KJEM Jazz Specials For Your Holiday

Holiday Jazz Specials on KJEM!

Join KJEM this Holiday season for some festive brightness to lighten up the dark month of December. Click on the drop-downs below to see when specials are airing.

6:00PM PST, A Winter Wonderland! Afterglow Special. It’s not Christmas music, but simply wintry-inspired tunes in anticipation of the official start of Winter, the winter solstice.

6:00PM PST, A Modern Jazz Christmas Afterglow Holiday Special. We all love the standards, but it’s nice to hear something new occasionally. This special explores Holiday music that isn’t afraid of new directions.

11:00AM PST, Saturday Morning Jazz with Thom Kokenge: ‘Twas The Saturday Before Christmas Special. Join Thom for some fun Christmas merriment during his lighthearted-Saturday-morning-cartoons-inspired show.

5:00PM PST, Hep to the Holidays. This self-described “cool-Yule” music will chill you out, if you’re feeling a little frantic.

6:00PM PST, The Retro Cocktail Hour Christmas Special. Hang the mistletoe and spike the egg nog! The Retro Cocktail Hour Christmas Special serves up some crazy cool space age pop for the holidays.

6:00PM PST, A Jazz Christmas Holiday. The classics, 100%.

6:00PM PST, An Afro Blue Christmas. This A Capella college choir will amaze you with their harmonies and imaginative arrangements of Christmas music. This special will help you set some caroling goals!

7:00PM PST, KJEM’s own Logan Plant provides some special Holiday music on his show The Speakeasy.

8:00PM PST, Dee Alexander: Jazz at Christmastime. Dee Alexander sings soulfully in this special that was recorded live in Chicago.

6:00PM PST, Jazz Night in America: A Holiday Celebration. Join one of the premier Jazz programs in the nation with their special taken from a live performance.

7:00PM PST, KJEM’s own Riley Hoover spins some special Holiday music in his eclectic show The Yardsale.

8:00PM PST, A Modern Jazz Christmas Afterglow Holiday Special (Repeat).

10:00AM PST, A Jazz Christmas Holiday (Repeat).

11:00AM PST, Hep to the Holidays (Repeat)

12:00PM PST, KJEM’s Happy Holiday Special. Join the staff of KJEM for a holiday special. Let us share with you the joy of the holidays at KJEM!

1:00PM PST, An Afro Blue Christmas (Repeat)

6:00PM PST, Dee Alexander: Jazz at Christmastime (Repeat)

7:00PM PST, KJEM’s own Valerie Rice celebrates Christmas Day with you in a special episode of The Swingtime Hour.

8:00PM PST, A Very Crooner Christmas Afterglow Holiday Special. End Christmas Day and float into Christmas night with the classic crooners of yesteryear, featuring Bing Crosby, Rosemary Clooney, and Frank Sinatra.

The Sound of Jazz

On December 8th, 1957 The Sound of Jazz aired live on CBS. It was an episode in the program The Seven Lively Arts. Producer Robert Herridge convinced Count Basie, Coleman Hawkins, Thelonius Monk, Gerry Mulligan, Billie Holiday, Henry Allen, Jimmy Giuffre, Roy Eldridge, Dicky Wells, Vic Dickenson, Pee Wee Russell, Lester Young, Ben Webster, Danny Barker, Milt Hinton, and Jo Jones to appear together for an hour long live jazz performance. The Sound of Jazz was one of the first programs featuring jazz made for television and is still considered one of the best.

The Sound of Jazz

KJEM Gift Guide For The Jazz-Lover In Your Life

Up Close & Personal Gift Pick:

Concert Tickets!

It’s undeniable that there is great Jazz in the Pacific Northwest. Concert tickets are a thoughtful gift and help reduce the clutter one may accumulate during the holiday season.
Although they are not immediately deliverable, that’s okay!
Sometimes a little delayed gratification can have just as big a pay-off.

Here are some upcoming concerts in the region with tickets available that you can shower on your loved ones (in chronological order):

  1. An American in Paris, Olympia, Washington. Thursday, January 16th at the Washington Center for the Performing Arts.
  • The Lionel Hampton Jazz Festival in Moscow, Idaho. Festival dates are February 28th and 29th, 2020. The leap year lineup includes the Lionel Hampton Big Band whose members all personally played with Lionel Hampton at one point in their careers. Jason Marsalis is the featured vibes player. It’s definitely worth the trek if you live out of town!

Besides giving the gift of a fun night out, concert tickets are small, so you can sneak them in as an unassuming stocking-stuffer. Then when they open it, it’s a nice surprise for them to find it’s not just $1.00 folded into an origami shirt.

After that first surprise, when you attend the concert, you get another pay-off. Seeing them enjoy the music while you enjoy it with them.

Just Listen! Gift Picks:

Harry Connick Jr.’s New Album True Love: A Celebration of Cole Porter

Going into the 2020s, 100 years later it might be fun to get the jazz-lover in your life a taste of the roaring 1920s in a modern take. Singing in a classic crooner style, Harry Connick Jr.’s new album focuses on the renowned composer and lyricist. Cole Porter began to gain fame during the 1920s and continues to be a strong influence on jazz musicians today.  Take a listen to the NPR story about the album and the interview with Harry Connick Jr. as he describes why he loves to play with Cole Porter like a “set of musical Legos”.

The Glenn Crytzer Orchestra’s New Holiday Album, Underneath The Mistletoe

Album Cover of Underneath The Mistletoe by the Glenn Crytzer Orchestra

If you want to give a gift of fun Holiday Jazz music, The Glenn Crytzer Orchestra specializes in the “Vintage Jazz” sound that will be treasured in any music collection. Along with the imaginative cover songs, there are several originals on the album which breath new life into Holiday Jazz music. The album veers away from the somber and sultry arrangements that are often on Jazz Holiday albums. Neither does it foray into the frenetic over-the-top music that is blasted at shopping malls. Underneath The Mistletoe lands squarely in the realm of classic swing music, upbeat, fun, a little silly, but still classy. The song titled “The Krampus” will delight those who enjoy the “darker side” of the Holidays. Definitely a good music gift pick for those with a sense of humor and a love of swing!

Read It And… Don’t Weep:

Book Cover of Lady Sings the Blues

Lady Sings the Blues: the 50th Anniversary Edition with a Revised Discography

Billie Holiday’s memoir in an updated treatment with revised discography is a great gift for fans of Jazz classics. Who doesn’t want a little bit of Holiday’s voice, either in a song or in a book? It’s available here.

Book Cover of Musicophilia

Musicophilia by Oliver Sacks

Exploring the many pathways music takes in our brains and our lives, Oliver Sacks’ book will sure to delight any brainy music-lover on your list. Sacks’ is a physician, an author and a professor of neurology and his unique perspective will make for a special and memorable gift. It is available here.

Watch It! Gift Pick:

Ken Burns’ 10-Part Documentary on Jazz

Though made in 2001 (there’s been some Jazz history happening in the past 18 years!), it is still a good educational documentary for people who love the Jazz classics. Filled with fascinating interviews, clips, history, and music, the Ken Burns’ Jazz documentary is a gift that will take a long time (in a good way) to get through.

Practically Perfect Paraphernalia:

There May Be Treble Ahead…

You could adorn your friend or loved-one with a treble-clef necklace while punning with the lyrics of Irving Berlin’s “Let’s Face the Music and Dance”.

Jazz Classics Christmas Socks

Get something to put inside those dancing shoes!
For some people, receiving socks or underwear for Christmas is like the modern-day equivalent of coal. For others, though, it’s a godsend at the end of the year, replacing the worn toes of socks from Christmas yesteryear.

If you know someone who could use a little sock drawer sprucing-up, you could give them the gift of happy feet in the form of socks à la Jazz. There’s a variety of jazz themed socks on Etsy

Whichever gift you choose, be sure to share the joy of music and jazz with everyone you know!

Disclaimer: This gift guide does not contain affiliate links. We choose our gift ideas completely blind and selected gifts due to gifting fit (with an emphasis on the Northwest, and, of course, jazz). 

Bessie Smith’s Last Set

Bessie Smith made her last recording session on November 24th, 1933. She recorded “Gimme A Pigfoot”, “Do Your Duty”, and “Down In the Dumps”. Among the musicians backing her for these numbers are Jack Teagarden, Chu Berry, Frankie Newton, and Benny Goodman.

“Gimme A Pigfoot”
“Do Your Duty”
“Down In The Dumps”

Birthdays of Jazz: Scott Joplin, November 24th

Scott Joplin was born November 24th, 1868. He was a composer and pianist who popularized the ragtime genre through his music. Two of his best known compositions are “The Maple Leaf Rag” and “The Entertainer”. Joplin was raised in Texarkana, Texas. He played his music at the 1893 World’s Fair in Chicago, setting off a national ragtime craze. While Joplin’s ragtime compositions made him famous he also wanted to be recognized as a classical composer. He wrote a ballet and two operas which combined his knowledge of classical music and his innovative usage of syncopated rhythm. Joplin spent the last years of his life attempting to get his second opera Treemonisha performed publicly. He suffered a nervous breakdown in 1916 and had to be institutionalized. He died in 1917. Scott’s work regained widespread popularity in the 1970’s after the release of the film “The Sting” which used his ragtime compositions as the basis for the film’s score.

Oldest Existing Recording of “The Maple Leaf Rag”
The Houston Grand Opera Production of Treemonisha

The Birthdays of Jazz: Hoagy Carmichael, November 22nd

Hoagy Carmichael was born November 22nd, 1899 in Bloomington, Indiana.  He was a pianist, actor, and composer best known for writing the jazz standards Stardust, written in 1927, and Georgia on My Mind, written in 1930.  Carmichael moved to Los Angeles in 1936 and began composing for films and acting in supporting roles.   He won an Oscar in 1951 in the Best Song category for In the Cool, Cool, Cool of the Evening.  Carmichael died in 1981.

Hoagy Carmichael playing “Stardust”
First recording of “Georgia On My Mind” from 1930
Hoagy Carmichael performing “Am I Blue” in the film To Have And Have Not

On This Day In History: November 18th

John Coltrane recorded “Alabama” in 1963 in response to Birmingham Church bombing. On September 15th, 1963 members of the Ku Klux Klan placed sticks of dynamite under the front steps of the church. The dynamite ignited during the church service, killing four young women and injuring many members of the congregation. The Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. said the eulogy for the victims at their funeral later that week. Coltrane composed “Alabama” as his response to the bombing, and he patterned the music on the speech inflections in King’s eulogy. The piece was released on the album Live In Birdland in 1964.

“Alabama”
Video meshing the audio of King’s eulogy and Coltrane’s “Alabama”

The Birthdays Of Jazz: Diana Krall, November 16th

Diana Krall was born November 16th, 1964 in Nanaimo, British Columbia.  She is a jazz pianist and vocalist.  Some of her better known albums include All For You: A Dedication to the Nat King Cole Trio (1996) and Live in Paris (2002).  Her most recent album is Love is Here to Stay (2018), with Tony Bennett.  Krall has won three Grammy awards.  She is married to British musician Elvis Costello and has two children.

Interview on the Canadian Broadcast Corporation
Performing “Cry Me a River”

Notable Recordings in November

November 3rd

Tenor saxophonist Sonny Rollins records A Night At The Village Vanguard in 1957 with drummer Elvin Jones and bassist Wilbur Ware

A Night At The Village Vanguard

November 9th

Pianist Oscar Peterson records” If You Could See Me Now” with guitarist Joe Pass, 1983.

“If You Could See Me Now”

November 12th

Louis Armstrong and his Hot Five record their first piece,” My Heart”, 1925.

“My Heart”

November 26th

Charlie Parker records “Koko” at his first session as a leader, 1945

“Koko”