In May of 2010, George Klabin and I were embarking upon the adventure of unearthing and presenting historical jazz recordings to the world. We began looking into various archives for tapes to release. One day, George came to me with a list of tapes he’d come across; tapes in the possession of Jim Wilke, who years earlier had been the host of a syndicated Seattle-based radio program called Jazz After Hours.
Over the course of Jim’s storied career, he’s been a staunch advocate for jazz and its greatest protagonists. Indeed, over the years, Jim has succeeded in presenting a veritable Who’s Who of ’50s and ’60s jazz greats to the public.
From February 1962 through August 1968, Jim hosted the weekly radio program, Jazz from the Penthouse, on Seattle’s KING-FM. As a well-known radio personality in the Northwest, Jim developed a working relationship with Seattle’s legendary jazz club, the Penthouse, and consequently was able to air live performances by a wide array of artists while they performed at the club. These performances were broadcast direct to the public right as they happened. The shows not only went on the air live, Jim taped them, employing professional recording techniques and equipment. Over the years, Jim amassed an impressive collection of high-quality tapes; tapes that form a unique archive of the extraordinary music heard over the course of more than half a decade at the Penthouse by virtually all of the amazing music legends that played there.