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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.

School of Jazz: Austin Miller serves as guest DJ

Austin Miller

Trumpeter Austin Miller from Lake Stevens High School in Lake Stevens joins Abe Beeson tonight at 8 p.m. (July 2) during Evening Jazz as guest DJ. Austin also plays the horn and is in the wind ensemble at his high school. Listen to the show and read his Q&A.

What's your all-time favorite jazz piece?
My favorite all-time jazz piece did not make my playlist, but is worth listening to if you have not. Composer, arranger, and educator Alan Baylock’s “El Abrazo” off of the Prime Time album is a beautiful jazz piece that I love a lot. The tune starts off with a ballad, just as it ends, and switches to a samba in the middle with a killer tenor solo. I was introduced to the composer by my awesome high school director Neil Proff when I heard Jazz 1 from my high school play a few of his charts when I was in mid-high.

Who is your jazz hero?
My jazz hero would have to be Art Blakey. Although I am not much of a drummer myself, I love to listen to the drums carefully when I listen to jazz music, and Art Blakey and the Jazz Messengers was one of the first jazz bands that I got into. My favorite thing about Art Blakey is the bop influence he had on jazz music during his time and the amount of new talent he was able to produce with the way he led his bands.

Why jazz?
I picked jazz in middle school because I thought it was fun. I was not given any rules to what I had to play as a soloist, and I could play whatever felt right, so I did. Then, with the introduction of theory and more styles than I was used to from Mid high to now, I have a growing vocabulary and active mind when I’m playing that challenges me but also lets me have fun, and I have yet to find something that makes me feel as good as the way I feel when I play trumpet.


"La Fiesta" Chick Corea (Works)

"I Am" Omar Thomas Large Ensemble (I Am)

"Feels So Good" Chuck Mangione (Feels So Good)

"Cotton Tail" Duke Ellington (Essential Duke Ellington)

"Water" Dumpstafunk (Dirty Word)

"Sweet Georgia Brown" Ella Fitzgerald (Something to Live For)

"A Time for Love" Bill Evans (Alone)

"Mr Clean" Roy Hargrove (Earfood)

Follow Austin on Instagram @austin.john.miller.