Last Call

Saturdays, 11pm - 1am

The Last Call started on KIOS in January 1996.   Since that time Chris Cooke has been the host for this late night jazz program.  It is one of the few radio programs that present the very best of adventuresome jazz-music which generally falls outside of the mainstream of the genre, but includes some of the most creative and innovative music ever recorded by musicians anywhere. The program's host brings along with him several decades of experience and insight into jazz music as he steps into the studio to host each program.

Jazz artists have been motivated by concerns outside of the mainstream for decades. Innovative musicians such as Sun Ra & his Arkestra made some of the first truly "out there" recordings in the 1950s. The following decade saw the emergence of Ornette Coleman & Free Jazz.  John Coltrane's flight into the avant-garde was also a defining moment, equalled only by fellow saxophoniststs Pharaoh Sanders and Albert Ayler. Ayler's  "ectastic" period in 1965-1966 is arguably the most bold demonstration of inspired, sacred jazz ever on record.  The 1960s also saw the formation of Chicago's Association for the Advancement of Creative Musicians (AACM). The Art Ensemble of Chicago also formed in the 1960s, to be followed by the World Saxophone Quartet.

Inspired by the revolutionary guitar work of Jimi Hendrix, the grooves of James Brown and Sly & The Family Stone,  a wave of innovative jazz musicians fused jazz & rock in the late 1960s. Miles Davis & his in studio ensembles were among the first to record electric jazz, other artists such Eddie Harris, Charles Lloyd, Herbie Mann & Larry Coryell also pioneered some of the earliest jazz rock in the late 1960s.  An explosion of progressive jazz groups followed in the 1970s. Bands such as Herbie Hancock's Headhunters (and earlier, Mwandishi sextet), Return to Forever, Weather Report, and John McLaughlin's Mahavishu Orchestra made immensely creative music and won audiences worldwide. Since then a galaxy of jazz talent has continued exploring the possibilities of jazz music. Artists such as Rez Abbasi, Vijay Iyer & Oscar Utterstrom & others featured regularly on the Last Call are an assurance that the future of forward-looking jazz music is bright indeed.

Thank you for listening!

-Chris Cooke

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.

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.

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.

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.

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. 

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).

An NPR tradition every New Year's Eve 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. Toast of the Nation is co-produced by WBGO FM in Newark, New Jersey and NPR Music.

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

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."

KIOS airs Lou's Legacy: A Lou Reed Appreciation Sunday night at 7:00pm.

Rock icon Lou Reed died earlier this week at age 71. His work as a member of the Velvet Underground and his years as a solo artist inspired generations of fans and musicians alike. To honor Reed, KIOS will air the two-hour special  Lou's Legacy: A Lou Reed Appreciation Sunday night at 7:00 .

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.

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:

The Jimi You Never Knew

May 3, 2013

2-HOUR Jimi Hendrix Special:
"The Jimi You Never Knew"
Sunday May 5th at 7:00PM

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.

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