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Content from KIOS staff relating to jazz, blues, and all kinds of music.

Last Call Spotlight: Vijay Iyer

Jimmy Katz

In June Last Call will feature selections from Jazz pianist Vijay Iyer. The accomplished Jazz pianist has recorded a truly impressive body of work that puts him at the forefront of today's top jazz stars.

His latest work, with avant garde jazz veteran trumpeter Wadada Leo Smith, is another brilliant statement. A Cosmic Rhythm With Each Stroke  is an experience of deep listening. The spellbinding seven-part title suite is inspired by the works of Indian artist Nasreen Mohamedi (1937-1990).  A Cosmic Rhythm With Each Stroke is Iyer's first duo recording with his "hero, friend and teacher" Smith. Iyer was a member of Smith's band for some time and has had a long association with the legendary free jazz trumpeter.

Grammy-nominated composer-pianist Vijay Iyer  was described by the Los Angeles Weekly as “a boundless and deeply important young star,” and by Minnesota Public Radio as “an American treasure.” He was named DownBeat Magazine‘s 2014 Pianist of the Year, a 2013 MacArthur Fellow, and a 2012 Doris Duke Performing Artist.

The New York Times observes, “There’s probably no frame wide enough to encompass the creative output of the pianist Vijay Iyer.” Iyer has released twenty albums,  most recently for the ECM label. He is arguably one of the foremost jazz pianists alive today. Vijay Iyer is currently artist-in-residence at New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art.

Vijay Iyer is scheduled to perform this summer at the Iowa City Jazz Festival. For more information on this annual festival you may visit

For more information about Vijay Iyer you may visit

Chris Cooke has been a voice on radio in Omaha since 1988. While at the University of Nebraska at Omaha, he studied radio broadcasting, history and religion. Working at KVNO-FM, Cooke hosted a weekend adventuresome jazz show on the station in addition to duties as an on-air announcer on overnights, weekends and holidays. He also worked at KBLZ (the then student-run radio station) as well as KYNE-TV, and The Gateway as a reporter.
In November 1992, Cooke signed on at KIOS-FM and has been there ever since. He has hosted the Tuesday and Thursday editions of Jazz in the Afternoon since 1996 and has also hosted Last Call since that year. A long time fan of jazz music, Cooke enjoys talking with the musicians who make jazz music. He has interviewed Horace Silver, Roy Haynes, Wayne Shorter, David Liebman, Airto Moreira, Jessica Williams and Karrin Allyson, to name a few. While not at the station Cooke maintains a web design consultancy business that has served a number of non-profit and music clients for over 20 years.