KIOS-FM

Chris Cooke

Jazz host

Chris Cooke has been a voice on public radio in Omaha since 1989. Working at KVNO-FM during college, Cooke hosted a weekend progressive jazz show on the station in addition to working as an on-air announcer. In November 1992, Cooke signed on at KIOS-FM and has been there ever since. He has hosted the Tuesday and Thursday editions of Jazz in the Afternoon since 1996 and has hosted Last Call since that year. A long time fan of jazz music, Cooke enjoys talking with the musicians who make jazz music and presenting those conversations with listeners. When not hosting or listening to jazz, on record or in person, Cooke maintains a busy schedule as a self-employed web design consultant.

Email address:christopher.cooke@ops.org

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Last Call: Best of 2014

Dec 31, 2014

For fans of adventuresome jazz, 2014 certainly had a rich grab bag of audio gems to choose from. Here are the finest releases of the year.  Thank you for listening!

Miles Davis / Miles At The Fillmore /Columbia-Legacy: It is a thrilling experience to hear Miles Davis and his band achieve the impossible over and over again in this rollercoaster ride of four nights of performances from June, 1970 at the Fillmore East In New York City.

ARTIST / CD TITLE / RECORD LABEL

Jazz Trumpeter/ Composer Pablo Masis has released an invigorating new release of musical conversations, Rubicon.

Masis, based in New York City, is joined by fellow area musicians bassist Aidan Carroll and Drummer Jared Schonig for this new release.

John Coltrane leads a band on a 1966 live recording, Offering, which is perhaps the last great concert performance of the legendary saxophonist, Miles Davis sideman, composer, and bandleader.

Long awaited by fans of the saxophonist, John Coltrane's  Offering will be featured this month on the Last Call. The two CD set presents Coltrane and his 1966 band with special guests in an inspired free jazz performance.

Update: Bassist and vocalist Jack Bruce, who was a member of the rock super group Cream, in addition to Tony Williams' Lifetime, passed away in October 2014.

Herbie Hancock is looking back at a legendary career in jazz.

For decades, he has been one of the most influential figures in jazz music. As a pianist and later keyboardist, he has made important contributions to the genre.

The new memoir, "Possibilities", explores the jazz pianist's work as a sideman with the Miles Davis Quintet in the 1960s. Also covered is the legendary Mwandishi Sextet and Hancock's chart-topping mid 70s jazz-funk recordings, in addition to his Buddhist spiritual practice.

Remembering Joe Sample

Oct 7, 2014

Joe Sample, legendary pianist and member of the jazz super group the Crusaders, passed away in September. He was 75. Sample died in his hometown of Houston, Texas on September 12 due to complications from lung cancer.

A band well known for their fearless re-arrangements of pop classics into unpredictable jazz explorations, The Bad Plus has earned a reputation as iconoclasts. An acquired taste to many, refreshingly outrageous to others, The Bad Plus-Reid Anderson on bass, Ethan Iverson on piano, and David King on drums, have released a highly original body of work over the last fifteen years. The fearless free-spirited demolition of expected chord structure and melody into something completely unexpected is a Bad Plus trademark.

Trombonist Robin Eubanks and his band Mental Images present bold reinterpretations of rock anthems from Led Zepplin, Jimi Hendrix and Sly and the Family Stone on a new release, which also features five new original tunes.

It is a thrilling experience to hear Miles Davis and his band achieve the impossible over and over again in this rollercoaster ride of four nights of performances from June, 1970. 

Karrin Allyson, a jazz vocalist well known to fans of the genre in Omaha, will perform at the legendary Newport Jazz Festival in August.  It's another accomplishment for the veteran vocal artist who has been nominated for four Grammy Awards, released 14 recordings and entertained audiences worldwide, including in Omaha, for many years.

Jazz in the Afternoon host Chris Cooke recently spoke with Karrin Allyson. Click on the link below to hear their conversation. Recording engineer: Mike Hansen/KIOS.

Horace Silver, pianist, bandleader and composer, passed away in June. He was 85.

The legendary hard bop pianist was one of the most significant artists on Blue Note records, creating some of the most widely enjoyed recordings on the label. Silver believed music could be a healing force. On a recorded library that spanned several decades the pianist certainly created music that was A Prescription For The Blues as his 1997 record was titled.    

Last Call salutes Sun Ra and his musical legacy on this, the year that marks the 100th anniversary of his arrival on Earth.   Mystical and otherworldly but always imbued with a powerful jazz consciousness, the music of Sun Ra has withstood detractors and an indifferent public for more than three generations. And well it should, since Sun Ra has been both apart of and ahead of the jazz tradition, swinging on Earth and on Saturn, with a compositional ability"up there" with Ellington and Mingus.

Drummer Harvey Mason is back with a recording that celebrates some of the grooviest jazz-funk of the 1970s with some of today's top players.  Mason's contributions to the vibrant jazz-funk of the 1970s are immediately recognizable for those familiar with Herbie Hancock and the Headhunters.

Legendary jazz drummer Louis Hayes and his band recorded a set of music last year at Smoke Jazz Club in New York City. The set draws the listener in with twelve numbers of sustained brilliance and is the "Return of the Jazz Communicators".

It swings!

Louis Hayes knows a thing or two about swing. He co-founded the Jazz Communicators with trumpeter Freddie Hubbard in 1967, after offering to present a summer's worth of performances in a club in Manhattan with a band that had not actually been founded at the time of the offer!

One of the most adventuresome and dynamic guitarists in jazz or rock is Nels Cline.  Active since 1977 in a wide variety of genres, he is the guitarist for the alternative rock band, Wilco. Cline's command of the guitar is such that Spin magazine in 2012 named him the 43rd greatest guitarist of all time. He is also the leader of the Nels Cline Singers, a band which has explored the frontiers of jazz music on several recordings over the last decade.

On Chicago Fire, Eric Alexander demonstrates again why he is one of the busiest saxophonists on today's jazz scene. Alexander has a fully developed voice on the saxophone and can blow with the best of them. Harold Mabern, one of the greatest jazz pianists ever, is in the studio, as is bassist John Webber and drummer Joe Farnsworth.  Additionally, special guest Jeremy Pelt steps in for a few tracks and demonstrates his mainstream credentials. This gathering of total professionals creates a smoking session!

A remarkable orchestral jazz work recorded in France in the last two years, I Hear The Sound is a live performance of material from saxophonist Archie Shepp, "Attica Blues". The big band effort brings to a new generation of listeners material first presented in 1972 on Impulse.

The vitality of funk music connected to the traditions of New Orleans second line music is hard to resist. The Revolutionary Snake Ensemble, led by saxophonist Ken Field, brings this exciting, easily danceable groove into focus on the new effort, Live Snakes (Accurate 2014). It's the third album from this ensemble of musicians with a changing cast, but rock solid second line performances.

Legendary saxophonist Wayne Shorter will visit Omaha in April. He will perform at 7:30pm on April 2 at the Holland Performing Arts Center. 

The celebrated saxophonist, composer, bandleader and sideman in the Miles Davis 1960s quintet will bring his own quartet of pianist Danilo Perez, bassist John Patitucci and drummer Brian Blade to Omaha.

Legendary Chicago Drummer & Bandleader Kahil El'Zabar continues to add fine recordings to an already impressive discography of discs firmly in the jazz avant-garde but rooted in straight-ahead jazz. Zabar's latest effort with his longstanding Ritual Trio band, Follow The Sun, continues in that direction. 

Dr. Lonnie Smith will perform in Omaha this weekend.

The good doctor of all things Hammond B-3 will bring his trio to the 1200 club at the Holland Performing Arts Center on Friday night February 7th. Showtime is at 8pm. For more information you may visit http://www.omahaperformingarts.org/

The endlessly creative and dynamic Hammond B-3 organist, now 71, continues to entertain audiences worldwide. His current trio includes Jonathan Kreisberg, guitar and Jonathan Blake, drums.

Creativity, innovation, and artistry help define the rich body of work that cornetist Rob Mazurek has released. Mazurek's relentless exploration of the frontiers of jazz in recent years has put him at the forefront of adventuresome music. In a career spanning over 25 years, Mazurek has written nearly 200 original compositions. His latest work may be his most ambitious yet. Mazurek has returned with his Exploding Star Electro Acoustic Ensemble on one of the most profound discs in recent memory, The Space Between(Delmark Records).

Last Call remembers legendary avant-garde drummer and composer Ronald Shannon Jackson. He died in October at the age of 73.

One of the finest drummers to emerge in the last 50 years, Jackson was a native of Fort Worth, Texas. Jackson played drums in his high school marching band and sang a soloist in the school choir. While at Lincoln University, Jackson gained invaluable experience working with Lester Bowie, Oliver Nelson and John Hicks.

Miles Davis Quintet/Live In Europe 1969/Columbia/Legacy
Rob Mazurek Exploding Star Electro Acoustic Ensemble  / The Space Between / Delmark
Dr. Lonnie Smith / In The Beginning Volumes 1 & 2 / Pilgrimage
Etienne Charles / Creole Soul /Independent Release
Nicole Mitchell's Ice Crystals/Aquarius/Delmark
Jeremy Pelt / Water and Earth / High Note
Gretchen Parlato / Live In NYC / ObliqSound
Frank Rosaly / Cicada Music / Delmark
Corey Christiansen / Lone Prairie / Origin Records
Dave Holland / Prism / Dare 2 Records

Janis Siegel - Nightsongs: A Late Night Interlude-Palmetto Records
Brian Lynch- Unsung Heroes Volume 2 – Hollistic Music Works
Kathy Kosins- The Space Between-Resonance Records
David Weiss-Endangered Species: The Music of Wayne Shorter-Motema
Steve Turre- Bones of Art- High Note
Andy Bey- World According to Andy Bey-High Note
Kenny Garrett -Pushing The World Away- Mack Avenue
Giacomo Gates- Miles Tones- Savant
Ted Nash Big Band- Chakra- Plastic Sax Records  
Gregory Porter-Liquid Spirit- Blue Note

Dr. Lonnie Smith's Hammond B-3 wizardry has dazzled this listener for years. Smith's first live recording on his own Pilgrimage imprint, The Healer, was a deeply powerful organ trio experience. On the new release,  In The Beginning Volumes 1 & 2,  the liner notes declare that "Dr. Lonnie Smith revisits, recontextualizes and reimagines a dozen songs from his first decade as a recording artist."

Veteran jazz bassist Dave Holland is back with one of his boldest sessions in years. Fans of his straight ahead jazz recordings may be startled to hear the relentless intensity of Prism, but it shouldn't be surprising given Holland's roots in the electric jazz explosion of the late 1960s.

Our CD of the Month at KIOS is from legendary pianist and bandleader Chick Corea. His latest release, The Vigil, features a new lineup of players along with the keyboard legend in an energetic program that recalls Corea's legendary group Return To Forever.

Certainly one of the most potent dates in recent years by some of the today's top Chicago avant-garde players. Frank Rosaly leads this group of top notch instrumentalists in a program of dense rhythm and unusual musical conversations.

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