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A Tour of Treme with Donald Harrison and Glen David Andrews

3 Sep
A Tour of Treme with Donald Harrison and Glen David Andrews

Glen David Andrews (left) and Donald Harrison stopped by the KPLU Seattle studios for an interview and performance on September 1. Justin Steyer / KPLU


I welcomed Donald Harrison (alto saxophone, congas) and Glen David Andrews (trombone) to our studios on Thursday, both of whom were born in New Orleans’ Treme neighborhood, cut their musical teeth on the music of Treme, and can be seen in the HBO television series, Treme.

Currently they’re also part of an ever-changing line-up of New Orleans musicians touring with a show called A Night In Treme which is bringing the music of Treme’s Congo Square to cities all over America – including Seattle’s Jazz Alley through Sunday night.

After warming up with Just A Close Walk With Thee, the conversation got underway with Glen talking about what the Treme TV series means to him as a New Orleanian.

He and Donald also discussed the history of the Mardi Gras Indian tradition, the history of the Treme neighborhood and gave a behind-the-scenes look at the production of the television series.

All this, combined with two more fine musical performances (a nice improvisation, and the NOLA classic “When The Saints Go Marching In”) makes for a delightful tour of a neighborhood that continues to contribute its unique richness to American culture – a neighborhood called Treme.

HBO’s “Treme” kept music a centerpiece in Season 2

Ellis Marsalis Center for Music opens in New Orleans

27 Aug

Back in January 2010, I took a cab ride from my New Orleans hotel early that morning to the Musicians’ Village in the Upper 9th Ward. The Musicians’ Village is a community conceived by Branford Marsalis and Harry Connick Jr., to provide adequate housing for artists and musicians of the city who were displaced by Hurricane Katrina.

Once the cab driver stopped telling me that it would be much “safer” for him to take me on a tour to see all of Brad Pitt’s houses rather than drop me off in the middle of what he called a “rough” neighborhood, he let me out and I was able to see this wonderful community.

Photo by Kevin Kniestedt

Of course it ended up being too early in the morning for me to catch any musicians out and about in the Village (as it should be…what decent working New Orleans musician is up and about at 9:30 in the morning?).

I was, however, able to briefly talk to two men who were surveying a lot at the end of the block. This was the site that would end up hosting the Ellis Marsalis Center for Music.

Photo by Kevin Kniestedt

The Ellis Marsalis Center for Music opened on Thursday, hosting local residents, fellow musicians, supporters, friends and family for its grand opening, including Governor Jindal of Louisiana and Mayor Landrieu of New Orleans, and actress, Renee Zellweger.

There was also a performance from Branford Marsalis and Harry Connick Jr., who played a major role in developing the Center as well as the Musicians’ Village (in partnership with Habitat for Humanity).

The Center is not only a performance hall, but will allow opportunity for local students and musicians to take advantage of recording space, classes, computers, and community rooms.

Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal put it best in his address to the crowd at the dedication:

“The dedication of the Ellis Marsalis Center is about more than money and bricks and mortar. It is another sign of the rebirth of a great city – a city that will be a beacon of entertainment and inspiration for our children and generations to come. Through wars, hurricanes, and floods, one thing has remained unchanged – our people are strong and like none other.”

Wynton Marsalis & Eric Clapton coming to a theater near you

12 Aug

Music superstars Eric Clapton and Wynton Marsalis got together last April for a concert at the Rose Theater at Lincoln Center in New York City. The concert featured songs hand-picked by Eric Clapton, then arranged by Marsalis, and included highlights such as a guest appearance by Taj Mahal.

While the concert will be released on September 13th on a CD/DVD combo pack (Warner Brothers, CLICK HERE TO BUY), there is an even better opportunity to hear this show for those of us who weren’t able to make the cross country trip to see the show live.

On September 7th, the concert will be shown at over 550 movie theaters at 7:30 PM local time. This is a one-night only opportunity, and while there is no substitute for being at a live concert, top quality movie theater video and audio is certain to be a second best (especially when you compare it to my car stereo system).

In the Puget Sound area, the show is playing at the following theaters:

Anacortes Cinemas – Anacortes                                                   

Auburn 17 Theaters – Auburn                                               

Century Theatres Federal Way 16 – Federal Way

Columbia Mall 8 – Kennewick                                

Alderwood 7 Theaters – Lynnwood

Bella Bottega 11 Cinema – Redmond                     

AMC Southcenter 16 with IMAX – Seattle                 

AMC Oak Tree 6 – Seattle                                           

Thornton Place with IMAX – Seattle

All-Star lineup to be featured at the 2011 Earshot Jazz Festival

10 Aug

The Earshot Jazz Festival gets kicked off in Seattle on October 14th and runs through November 6th. While the full schedule does not get released until September, the early bookings feature a wonderful variety of top tier musicians. Included are:

  • Keith Jarrett, Gary Peacock and Jack DeJohnette – “Very simply, this is jazz at its finest” (Don Heckman, Los Angeles Times). “The trio of Keith Jarrett, Gary Peacock and Jack DeJohnette is about as good as jazz gets” (Mike Zwerin, International Herald-Tribune). November 1, S. Mark Taper Foundation Auditorium at Benaroya Hall. Tickets for this concert go on sale in mid August through Benaroya Hall at and (206) 215-4747
  • Brad Mehldau, solo –The highly regarded jazz genius performs with astounding technique and “almost spiritual resonance” (Time Magazine). October 21, Illsley Ball Nordstrom Recital Hall at Benaroya Hall.
  • The Bad Plus– The seminal bad boys of jazz return to ruffle the sedate Town Hall, on a bill with Europe’s iconoclastic Das Kapital. October 29, Town Hall Seattle
  • Roosevelt & Mountlake Terrace High School Jazz Bands– An opening concert with the bands that took 2nd and 3rd spots at this year’s Essentially Ellington competition. October 14, Town Hall Seattle
  • We Four: Celebrating John Coltrane – New York heavyweights Javon Jackson, sax, Mulgrew Miller, piano, Peter Washington, bass, and Jimmy Cobb, drums, pay tribute to Coltrane’s jazz legacy. (Jimmy Cobb, 82, performed with Coltrane on Miles Davis’s epochal album, Kind of Blue). October 22, Venue TBA
  • Evan Flory-Barnes’s Acknowledgement of a Celebration– The Seattle bassist and composer reprises his jazz/rock/classical/hip-hop masterwork. October 22, Kirkland Performance Center
  • A series of concerts and educational programs with fresh young artists, jazz masters, and returning Cornish alumni and faculty, featuring Myra Melford, Allison Miller, Julian Waterfall Pollack, Jim Knapp, Jay Clayton, Jerry Granelli, and the Mongolian jazz ensemble Arga Belig. October 24 through 29, Poncho Concert Hall, Cornish College of the Arts
  • Grace Kelly group– The emerging but hard hitting saxophonist premieres in Seattle in Tula’s, “one of America’s top 100 jazz clubs.” November 2 & 3, Tula’s
  • Seattle Repertory Jazz Orchestra– “An Evening with Ol’ Blue Eyes: The Music of Frank Sinatra.” November 5, Nordstrom Recital Hall & November 6, Kirkland Performance Center
  • and many, many, more

Tickets for the Earshot Jazz Festival will be on sale in early September through Earshot Jazz. Complete concert information will be available as it develops at and 206-547-6763.

Clark Terry Documentary Near Completion

4 Aug

Kevin Kniestedt interviewing Clark Terry in the KPLU studios in 2007

I could not think of a living jazz musician more deserving of a documentary about him or herself than the great Clark Terry.

It was a true high point in my career when I had the opportunity to interview Clark Terry a couple of years back, hearing about what it was like to instruct Miles Davis, play with both Duke Ellington and Count Basie, and to hear him perform “Mumbles” a few feet in from of my face.

Now, his influence and inspiration will be brought to the screen in a documentary called “Keep on Keepin’ On”.

The film primarily focuses on Terry’s influence on two musicians: the co-producer of the film (and drummer) Alan Hicks, and blind pianist Justin Kauflin, both in their twenties.

Terry, who is 90, maintains the same intensity and straight talk with these two students as he might have with former students like Quincy Jones and Miles Davis. The phrase “Keep on Keepin’ On” is a phrase that Terry has used for over 70 years in an effort to motivate and inspire students.

The filmmakers have been attempting to fund the film out of pocket, but have also incorporated donations through Kickstarter, a unique participatory funding resource that allows individuals to contribute to the project. Depending on how much individuals might give, donors can receive a variety of Clark Terry memorabilia. Donations are being accepted through August 8th.

The film also follows Terry as he works on his autobiography, due for release in October.

Congratulations to Clark Terry, not only one of the few remaining living legends of jazz, but someone who has spent so much time educating and mentoring others in the art.

Support this film
Related Links:

Remembering Duke Ellington on his 110th Birthday with Clark Terry

Clark Terry Honored at the Grammy Awards

The end of the Jazz Masters

1 Aug

For thirty years, the National Endowment for the Arts has honored jazz musicians with the highest award for the genre, the NEA Jazz Masters Award. The recipients of the 2012 NEA Jazz Masters Award (including Jack DeJohnette, Von” Freeman, Sr., Charlie Haden, Sheila Jordan, and Jimmy Owens), will apparently be the last group to earn the $25,000 fellowship.

The National Endowment of the Arts’ FY-12 Appropriations Request cut $21 million dollars, returning to its 2008 funding level.

Among the changes include the establishment of “American Artists of the Year awards,” which will “remove specific reference to Jazz, Folk, and Opera” and give discipline awards annually in two categories:

  • Performing Arts: Dance/Music/Opera/Musical Theater/Theater
  • Visual Arts: Design/Media Arts/Museums/Visual Arts (including crafts)

The way I read it, it means no more Jazz Masters. Also from the report:

Replacement of the large-scale honorific celebrations in Jazz, Opera, and Folk and Traditional Arts with a less expensive effort which celebrates all of the arts (consistent with our 2012 legislative request).

Previous winners include Count Basie, Dave Brubeck, Miles Davis, and Sarah Vaughan, just to name four of the 123 recipients. The first NEA Jazz Masters awards were given in 1982.

National Endowment for the Arts Announces the 2012 NEA Jazz Masters

1,000 Jazz Albums You Should Hear Before You Die (771-780)

2 Jul

Here is another 10 to add to the list.

Remember that there is no ranking system here, and if you don’t see your favorite jazz album yet, it doesn’t mean it won’t show up.

Hopefully these lists will inspire you to seek some of these albums out that perhaps you haven’t heard before, or revisit an old favorite. And as always, we want your thoughts on any or all of these albums. Either way, let’s get started with this week, and in no particular order, albums 771 through 780.

1. Kelly Blue – Wynton Kelly (Riverside Records, 1959) CLICK HERE TO BUY

2. Fly Away Little Bird – Jimmy Giuffre (Universal Distribution, 1992) CLICK HERE TO BUY

3. Piano Interpretations by Bud Powell – Bud Powell (Universal/Verve, 1955) CLICK HERE TO BUY

4. Rush Hour – Joe Lovano (Blue Note, 1994) CLICK HERE TO BUY

5. Biting the Apple – Dexter Gordon (SteepleChase, 1976) CLICK HERE TO BUY

6. The Sun of Latin Music – Eddie Palmieri (Varese, 1973) CLICK HERE TO BUY

7. With Respect to Nat – Oscar Peterson (Verve, 1965) CLICK HERE TO BUY

8. E.S.P. – Miles Davis (Columbia/Legacy, 1965) CLICK HERE TO BUY

9. Leucocyte – E.S.T. (Emarcy, 2008) CLICK HERE TO BUY

10. Dippin’ – Hank Mobley (Blue Note, 1965) CLICK HERE TO BUY

1,000 Jazz Albums You Should Hear Before You Die (761-770)

1,000 Jazz Albums You Should Hear Before You Die (751-760)

1,000 Jazz Albums You Should Hear Before You Die – The First 750

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