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Since 2005, KNKX's School of Jazz has provided mentorship, learning and performance opportunities to Western Washington middle school, high school and college jazz students. A cornerstone of the station's signature community outreach program, it has directly impacted thousands of jazz students, band directors and professional musicians. School of Jazz is sponsored by BECU.

Guest Student DJ Jake Escobar: Jazz Delivers 'Emotion And Expression'

Note: Each month, KPLU invites a teen guest DJ to play his or her favorite pieces on the air. The program is part of KPLU's School of Jazz.

Bellevue High School's Jake Escobar is KPLU's guest DJ for the month of May.  Jake's hour aired from 8 p.m. to 9 p.m. on May 7th.  To get to know him better, we asked 16-year-old Jake to answer a few questions about jazz:

Which instrument do you play and why?

I play the Bass, Upright and Electric. There’s certain tones which can seldom be replicated by other instruments that the bass provides, and the unique timbre of the instrument, along with it’s fundamental part in the part is what drives me to play.

What’s your all-time favorite jazz piece and why?

I don’t think I could ever have a “favorite jazz piece”, simply because there’s too many brilliant ones out there and many more to discover.  However, It’s song’s in jazz like “Tank, Like a Light, and Sandcastle Princess” that never cease to amaze me with the power of this genre.

Who’s your jazz hero and why?

While not exactly a traditional jazz hero, I’d Have to say Japanese Musician Yoko Kanno (Leader Of “The Seatbelts). Besides being an all around phenominal composer, arranger, and pianist, her sheer versatility with all jazz (and other genres for that matter) styles, feels, and eras is incredible. In the Cowboy Bebop OST, she embodies sort of a Woody Herman-esque overpowering style, with additions of latin grooves and straight 8th backgrounds. It’s pretty cool.

What is jazz, exactly? How would you explain it?

(Like all music,) I think Jazz is another medium of delivering emotion, and expression. While I might be biased in saying Jazz does exactly that “better” than most genres, I would say that what sets apart Jazz is it’s unique construction relying heavily on Improvisation. Another explanation might add that Jazz is like a language, with different dialects (Bebop, Latin, Fusion).

Jake's Playlist

  1. "Kelly's Blues" Ray Brown Trio - Don't Get Sassy
  2. "Tank!" The Seatbelts - Cowboy Bebop Soundtrack
  3. "Amour T'Es La" Snarky Puppy with Magda Giannikou - Family Dinner, Vol 1
  4. "Summer Wave" Chihiro Yamanaka - Forever Begins
  5. "A Night In Tunisia (Actually, An Entire Weekend)" Arturo Sandoval - Dear Diz
  6. "Stardust" Oscar Pettiford - Nonet & Octet
  7. "Summer Sun" Koop with Yukimi Nagano - Waltz For Koop
  8. "Like A Light" Snarky Puppy - groundUP
  9. "Sandcastle Princess" Jon Hamar - Hereafter
  10. "Rush" The Seatbelts - Cowboy Bebop Soundtrack

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