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Interviews with leading musicians on today's scene presented by Mike Jacobs and Chris Cooke.

An Interview with Lakecia Benjamin

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Chris Cooke/KIOS
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Lakecia Benjamin and her band perform at Jazz on the Green, August 11, 2022.

Lakecia Benjamin, a rising star on the jazz scene, has recently released a tribute record to John and Alice Coltrane. It is quite a revelation. Her recording is Pursuance: The Coltranes and it is a powerful set of inspired performances.

Propelled by an all-star band of some of the finest jazz artists in the business, the album is impressive. Guests include legendary saxophonist Gary Bartz, violinist Regina Carter, bassist Ron Carter, and others.

Highlights of the recording include: "Liberia", "Walk With Me", "Syeeda's Song Flute", "Om Shanti", "Acknowledgement" and "Turiya and Ramakrishna".

Lakecia Benjamin is an alto saxophonist, composer and bandleader. Benjamin has worked with many of the luminaries in jazz including Clark Terry, Reggie Workman, Rashied Ali, Vanessa Rubin and James 'Blood" Ulmer.

Benjamin will perform with her band at Jazz on the Green at Midtown Crossing in Omaha on August 11th, at 7:30pm. The concert is open to the public.

Jazz in the Afternoon host Chris Cooke recently spoke with Lakecia Benjamin on the phone. The saxophonist discussed her mentors, the lessons she learned from them and her remarkable recording, Pursuance: The Coltranes.

Click on the link to hear the interview.

Chris Cooke has been a voice on public radio in Omaha since 1989. Working at KVNO-FM during college, Cooke hosted a weekend progressive jazz show on the station in addition to working as an on-air announcer. 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 hosted Last Call since that year. A long time fan of jazz music, Cooke enjoys talking with the musicians who make jazz music and presenting those conversations with listeners. When not hosting or listening to jazz, on record or in person, Cooke maintains a busy schedule as a self-employed web design consultant.
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  • For over thirty years, every Tuesday-Friday, Jazz in the Afternoon has brought you mainstream jazz here on KIOS FM. On Wednesday and Friday from 1:00-3:00PM, Mike Jacobs presents the wide spectrum of jazz recordings dating back to the "golden age" of jazz in the 1920's through its evolution in swing, bop, Latin and other styles right up to today's new releases. We also have a strong commitment to keeping you up to date on the local scene bringing you artists from the Omaha, Council Bluffs and Lincoln areas and partnering with local non-profit organizations to publicize major jazz concerts in our area with music and interviews. Straight-ahead and in the pocket. Jazz in the Afternoon is your ticket to great jazz music during the weekdays here at KIOS. Have a question or comment? Write us at jazz@kios.org
  • The Last Call started on KIOS in January 1996. Since that time Chris Cooke has been the host for this late night jazz program. It is one of the few radio programs that present the very best of adventuresome jazz-music which generally falls outside of the mainstream of the genre, but includes some of the most creative and innovative music ever recorded by musicians anywhere. The program's host brings along with him several decades of experience and insight into jazz music as he steps into the studio to host each program.Jazz artists have been motivated by concerns outside of the mainstream for decades. Innovative musicians such as Sun Ra & his Arkestra made some of the first truly "out there" recordings in the 1950s. The following decade saw the emergence of Ornette Coleman & Free Jazz. John Coltrane's flight into the avant-garde was also a defining moment, equalled only by fellow saxophoniststs Pharaoh Sanders and Albert Ayler. Ayler's "ectastic" period in 1965-1966 is arguably the most bold demonstration of inspired, sacred jazz ever on record. The 1960s also saw the formation of Chicago's Association for the Advancement of Creative Musicians (AACM). The Art Ensemble of Chicago also formed in the 1960s, to be followed by the World Saxophone Quartet.Inspired by the revolutionary guitar work of Jimi Hendrix, the grooves of James Brown and Sly & The Family Stone, a wave of innovative jazz musicians fused jazz & rock in the late 1960s. Miles Davis & his in studio ensembles were among the first to record electric jazz, other artists such Eddie Harris, Charles Lloyd, Herbie Mann & Larry Coryell also pioneered some of the earliest jazz rock in the late 1960s. An explosion of progressive jazz groups followed in the 1970s. Bands such as Herbie Hancock's Headhunters (and earlier, Mwandishi sextet), Return to Forever, Weather Report, and John McLaughlin's Mahavishu Orchestra made immensely creative music and won audiences worldwide. Since then a galaxy of jazz talent has continued exploring the possibilities of jazz music. Artists such as Rez Abbasi, Vijay Iyer, Donny McCaslin & legends such as David Liebman, that are featured regularly on the Last Call, provide an assurance that the future of forward-looking jazz music is bright indeed.Thank you for listening!-Chris Cooke