Your Connection To Jazz, Blues and NPR News
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00
0:00
Available On Air Stations
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.

Jazz Appreciation Month: Defining a music genre that's always changing

satch.jpg
New York World-Telegram and the Sun Newspaper Photograph Collection/Library of Congress, Washington, D.C.
/
Louis Armstrong in 1953, he personafied jazz for generations.

Jazz is a music based on improvisation, and evolution. Moving through Dixieland, swing, bebop, free jazz, fusion and beyond can make describing what jazz is a difficult proposition. KNKX jazz host Abe Beeson spoke to three generations of musicians to find a definition.

Michael Brockman, educator at the University of Washington and co-director of the Seattle Repertory Jazz Orchestra, has seven criteria for music to qualify as jazz. Seattle-based composer and saxophonist Kate Olson notes that jazz evolution is based in tradition. School of Jazz alumnus Jahnvi Madan sees jazz as political.

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.
Related Content