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The New Cool: Live modern jazz series begins in Bellevue

When drummer Max Holmberg told me he wanted to collaborate on a live jazz series in Bellevue, I asked him where he wanted to make this happen. He said "Resonance at SOMA Towers (which is my favorite acoustic room in the Northwest)." Next Thursday night, Oct. 17, we debut the KNKX New Cool series there with young Seattle stars Dylan Hayes and Xavier Lecouturier's DX-Tet.

This showcase of some of the area's finest modern jazz creators is part of an ambitious plan to bring artists to the Northwest and expose jazz fans on the Eastside to world class talent that normally keep themselves busy on the west side of the lake.

Holmberg is partnering with Resonance after a successful string of concerts in their courtyard over the summer. Then, he reached out to KNKX saying, "I recognize the value in having the opportunity to promote good music in an amazing venue, so I was thinking of ways to make the series even better. I thought about possibly of bringing you on board, since I really dig what you're doing with The New Cool."

He's also hoping to bring in traveling bands and organize a series of shows, "kind of a mini tour package," he says. We have begun conversations about who we can bring to the Northwest for this series, and I'm particularly excited about the possibilities. Stay tuned!

For the first show at Resonance, it made sense to work with a group of musicians who are already in our neighborhood. The 20-somethings, Hayes and Lecouturier, continue to refine their tricky balancing act of intricately composed music spiked with improvisational energy. Their group plays with an intensity that shows deep respect for the jazz tradition, as well as the unique personalities of each DX-Tet musician.

The California-grown co-leaders have been collaborating since high school, and have become important players in the Northwest. You'll hear an exclusive KNKX studio session performance from the pair under Hayes' leadership from 2017 on the New Cool this weekend, with Rex Gregory featured on sax.

After next week's inaugural performance, the New Cool series will take a long break through winter, returning for shows at Resonance Feb. 20, April 16 and June 18. Stay tuned to see who we bring to the stage, and enter to win a pair of tickets to the concert next Thursday on the New Cool fan page.

The New Cool airs Saturdays from 3 to 5 p.m., hosted by Abe Beeson and produced by KNKX Public Radio in Seattle, Wash.

Abe grew up in Western Washington, a third 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.