Abe Beeson | KNKX

Abe Beeson

New Cool & Jazz Host

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.

At the end of 2015, just as the campaign to save 88.5 began, Abe debuted his modern jazz show The New Cool. Saturday afternoons from 3 to 5 p.m., you can hear 21st-century jazz inspired and informed by the sounds of today: hip-hop, & funk, Electronic music and punk rock — the future of jazz has arrived.

His most memorable KNKX radio moments include introducing Dave Brubeck, Ray Charles, Oscar Peterson, and other greats; attending jazz festivals in Spain and Argentina with groups of KNKX jazz fans; and locking himself out of the station on a particularly cold winter night.

Ways to Connect

Sporting one of his signature "Flu Note" shirts, Kassa Overall returns home to Seattle Saturday night.
Photo used with permission of the artist

Seattle native and New York-based drummer, producer and spoken word artist Kassa Overall stayed hard at work on his music through the quarantine. But now comes the fun part: returning to live performances. Saturday night, Overall also returns home to headline Seattle's Neptune Theatre

Photo by Abe Beeson

Rhythm is the core of the retro-modern soul jazz outfit The True Loves. Their new album, Sunday Afternoon, however, gets its heart from the horns. New Cool host Abe Beeson talked with two members of the True Loves' all-star horn section and got an inside look at the band's latest album.

Photo by Abe Beeson

Saturday is Juneteenth, the recently proclaimed state holiday honoring the abolition of slavery in the United States. KNKX is proud to bring listeners the jazz and blues music born of the African American experience that's an essential part of our nation's cultural heritage. Black musicians continue to be at the forefront of American popular music and to expand of the language of modern jazz and blues.

Parker Miles Blohm

Expect quarantine limitations to continue for the Record Store Day celebrations at your local store Saturday. Jazz and blues fans will once again find several new jazz and blues releases to encourage your support of independent record stores. Jazz host Abe Beeson has a look at some of the highlights.

Cover artwork by Mzwandile Buthelezi

Saxophonist Shabaka Hutchings returns with a fantastic new album with his band Sons of Kemet and continues to live up to the building hype around this young English modern jazz star. Their just-released fourth album, in the wake of the death of George Floyd and ensuing protests, furthers the band's mission of harnessing anger, acknowledging sorrow, expressing joy and committing to a future better than the past.

Photo by Abe Beeson

It was in the neighborhood - an ensemble of top young jazz and funk players were gathering for a virtual concert from the Highland Park Improvement Center. New Cool host and HPIC neighbor Abe Beeson got an invitation to attend and shares his photos of a joyously funky jazz reunion.

Photo by Abe Beeson, album design by Mike Tallman

The new trio W.R.D. is keyboardist Robert Walter, guitarist Eddie Roberts and drummer Adam Deitch. Their debut album, The Hit, on Roberts' Color Red Records was released last week, and you'll hear their gritty, greasy, pulpy grooves this Friday night on the KNKX modern jazz show The New Cool.

Photo by kind permission of the artist. arijoshua.com

Guitarist Ari Joshua has been busy, and now the guitarist has begun releasing recordings he's been working on for years. In varied styles and collaborations, Joshua is making his mark as a modern player to watch. New Cool host Abe Beeson spoke to the Seattle-based musician about his vault of new material.

Photo by Reed Ricker

Northwest jazz fans are likely familar with Galen Clark. The leader and keys player with Trio Subtonic is a key member of the Portland modern jazz community, and his latest project, Outer Orbit, has a soulful new single out this week, featuring an extra special guest.

Herman Leonard Photography L.L.C./CTSimages.com

Being on stage can be stressful. Even more so when singing for a live audience and you forget the words to the song. When you have the improvisation skills of Ella Fitzgerald and Sarah Vaughan, though, you can turn lemons into lemonade.

Bob Willoughby

The important connection between musicians onstage and a crowded jazz club has been missing for more than a year due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Many fans have been turning to live recordings that captured moments of magic, when the music onstage was matched by the energy in the crowd.

Photo by Chris Davis

Skerik, Charlie Hunter and Stanton Moore present Calm Down Cologne this week, their sixth album as Garage A Trois. It's the first G.A.T. trio album since its 1998 debut, Mysteryfunk, and New Cool host Abe Beeson got some inside information from the Seattle sax icon. The album release livestream concert is Friday night at 6.

Cover artwork by Chris Ball

The New Cool turns our attention to modern jazz-funk from Italy this week, as Les Jeux Sont Funk unveils its new digital single, "Spike Lee," from Color Red Music. Like the famous director-actor-screenwriter, it's soulful and cinematic, and also a new direction for the band.

New York World-Telegram and the Sun Newspaper Photograph Collection/Library of Congress, Washington, D.C.

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.

Screen capture by Kate Olson

Springtime is coming on a lot faster than the end of the pandemic, but there are more signs of artists and audiences reuniting in person in the near future. Making the most of quarantine restrictions, saxophonist Kate Olson presents a circus of sounds with her K.O. Solo project streaming live Friday night.

Photo by Hiroyuki Seo

The KNKX Spring Fund Drive begins Thursday and ends Wednesday, March 31. For fans of our modern jazz show, The New Cool, this spring marks the early weeks of our new time slot. When you listen to the show Friday night from 9 to 11, please contribute what you can to support the show!

Don Emmert/AFP via Getty Images

The waning months of the pandemic are still keeping stages empty of live jazz, but a terrific string of new releases have certainly helped fans stay sane. A streaming edition of the Grammy Awards Sunday night will celebrate new music, and The New Cool highlights a few modern jazz favorites Friday night on KNKX.

Album cover photography by Todd Cooper

Keyboardist, songwriter, bandleader and producer Robert Glasper formed R+R=Now to answer Nina Simone's message that an artist's duty is "to reflect the times." Glasper adds, "When you reflect what's going on in your time and respond to that, you can't not be relevant. So 'R' plus 'R' equals 'Now.' "

Photo by Lauren Desberg

Pronounced like beige, the vocal quartet säje is anything but bland. Sara Gazarek, Amanda Taylor, Johnaye Kendrick and Erin Bentlage formed the group in 2019 and are forging a new path and taking the vocal jazz ensemble into the 21st century. KNKX jazz host Abe Beeson spoke with the talented women about their unique style and the excitement of being nominated for a Grammy Award.

Photo by Shahaan Smith

Awards season is here, and Earshot Jazz's Golden Ear Awards return - virtually, of course - with a look back at bright moments from a difficult year in the Northwest jazz scene. The New Cool will feature a few on this week's show, as voting concludes Monday, March 1.

Photo by Eugenie Jones

Black History Month concludes at the end of the week, and Seattle jazz musicians and fans will be celebrating the legacy of African-American musicians in the Northwest Saturday and Sunday nights with the virtual Jackson Street Jazz Walk.

Digital single artwork by Peter Daniel

The busy bees of Seattle-area jazz keep producing honey-sweet new music in difficult pandemic times. The members of 45th St Brass band are the latest, with a pair of tasty tunes out now showing off their unique modern take on the brass band tradition. They'll celebrate the single with a live-streamed release show Thursday night.

Cover photography by Patrick Sansone

When my favorite musicians talk like fans, I listen. So I perked up when "saxophonics" icon Skerik wrote to me, "Nels (Cline) is such a force and he wrote some amazing music for this record, it's really special and I want everyone to hear it and support him. Thank you."

He's right, and you'll hear Nels Cline with Skerik on Friday's New Cool.

Meridian Odyssey: (l-r) Martin Budde, Santosh Sharma, Xavier Lecouturier, Dylan Hayes, Ben Feldman
Anna Yatskevich

If you've been following the Seattle jazz scene, no doubt you know a few of the musicians calling themselves Meridian Odyssey. They've played as sidemen with many of the city's top players and spent hours working together in each others' bands. Despite and because of the pandemic, the quintet of friends found room to collaborate in socially distanced Alaska, resulting in a great new album.

Cover photo by Leroi Conroy.

Friday brings new albums from two ends of the modern jazz spectrum. The Delvon Lamarr Organ Trio's groovy sophomore album, I Told You So, is packed with red-hot soul jazz, while the brass quartet The Westerlies joins forces with singer Theo Bleckmann on This Land, a collection of political songs inspired by modern times. Catch a song from both on The New Cool Friday night.

Photo by Deneka Peniston

The harp is a rare instrument in jazz, so everything the talented harpist Brandee Younger plays feels brand new. During the pandemic lockdown, Younger and talented bassist Dezron Douglas turned their New York City apartment into a space for healing and creating jazz both timeless and cutting edge.

Really cool black & white band photo by Janine Chiorazzi..

Seattle's premier soul jazz ensemble has released a new single, "Sunday Afternoon," moving its world-class horns to the front of the band's powerful rhythm section engine. Tune in for Friday night's New Cool to hear The True Loves' hip soundscape for relaxing and recharging for a new week, or a new year.

Photo by Abe Beeson

The new year has finally arrived, and everyone's is looking forward to gradually moving past the pandemic and returning to some version of normal. The New Cool is beginning a new normal Friday night. After four years, we're taking our modern jazz show from Saturday afternoons to Friday nights at 9 on KNKX. It's part of a brand new expanded jazz lineup that's sure to get your weekend started right.

Graphic design is by Pop Wonder Design, Portland, OR

It's nearly over, the shut-down-pandemic slog of 2020. The vaccine "light" at the end of the tunnel is still some ways away, and it will take a lot of work to return to some sort of normal next year. Thankfully, I believe jazz musicians are more than ready to do their part. Portland's Trio Subtonic offers the final word on the year past, and suggests better days ahead with their new single, "Coda."

Photograph by courtesy of the artist.

I've always been a fan of jazz puns — from album titles (Lee Morgan's "Lee-Way") to song titles (Dizzy Gillespie's "Dizzy Atmosphere"). They might be a little corny but I just love them. So, when an email from a new Seattle quartet calling themselves Al Hemiola arrived, I was more than a little interested.

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