy without any wasted gestures or by playing a whole bunch of notes."

Special Live Broadcast: SFJAZZ Center Grand Opening - Gordon

KCCK is delighted to offer this special live broadcast Wednesday, Jan. 23, at 10 p.m. of the Grand Opening Concert from the San Francisco Jazz Center - conceived as the first stand-alone building in the U.S. designed specifically for jazz performance. The show has been sold out for months, and the list of artists for this star-studded concert is long and awe-inspiring. So far these dazzling performers have signed on to our live broadcast:
McCoy Tyner / Chick Corea / Esperanza Spalding / Joshua Redman / Joe Lovano / Bobby Hutcherson / John Handy / Pete Escovedo / Eric Reed, and the SFJAZZ Center Resident Artistic Directors: Regina Carter, Bill Frisell, Jason Moran, John Santos, Miguel Zenón, plus
members of the SFJAZZ Collective: Miguel Zenón, David Sánchez, Robin Eubanks, Avishai Cohen, Stefon Harris, Edward Simon, Matt Penman, Jeff Ballard.
Bill Cosby will be the Master of Ceremonies
Our special Live broadcast is a joint presentation of WWOZ, WBGO and NPR Music. A live video stream will be available at:

Monday, January 14, 2013

Hatfield Honors Hughes; Texas Tenor Carr - Bob Stewart

A supremely lyrical guitarist and award-winning composer with a deep love of literature, Ken Hatfield is always on the lookout for texts ripe for musical interpretation. He found an ideal muse in poet Langston Hughes (1902-1967), whose rhythmically agile verse, marked by penetrating observations about love, life and politics, takes flight on "For Langston." A chamber jazz work featuring a stellar cast of improvisers and the startling beautiful voice of Hilary Gardner, the disc is a deeply soulful achievement by a veteran jazz master.
Paul Carr may have left Texas many years back, but the soulful, big-toned tenor saxophone sound associated with the state never left the way he blows his horn. The Houston native is a mainstay on the Washington, D.C. jazz scene and a key figure nationally, both as a player and as an educator. "Standard Domain" is Carr's fifth recording as a leader. His quintet features bassist Michael Bowie and trumpeter Terell Stafford, both with whom Carr has done a lot of playing, and drummer Lewis Nash, with whom he's also played and recorded. The newest member of the ensemble is pianist Joey Calderazzo, best known for his work with Branford Marsalis and Michael Brecker. The program includes an engaging mix of the classic American songbook, jazz standards, and one of Paul's own compositions.