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Western Michigan University's Keith Hall talks about jazz greats and talks with current practitioners of the art.0000017c-60f7-de77-ad7e-f3f73a350002

LHI Live: Jazz vocalist Sara Gazarek and pianist Josh Nelson

NOTE: This feature was produced in 2014. Both artists were expected to return this month to headline WMU's Gold Company Vocal Jazz Invitational Festival. but it was canceled by the Covid-19 pandemic.

Acclaimed jazz vocalist SaraGazarek and pianist-composer-arranger Josh Nelson visit with Jazz Currents host Keith Hallin WMUK's Takeda performance studio, for an hour of songs and conversation on a range of topics, including the song writing process, the privilege of teaching, and the special camaraderie of jazz artists around the world.

Sara Gazarek belongs to a new generation of impeccable jazz vocalists that includes Gretchen Parlato, Esperanza Spalding, and Becca Stevens. The Seattle born, California-based vocalist is a graduate of USC's Thornton School of Music. For her album Blossom and Bee with Josh Nelson (2012, Palmetto Records) Ms. Gazarek was called "one of the best of the new crop of jazz vocalists" in a Downbeat review.

Jazz pianist-composer-arranger-bandleader Josh Nelson is native Californian who recorded the first of five solo albums at age 19. He was a semi-finalist in the Thelonius Monk International Jazz Piano Competition in 2006, and has worked with a variety of artists, including Natalie Cole, Queen Latifa, Christian McBride, and Albert "Tootie" Heath.

A recent review of Gazarek and Nelson's live performance in New York at the Kitano club assertedthat the duo is traveling the path of legendary vocal/piano partners such as Ella Fitzgerald and Paul Smith, Frank Sinatra and Bill Miller, and Kurt Elling and Laurence Hobgood.

Cara Lieurance is the local host of NPR's All Things Considered on 1021 WMUK and covers local arts & culture on Let's Hear It on 89.9 Classical WMUK weekday mornings at 10 - 11 am.
As Chief Engineer for WMUK, Martin Klemm is kept busy by tending to a variety of issues - from computers to tower lights - he will never run out of things to fix. Before coming to WMUK in 2003, Martin worked in Los Angeles making records with some outstanding producers, but preferred to be close to his family here in west Michigan. He enjoys keeping a busy schedule balancing WMUK, loving on his friends' doggos, and remodeling his home in the Edison neighborhood (which never seems to end)
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