Jazz Junction

Saturdays, 8pm - 11pm
  • Hosted by Rick Erben

Welcome to the Jazz Junction page wherein we would like to inform you about our humble program and give you an idea what you will be hearing on Saturday nights on KIOS-FM. We are here to explore the pure joy of musicianship that constitutes the remarkable, evolving legacy of jazz music.

Today's jazz scene is a vibrant affair as reflected in the amount of high quality recordings that are being issued. As with our other jazz programs here on KIOS-FM, we endeavor to explore these new releases and intersperse this material with tracks from classic jazz sessions and legendary artists. This is surely a bountiful pursuit. At the Jazz Junction, our intent is to provide a pleasing listening atmosphere. You will hear a bit of virtually everything from vintage Nat “King” Cole and Charlie Parker to big bands and jazz orchestras. We endeavor to keep things fluid with a variety of rhythms from minor blues and jazz waltzes through ballads and Latin beats; and to vary the instrumentation and framework. You will hear a lot from the recording sessions that produced so-called classic jazz – those upon the Blue Note, Columbia, Contemporary, Pacific Jazz, Prestige, Riverside and Verve labels among them. Then there is the wealth of new releases from artists who are pushing the music forward; cognizant of a rich tradition and yet reaching toward new boundaries. But one thing is for certain: the music at the Jazz Junction resides firmly in the mainstream and the straight ahead.

I respectfully solicit your eardrums on Saturday nights between 8 and 11pm. It is quite a pleasing opportunity for me to be able to come into the radio station and share a variety of stimulating sounds. Your's truly has been airing jazz for over thirty years; and the Jazz Junction is in its 23rd year. In a sense, the program is a coalescence of the many varied experiences I have had through my lifetime as a jazz listener. Several 50,000 watt clear channel “giants” of broadcasting on the AM band used to air jazz programs – usually late at night or all through the night – and there once were numerous FM stations with a full-time jazz presence. I can clearly recall a number of DJs who enhanced my awareness of jazz music over the years. WRTI's “The Historical Approach to the Positive Music” with the late Harrison Ridley, Jr. was like a laid-back lecture in its depth of information and musical scope. When traveling, I still enjoy tuning in various public radio stations across the land to hear local jazz broadcasts; each with their own style and perspective in choice of music. It is a rather felicitous situation for us to be able to share the good music here at 91.5 FM.

Our Thing at the Jazz Junction is to have a good time on Saturday nights. We generally keep the music up-tempo but turn the burners down every once in awhile for a ballad or some deep blues. So, let's get together beginning at 8pm for three hours that I hope you will enjoy, immersed as they are with the uniquely creative sounds that comprise the positive force of jazz music – yesterday, today and forever (thanks to Shorty Rogers for that phrase).

 

Once again we're back with this year's edition of our respective picks for top albums of the year. Inhabiting our three hours on Saturday nights we have been hearing a lot from the albums listed below, all of which should also prove attractive recordings to which we'll return over the years. Dispensing with all pretense of maintaining a rigorous limit in deference to this year's bountiful array of releases, here are a number of eminently worthy recordings:

Jazz Night In America

Oct 20, 2014

Jazz Night In America, a new program from NPR Music, is now airing on Friday nights on KIOS at 8pm.

Hosted by veteran jazz bassist Christian McBride, this new program utilizes a number of media platforms to present live jazz concerts in a new and innovative way. There will be streaming video of the concerts available online and chat rooms available for fans to interact with musicians. The concerts will take place at a number of venues including Lincoln Center in New York, and at jazz festivals. 

The new disc by the septet The Cookers harkens back to the
days of the classic hard bop sessions on Blue Note by Art Blakey's
Jazz Messengers, Wayne Shorter and Jackie McLean.

The music soars with fine soloing on the front line with Billy Harper on
tenor, Donald Harrison on alto and two trumpeters, David Weiss and Eddie
Henderson. The rhythm section of pianist George Cables, bassist Cecil
McBee and drummer Billy Hart keep things firmly grounded and in the pocket.

We begin with the KIOS Jazz CD of the month:

ORRIN EVANS – LIBERATION BLUES – Smoke Sessions Records SSR-1409
 

As a listener I appreciate an album that catches my attention through stimulating composition, improvisation and that spark that transpires between musicians during a good session. It is also pleasing when a CD's capacity is utilized to offer over seventy minutes of solid music that takes one unexpected places, both inside and outside the pocket. Pianist Orrin Evans' new release “Liberation Blues”embraces these qualities in stimulating fashion.

EVERETTE DEVAN – For the LOVE of YOU – Henry Records  

Tip Top! The likeability index on this new one from organist Everette DeVan is like the heat index on a mid-summer day in the Heartland. But don't worry much about that because DeVan has the burners on his Hammond B-3 turned up to 'way cool' for seventy-one minutes of the sweetest organ combo music to come our way recently. 

One of the most influential and popular of jazz artists, Horace Silver, passed away on June 18 at the age of 85. Born Horace Ward Martin Tavares Silver in Norwalk, CT in 1928, his father was an immigrant from the Cape Verde Islands. The creole rhythms from these islands were to have profound impact upon Silver's music and his successful career. 

In the not too distant past we have had the pleasure of hearing previously unreleased live recordings from artists such as Miles Davis, Bill Evans, Wes Montgomery and Thelonious Monk with John Coltrane. Now comes an album from guitarist Pat Martino's personal collection recorded during the waning days of the “chitlin' circuit” at Club 118 in Louisville, KY. The tracks are culled from different appearances at the club during 1968 and 1969 although the program sounds cohesive, as if it were a one night engagement.

Every now and then you slip a disc into the CD player and immediately become engaged in a thrilling experience. Such is the case with alto saxophonist Mike DiRubbo's new album “Threshold”. Firmly ensconced in the post-bop idiom, this smoking quintet session is full of captivating delights for the listener.

Here's a release that is going to write it's own review, a session so inspired and intuitively right-there that it all bubbles to the surface propelled by the buoyant trombone sound of Steve Davis. This quintet session is Davis's seventeenth album as leader and a gem among a steady succession of strong recordings.

JAZZ JUNCTION TOP TWELVE OF 2013

Dec 2, 2013

Yes, it's that time of year when we take a fond look back at some of the delightful releases of the year and attempt to whittle so many worthy contenders to a dozen, because only ten was just too difficult. Come to think of it, twelve is kind of tough – so here's our baker's dozen at the Jazz Junction:

Jim Alfredson's Dirty Fingers – A Tribute to Big John Patton – Big O Records – Nothing like good meat and potatoes Hammond organ music and here's an outing that encompasses the thrill and energy of the genre in this savory dedication to organist Big John Patton.

The pantheon of jazz trumpet players includes familiar names such as Davis, Gillespie, Brown, Hubbard and Morgan. There are, however, numerous lesser known trumpet players whose music comprises an essential part of jazz history. One of our contemporary trumpet masters, Brian Lynch, embarked upon a project focusing upon some of the unsung heroes – and thus the title for this project, the second volume of which is our album of the month for December.

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.

The new release from bassist and bandleader McBride is a straight-ahead affair with an acoustic group consisting of Steve Wilson on alto sax, Warren Wolf on vibes , Peter Martin on six of the eight tracks on piano with Christian Sands on the others. Carl Allen handles the drum duties on most of the session and Ulysses Owens Jr. filling in on two tracks.

Giacomo Gates – Miles Tones – Savant SCD 2124

The music of Miles Davis, so firmly entrenched in the instrumental heart and soul of jazz music, has also been embellished with lyrics in several instances. Vocalist Giacomo Gates' latest release gathers a variety of these selections and serves them with his inimitable stylings and superb musical accompaniment.

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.

Donaldson Toussaint L'Ouverture Byrd II, known as Donald Byrd, passed away February 4, 2013 at the age of eighty. Byrd was a superb trumpet player whose music spanned a period of some five deacdes. After playing with Lionel Hampton before finishing high school and service in the United States Air Force, Byrd completed his bachelor's degree in music at Wayne State University in 1954 and moved to New York in 1955 to get his master's at the Manhattan School of Music.

KIOS will once again air Toast of The Nation to ring in the New Year. The annual broadcast will begin New Year's Eve, December 31st at  8:00PM. An NPR tradition every New Year's since 1979, Toast of the Nation is perfect for the occasion. It's jazz you can party to, all night from coast to coast, with countdowns to midnight in all four continental time zones.Spirited, improvised, grooving, and swinging, each segment is a stop in a sequence of celebrations and contributing something new to the musical feast. WBGO's Rhonda Hamilton anchors the show.

ALBUMS OF THE MONTH – January, 2013      (and some related comment)

The November, 2012 issue of The Atlantic contained a pitifully myopic article entitled “The End of Jazz”. Essentially, its author argued that since the traditional songbook has become passe and with nothing new coming into the jazz repertoire since 1960 the music has exhausted its relevancy. What we have here is a severe case of ignoratio elenchi.

One of the great names in jazz, Dave Brubeck, passed away a day before his 92nd birthday, on December 5, 2012.

As usual I have trouble confining my annual “Best of the year” list to the traditional ten and have thus weaseled my way around the issue by adding a few vocal releases and reissues. Your sympathetic tolerance is appreciated. Our hungry ears were substantially rewarded through the year with these fine recordings:

Frank Basile Modern Inventions – independent through CD Baby - Omaha native and baritone burner Frank Basile leads a vibrant sextet on this refreshingly straight-ahead release.

SUMMER'S SOUNDS

Oct 1, 2012


Summertime has been a wonderful season for fine new jazz releases. With a proliferation of smaller labels that specialize in jazz music and independently produced efforts a diverse bounty of music is available for the listener. Many new releases are now available within just a few months after their being recorded. All of this seems to have invigorated the recording scene and, vitally, brought more artists in touch with a wider audience. This beneficent activity is evidenced by some fine releases over the summer and I'll touch upon just a few standouts:

Drummer Lewis Nash leads a quintet at the Cellar Jazz Club in Vancouver, BC from September of 2011. First call musicians share the stage in the persons of Jeremy Pelt, trumpet and flugelhorn, Jimmy Greene, tenor and soprano saxophones, Renee Rosnes, piano and Peter Washington, bass. This engagement at Cory Weeds' Jazz Club exhibits the loose spontaneity of straight-ahead jazz. There's formidable talent to burn, and burn they do in a wide-ranging program including compositions by Bobby Hutcherson, Renee Rosnes, Clifford Jordan, Ornette Coleman, Thad Jones and Thelonious Monk.

Saxophonist Bob Mintzer has been active for several decades as instrumentalist, composer and arranger. Having been a member of the saxophone section of bands led by Buddy Rich, Thad Jones-Mel Lewis, Tito Puente and Gil Evans, Mintzer is also a member of the group Yellowjackets and leader of his own smaller ensembles and has played with numerous Brazilian artists over the years. He also leads his own Grammy-winning big band. “For The Moment” is Mintzer's fourth big band recording for Manchester Craftsmen's Guild and was recorded live at the Pittsburgh, PA music hall in September of 2011.

This week KIOS celebrates the 100th birthday of Gil Evans, one of jazz music's most celebrated composers and arrangers.  Jazz in the Afternoon will begin the weeklong tribute on Tuesday May 8th with music featuring Evans work as a leader and in collaboration with Miles Davis. NPR's Jazz Profiles will examine his life and career on Thursday May 10th. JazzSet will present a concert tribute to the collaborative efforts between Evans and Miles Davis on Friday May 11th.

Jazz concerts at NPR

May 8, 2012

Jazz fans can turn to NPR Music for archived performances with today's leading jazz artists.  This month you can listen to new performances from Steve Coleman and Third World Love. Recently The Checkout: Live From 92Y Tribeca presented a concert with the Ingrid Jensen Quintet. That performance has been archived, along with recent performances from drummer Al Foster and pianist Geri Allen at the Live at the Village Vanguard concert series.  You may listen to these and other concerts anytime at  http://www.npr.org/music 

Miles Davis – Live in Europe 1967 – Columbia/Legacy

The great Miles Davis Quintet with Wayne Shorter, Herbie Hancock, Ron Carter and Tony Williams is documented in several fine studio albums, however, live recordings of this band are rare and isolated to the Live at the Plugged Nickle recordings and a number of privately recorded albums of mediocre quality. Now a series of live recordings from a European tour in the fall of 1967, previously only appearing piecemeal on bootlegs, has been issued by Columbia/Legacy in a three disc CD and one disc DVD collection.

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