KPLU’s Jim Wilke among Jazz Journalists Association award nominees

The Jazz Journalists Association posted their list of finalists for the 2012 Jazz Journalists Association Jazz Awards last week. Nominees in the first 38 categories were chosen by the votes of the Professional Journalist Members of the Jazz Journalists Association. Nominations were made on the basis of work done in calendar year 2011, with the exception of Lifetime Achievement Awards categories, in which nominations are for a lifetime body of work. Members and others were able to submit their own work for nomination in the Best Liner Notes and Photo of the Year categories. Best Shortform Online Video of the Year nominees were selected by a committee of JJA videographers.

Jim Wilke

Jim Wilke was nominated for the Willis Conover-Marian McPartland Award for Broadcasting. Jim has been on the air for 55 years hosting his jazz radio shows, including Jazz After Hours on Public Radio International (70 stations) since 1984 and Jazz Northwest on KPLU-FM since 1988. He has been a location recordist since 1962 (Ellington, Coltrane, MJQ, Dizzy Gillespie, Horace Silver, etc.) and has conducted many radio interviews. He has been named in the JazzTimes Readers Poll and the JazzTimes Critics Poll and has been nominated for the Conover-McPartland Award in multiple years.

Being nominated for an award named for Willis Conover and Marian McPartland is for me as good as a newsperson’s nomination for an Edward R. Murrow award!” – Jim Wilke, on being nominated for a JJA Award

Jazz After Hours was also named one of the top nationally syndicated jazz shows by the JazzTimes Critics last month.

Winners of the 2012 JJA Jazz Awards in all categories will be determined by the votes of JJA Professional Journalist Members and will be announced during the month of June, leading up to announcement of Lifetime Achievement Awards winners, Musician of the Year, Record of the Year, Male and Female Jazz Vocalists of the Year at a cocktail party to be held at the Blue Note Jazz Club, New York City, on June 20.

A complete list of 2012 JJA Award Nominees can be found here.

Hadley Caliman, 1932-2010

This is a nice remembrance from Seattle Jazz Scene. Hadley passed away on Wednesday, September 8th, was a local favorite, and from everyone I spoke to, a wonderful guy. His 2010 release Straight Ahead still tops my list of best jazz releases nationally for 2010. The sound of the Northwest will not be the same without him.

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Tenor saxophonist and jazz legend Hadley Caliman passed away this morning after a two year struggle with liver cancer. He was 78 years old.

Caliman remained active on the jazz scene until late-August, performing regularly around the Northwest in support of his recent releases: Reunion with Pete Christilieb, which was released in August and is now #31 on the national jazz charts, and Straight Ahead, which is #9 for the year on the Airplay Charts and was in the Top 10 on American jazz radio for many months.

Always striving to further himself on the saxophone, Caliman continued to practice daily until a week ago when he was too weak to continue. His last public performances were in Poulsbo on August 20, Tula’s Jazz Club on August 13, and the release performance for Reunion with Pete Christlieb at The New Orleans Creole Restaurant on August 8.

Caliman’s long career included credits with musicians such as Freddie Hubbard, Gerald Wilson, Carlos Santana, Dexter Gordon, Elvin Jones, Mongo Santamaria, Joe Pass, The Grateful Dead, Joe Henderson, Don Ellis, Flora Purim, Phoebe Snow, Bobby Hutcherson and many others.

More information about a memorial will be posted soon.

Thanks again to Seattle Jazz Scene for their post. We would love your comments and memories of Hadley posted here.

Additionally, Seattle radio host Jim Wilke will be paying tribute to Hadley on his weekly program, Jazz Northwest. It can be heard this Sunday (9/12) at 1 PM PST on 88.5 KPLU in the Seattle/Tacoma area. It can also be heard live via KPLU’s webstream at the same time at, and can be downloaded as a podcast shortly after the show airs at Jazz Northwest at

Emerging Artist: Grace Kelly

No, not that Grace Kelly.

grace kelly albumI’m torn to define saxophonist, singer, songwriter, composer, and arranger Grace Kelly as “emerging”, considering what she has already accomplished. But as Grace celebrates her 17th birthday next Friday (that’s right, she is just 16), one must assume that there is plenty of opportunity in years to come for this young lady to become a household name in jazz.

On his radio program Jazz After Hours this morning, host Jim Wilke suggested that “young” and “talented” can often go hand in hand, and that no one would argue that both can easily be applied to Grace Kelly. After hearing her wonderful recording of Comes Love, it was easy to agree. And, as her website boasts, I am far from the only person to agree.

Kelly, at age 16, has already performed or recorded with Wynton Marsalis, Dave Brubeck, Harry Connick, Jr., Diane Reeves, Phil Woods, Hank Jones, Kenny Barron, Russell Malone, Cedar Walton, Peter Bernstein, and Marian McPartland. That is the very short list. She has also performed at Carnegie Hall, Birdland, and Scullers (another short list), as well as a variety of jazz festivals. She has won numerous young musician and student musician awards, and was named Best Jazz Act in Boston in 2008 by the FNX/Phoenix Best Music Poll. Oh, and she began her first term at Berklee College of Music last fall, on a full ride, again at age 16.

When you hear Grace Kelly play, or listen to one of her arrangements or compositions, you realize that this isn’t one of those situations where a musician will get cut slack simply based on the fact that they are young. Kelly needs no slack to be cut for her, and the attention that she has received and will continue to receive is more than worthy. Her performances and compositions are frighteningly mature and well designed. In fact, the only way you are even aware that the player is a 16 year old is if you are told that.

What is more surprising is that Grace isn’t someone who had a sax shoved in her hands at age two. She, like many of us, took piano lessons as a young kid. She also followed the typical chronological time line that most kids do in school, not really playing the sax until she was ten. Two years later, she was impressing the likes of Ann Hampton Callaway and Victor Lewis.

I am not someone who throws around the word “prodigy”, but there is not much way to avoid associating that word with Grace Kelly. To imagine what she has accomplished in six years is hard enough to believe. To actually hear it is even more unbelievable.

Grace Kelly’s fifth album is now available, titled Mood Changes. Watch Grace play Setting The Bar with Russell Malone below.