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

Ways to Connect

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.

Jazz legend George Duke, a visionary keyboardist, producer, composer and arranger, died in Los Angeles on Monday. He was 67.

In a career spanning nearly 50 years, the Grammy-winning artist collaborated with Don Ellis, Frank Zappa, Miles Davis, Michael Jackson, Anita Baker, and many others.

As a child, George Duke watched a performance by Duke Ellington that inspired a his own trajectory as world-renowned keyboard artist. He released more than 40 albums and was a successful producer and bandleader, hitting gold with a megahit 1977 record, Reach For It .

Etienne Charles is a trumpeter from Trinidad whose three previous albums have featured calypso music as interpreted through an engaging post-bop focus. Charles continues to grow as an artist as evidenced on his latest, Creole Soul.  His latest recording reflects his interest in Carribean music and the music of New Orleans.

This weekend KIOS will present NPR Music's web-only stream of the Newport Jazz Festival. On August 3rd and 4th from 10:00AM to 6:30PM central time many of today's top performers will hit the jazz festival stage, including the Wayne Shorter Quartet with special guest Herbie Hancock, Chick Corea, Esperanza Spalding, Marcus Miller, Robert Glasper, Dizzy Gillespie Big Band with Paquito D'Rivera.
For the complete lineup you may visit
http://www.kios.org/live-event/newport-jazz-festival

One of the most eclectic guitarists in jazz is back with his associates for another enjoyable journey into music. Big Sur is the new recording from Guitarist Bill Frisell and his band.  Composed by the guitarist at Glen Deven Ranch in Big Sur, California, the new effort presents a kaleidoscope of musical colors listeners have grown accustomed to expect from the veteran guitarist. Frisell is joined by Eyvind Kang, viola; Hank Roberts, cello; Jenny Scheinman; violin and Rudy Royston, drums.

In the last ten years a number of jazz artists have released recordings that attempt to fuse jazz and country music; these efforts have yielded results of varying success.  Guitarist Corey Christiansen's latest effort is without doubt an exception.

Nicole Mitchell's Ice Crystal project is at the forefront of the discs we're featuring this month on the Last Call. Nicole Mitchell is a veteran, award-winning flutist.

Vocalist Gretchen Parlato will perform in Omaha at the 1200 Club at the Holland on May 11th. This is the first Omaha concert for the rising vocal star, whose 2011 effort "The Lost And Found" was the #1 Jazz CD of the year as awarded by this program. Click on the link to listen to an interview with Gretchen Parlato.(Recording Engineer: Mike Hansen.)

For more information about Parlato's concert in Omaha you may visit omahaperformingarts.org

Here is the review of the record from our archives:

Trumpeter Jeremy Pelt is an accomplished trumpeter with a string of critically acclaimed albums.  A solid straight-ahead artist, he has released two albums (2005's Identity) and (2007's Shock Value) that explore electric jazz directions.  For Water and Earth, the noted trumpeter, bandleader & educator is back with his longtime bandmates Frank LoCrasto, keyboards; Dana Hawkins, drums; and newcomers including Roxy Coss on saxophone.

Cuneiform Records has just released a new batch of adventuresome jazz discs. Their usual high standard of creative brilliance continues with a number of fine recordings, most notably The Rob Mazurek Octet's  Skull Sessions.

Thanks for listening to tonight's Last Call!

View our Last Call playlist for March 9, 2013

The music of Miles Davis was changing dramatically in the late 1960s. Most fans of the legendary trumpeter know that in 1969 he recorded Bitches Brew, the hugely successful dawn of jazz-rock that was one of the best selling jazz records ever released. Lesser known is the working unit that Miles took with him on the road was one of the most artistically daring and visionary bands that Miles ever led. Recordings of that outfit have recently surfaced and have been released on a multi-disc set, Live In Europe 1969, The Complete Bootleg Sessions Vol. 2.

Rebecca Cooke

Last Call presents an interview with saxophonist Donny McCaslin. The  saxophonist received a 2004 Grammy® nomination for “Best Jazz Instrumental Solo” for his work with the Maria Schneider Orchestra. He has also worked extensively with trumpeter Dave Douglas and his band. Inspired by the full tenor sound of Sonny Rollins, McCaslin explores a trajectory through electronic jazz on his latest effort, Casting For Gravity.

Guitarist Pat Metheny, whose artistry has been rewarded with multiple Grammys over the years, has won another award for his fine 2012 recording.  Metheny won in the jazz instrumental category with the album Unity Band.

Patricia Barber has long been an important voice on the progressive jazz scene. Barber, an internationally acclaimed pianist, vocalist and composer, was awarded a Guggenheim Fellowship in 2003, the only songwriter ever to be so awarded. Her ability to craft sophisticated lyrics has been documented on a series of fine recordings, which continued until some years ago.

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