KBEM

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Recognized as the Twin Cities’ public radio voice for jazz and education, KBEM is a program of the Minneapolis Public Schools (MPS) Approximately 150 students annually participate in KBEM’s hands-on educational program, which focuses on all aspects of broadcasting and production. Students who develop their skills and select broadcasting experience can gain significant on-air time. The station is on-air 24/7 with 35 hours of student programming each week, with live professional announcers and pre-recorded, syndicated programming filling out the rest of the schedule. KBEM is the only station in the Twin Cities market which offers a jazz format and officially provides MN-DOT traffic reports.

KBEM was initially established at Minneapolis Vocational High School in the 1960s. The station was moved to North High School in 1983 as a part of the District’s desegregation initiative and it continues to reside there today. The vast majority of KBEM students attend North High School.

Series

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20 Pieces

Joan Griffith, Twin Cities musician and educator, has conversations with prominent Minnesota jazz musicians.

  • From: KBEM
  • Updated: May 25, 2016
Caption: Joan Griffith, Credit: Ann Marsen
20 Pieces

Joan Griffith, Twin Cities guitar player and educator, interviews Minnesota jazz artists.

  • From: KBEM
  • Updated: May 27, 2016
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13 Pieces

Minneapolis Public School teachers talk with Kevin O'Connor about their accomplishments.

  • From: KBEM
  • Updated: Jul 14, 2011
Caption: Leigh Kamman, Credit: Andrea Canter
57 Pieces

During his 60-plus years in jazz broadcasting, Leigh Kamman conducted hundreds of interviews with jazz artists, including many from the Minnesota scene. These are being preserved and edited by the Leigh Kamman Legacy Project and presented as The Jazz Image: Minnesota Edition, a continuation of the The Jazz Image: Special Edition series. These projects are part of the process of preserving and sharing the massive archive of historical recordings he left when he passed away in October 2014.

  • From: KBEM
  • Updated: Jun 29, 2020
Caption: Leigh Kamman, Credit: Andrea Canter
14 Pieces

Minnesota jazz broadcasting legend Leigh Kamman conducted hundreds of interviews with jazz artists, including some of jazz's illustrious figures. Now, these treasures have been lovingly preserved and edited into a new series of broadcasts, The Jazz Image: Special Edition. These recordings preserve priceless conversation Leigh Kamman had with such luminaries as Duke Ellington, Sarah Vaughan and Stan Kenton. In his ninth decade, Kamman adds fresh commentary to round out these 5 minute broadcasts, 13 in all in this series.

  • From: KBEM
  • Updated: Jan 14, 2014
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786 Pieces

5 to 8-minute, highly produced heads-ups highlighting great musical activities in the Twin Cities broadly conceived. The pieces feature the musicians, their music, club owners, fans, in short all of those responsible for creating musical experiences.

  • From: KBEM
  • Updated: Dec 10, 2019
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0 Pieces

Viva City, Festival of the Arts, was initiated thirteen years ago as a way to showcase arts education in Minneapolis Public Schools (MPS). In this pod cast, we feature the musical portion of Viva City from the Ted Mann Concert Hall at the University of Minneapolis.

  • From: KBEM
  • Updated: May 29, 2011
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31 Pieces

Minneapolis High School Students comment on Minnesota Arts, Culture and History

  • From: KBEM
  • Updated: Aug 24, 2011

Latest Pieces

Caption: Duke Ellington
Duke Ellington (whose maternal grandmother was Cherokee) is regarded by many as the most influential composer in the history of jazz. And, as head ...

Bought by WTJU, WDSE, WTJU, and WTJU


  • Added: Apr 27, 2016
  • Length: 05:00
  • Purchases: 4
Caption: Miles Davis, Credit: All About Jazz
Widely considered one of the most influential and consistently innovative musicians of the 20th century, Miles Davis (of Cherokee ancestry) pointed...

Bought by WTJU, WDSE, and WTJU


  • Added: Apr 26, 2016
  • Length: 05:00
  • Purchases: 3
Caption: Don Cherry, Credit: All About Jazz
Don Cherry, of Choctaw ancestry, was one of the most lyrical and unique voices in jazz. Emphasizing expression and musical communication over speed...

Bought by WTJU, WDSE, and WTJU


  • Added: Apr 26, 2016
  • Length: 05:00
  • Purchases: 3
Caption: Ornette Coleman
Ornette Coleman, whose family ties reach back to the Occaneechee Tribe of North Carolina, was largely self-taught. His music has weathered the test...

Bought by WTJU, WDSE, and WTJU


  • Added: Apr 26, 2016
  • Length: 05:00
  • Purchases: 3
Caption: Dave Brubeck, Credit: Associated Press
Dave Brubeck, whose father was of Medoc descent, was one of the most active and popular jazz musicians in the world. His experiments with odd time ...

Bought by WTJU, WDSE, and WTJU


  • Added: Apr 26, 2016
  • Length: 05:00
  • Purchases: 3
Caption: Mildred Bailey
As the first full-time female big band singer in America, Mildred Bailey helped popularize jazz singing and opened the door for later jazz greats, ...

Bought by WDSE, WTJU, and WTJU


  • Added: Apr 26, 2016
  • Length: 04:44
  • Purchases: 3
Caption: Marcus Wise, Credit: Jan Wise
Marcus Wise is a devoted tabla player. The tabla is a hand drum that provides a signature sound in east Indian music. He talks about his musical pr...

  • Added: Apr 26, 2016
  • Length: 07:37
Caption: Marcus Wise with tabla, Credit: Jan Wise
The local tabla player Marcus Wise looks for opportunities to work with San Francisco sarod player Bruce Hamm. This weekend the two play two concer...

  • Added: Apr 26, 2016
  • Length: 05:00
Caption: Sheila Jordan
Jazz vocalist Sheila Jordan often credited her Native roots as an influence in her singing.

Bought by WTJU, WDSE, and WTJU


  • Added: Apr 19, 2016
  • Length: 05:00
  • Purchases: 3
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Bassist, composer and big band leader Charles Mingus claimed Native American roots, and he incorporated many genres of music into his compositions.

Bought by WTJU, WDSE, and WTJU


  • Added: Apr 19, 2016
  • Length: 05:00
  • Purchases: 3