Kim Nalley – San Jose Jazz Winter Fest – 28 Feb

Fred Witt | February 24th, 2014 | Leave a Comment »

14_02_23_KNalleyComing to the San Jose Jazz Winter Fest 7 pm Friday night 2/28, Theatre on San Pedro Square is our SF Bay Area’s singer Kim Nalley.

Kim has a fine singing voice, and the power to fill a respectable venue without even a mike !  Despite a variety of music influences throughout her life and occasional comment about R&B work, Kim will explain the great body of her work is jazz style singing.  “…in general my repertoire of jazz standards and 20s – 40s blues standards predates the modern meaning of the word R&B.”    Kim has had a solid career with major accomplishments in several areas. She is a really accomplished singer and has been awarded as one of the “Ten Most Influential African Americans in the Bay Area.


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San Jose Jazz Winter Fest – Feb 28 – Mar 2

Ron Lee | February 24th, 2014 | Leave a Comment »

SJZ_WinFest2013-Flyer_R1KCSM is proud to be a partner of the San Jose Jazz Winter Fest event in San Jose. Every year San Jose Jazz has a series of performances in downtown San Jose.  Many of the performance takes place at the Theatre on San Pedro Square which is a fantastic small theater venue. The years performances focuses on emerging jazz talents. A special emphasis is placed on education with two afternoons of student band performances with discussions with the feature performers.

A full line of the performers is at San Jose Jazz Winter Fest 2014 web site. leading up to the event next week end spotlights on the performers will be published at the San Jose Jazz blog. Right now you can read about

Amina Figarova Sextet - Jazz pianist Amina Figarova leads her straight ahead jazz group with her husband flautist Bart Platteau.

La Santa Cecilia - 2014 Grammy winning group from LA. Their music draws from the rich music heritage of Los Angeles.

Anton Schwartz - leads his quintet featuring Taylor Eigsti. Anton just released his new CD Flash mod in Jan.

Miguel Atwood-Ferguson - Violist Miguel Atwood-Feguson leads his group and features singer Mara Hruby.

Mara Hruby - Oakland based vocalist Mara Hruby will be performing with Miguel Atwood-Ferguson.

For the rest of this week we will be spotlighting San Jose Jazz Winter Fest artists.

Cecile McLorin Salvant – I’m Talkin’ Jazz 23 Feb

Ron Lee | February 19th, 2014 | Leave a Comment »

cecile4Cecile won the 2010 Thelonius Monk, appeared on NPR’s Toast of the Nation for 2014 and her album “Woman Child” was nominated for the Grammy Best Jazz Album 2014. Here career is taking off. Born in the US and residing in France she performs in the US and France. Just recently she did a tour of the Bay Area. Her repetoire consists of jazz standards and some rarely recorded songs. You really need to hear her. Listen to her do Body and Soul on her web site at

If you missed her on her recent visit keep an eye on her web site and catch her the next time she comes around. Lisen in on Sunday to hear her chat with Alisa Clancy.

“She has poise, elegance, soul, humor, sensuality, power, virtuosity,
range, insight, intelligence, depth and grace. Yeah.”
Wynton Marsalis

Ahmad Jamal – I’m Talkin’ Jazz – Sunday 16 Feb

Fred Witt | February 10th, 2014 | Leave a Comment »

Ahmad JamalA towering figure for American Jazz, Ahmad Jamal of Pittsburg PA started playing piano at age 3, was recognized as a “coming great” at age 14, and was touring at 18. Ahmad is regarded by some as second only to Charlie Parker in the development of jazz. At 80-some years old he continues to perform.

Jamal was overlooked by many critics in early years. He was uniquely exercising discipline and use of space and time; rhythm, tempo and understatement, starting a style of “cool jazz” in the face of the then frenetic speeding music like bebop. The reach of Jamal’s style began spreading across the listening body, giving them an intellectual refuge in their artistic life, propelling Jamal through his 60-some year career.

Perhaps understandably, Jamal of the 2000′s isn’t exactly the Jamal of the 50′s. Reviewers going into the 2000′s remarked reasonably on his becoming more aggressive & improvisational. Key here for samples of Jamal early and late.

Join Chris Cortez Sunday morning 2/16 on KCSM, “I’m Talkin’ Jazz” for his feature on America’s great, Ahmad Jamal.

David Murray – I’m Talkin’ Jazz – Sunday 9 Feb

Fred Witt | February 8th, 2014 | Leave a Comment »

14_02_07_B_MurrayOakland-borne David Murray is often named among today’s top 20 or 30 saxophone jazz players.  Starting off at age 20 he headed from Pomona College in California to New York, which was a long-time base, and he is now in a 30-40 year world career.  He currently lives in Portugal from where he launches his many European tours.

David’s playing is lively and bumpy.  If he’s your style there’s plenty to listen to, as he has many releases and is constantly preforming.  Click here (& page down) for music samples of his recent album Be My Monster Love, and click here for a lengthy selection of David with one of his groups Live in Berlin in 2007. The album will also show you one of his frequent vocal performers, Macy Gray.

Tune in Sunday morning, February 9 on “I’m Talking Jazz” with Alisa Clancy for a feature on our David Murray.

Cava Menzies & Nick Phillips – Live Interview w/ Alisa – 9 am, 12 Feb

Fred Witt | February 7th, 2014 | Leave a Comment »

14_02_07_CavaNickCava & Nick are both Bay Area native performers, with music day jobs. They have just released their ballad CD “Moment To Moment”, with their percussion & bassist. The CD music is warm, soft & smooth, with many reviewers adding “light & dark moody” ! The tracks are a real treat in today’s pressure-cooker workday world. Click here for samples if you are running iTunes, or here if not.

Jazz pianist Cava performs *all over* the peninsula and the Bay Area and has toured abroad.  Cava took music degrees at 2 national universities. She manages two of her own groups and is vocal music chair at Oakland School for the Arts.   Cava has really deep family music roots, going through her parents to her grandmother and the Cotton Club in New York. See Cava live on 2/17 in Yoshi’s/Oakland, or on 3/18 in the SF Cadillac Hotel.

Trumpeter Nick Phillips started with Concord Music Group 25 years ago after his BA degree.   He is now a performer and a company VP & jazz record producer.

Catch Cava & Nick’s story in person for yourself; tune in Wednesday am at 9 on Feb 12 with Alisa Clancy for the live interview !

Blue Note 75th Anniv, Highlights – Saturday February 1st.

Fred Witt | January 31st, 2014 | Leave a Comment »

14_01_22_BlueNote_2January 6, 2014 marked the 75th Anniversary of Blue Note Records, the most-respected and longest-running Jazz label in the world.  It was founded when a German immigrant and passionate Jazz fan named Alfred Lion produced his first recording session on January 6, 1939 in New York City. Blue Note has gone on to represent high quality American jazz, tracing the nation’s jazz history.

The label’s stars from the early years include Thelonious Monk, Bud Powell, Miles Davis, John Coltrane, Cannonball Adderley, Horace Silver, Art Blakey, Jimmy Smith, Grant Green, Lee Morgan, Freddie Hubbard, Joe Henderson, Herbie Hancock, Wayne Shorter, McCoy Tyner, Donald Byrd, Andrew Hill, Ornette Coleman.

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Blue Note 75th Anniv, Background – Saturday February 1st.

Fred Witt | January 30th, 2014 | Leave a Comment »

14_01_22_BlueNote_1It took many natural forces to create America’s best Jazz label: Jazz-loving German immigrants (Alfred Lion & Francis Wolff), a New Jersey optometrist moonlighting as a recording engineer (Rudy Van Gelder), a classical music-loving commercial designer (Reid Miles), and a parade of talented musicians, great and small. National performers with Blue Note have been our well known Monk, Powell, Davis, Coltrane, Adderly, and Shorter.

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Duke Ellington 115th anniversary celebration – Winter Pledge 2014

Ron Lee | January 26th, 2014 | Leave a Comment »

568If you have been listening for the past day and half we have been playing the Duke Ellington Jazz Profiles show. Nancy Wilson has been review the history, highlights and significant events in the life of Duke Ellington. As part of Winter Pledge we are featuring several Duke Ellington themed gifts. To lead things off we designed a special t-shirt to celebrate the occasion. It features the iconic image of Duke in his top hat. His most important works are used to form the outline of his top hat.

To provide more detailed background on Duke we feature the book Duke: A Life of Duke Ellington by Terry Teachout which just came out in 2013. This book covers the life and career of Duke from his early years in Washinton, DC, his success in NY, his European tours and his later significant works. It is a great way to learn about Duke and his works.

567Topping it off is a 2 CD set The Essential Duke Ellington from Sony Music. Sony remastered the original recordings to create this set. It covers his earliest hits like East Saint Louis Toodle-oo, Creole Love Call, In a Sentimental Mood, Caravan, Creshendo in Blue, Take the A Train and many more. This set is one of the few complete retrospectives on Duke Ellington’s recordings.

Review the list of Duke’s compostions you get a perspective of how Duke Ellington is considered one of America’s premier composers. Take a look at this 1943 recording of “It don’t mean a thing”. Can you recognize the soloists? Can you see how this performance influences future artists?

So all these items are available as pledge gifts and you can get all three! Support KCSM today at
KCSM Winter 2014 Pledge. Thanks!

Nat King Cole, Beginnings – Jazz In The Afternoons with Jesse Varela and Melanie Berzon – 23 January

Fred Witt | January 23rd, 2014 | Leave a Comment »

14_01_23_NatKingCole_1Nat King Cole, born in Alabama & raised in Chicago got a family launching to his musical carer ! He learned organ & piano from his mother Perlina, who was the organist to his father’s Baptist church. He performed at 4, started lessons at 12 in jazz, gospel and Western classical, and was in a famous musical school program at DuSable High School. He was already performing in his own group in his teens.

Nat’s did start out commercially as a jazz pianist but his real career with the nation was of him as the singer. He had a soft voice that welcomed all, and carried his fame for decades after his life. Not even 20, and playing in his own jazz trio, someone said “Nat, you should be a singer”. The hit records started rolling. Cole performed on multiple NBC radio shows in the late ’30′s and early 40′s. He recorded for Excelsior Records, and then moved on to the young Capitol Records. His hot record sales helped float the company in it’s early life.

Nat’s singing successes carried on from there through the rest of his life, (which ended in 1965).