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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 DJs for December: Lang Armstrong and Margaret Haley

Bainbridge Island High's Lang Armstrong and Margaret Haley: December's School of Jazz guest DJs
Abe Beeson
Bainbridge Island High's Lang Armstrong and Margaret Haley: December's School of Jazz guest DJs.

Saxophonist Lang Armstrong and trombonist Margaret Haley join Abe Beeson as guest DJs for December. They are both seniors and in the jazz band at Bainbridge High School. Get to know Land and Margaret in their Q&A, and check out their playlist.

Which instrument do you play and why?

Lang: I play the saxophone because I heard it on the radio and I always really liked the sound and so, naturally, I picked it to be the instrument I wanted to play in 5th grade.

Margaret: My main instrument in jazz is the trombone but my real first instrument was the tuba. I played that instrument from 5th grade up until the beginning of high school when I was recruited by some upperclassmen from the marching band to play in the trombone section for our lower jazz band. I had never touched a trombone before that but I think I grew to love it very quickly.

What’s your all-time favorite jazz piece?

Lang: "In A Sentimental Mood" by John Coltrane and Duke Ellington.

Margaret: My favorite jazz piece has to be "Hay Burner" by Count Basie. I love the way that the tune slowly grows and moves with a laid-back grove. The trombones also have really fun punchy lines while the saxophones have a really catchy melody. I also just love the idea behind the song: a hay burner is an old horse that has lived through its working days and now spends its time eating hay.

Who is your jazz hero?

Lang: Charlie Parker.

Margaret: My jazz hero is Erica Von Kleist. I just feel like I could really relate to her experiences as a woman in the jazz world and she inspires me to improve myself. I was so blown away when I heard her play in person and it made me want to develop a stronger more confident tone.

Why jazz?

Lang: The individuality and self expression that comes from this music is what connects me to it.

Margaret: Jazz gives you so much freedom to express yourself. Of course, there are charts and structures but jazz was made to have people weave their own melodies through the music and I think that's really special. One piece will never sound the same when it’s played by different people. Sections in jazz tend to be smaller and that gives a lot of room for blending sound and making close connections with the people around you.

Lang and Margaret's playlist:

  • Johnny Griffin & Eddie "Lockjaw" Davis - "Hey, Lock!" (Lang)
  • Count Basie - "Hay Burner" (Margaret)
  • Ella Fitzgerald - "All The Things You Are" (Lang)
  • Melissa Gardiner with Tia Fuller - "People Pleaser" (Margaret)
  • Charlie Parker - "I'm In the Mood for Love" (Lang)
  • Chet Baker - "It Could Happen To You" (Margaret)
  • Cannonball Adderley - "Poor Butterfly" (Lang)
  • Marshall Gilkes - "Puddle Jumping" (Margaret)
Jazz School of JazzBainbridge High School
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.