Tune in and Pledge: Jazz Northwest Spring Fund Drive Edition airs March 28, 2010

Jim Wilke - Jazz NW on KPLU

This is your opportunity to support the program which delivers the best of Pacific Northwest jazz to the airwaves, and Internet, Jim Wilke’s Jazz NW on KPLU 88.5 FM. Whether you want historical perspective, comprehensive coverage of current releases by the area’s best players, or exclusive live recordings captured by Jim at a variety of venues, Jazz NW broadcasts playlists which define our region for jazz fans worldwide, every Sunday afternoon.

Hadley Caliman with SRJO

This special edition of Jazz Northwest features highlights from the past six months of programs, and some concert recordings not previously aired. Included are excerpts from two concerts celebrating Seattle jazz legends Ernestine Anderson and Hadley Caliman, The Susan Pascal Quartet’s salute to the Modern Jazz Quartet, The Jim Knapp Orchestra in a festival performance and a preview of next week’s broadcast of the music of Monk and Mingus by the Seattle Repertory Jazz Orchestra.

This program is part of the Spring Fund Drive at KPLU. Please support the only radio program devoted exclusively to regional jazz performers and presenters. Pledges may be made by calling 1 (800) 677-5758, or online at kplu.org . Tell them Jim sent you.

Jazz Northwest is recorded and produced by Jim Wilke for 88.5, KPLU and kplu.org. The program is also available as a podcast from kplu.org after the airdate.

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2 responses to “Tune in and Pledge: Jazz Northwest Spring Fund Drive Edition airs March 28, 2010

  1. Dear Mr. Acox and Brockman:

    I have been attending SRJO performances beginning with three concerts before you settled in at KPC and have enjoyed most of them until recently.

    As I was growing up I experienced the excitement of attending live performances of Harry James, Stan Kenton, Ray McKinley, Frankie Carle, Carmen Cavallero, Glen Grey, Les Brown (with Doris Day), Gene Krupa (with Anita O’Day), and The King Cole Trio. It is needless to point out that I was hooked on the romantic music of the Big Band Era. I fell in love with music that left me with something to hum or sing after a concert.

    This is exactly why I came to enjoy my early experience with the SRJO. My disappointment came mostly this year. Your two most recent concerts left me wondering why I attended two in a row that left me unable to remember any tunes, but only cacophonous noise. Next season I will be more selective and only attend those that I picture as being more melodic.

    Sincerely,

    Joe S. Creager

  2. Dear Mr. Creager,

    We appreciate your taking the time to send us a comment, and we really appreciate all of the past support you have given us by attending our concerts since we started at the KPC clear back in 1998. That makes you one of our most loyal fans, and we are grateful!

    I am not certain which two concerts in-a-row you attended this concert season, but I will assume you are referring to our March 2010 “Big Band Monk and Mingus” concert and our April 2010 “Birth of the Cool” concert, or perhaps our November 2009 “Ray Charles: Genius + Soul = Jazz” concert, none of which featured music from the classic Big Band era.

    The mission of the SRJO includes performing large ensemble jazz works from the entire 100-year history of jazz. This includes early jazz pieces, such as the 1927 Duke Ellington gem “East St. Louis Toodle-oo” that we just presented in our “Birth of the Cool” concert, and modern works that are being written in the current age, plus everything in between. It is very understandable that, like you, some people in our audience will appreciate different things from different periods of jazz. 

    Clarence and I are trying to show audiences that jazz continues on as a living, evolving music, and did not become frozen when its heyday as a popular dance music ended in the late 1940s. DON’T GET ME WRONG–both of us LOVE the music of that golden era from around 1930 to 1945 (frankly, if I could perform in a band that ONLY played jazz from that era, I could be very happy). 

    However, our audiences have shown us repeatedly that they want far more than this. We presented our Monk and Mingus concert for the first time back in 1998, and had a sell-out crowd. Since then, we have received many requests to repeat that show, and this year’s 2010 performances of Monk and Mingus again had sell-out crowds at both shows, with overflow seating on the stage. Similarly, our Ray Charles and Birth of the Cool concerts, and even last year’s Toshiko Akiyoshi concerts were sold out.

    But let’s get down to brass tacks: We consider jazz to be a great American musical treasure that *can* and *should* be loved by everyone, regardless of age, ethnic background, or status. We are doing everything we can to make our concerts fun for as broad an audience as possible (including our free-of-charge Jazz4Kids concerts). We hope to give newer generations (I will call folks born after the war years “newer”) a taste of what they missed back in the great early days of this music. But, we also hope to show our more tradition-loving audience members that there is a lot of great jazz music that was written after 1950. We really like comparing old works and new works side-by-side, and letting our audiences draw their own conclusions.

    Doing all of these things, the SRJO seems to have built an audience where young and old can sit side-by-side and share their love for this great music. It’s pretty cool when a teenager gets to sit next to an octogenarian who tells him “man if you liked this, you should check out Les Brown and His Band of Renown–now THAT was a band!” This is sort of thing is happening in our concerts, and it will continue so long as we keep presenting a wide variety of what we consider the very best of jazz.

    Admittedly, there is going to be some jazz we play that you or other audience members don’t care for. However, I hope you will continue coming to as many of our concerts as you can, so you can be part of the Seattle area “family” that supports big band jazz, in all its forms. Meanwhile, we’ll take your suggestions to heart, so that we make sure we don’t lose our core supporters in the name of “being modern.” Mostly, we just want people to be intrigued enough by something we are presenting, that they come to a concert, hear us play great jazz, realize they have been missing something special, and decide to come again and again.

    Thanks for your message and all your support!

    Michael Brockman, Co-Artistic Director

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