Jazz Nightly

Weeknights 8 Central, 7 MT

When a woman asked pianist Fats Waller what jazz was, he replied, “Lady, if you got to ask, you ain’t got it.” Writer Whitney Balliett described jazz is the “sound of surprise.” However you care to define jazz, we’ve got it on SDPB Radio. Every weeknight Jazz Nightly host Karl Gehrke brings you a wide variety of jazz from classics by the great legends to the latest sounds by today’s exciting, young artists. 

Composer Maria Schneider's "Data Lords"

Feb 18, 2021
Cover Artwork by Aaron Horkey

Since the release of her debut album Evanessence in 1994, Minnesota-born Maria Schneider has established herself as one of the most remarkable and influential composers in jazz. She possesses her own singular voice with an expansive, open composing style that’s an aural expression of the rural southwest Minnesota prairie where she grew up.

Creating New Christmas Music With Vintage Swing

Dec 20, 2019

For much of this year, New York City bandleader, arranger, composer, guitarist and singer Glenn Crytzer worked on writing new Christmas music. However, his new music doesn’t sound like it was written in 2019, but in 1940 and earlier. On Underneath the Mistletoe, released just in time for the holidays, Crytzer and his orchestra re-imagine the classic Swing Era sounds created by Benny Goodman, Artie Shaw, Jimmie Lunceford and other legendary bands, but with all new arrangements and songs.

Branford Marsalis Quartet Plays In Sioux Falls

Sep 27, 2019
Ryan Anderson

Saxophonist Branford Marsalis first made his name in 1981 as a member of Art Blakey’s Jazz Messengers which also featured younger brother Wynton. He then spent a few years in his brother's band before leaving to join Sting’s pop/rock group in 1985. He was Tonight Show bandleader for a couple years after Jay Leno took over as host in 1992.

He continued to perform and record with Sting and further explored music beyond jazz with his hip hop inspired group Buckshot LeFonque. He is also a frequent soloist with classical music ensembles.

Finding Jazz In Mister Rogers' Neighborhood

Jun 6, 2018

Although Fred Rogers died in 2003, he’s been getting plenty of attention lately. This year marks the 90th anniversary of his birth and the 50th anniversary of his long-running children’s public television program, Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood.  A new film documentary, Won’t You Be My Neighbor, opens at select theaters on Friday.

The Jazz Ambassadors

May 2, 2018
Malcolm Poindexter III / The Institute of Jazz Studies, Rutgers University

During the Cold War some of the most important musicians in jazz were sent overseas by the U.S. State Department as cultural ambassadors. Beginning in 1956, Dizzy Gillespie, Louis Armstrong, Dave Brubeck, Duke Ellington and Benny Goodman traveled the globe promoting America as a country of freedom and tolerance while back home the nation was struggling with racism and unrest at the height of the Civil Rights Movement.

Saxophonist Don Braden Shares Wonder Of Jazz

Apr 18, 2018
Will Hauser

One of today's top jazz saxophonists is in Sioux Falls this week. Don Braden has been on the national jazz scene for nearly 35 years. He began his career playing with such legends as vocalist Betty Carter, drummer Roy Haynes and trumpeter Freddie Hubbard. Braden has released 21 CDs. His latest, Earth Wind and Wonder, is a collection of songs by Earth, Wind and Fire and Stevie Wonder.

Chasing Trane: The John Coltrane Documentary

Nov 3, 2017

John Coltrane is one of the most important and iconic figures in jazz history. The saxophonist first gained fame as a member of the Miles Davis Quintet and spent the next decade before his death in 1967 challenging himself and pushing the boundaries of music. Coltrane is the subject of the film documentary Chasing Trane. It airs Monday evening on SDPB-TV at 9:30, CT; 8:30, MT. It kicks off a new season of the PBS series Independent Lens.

In May, South Dakota singer/songwriter Jami Lynn joined the JAS Quintet for the concert series Lady Day: The Life and Blues of Billie Holiday. Although Lynn is best known for her work in folk and Americana, the performances with the Sioux Falls-based combo gave her the opportunity to show her jazz chops. 

Alex Massa: From South Dakota To New Orleans

Jul 27, 2017

Trumpeter Alex Massa was born and raised in the Black Hills, but for nearly five years New Orleans has been his home. He's lived in the Crescent City since early 2013 and his mission has been to learn as much as he can about the music, culture, food and people.

Along with playing in his own bands, Massa has performed with Galactic, the Treme Brass Band, Trumpet Mafia, percussionist Bill Summers, the New Orleans Swamp Donkeys and many others.

Guitarist WJazz Plays Matthews Opera House

May 9, 2017

WJazz is the stage name of Spearfish guitarist Ward Johnston. The Colorado native moved to the northern Black Hills community recently and says it's been a challenge finding musicians who know jazz. But he found a few and they're joining Johnston for a performance at the Matthews Opera House in Spearfish Friday evening at 7:30. It's the second event in the Club Matthews new Jazz Sessions event.

Dry Jack Reunites In Rapid City

Apr 27, 2017

The band Dry Jack was part of the jazz-rock fusion scene of the 1970s and early 80s. The group was formed in 1973 by keyboardist Chuck Lamb and his bassist brother Rich. Drummer Jon Margolis joined a year later and guitarist Rod Fleeman in 1977. The quartet recorded two albums for Inner City Records, Magical Elements and Whale City, before breaking up in 1982.

Saxophonist Jim Buennig: It's Like This

Apr 12, 2017

Saxophonist Jim Buennig is at the beginning of his career. The Geneseo, Illinois native is finishing up his masters degree in jazz studies at the University of Iowa and has just released his debut album, It's Like This.

Recorded over two days in December in a Lone Tree, Iowa studio converted from a corncrib, the album features eight Buennig originals. Joining the young saxophonist are musician friends he's been playing with in Iowa City: Dan Padley, guitar; Curtis Atchley, piano; Blake Shaw, bass; and Fabio Augustinis, drums. 

Buried Jazz Treasures Released For First Time

Nov 21, 2016

Imagine finding an unknown Shakespeare play or Mark Twain novel. That's how National Jazz Museum in Harlem founding director and senior scholar describes a treasure trove of live jazz recordings made by sound engineer Bill Savory from 1936-1940. Thanks to a partnership between the museum and Apple Music, those recordings are being made available to the public for the first time.

Not everyone who goes to hear guitarist Dave Stryker knows jazz standards so he likes to play familiar pop and r&b songs that people grew up with. Two years ago Stryker released a full album of songs from the late 60s and 70s.

25th Annual JazzFest Lineup Announced

Apr 21, 2016
Sioux Falls Jazz and Blues Society

The Sioux Falls Jazz and Blues Society  has announced the main stage lineup for this summer's 25th annual JazzFest. The free music festival on July 14-16 features local and national acts on two stages at Yankton Trail Park. Guitarist Tab Benoit headlines Thursday night, followed by The Fray on Friday and pianist Bruce Hornsby and the Noisemakers on Saturday.

Jazz Singer Cyrille Aimee Comes To Sioux Falls

Mar 2, 2016

Over the past couple years Cyrille Aimee’s reputation as one of today’s finest jazz singers has been steadily growing. She’s just released a new album, Let’s Get Lost. It’s receiving positive reviews and finds the 31-year-old singer on the brink of major success. Aimee is currently on tour in support of the album and performs at the Orpheum Theater in Sioux Falls Friday evening at 8:00 for the Sioux Falls Jazz and Blues Society concert series.