Lionel Hampton

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). 

Notable Birthdays For Jazz: October 18th

Esperanza Spaulding

Esperanza Spaulding is a jazz vocalist, bassist, and composer from Portland, Oregon.  She is currently a professor of music at Harvard University.  Spaulding has one four Grammys.  She is the first jazz artist to win in the best new artist category.

Grammy Win

White House Performance

Wynton Marsalis

Wynton Marsalis is jazz and classical trumpeter and composer from New Orleans, Louisiana.  He has recorded over eighty albums and has nine Grammys.  He is the only musician to receive a Grammy for both his jazz and classical work.  Marsalis was the first jazz musician to win the Pulitzer Prize for Music and he received the National Humanities Medal from President Barak Obama in 2015.  He co-founded the Jazz program at Lincoln Center in 1987.  Marsalis is active in jazz education worldwide and was named an international ambassador of goodwill for the United States by the U.N. in 2001.
His youngest brother, Jason Marsalis will be playing in the Lionel Hampton Big Band during the 2020 Lionel Hampton Jazz Festival in Moscow, Idaho.

60 Minutes Interview

Second Line

A Look Back At The 50th Lionel Hampton Jazz Festival

Photo Credit: The University of Idaho Photo Services
Preston Snyder

The Lionel Hampton Jazz Festival is held at the University of Idaho and is a festival inviting student musicians and school jazz bands from around the Pacific Northwest to compete for awards, participate in workshops and clinics put on by professional jazz musicians and experience concerts featuring famous musicians and bands. Started in 1967, this year marked the 50th anniversary of the festival. The University of Idaho made a promotional video commemorating the 50th anniversary:

The Saturday night concert started with the Lionel Hampton Jazz Festival Big Band, loud and proud, led by Vern Sielert. Featuring a variety of guests, including Jason Marsalis on Vibraphone, Claudio Roditi on trumpet, and Julia Keefe singing, the band played a variety of songs including a song called 50 and Counting written by Vern and closed with a loud and proud arrangement of Lionel Hampton’s Flying Home featuring Jason Marsalis, in the style of Hampton, and a dancing trumpet section.

The set then transitioned to the best student soloists from the day and each group played their best songs from their set. Then they all came together for a final group performance and one lucky soloist, Max Zhang from Semiahmoo Secondary School in Surrey, British Columbia, was named Outstanding Instrumental Soloist for bass and received a University of Idaho scholarship from Avista Utilities.

After a brief intermission, the stage was reset and, in an outfit far more colorful than the other two performances before her, Esperanza Spaulding took to the stage, had a casual conversation with the audience as she tuned her bass, and then began to play and sing. She was joined by Justin Tyson on drums and Matthew Stevens on guitar. She played a variety of different styles and genres from an Argentinian standard to a mash-up of Humpty Dumpty by Chick Corea and All The Kings Horses by Aretha Franklin because “Those songs just sound like they should go together.” Then Justin left the stage leaving Esperanza and Matthew to play a slow, free version of Have I Stayed Too Long At The Fair. Justin came back and the trio played a loud and engaging Endangered Species. Finally, after asking for some participation, Esperanza Spaulding led a rousing finale of Nina Simone’s Forbidden Fruit. The trio took their bows, the lights came up and as the they walked backstage that was the conclusion of the 50th Lionel Hampton Jazz Festival.

For more information about The Lionel Hampton Jazz Festival and The University of Idaho visit:

http://www.uidaho.edu/class/jazzfest