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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 guest DJ for October: Max Bartron

Max Bartron on drums
Courtesy of Max Bartron
Max Bartron on drums

Drummer Max Bartron from Edmonds Woodway High School in Edmonds will join Abe Beeson as virtual guest DJ on October 21 during Evening Jazz at 7 p.m. He is in the school's jazz band.

Which instrument do you play and why?
I play the drum set! I started playing when I was just around 8 or 9. My dad had gotten me into music through rock and metal, and that was such a huge influence for me, especially when I was young. Obviously, I was too young to form a band or understand music in an artistic way; I just liked hitting the drums. Playing drums has always been my favorite thing to do, doesn’t matter the context at all. Most of the time you’ll hear me hitting my desk in school as if I’m playing, but with drums, I’m always finding new things to practice and ways to express my emotions through playing. You can do that with pretty much any instrument, but I find it most fun through drumming.

What’s your all-time favorite jazz piece?
That's a pretty loaded question because I love SO many pieces, and it's changing rapidly. But I believe right now it would either be "Impressions" by John Coltrane off of Live at Village Vanguard 1961 or "One Down, One Up" by John Coltrane off of Dear Old Stockholm 1965.

Who is your jazz hero?
My jazz hero would have to be John Coltrane, who is my all-time favorite and most listened to artist. Trane has always been an influence on me throughout all of my jazz drumming experiences. When I was younger, I found myself listening to more of the earlier Trane albums and I loved them a lot, but back then I never really understood the meaning behind any of his artwork because I didn’t really have much of a musically trained ear as I do now. But Trane has always spoken to me with the way he plays his horn, he completely revolutionized free jazz, and later in his career, he created this whole new sound that I fell in love with instantly. I especially am a fan of his work with Pharoah Sanders and Rashied Ali. Those three have definitely reached the outer limits towards their playing. Honorable mention to Elvin Jones, the drummer of the classic Coltrane quartet, who has inspired my sound completely.

Why jazz?
I didn’t get started into jazz until I was about 13. (I’m 16 now.) So before that, I started out with rock and a lot of other things, but once I started jazz, I knew I was gonna stick with it. Jazz is my all-around favorite genre of music. I don’t just like the way the music sounds, but the atmosphere, the community, and all the wonderful opportunities I’m surrounded by each and every day. I’ve played in a classical wind ensemble throughout all of high school so far, and I’ve played in the full orchestra where I was the only percussionist! Don't get me wrong: Classical music and classical percussion are very beautiful and artistic in their own way, but personally, it just is not for me. I love expressing my emotions through my playing, which is something everyone does in jazz, through improvisation. Nearly everything I play is improvised, coming straight from the heart, that's why I love jazz.

"Re: Person I Knew" Bill Evans (Live at the Village Vanguard)

"Show-type Tune" Bill Evans/Eddie Gomez (Intuition)

"September Song" Sarah Vaughan (With Clifford Brown)

"Sugar Ray" Roy Haynes/Phineas Newborn Jr./Paul Chambers (We Three)

"I'm a Fool to Want You" Dexter Gordon (Ballads)

"Firm Roots" Eastern Rebellion (Eastern Rebellion 3)

"The Night has a Thousand Eyes" John Coltrane (Coltrane's Sound)

Follow @maxbartron on Instagram.