It’s Black Music Month! June is a month for all Americans to focus on and celebrate the creativity and influence of black artists in music and culture.
From the anthems chanted at protests, to classic rock and modern Jazz, black musicians and artists have influenced every facet of music and culture in America.
Formerly known as African American Music Appreciation Month, Black Music Month was created by President Jimmy Carter in 1979 to honor the impact black music has in our society and culture in America.
Though our specialty at KJEM 89.9 FM is Jazz, which was created by African American artists over 100 years ago, we also want to point out other genres created by black musicians: Gospel, Folk, Blues, R&B, Hip hop/Rap, and Rock and Roll (among others).
At KJEM, we focus on the music. Black Music Month is a way to highlight and celebrate black music. And, especially with the Black Lives Matter movement, it is also a timely month to learn more about the racial history of the music and radio industry, from Jim-Crow era segregation of “white radio” from “black radio” to the role radio played in the Civil Rights movement.
American music (and radio) would not be what it is today without the enormous contribution of black artists, musicians, performers, DJ’s, emcees, radio station owners, producers and distributors.
KJEM is proud to be a member of the African American Public Radio Consortium and offers their programs Cafe Jazz (Fridays at 7:00PM) and Cool Jazz Countdown (Sundays from 7:00PM to 10:00PM).
Listen to KJEM on 89.9 FM on the Palouse, online at KJEMJazz.org or on the Northwest Public Broadcasting app. You can also tell your Smart Speaker to “Play K-J-E-M”.
Do you know a young person who loves music and wants to learn more about it? The Herbie Hancock Institute of Jazz is offering FREE educational online courses for grades 4-12 throughout the summer. The courses will cover jazz, it’s history, and interesting tidbits that make jazz the very special art form it is today. This is a fun way to celebrate Black Music Month this June. Students will learn from a diverse group of world-class musicians about one of the genres African American artists created. For more information, visit the website link below: https://hancockinstitute.org/jazz-in-america-summer-sessions/
April 30th is Jazz Day! If you’re looking to celebrate, there’s a special virtual concert. Read more about Jazz Day and a little about it’s history below!
BY TREVOR SMITH (NPR)
While the world has gone relatively quiet amid the coronavirus pandemic, International Jazz Day plans on bringing some joyful sounds from across the globe together in celebration of the music. Jazz Day, which falls on April 30 of each year, was initially established in 2011 by musician and UNESCO Goodwill Ambassador Herbie Hancock to bring together communities worldwide to celebrate the humanity of the universal art form through workshops, discussions and an all-star global concert.
Cape Town, South Africa, was supposed to host this year’s celebrations, but the events were canceled in late March due to the pandemic. Instead, the day’s activities will remain truly international by taking place online and hosted by Hancock.
International Jazz Day Panel with Nate Chinen Time: 1:30 p.m. ET
International Jazz Day Global Concert Time: 3 p.m. ET
The marquee Global Concert, which begins at 3:00 p.m. ET on jazzday.com, will feature streamed performances from bassist Marcus Miller (U.S.), pianist Lang Lang (China), saxophonist Igor Butman (Russia), vocalist Youn Sun Nah (South Korea), and bassist Alune Wade (Senegal), among other worldwide leaders in the genre.
In the spirit of Jazz Day’s mission of inclusion, a free series of educational master classes and children’s activities in six languages conducted by renowned musicians will be streamed in the hours leading up to the concert. The pre-concert program will also include a panel discussion on the importance of art and the international community during the public health crisis, hosted by NPR Music and WBGO’s Nate Chinen and featuring performer Marcus Miller and South African vocalist Sibongile Khumalo.
Despite the need to celebrate Jazz Day in isolation this year, Herbie Hancock remains optimistic in the message and impact of the festivities.
“Now more than ever before,” he says, “let’s band together and spread the ethics of Jazz Day’s global movement around the planet and use this as a golden opportunity for humankind to reconnect.”
More information can be found on jazzday.com.Copyright 2020 NPR. To see more, visit npr.org.
KJEM is the student-run Jazz service of Northwest Public Broadcasting, which is a valuable resource for local and national news. KJEM is on the air, primarily for your enjoyment and as a learning tool for Washington State University students, however, due to the current virus outbreak, we are utilizing the larger staff and resources of NWPB to keep you updated as best we can. Due to the current restrictions on WSU and student activity, many of our student staff are currently working remotely, in a limited way.
Professional broadcasting staff at NWPB will be more involved in KJEM in the coming weeks to ensure KJEM is relevant and useful to you during the pandemic. You will be hearing COVID-19 updates and information throughout the day on KJEM. For more updates about COVID-19 in your community, visit our NWPB parent website here:https://www.nwpb.org/covid19 You can also listen to other NWPB services at www.nwpb.org. We look forward to helping you stay informed – and relaxed with good Jazz – during this difficult time. If you have any questions, suggestions or concerns, please, contact us!
Hannah Whisenant KJEM Professional Adviser and Manager
Before the evening concert began Friday night at the Lionel Hampton Jazz Fest, the atmosphere was filled with excitement. From every corner of the waiting area there was energetic chatter and laughing from the festival goers, from small children all the way to festival goers who have seen more than their fair share of jazz.
I too joined in on the excitement and quickly chose a decent seat in the bleachers, where I would be able to see and hear everything. Not too soon after taking my seat, I noticed a small collection of podiums to the side of the main seating area and went to take a look. Appropriately, the festival had set up some of the Lionel Hampton’s belongings, as well as items from other famous jazz musicians like Al Grey and Ray Brown.
The show began with a striking compilation of quotes by and about Lionel Hampton concerning the spirit of jazz in Idaho, and how it thrives wholeheartedly at the University of Idaho. One of the lines from University of Idaho President Scott Green stood out: “(It’s) What the University of Idaho is all about”. This close bond between jazz itself and the University truly demonstrates how powerful jazz culture is on the Palouse, and why it’s the perfect place for the festival.
Soon after President Green’s speech the music begins. The University of Idaho Jazz Choir delivered the first performance of the night, as they rushed the stage and aisles, forming neat lines and groups singing a variety of songs. They kicked off their set with a compilation of popular tunes, including mixes of Drops of Jupiter by Train, Space Oddity by David Bowie, the well-known lullaby Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star, and The Final Countdown by Europe. Though a wide selection, especially for a jazz choir, the combination of voices along with the on-stage musicians resulted in some beautiful harmonies.
By the end, a massive group had formed on stage, each student contributing to a powerful wave of music and voices that started the evening festival with a bang.
After the choir performance, the audience was introduced to Pat and Amy Shook, a pair of very talented musicians, who also happen to be married! One song, which the Shooks wrote themselves to honor the Apollo missions was haunting in its performance. Sharp notes from Pat’s saxophone and reverberating tones from Amy’s bass resounded throughout the hall, forming an eerily realistic feeling of what it might feel like to be in space. On top of it all, the choir’s repeated chanting of “From the Earth to the moon,” and a countdown from ten to one combined for a unique, dramatic piece.
The set continued, as Mr. and Mrs. Shook took turns leading the other musicians and choir from song to song, including Lemon Twist, Three in One, Chapel of Love, and Bitter Sweet.
After a brief intermission, we were treated to performances from the top two placers in the high school vocal competition. The first performer, Angelina Lowe, sang A Sunday Kind Of Love by Etta James, and she did so beautifully. With only a few instruments beside her, it amplified the intensity of her gentle, yet powerful voice.
Performing after her was Dominic Nye from Edmonds, Washington. With incredible control of his voice, he sang Joy Spring by Clifford Brown and Max Roach with ease. Even as he did so, the quick lyrics did not sound rushed or degraded, rather, they were soothing. Dominic ended up winning the top scholarship, but both artists were celebrated for their incredible talent.
Then, it was time for the well-known quartet Vertical Voices to take the stage. With sound reminiscent of acapella, they used their voices to simulate most of the music during their performance, while the actual instruments took more of a background role.
The Vertical Voices performed several songs in their set, such as New Day, First Train Home, Magnolia, Here Comes the Sun, and Sky Blue. Friday night came to a close with their performance of Time-Line.
All in all, the first evening of the Lionel Hampton Jazz Festival was a fun time for jazz fans and Moscow community members. Celebrating Lionel Hampton and the jazz genre as a whole, the festival in Moscow continues to serve as a place for jazz fans to come together and experience a weekend of music.
Danilo Perez is a pianist and composer. He was born Dec. 29th, 1965 in Panama. Perez was a member of the Dizzy Gillespie United Nations Orchestra from 1989-1992. He joined the Wayne Shorter Quartet in 2010 and is also a member of the jazz group Global Messengers. Some of his albums include Central Avenue, Panamonk, and Emanon. Perez is an UNESCO Artist for Peace and a Goodwill Ambassador for UNICEF.
On December 23rd, 1938 the concert From Spirituals to Swing was held at Carnegie Hall. Record Producer John Hammond organized the concert as a memorial to Bessie Smith. The concert was significant for the time because it was rare for there to be a formal jazz or blues concert and because it gave equal prominence to the African American artists who performed.
Fletcher Henderson was a pianist, band leader, and music arranger born on December 18th, 1897 in Cuthbert, Georgia. Henderson worked for Black Swan Records, putting together backing groups for artists such as Ethel Waters. He formed his own Orchestra in 1923. Henderson pioneered the instrumentation of jazz big bands. His Orchestra was one of the first to feature a rhythm section consisting of piano, bass, guitar, and drums. His Orchestra was also one of the first to have the brass and reed sections participate in call and response sessions. Henderson’s Orchestra disbanded in the 1930s due to financial difficulties. He then worked as one of Benny Goodman’s main music arrangers, orchestrating King Porter Stomp, Down South Camp Meetin’, and Bugle Call Rag, among others. Henderson died in 1952.
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.
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):
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
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:
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.
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).