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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 May: Christian Nosacka and Daniel Abraham

School of Jazz guest DJs Christian Nosacka (left) and Daniel Abraham (right) share their favorite jazz Thursday night at 7.
Abe Beeson
KNKX Tacoma
School of Jazz guest DJs Christian Nosacka (left) and Daniel Abraham (right) share their favorite jazz Thursday night at 7.

A pair of talented young Tacoma jazz musicians brought a lot of songs and a lot of enthusiasm to their KNKX School of Jazz guest DJ show Thursday night at 7. Both seniors at Bellarmine Preparatory School, baritone saxophonist Christian Nosacka and trombonist Daniel Abraham push each other to excel on the bandstand and their passion for the music is infectious.

Nosacka's family hails from southern Louisiana and he grew up in a house filled with jazz. He found his instrument after switching from alto to baritone saxophone and he'll pursue music next year as a student at Loyola University New Orleans in the fall.

Abraham began his musical training on piano and he still competes in classical competitions. Since he developed his love for the trombone and his jazz friendship with Nosacka, Abraham is sure jazz will be in his life somehow. Mathematics, though, will be his main focus at the University of Washington.

The two Bellarmine Prep students brought a playlist packed with big bands led by Stan Kenton, Duke Ellington, Quincy Jones and the 8-Bit Big Band. They also offer vocal favorites Ella Fitzgerald and Nina Simone and icons of their chosen instruments: trombonist J.J. Johnson and baritone saxophonist Gerry Mulligan.

Also in their playlist is the song Abraham says, "is why we're friends!" Bill Evans' recording of his "Waltz for Debby" with saxophonist Cannonball Adderley brought these two jazz lovers together.

"There's something about sharing music with somebody. It really helps us understand each other on a level that is deeper than any conversation we could have," Nosacka said.

KNKX is proud to share this music Christian Nosacka and Daniel Abraham brought to our School of Jazz.

Which instruments do you play and why?

Christian: I slowly developed a love for saxophone after many years of indifference to playing. I started to listen to many of the saxophone greats about 2 years ago and have been hooked ever since.

What are your all-time favorite jazz songs?

Christian: My favorite jazz piece right now is "Teru" by Wayne Shorter. I’ve been listening to as many interpretations of it as I can find because it is so dense with emotion and chordal complexity.

Who are your jazz heroes?

Christian: My jazz hero is Phil Woods. He has inspired me since the day I started playing, and I continue to learn from him constantly.

Why jazz?

Christian: No other style of music captures the union of all aspects of life in the same way as jazz. It connects to so many who have come before us, and will continue to allow us to share our deepest emotions through song as we carry it forward for generations.

Christian and Daniel's playlist:

  1. "Artistry in Rhythm" Stan Kenton Orchestra
  2. "Sophisticated Lady" Duke Ellington Orchestra
  3. "Janet" Duke Ellington
  4. "My Favorite Things" J.J. Johnson
  5. "Love Me or Leave Me" Nina Simone
  6. "Salt Peanuts" Dizzy Gillespie
  7. "Walts for Debby" Cannonball Adderley/Bill Evans
  8. "On the Street Where You Live" Quincy Jones Orchestra
  9. "Shiny Stockings" Ella Fitzgerald/Count Basie Orchestra
  10. "I'm in the Mood for Love" Charlie Parker
  11. "How High the Moon" Gerry Mulligan
  12. "Passing Breeze" The 8-Big Big Band
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.