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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 Alaska Airlines and BECU.

Timberline High's inspired School of Jazz band hits the KNKX studios

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Parker Miles Blohm
/
KNKX

After nearly two decades leading the bands at Timberline High School in Lacey, Cal Anderson knows he has some special players on his hands now. Performing three varied standards in the KNKX studios, these five young men impressed our audience and their mentor, Andy Omdahl.

Omdahl, lead trumpeter in the Seattle Repertory Jazz Orchestra, remarked on the band's maturity. He also noted their dedication and passion for the music, after sharing the ride up from the South Sound to the KNKX studios in Seattle listening to jazz during the whole trip.

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Led by the award-winning drumming of D'Andre Mack, still a Junior at Timberline, the band's rhythm section set the standard for their studio session performance. Braden Gordon, a senior, flowed effortlessly on electric bass through the set, including the Herbie Hancock early '70s funk jazz classic "Chameleon."

Mack's drumming shifted from funk to swing on a unique arrangement of Miles Davis' "Four," with strong solos from impressive young saxophonist Seth Reynolds (sophomore) and trumpeter Hazen Lewis (junior).

Freshman guitarist Becker Forslund held his own, providing a bluesy solo and holding down the rhythm with steady chord work.

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The young musicians mentioned the organic growth of jazz passion from within the band, noting the influence of several talented alumni from Timberline High and around the Olympia/Lacey area.

As the band's director, Anderson, told me before the session, at some point the musician takes responsibility for their development. These teens are well on their way to developing a strong jazz culture of their own.

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timberline_omdahl_spring_19_intvw.mp3
Listen to the interview

Hazen Lewis — trumpet

Seth Reynolds — tenor sax

Becker Forslund — guitar

Braden Gordon — electric bass

D'Andre Mack - drums

Andy Omdahl — trumpet (mentor)

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 started hosting Evening Jazz in 1998.
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