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.


Dr Lonnie Smith's immense talent on the bandstand is documented on the new disc "The Healer", on the organist's new label, Pilgrimage Productions.  Never heard him in person? This is the next best thing. Capturing the spontaneity and style transcending appeal of this accomplished organist who just turned 70, Dr. Lonnie Smith is joined by his touring band of Jonathan Kreisberg on guitar and Jamire Williams on drums. The results are nothing less than mesmerizing, check out the high intensity "Beehive" for an essential electric jazz jam that reminds one of Miles Davis's "Bitches Brew".

Brian Bromberg’s latest recording is a superb salute to Jimi Hendrix, the legendary guitarist who influenced countless musicians, including jazz artists such as Bromberg. A first listen may lead one to believe the music presented includes a guitar, but that is not the case—Bromberg played all of the guitar sounding parts on the basses that he tuned an octave and a fourth above a standard bass.  The effect is quite staggering, as Bromberg releases an arsenal of bass artistry on well known Hendrix numbers “Fire”, “Freedom”, “Purple Haze”, and other classics.

Get ready for the electric trombone artistry of Oscar Utterstrom. His latest recording, Departure, is one of the finest electric jazz recordings to be released in the last several years.

From a veteran rock & jazz drummer and his long standing band, this date really cooks. A CD + DVD package allows the listener to totally enjoy the recorded experience, from 2007 with band members keyboardist Tom Coster, bassist Baron Browne and, guitarist Vinny Valentino, and drummer Steve Smith. Sustained energy and creative interplay persist throughout the recording, featuring adventuresome numbers, "Cat Walk", "Time Tunnel", "Interwoven Rhythms-Synchronus" and a straight ahead burner, "Jimmy Jive".

NPR Music will provide coverage of the 2012 Newport Jazz Festival on August 4th and 5th. You can watch live video of the performances at Among those scheduled to perform are Pat Metheny, Bill Frissell, Dianne Reeves, Tedeschi Trucks Band, Maria Schneider Orchestra and Jason Moran. The full schedule can be seen at the web site.

Last Call Notes

Jul 30, 2012

Strong new recordings from well known guitarists Pat Metheny and Mike Stern will be featured this month. We will also present a new disc from Japanese jazz trumpeter deserving much wider recognition, Shunzo Ohno.

One of the finest recordings of 2012,  The Vijay Iyer Trio's "Accelerando" has been recognized throughout the jazz world as an exceptional effort from one of the most compelling pianists on today's jazz scene. A major milestone for the pianist has been the winning of multiple categories in the 2012 Downbeat Critics Poll.  Critics have voted Vijay Iyer as Jazz Artist Of The Year, Top Pianist and Rising Star Composer.  The Vijay Iyer Trio was also voted the best jazz group of the year, and Accelerando won top Jazz Album.

A prolific recording artist,  drummer Matt Wilson has appeared on over 250 records. Touring and performing worldwide,  he  performed recently at the Iowa City Jazz Festival with Mumbo Jumbo: A Tribute To Paul Motian.

Tenor saxophonist Virginia Mayhew celebrates the  100th year anniversary of the birth of Mary Lou Williams  with new arrangements of eight Williams compositions, including "What's You Story, Morning Glory?", material from the "Zodiac Suite",  plus two new compositions by Virginia inspired by the legendary pianist.

Chick Corea is one of the major pioneers of fusion. "No musician has used the fusion concept with more variety, intelligence and unimpeachable taste than Chick Corea," wrote Len Lyons, a longtime jazz author and critic, in his book "The 101 Best Jazz Albums." Corea worked with the Miles Davis Ensemble during the sessions that produced the legendary recordings In A Silent Way and Bitches Brew, in addition to birthing several successful fusion bands including Corea's Return to Forever.