Letter from the KJEM Manager:
Dear Jazz Enthusiast,
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!
KJEM Professional Adviser and Manager
By Anthony Herman
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.
Up Close & Personal Gift Pick:
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):
- 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!
- The Spokane Jazz Orchestra in Spokane, Washington. A concert featuring George Gershwin will be March 14th, 2020.
- The Mt. Hood Community College Jazz Festival, in Gresham, Oregon. Festival headliners play April 24th and 25th
- The Ballard Jazz Festival in Seattle, Washington. Festival dates are May 27-30th 2020.
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
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).