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.


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

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.