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

Justin Steyer

The bill is set at Seattle's Nectar Lounge Thursday, Jan. 30. The South Sound sequel follows Jan. 31 at Rhythm & Rye in Olympia. A two-fisted organ trio battle pitting our hometown heroes McTuff facing off in musical combat with Portland's Trio Subtonic. The New Cool has the tale of the tape and we'll give away tickets during the radio show Saturday afternoon.

Adrian Florez

Ingraham High School's jazz program is booming, expanding to include a pair of big bands under the direction of Shane Henderson. With their mentor, saxophonist Peter Daniel, Ingraham's all-star jazz ensemble showed off their passion for this music in the KNKX studios with a trio of classic tunes.

Photo by Mattias Creutziger

Pianist Julia Kadel is outgrowing one of the great cities of Europe. The young jazz star from Berlin is the first German artist to record for the legendary Blue Note Records since pianist Jutta Hipp in 1956. Her classical music roots mixed with daring improvisation are making her a budding international star.

Tiptons Saxophone Quartet in the KNKX Studios.
Parker Miles Blohm / KNKX Public Radio

The Tiptons Saxophone Quartet and Drums was formed in Seattle in 1988. Now with only Amy Denio still based in the Puget Sound area, the Tiptons roll on. A new album is due in March, and with their performance in the KNKX studios, the Tiptons showed they're at the top of their game.

Parker Miles Blohm

Women musicians in jazz have, since the early days of the form, been mostly singers. Karrin Allyson, one of the finest singers in jazz, has gathered an all-female all-star ensemble for her new album. Shoulder to Shoulder: Centennial Tribute to Women's Suffrage is also marked by some very modern music.

Abe Beeson

This Saturday afternoon on The New Cool, you'll hear a few of the show's favorite albums of 2019. Snarky Puppy, Julian Lage, Theo Croker, Jeff Coffin's Dream Shanti all released terrific modern jazz this year. We'll also celebrate excellent new albums from Tacoma's Velocity and Seattle's Barrett Martin Group.

The Westerlies in the KNKX Studios.
Parker Miles Blohm / KNKX Public Radio

The Westerlies unique combination of two trumpets and two trombones, nothing else, has been described as "folk-like and composerly, lovely and intellectually rigorous." In the KNKX studios, these four Northwest natives, now based in New York, were simply four brass players having a lot of fun.

Roxy Coss in the KNKX Studios.
Parker Miles Blohm / KNKX Public Radio

Roxy Coss grew up with a motto in her house that always stuck with her: do what you love, and the money will follow. She's taken that idea to heart, "making decisions based on passion rather than fear," she says. The music Coss makes is passionate, fearless and incredibly cool. The proof is in her new retrospective album, Quintet.

album cover photo

The modern confluence of reggae, hip-hop, electronic and Afro-beat music seeps to the surface of jazz in the talented young English quintet Ezra Collective. The band plays Barboza in Seattle on Friday, Dec. 13, touring the U.S. to celebrate their new full-length debut album, You Can't Steal My Joy.

For a third time, KNKX hosted an all-star jazz ensemble from Central Washington University for a studio session performance. The fresh faces of this combo did have some familiarity, with two former School of Jazz high schoolers in the group as well as our friend, saxophonist Mark Taylor, acting as mentor.

Abe Beeson

In another example of a group that doesn't quite satisfy strict definitions of jazz, the Australian band Hiatus Koiyote is making their own kind of music. Their blend of modern soul, electronica, popfunk and — yes — modern jazz is a big influence on how this music evolves in the new century.

Saxophonist Anton Schwartz wished he'd had more time to work with the young jazz combo from Eckstein Middle School. In the KNKX studios, these six young women stepped up and showed Schwartz there was no need to be nervous. These kids can really play.

Eckstein Middle School's stellar reputation for early jazz education comes largely from the director of the school's jazz bands, Moc Escobedo. Last year he was given the Jazz Education Achievement Award from Downbeat Magazine, which noted Mr. Escobedo's "legendary work ethic."

Justin Steyer

Their styles vary depending on musical setting, they don't collaborate often, but there's no doubt that Joshua Redman and James Carter are two of the most intriguing and progressive saxophone players of the 21st Century. Happily, both musicians will be performing in Seattle next week.

Emmet Cohen performing in the KNKX studios.
Parker Miles Blohm / KNKX

Pianist Emmet Cohen has a passion for music, and still in his late 20s, he's only begun to share that passion with audiences and fellow musicians. That love shone brightly in the KNKX studios as Cohen led his trio through a brief set of songs previewing his Earshot Jazz Festival concert that night.

Abe Beeson

Inspired by modern jazz creations of musicians raised on rock, hip hop, electronica and musical styles around the world, The New Cool celebrates three years on 88.5 KNKX this Saturday afternoon. We're packing this weekend's show full of stars and some brand new sounds for you to thank you for your support.

Used with the generous permission of the artists.

Earshot's 2019 Jazz Festival wraps up with a double bang Wednesday, Nov. 6. Chick Corea will be performing the Gershwin classic "Rhapsody in Blue" with the Seattle Syphony Orchestra at Benaroya Hall. For New Cool fans, the action is across the street with drummer Scott Amendola matching wits and grooves with keyboard whiz Wil Blades as Amendola Vs Blades at The Triple Door.

Abe Beeson

My friend Ruby Brown is watching over The New Cool this Saturday afternoon, but I wanted to chime in with a quick alert on some spooky and groovy live music to enjoy this Halloween season.

Madeleine Peyroux in the KNKX Studios.
Parker Miles Blohm / KNKX

On her last visit to the KNKX studios, singer and songwriter Madeleine Peyroux was debuting music from her then-upcoming album Anthem in a duet with pianist Andy Ezrin. On this return visit, Ms. Peyroux accompanied herself on guitar and brought in longtime friend Steve Cardenas on guitar for her recent single "On My Own," as well as an old favorite and a brand new original song.

Abe Beeson

With Earshot's festival shows and much more, I've been delighted to see so many friendly faces at jazz concerts recently. The audience's job is so important. Thanks for coming out!

It's been a busy time in a lot of jazz clubs for yours truly, and I'm off next week for a much needed vacation. I'll bring you a fantastic New Cool show Saturday afternoon before I get out of town, and encourage you to catch some cool shows I won't be around to see next week.

Nate Wood of Kneebody.
Parker Miles Blohm / KNKX

Having just flown in that day from Vancouver, the four men of Kneebody settled into the KNKX studios to briefly catch their breath and play a few songs. Their new album Chapters comes out Oct. 18, and their world tour is kicking into gear.

Parker Miles Blohm / KNKX

On the afternoon of opening up for Kneebody, one of their favorite bands, our Portland friends Trio Subtonic played the same role in the KNKX studios. Spirits were high, and the trio brought a pair of exciting additions.

Photography by Ziggy Spiz.

When drummer Max Holmberg told me he wanted to collaborate on a live jazz series in Bellevue, I asked him where he wanted to make this happen. He said "Resonance at SOMA Towers (which is my favorite acoustic room in the Northwest)." Next Thursday night, Oct. 17, we debut the KNKX New Cool series there with young Seattle stars Dylan Hayes and Xavier Lecouturier's DX-Tet.

Saxophonist Peter Daniel
Parker Miles Blohm / KNKX

Peter Daniel is a busy guy. He's the leader of the 45th St Brass, plays with the New Orleans-influenced funk group Super Krewe, appears on recent records from Lucky Brown & the SGs and Marina & the Dreamboats, and has toured with electro duo Odesza and alt-popper Father John Misty. "When you say it like that, it sounds like a problem," Daniel says.

Kneebody photo by Robbie Suharlim.

The Earshot Jazz Festival has kindly offered three pair of tickets to see Kneebody with openers Trio Subtonic at Nectar Lounge in Fremont October 9. Enter to win on the New Cool fan page now!

Tierney Sutton and Ann Hampton Callaway
Parker Miles Blohm / KNKX

When singers Tierney Sutton and Ann Hampton Callaway visit the KNKX studios, it's always a pleasure and a thrill. When the two of them join forces, it's a superhero-caliber dynamic duo of jazz.

The Earshot Jazz Festival returns to venues all over Seattle (*and beyond) from Oct. 4 through Nov. 6, and this week The New Cool highlights a few of the top modern jazz concerts on this year's impressive schedule.

Parker Miles Blohm / KNKX

Jazz musicians are always learning, and thanks to Seattle's nonprofit Jazz Night School program, students ages 10-74 are getting that education. An all-star ensemble mentored by trumpet and sax player Jay Thomas showed us how fun the early stages of learning jazz can be at any age.

Sara Gazarek
Parker Miles Blohm / KNKX

Though some jazz fans around the Seattle area will always think of Sara Gazarek as the talented young singer with the Roosevelt High jazz band, her new album Thirsty Ghost is making waves around the world. Back in the KNKX studios, Gazarek told us how this album is different from previous efforts, and why the accolades it's receiving is so gratifying.

Image from Velocity's video for "Strange Matter"

The New Cool is fired up to present Tacoma's modern jazz leaders Velocity at the Spanish Ballroom at the Elks Lodge in Tacoma Monday night, Sept. 30. It's a celebration of their new album, Magnetar, and also celebrates an exciting cultural movement around the band's home base of Tacoma.

Photo by Craig Carpenter, courtesy of Segerstrom Center for the Arts

Still in his mid-30s, Theo Croker has become a jazz trumpet star. His new album, Star People Nation, puts his horn solidly in the spotlight, that instrument acting as an extension of the artist himself. The result is a confident, modern trumpet record that builds on tradition while sounding fully of the 21st century.

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