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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.

KNKX School of Jazz guest DJ for July: William Adams

Jackson High graduate William Adams is the School of Jazz guest DJ for July
Abe Beeson
Jackson High graduate William Adams is the School of Jazz guest DJ for July

William Adams just graduated from Jackson High School in Mill Creek, Washington. Before he heads to Arizona to study aerospace engineering, he joined KNKX jazz host Abe Beeson as the School of Jazz guest DJ for July.

The tenor saxophonist shares his love of big bands and shows off the variety in this format with funky, swinging, bluesy and powerful. Adams also shares a song from fellow Jackson High grad Aubrey Logan, a talented trombonist and singer. Learn more about Adams and check out this large ensemble lover's playlist below.

Which instrument do you play and why?

I play tenor saxophone. When I started playing in my middle school band in 6th grade, I played clarinet and wanted to play jazz. My band director told me that tenor saxophone would be the easiest to transition to from clarinet.

What's your all time favorite jazz piece?

My all-time favorite jazz piece is “Smiles/When You’re Smilin’” by Big Kahuna and The Copa Cat Pack. “When You’re Smilin’” has always been one of my favorite pieces because of how good it can make people feel. This is my favorite arrangement of this song.

Who is your jazz hero?

My jazz hero is Michael Bublé. His music never gets old no matter how many times you listen to it. His music has also gotten me through many difficult times of my life. I hope to meet him one day!

Why jazz?

I play jazz because of the way it makes me feel. It’s a difficult feeling to describe. I like to relate it to the feeling of being at the top of a roller coaster about to go down the drop that took thirty seconds to build up to. When you’re on that roller coaster, nothing else matters. You’re only thinking about how excited you are to go down that drop. When I listen to or play jazz, I get to feel that same excitement and I don’t feel that same way when listening to any other genre of music.

William's playlist:

  • "When You're Smiling" Michael Buble
  • "Herman's Habit" Justin Hurwitz
  • "Beatles Medley" Duke Ellington
  • "Moanin'" Ray Charles
  • "Airport Codes" Aubrey Logan with the Hagelslag Jazz Orchestra
  • "Sofrito" Mambisimo Big Band
  • "Cold Duck Time" Alan Baylock Jazz Orchestra
  • "You Can't Sit Down (pts 1 & 2)" Phil Upchurch
  • "At Last" Phoebe Snow
Abe grew up in Western Washington, a third 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.