Abe Beeson | KNKX

Abe Beeson

Evening Jazz Host

Abe grew up in Western Washington, a 3rd generation Seattle/Tacoma kid. It was as a student at Pacific Lutheran University that Abe landed his first job at KNKX, editing and producing audio for news stories. It was a Christmas Day shift no one else wanted that gave Abe his first on-air experience which led to overnights, then Saturday afternoons, and he's been hosting Evening Jazz since 1998.

His most memorable KNKX radio moments include introducing Dave Brubeck, Ray Charles, Oscar Peterson and other greats; attending the San Sebastian Jazz Festival in Spain with a group of KNKX jazz fans; and locking himself out of the station on a particularly cold winter night.

Ways to Connect

Christian McBride's New Jawn in the KNKX Studios.
Parker Miles Blohm / KNKX

When great musicians push themselves to do something different, it can be an exciting prospect. Christian McBride's New Jawn is a great example of that. And when those musicians really enjoy that challenge, that's when the magic of jazz happens.

Dylan Hayes
Parker Miles Blohm / KNKX

We first encountered talented pianist Dylan Hayes performing with a trio at Centrum's Jazz Pt. Townsend camp this Summer, and we knew this young man was ready for the KNKX studios.

Hayes is in his final year studying jazz at Cornish College in Seattle, and he brought a fellow student and a few friends in town for a sonic display of his skills as a player, bandleader and composer.

KNKX hosted students of Seattle JazzED's Summer Advanced Institute for a second time in August, and the kids set a new record for largest group to play in our studios.

A total of 29 students split into 3 combos with mentors Riley Mulhelkar (trumpeter with the Westerlies, this Seattle native now lives in New York City), Sammy Miller (New York-based drummer who leads Sammy Miller and the Congregation), and Marina Albero (the Spanish pianist who's thrilled Seattle audiences upon her arrival in 2014).

You could tell by the smiles on the musicians backing singer Johnaye Kendrick in the KNKX studios, they really enjoy working with her. Since her arrival teaching at Cornish College nearly a decade ago, Kendrick is proving to be a musician's singer.

When it comes down to it, though, Kendrick is a musician. She's spent years studying jazz, including the Thelonious Monk Institute and Loyola University. Now a Professor of Music in Seattle, her bio at Cornish refers exclusively to her jazz bona fides. But she grew up listening to pop music. 

Victor Wooten
Parker Miles Blohm / KNKX

Victor Wooten's trio is a powerhouse outfit, even when it's just a duo. A saxophonist working with just bass and drums usually has a lot of work to do, but sax/flute player Bob Franceschini told me that working with Wooten and Dennis Chambers on bass and drums is a different story.

Even without Chambers' drumming, Victor Wooten was more than able to provide a fat rhythm section on his own live in the KNKX studios. Franceschini did provide some rhythm on sax, in tight collaboration with Wooten's bass, but was mostly adding his own flowing melodic lines.

Dmitri Matheny returning to Seattle, and Tula's on September 7
Parker Miles Blohm / KNKX

Dmitri Matheny is one of the country's preeminent flugelhorn players, and a serious movie lover. In his second performance in the KNKX studios, Dmitri returned to a pair of film melodies and gave us a look at an upcoming project with a pair of top Seattle jazz musicians and two more from out of town.

Singer Holly Pyle is a friend of Dmitri's from the Phoenix area, an exciting vocalist who's known to push beyond the limits of jazz. She's an expert in looping vocal effects and also has experience in opera, pop, funk and hip-hop styles.

Seattle native Kassa Overall came up drumming in the celebrated Garfield High School jazz band, but he's always been exploring the action behind the scenes in music.

Early opportunities with samplers and keyboards led Overall to a passion for not just making music, but producing music for himself and others. Settling in New York about a decade ago, he's been busy in both rolls, and then some.

Hunter Gather in the KNKX Studios
Parker Miles Blohm / KNKX

Jazz musicians have always found inspiration from a wide world of music, and Seattle-based quartet Hunter Gather continue that tradition in a time when consideration of genres is becoming passé.

Growing up as lovers of a wide variety of musical styles, Hunter Gather continues the jazz musicians' constant quest to find a personal sound. They've done that, with echoes of American folk music, indie-rock youthfulness, and less-obvious hints of progressive metal and punk rock.

It could be her charming, drawling vocals or the contagious smile on Marina Christopher's face that instantly wins over fans. Just as likely, she'll draw you in with the music she makes with her Dreamboats band - an addictive blend of jazz, soul and classic pop.

Parker Miles Blohm / KNKX

Considering the mix of the nine (or ten) members of Seattle's future funk fusion group High Pulp, it has to be fusion. Their new album Bad Juice is out this week and they're celebrating live at Nectar with Industrial Revelation Saturday night. We got a powerful preview live in the KNKX studios that you've gotta hear.

Dee Dee Bridgewater at the Victoria International JazzFest
Parker Miles Blohm / KNKX

Memphis-born singer Dee Dee Bridgewater broke into jazz with the great Thad Jones/Mel Lewis Jazz Orchestra, and she's collaborated with Ray Charles and Dizzy Gillespie. In 1975 she won a Tony Award for her role as Glenda the Good Witch in The Wiz, and also won accolades for her tributes to Billie Holiday, Ella Fitzgerald and Horace Silver. Three times a Grammy winner, Bridgewater is renowned for her live performances, including her recent album and tour honoring the soul music she grew up with, Memphis... Yes, I'm Ready.

Ghost-Note is co-led by Snarky Puppy rhythm section mates Robert Searight (drum kit) and Nate Werth (percussion). Originating as a percussion duo, they've built a band with a "rotating cast of serious cats" including former Prince bass player MonoNeon on their new album Swagism. Funky grooves with more than a touch of psychedelic improvisation is their trademark, with rhythm in the spotlight.

Kenny Washington in the KNKX Public Radio Studios
Parker Miles Blohm / KNKX

It's not a well-kept secret, at least in the Bay Area where he's been called the "Superman" of their jazz scene, but Kenny Washington's incredible vocal talents are just starting to get noticed. When he performed live in our studios, it was easy to see he's more comfortable as Clark Kent than the Man of Steel.

Kenny Washington was raised in America's jazz and party capital of New Orleans, but his father kept him away from the wild atmosphere of the French Quarter. His early musical training was in the gospel church, and he only picked up on jazz in his late teens.

Jacqueline Tabor in the KNKX Studios.
Parker Miles Blohm / KNKX

As a sharp-witted friend noted recently, singer Jacqueline Tabor is " ruining the dour jazz musician stereotype!" The KNKX studio session audience was certainly drawn into the fun when Jacqueline celebrated her new album with The 200 Trio live on KNKX.

The Lady in the Gown, title inspired by our own Nick Morrison's thoughts on Tabor's previous studio session here, features mostly classic jazz standards. There's a reason these songs are still performed, they're both perfectly constructed and open to personal interpretation.

Frank Vitolo of Bad News Botanists live at KNKX Public Radio.
Parker Miles Blohm / KNKX

Enjoying a year that has brought his band a lot of positive attention, saxophonist Frank Vitolo brought his Bad News Botanists to our studios for a fun session of original funky jazz. It was a preview of their performance on The New Cool stage at the Northwest Folklife Festival, and more proof that this band is making its mark.

Jacob Szekely in the KNKX Studios
Parker Miles Blohm / KNKX

He's not just a terrific player and songwriter, cellist Jacob Szekely is blazing a path for future jazz cellists to follow. With his trio live in our studios, it's clear that his instrument is ready for the jazz spotlight.

Szekely told us that the traditional way of learning cello makes it nearly impossible to translate those skills to improvisation, so he retrained himself to play in a new way. He's also co-founded the String Project of Los Angeles to give other cellists a fresh direction in their musical expression.

Abe Beeson / KNKX

I'm just back from a fantastic trip to the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival. There are far too many moments from the festival grounds to mention here, but on Sunday night I found an allstar group of New Cool favorites on the edge of the French Quarter.

Parker Miles Blohm / KNKX

Before his performance in our studios, pianist Danny Green told me he hadn't played many solo shows. In fact, his new album One Day It Will adds a string quartet to his long-running trio. After three dazzling songs, however, it was clear Green has plenty to say on his own.

Courtesy of Tom Collins

 

The KNKX School of Jazz hit the road for a performance at Seattle Pacific University's beautiful Nickerson Studios and we were knocked out by the talented sextet that makes up the S.P.U. Jazz Ensemble.

Guitarist Chase Rabideau told us that S.P.U. is one of the few places you can earn a degree in his chosen field, Music Therapy, right after showing off his beautiful acoustic guitar technique on the Antonio Carlos Jobim song "Look to the Sky."

Spike Wilner in the KNKX Studios.
Parker Miles Blohm / KNKX

On his path to musical self-discovery, pianist Spike Wilner set out to make himself a part of his New York City community. He'd buy old pianos and give them to bars for free, in exchange for a regular night for Spike to play there. We were happy to provide a freshly tuned piano to Spike when he brought his New York friends with him for a spirited Studio Session.

Parker Miles Blohm / KNKX

We've grown accustomed to his face, sax player Steve Treseler had performed in the KNKX studios as a sideman and as a mentor to School of Jazz combos, and his own dynamic "In Motion" quartet was a highly anticipated session for us all.

Treseler talked about his early mentors, including sax great Jerry Bergonzi, who taught his young student to love practicing as a way to celebrate a love for your instrument and the intimate act of playing what you feel.

Cole Schuster of 200 Trio
Parker Miles Blohm / KNKX

Just a couple years after bringing guitarist Cole Schuster and bassist Greg Feingold from the Berklee College of Music to Seattle, drummer Max Holmberg and the 200 Trio have certainly endeared themselves to their new hometown.

Parker Miles Blohm / KNKX

Picking up his first saxophone in 5th grade, Stuart MacDonald made the most of the Seattle school system's jazz educators. Today, working on his Masters in jazz studies at the University of Washington, his education continues even as he teaches younger players a thing or two on the bandstand.

Parker Miles Blohm / KNKX

Violin player, composer and bandleader Ranger Sciacca is a massive fan of gypsy jazz guitar legend Django Reinhardt, and his partner, violinist Stephane Grappelli. That said, Ranger's band isn't like most groups who play in this swinging style.

The swing is still the motor that makes this band move, but the Re-Arrangers are breaking some of the unspoken rules of gypsy jazz bands. 

Parker Miles Blohm / KNKX

Sharing a guitarist and a studio session performance, Birch Pereira & The Gin Joints split time with the duo Sundae + Mr. Goessl in the KNKX studios, both excited to share new music from upcoming albums. Jason Goessl plays guitar in both bands, and it felt like hanging out in the living room with your most musically talented friends.

The new Gin Joints album is called Western Soul and transports the listener back in time to when jazz, country music and even early rock n roll were powered by an engine of sweet swing.

School Of Jazz
Parker Miles Blohm / KNKX

They planned it out and executed flawlessly. The teens of drummer Elijah Baradi's Quintet were well prepared for their KNKX School of Jazz studio session. Unlike most groups of a high school age, this talented group from Interlake High in Bellevue played live on 88.5 without an adult mentor. They didn't need one.

Drumming since age 6, Baradi drives a strong rhythm section. The sophomore teams with seniors Mert Selcuk on piano and Kai Wagner at the upright bass, an instrument this electric bass player only recently picked up.

Parker Miles Blohm / KNKX

Bassist and composer Bren Plummer has put together a tasty band of Northwest allstars for his latest album, Moldy Figs. From Jay Thomas (trumpet) to Stuart MacDonald (sax), D'Vonne Lewis (drums) and Susan Pascal (vibraphone) as well as guitarist Frank Seeburger, it's a group of talented players and bandleaders themselves.

Pascal may have put it best when she explained that she finds Plummer's music fresh and challenging, just what a good jazz musician wants to play.

Cliff Colon of Contraband
Parker Miles Blohm / KNKX

Following by ten years his original Contraband project, tenor sax player Cliff Colon has reformed the group to create more compelling modern jazz drawn from the melodies of late 80s video games. Whatever that looks like on paper to you, in practice Contraband Reloaded sounds like a genius.

Brent Jensen in the KNKX Studios.
Parker Miles Blohm / KNKX

Alto and soprano sax player Brent Jensen says no matter which horn he plays, people often tell him he sounds like Paul Desmond. That's a high compliment indeed, but live in the KNKX studios Jensen showed he's no imitator.

You've probably heard Brent Jensen playing around the Northwest, or from his hit debut album on Seattle's Origin Records, The Sound of a Dry Martini: Remembering Paul Desmond from 2002. But he's only just recently moved to the Puget Sound region about a year ago and says he loves having access to so many amazing jazz musicians with whom he can share a stage.

Vicente Hansen performs in the KNKX studios.
Parker Miles Blohm / KNKX

Based in New York City and featuring two graduates of Seattle's legendary Roosevelt High School jazz program, the trio Mughal Muesli returned to the West Coast for a tour supporting their debut album Imperial Cereal. We're tracking down carpenters now because they nearly blew the roof off the place.

Live in our studios, Mughal Muesli performed three new compositions that ebbed and flowed with intense grooves, aggressive and muscular sax and bass, and exotic melodies that reflected their musical passions.

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