Jazz After Hours made possible by The Litchfield Jazz Festival
Jim Wilke is a 40-year veteran broadcaster whose radio programs have been aired nationally on NPR and PRI since 1983. His jazz programs have been heard internationally in Canada, Japan, and Europe. Prior to devoting himself to jazz radio, Wilke was program director at classical music station KING-FM/Seattle for 16 years.
In addition to serving as producer and host of Jazz After Hours, Wilke also produces the weekly "Jazz Northwest" show and the daily "JazzBeat," commentaries for local broadcast on KPLU. He has produced hundreds of hours of live jazz radio programs, recorded or broadcast live from locations outside the studio. Wilke is also a recording engineer. His location recordings have provided material for a number of CDs, and he is often called on to create liner notes for CD booklets.
Wilke is in demand as a jazz historian, having taught at Bellevue Community College and the Cornish College of the Arts for over 25 years. He has served as music coordinator for the Seattle Parks Department, the Bellevue Jazz Festival and the Kirkland Jazz Festival, as well as the KOOL Jazz Festival in Seattle. Not surprsingly, he is frequently called to emcee jazz events and lead pre-concert discussions.
Wilke was inducted into the Seattle Jazz Hall of Fame in 1993, the first non-musician to receive the honor. In his leisure time, he is an avid small boat sailor and enjoys hiking in the mountains of Washington State.
Like the last set at a jazz club, the mood of "Jazz After Hours" is mellow but not without surprises. New and well-established jazz artists regularly drop in for a chat, and the music ranges from latest releases to jazz classics. There's also news of tours, festivals and clubs, and the best places to hear live jazz.
Jim Wilke's easy-going presentation has won the praise of jazz stars Dizzy Gillespie, Ray Brown, Max Roach, Joe Henderson, Milt Jackson, Joshua Redman, Billy Taylor and many others who have been guests on "Jazz After Hours."
The program was named one of the top syndicated jazz programs by the "JazzTimes" Readers Poll in 2002, and has been nominated twice for the Willis Conover Award.
UP CLOSE WITH JIM WILKE
'Jazz After Hours'
University of Iowa
First experience in broadcasting
Classical music host, "Rhythm Rambles," and "Tea Time" on WSUI and KSUI, Iowa City, 1956 – 59
hidden talents: Jazz alto sax, classical guitar (both well hidden), music, and nature photography
favorite junk food: Chocolate, the darker the better!
other work: Location recording, writing
Favorite public radio personality
Branford Marsalis when he was host of "Jazz Set" — he's a great guest, too.
Worst job I've ever had
Single-handed sailboat racing, hiking on Mt. Rainier, tennis
My wife and best friend, Judy Cites; my two adult sons, Chris, also a sailor, and Barrett the international rock star; and Mosie, the studio cat who hangs out with me while I do the show!
I admire ...
The late-night DJs who inspired me: Dick Martin (New Orleans), Dave Garroway, Jay Andres, Ken Nordine (Chicago), Willis Conover (VOA) and Larry Barrett (WSUI). All of these guys connected with listeners in a way that made them seem like personal friends.
A short story
In 1965, John Coltrane wanted to know my birth sign before agreeing to a live radio broadcast I produced for many years at a club he was playing. When I told him I was a Taurus, he said "Okay!" He had no further questions.
He also said the set might run longer than the scheduled half-hour broadcast — they played without pause for 2 1/2 hours!
Other career highlights include live radio shows from clubs with Duke Ellington and an NYE broadcast with Woody Herman on NBC.
From the heart
November 2004 completed 20 years of "Jazz After Hours," one of the oldest, continuous programs on this network. Thanks to all the wonderful jazz greats and soon-to-be greats who've been guests on the show and the listeners who've been so appreciative.