Christmas Jazz Jam

For almost 20 years, the annual Christmas Jam has been a collaboration between the PLU Jazz Ensemble and public radio station, KPLU. KPLU is one of the top National Public Radio markets in the country and a leader in jazz radio and web streaming throughout the world. It has won numerous industry awards for news and jazz programming. Each December before final exams week, the PLU jazz ensemble performs an hour-long live broadcast of jazz-flavored holiday favorites with a featured guest artist over the airwaves and on the web. Past guests have included nationally-renowned jazz artists such as Jane Monheit, Connie Evingson, Greta Matassa, Gail Pettis, and gypsy jazz group Pearl Django. The concert is rebroadcast on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, and is available as a podcast from KPLU’s website, Click on the image on the right to see the 2014 Christmas Jam, recorded on December 11, 2014, and featuring the PLU jazz ensemble, internationally-renowned Seattle vocalist Gail Pettis, and the Jazz Sound Trio, with PLU jazz faculty David Deacon-Joyner, Clipper Anderson, and Mark Ivester.

In October, 2015, PLU announced its intention to sell KPLU. Through a historic fundraising effort, the legions of listeners gathered the $7 million dollars to purchase the broadcast license and reform 88.5 FM as a community-owned radio station. At the time of this writing, 88.5 is awaiting FCC approval to transfer the license. The station will acquire new call letters and will no longer be associated with Pacific Lutheran University.

It is the intention of 88.5 to maintain a strong tie to the South Sound area and its jazz community. I, David Deacon-Joyner, have been invited to join the new station’s Community Advisory Board and I have gladly consented to do so. It is the intention of the PLU jazz ensemble and jazz studies area to be a part of the that jazz community and to collaborate with our old friends and colleagues to collaborate on jazz educational and performance activities for years to come, including the Christmas Jam. 88.5 lends us a powerful voice to the world of jazz supporters.

To that end, and as of this writing (August, 2016), I am in discussion with 88.5 to continue the Christmas Jam in a new form. Now a Tacoma jazz community event, rather than a PLU event, we are planning to move the event to the downtown Tacoma Arts District, such as the Pantages, Rialto, Broadway Center, or Urban Church. It will move from a noon performance to a weeknight in early December, and will showcase both PLU’s jazz ensemble and the University of Puget Sound’s jazz ensemble, under the direction of Tacoma jazz legend Tracy Knoop. We hope to feature a nationally-renowned professional guest artist. Since we will be using a public venue, attending the Christmas Jam in person may not be free of charge as it has been in the past.

Please check back for details (date, location, featured artists, price, etc.) on our various web pages, Facebook, and with on-air announcements on the new 88.5 FM and Jazz 24 webstream.