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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.

School of Jazz studio session with the all-stars of Ingraham High

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Adrian Florez
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Ingraham High School's all-star jazz ensemble, flanked by host Abe Beeson (left) and their mentor Peter Daniel (right).

Ingraham High School's jazz program is booming, expanding to include a pair of big bands under the direction of Shane Henderson. With their mentor, saxophonist Peter Daniel, Ingraham's all-star jazz ensemble showed off their passion for this music in the KNKX studios with a trio of classic tunes.

Henderson told us that over the past five years, Ingraham's jazz program has dramatically increased in size. It's a program that's full of passion, as well. Like many musicians, their passion for music isn't limited to jazz.

Trumpet player Po Saetia told us he's a fan of low-fi hip-hop beats and also bluegrass music, but says, "you can tell the influence jazz has had on it to make it a broader genre." Saetia showed off his tender side with a beautiful muted trumpet introduction to the band's own arrangement of "The Days of Wine and Roses."

Fleet-fingered guitarist Mason Palmer says he's excited to be a part of Ingraham's jazz band "team," building a community of musicians and friends in practice and traveling to jazz festivals to compete. He told us, "at Lionel Hampton (Jazz Festival in Boise), we spent a lot of time together. I feel like that really helped us get to know each other and also work better together as musicians."

The lone senior among a band of high school juniors, bassist Noah Hawley said he's determined to carry on his playing in the future in whatever way he can: "Music's been a big part of my life since I was 4 years old. Whether doing recordings or finding gigs, or just doing it as a side project, I'd love to have that as part of who I am."

As their mentor, Peter Daniel, recommended these young musicians work on their versatility if they want to pursue a career in music.

"You never know what type of opportunity is going to present itself," he said. "Having the experience of both being able to read music well and adapt to whatever your surroundings are...that can be a tricky thing to work on. Being able to represent yourself well in any genre is an important thing."

Wherever their paths lead them in the future, the joy communicated by these young jazz lovers is sure to follow them wherever they go. It was a pleasure to host them in the KNKX studios for our final studio session of 2019.

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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