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

Photo by Cat Cassidy (@seriesoflight)

Greg Kramer has worked with some of the brightest musical stars of the Northwest. With his debut EP released this week, Kramer steps forward on his own, presenting three songs of sweet summer soul cleverly mixed with hip-hop, funk and big band jazz. The original music on Tell Me deserves attention.

They Greyboy Allstars release "Como de Allstars" Friday. (Left to right: Robert Walter, Elgin Park, Karl Denson, Aaron Redfield, Chris Stillwell)
Photograph by Robbie Jeffers

With their first new album in seven years, The Greyboy Allstars join forces once again to get you moving this holiday weekend. I spoke with the Allstars' guitarist, singer and songwriter Elgin Park about their latest release, their eventual return to touring, and reclaiming the boogaloo.

Abe Beeson

Organist Wil Blades was in Seattle for one of the last jazz concerts before the pandemic shutdown closed the clubs. He joined saxophonist Skerik and legendary drummer Mike Clark at The Royal Room on Feb. 28.

Two weeks later, the club was closed until further notice. To help ease the pain, get a full dose of Vitamin B3 from Blades’ Hammond organ (and clavinet and synthesizers) streaming live into your home Saturday night.

Maria Schafer and Shane Savala, the guitarist and his trio back Schafer on her new album "No Broken Hearts."
David Hampton Photography

KNKX is proud to share the latest album from California-based singer Maria Schafer. No Broken Hearts is her second release (not including last year's holiday duets EP, Christmas in the City), and a more intimate view of Schafer's love of classic jazz and her impressive vocal skills. Abe Beeson spoke with her and guitarist Shane Savala recently about their continuing collaborations.

More than 60 bands around the world collaborate for a massive online festival Saturday.
The festival lineup from quarantinecomesalive.com

Quarantine Comes Alive — a streaming, online music festival — will benefit more than 60 musical combos and several philanthropic groups in an all-day event Saturday, May 30. The New Cool will highlight several modern jazz acts featured in the festival on KNKX that afternoon.

Abe Beeson

Paris-based pianist and composer Alex Monfort recently reminded me that it's been two years since the release of his excellent trio album Introspection. A little over a year ago, Monfort made his Seattle debut at Tula's. Hear Monfort on The New Cool Saturday, and listen close for a chance to win a copy of the CD.

Photo by Avi Loud

Seattle's The New Triumph released their third album, Night Trip, this week. Like last week's release of the latest from Polyrhythmics, and so many more musicians, the band is hustling to make the best of presenting new music to an isolated world.

Photo by Megan Matheson

It can take several months to make an album, from writing to recording, mastering and all the other behind-the-scenes details. Of all the luck, the new Polyrhythmics album release date, May 8, finally rolled around in the middle of a nationwide pandemic shut down. Now what?

Abe Beeson

One of the most idiosyncratic musicians in jazz, Thelonious Monk is also one of the most popular. KNKX jazz host Abe Beeson is a big fan, but he’s been wondering: just what is it that makes Monk’s music so cool?

Abe Beeson

Livestreaming jazz performances continue to help, in mostly small ways, musicians make ends meet while unable to perform for live audiences. To get an audience these days, you have to go back in time. Snarky Puppy's March 2, 2018, concert at the SF Jazz Center in San Francisco will stream worldwide this Friday at 5 p.m.

Photo used by kind permission of the band.

It's not easy keeping up with the many musical pursuits of Tim Kennedy. The Seattle-based multi-instrumentalist, singer and composer isn't letting pandemic conditions slow him down, either. He's just released TK Special Trio featuring Home Team, created and produced at his place.

Album cover, Ray Larsen's "Songs to Fill the Air," art by Ray Larsen.

Fans of the modern jazz trio Tyrant Lizard know Ray Larsen as the owner of a beautiful trumpet sound and a love of American melodies and the tradition of musical improvisation. His new album continues to ignore musical category, while embracing the new designation as singer/songwriter.

Dylan Hayes artwork, layout by Regan Hagar.

You can hear a current of youthful energy flowing through everything Dylan Hayes plays. His newly released Songs for Rooms and People with his Electric Band really turns up the juice.

Jessica Lurie's packed Bandcamp page is one place to send financial support directly to artists.
Screen shot of jessicalurie.bandcamp.com page

There are myriad ways to support musicians during this extended period of shuttered bars and jazz clubs. All day this Friday, the online musician hub bandcamp.com is rallying their worldwide community to put much needed money directly into artists' pockets.

Marina Albero (right) and friends will stream a live concert from virus-ridden Seattle this Sunday night at 7. Left to Right: Adriana Giordano, Jacqueline Tabor, Chava Mirel
Marina Albero

Successful musicians often need to be creative hustlers to make a living as artists. With the COVID-19 outbreak leading to increasing concert cancellations, those hustling skills are being put to a serious test. One musician, pianist Marina Albero, is experimenting with a new way for musicians to connect with their audience — virtually.

Album cover, High Pulp's Light Fix EP courtesy of the artist.

Saturday night on Capitol Hill, the Seattle funk-jazz fusion group High Pulp performs their latest vocal collaborations EP Light Fix. They'll also plant another flag along their impressive journey to becoming one of the most intriguing improvisational outfits in the Northwest.

Tom Marcello / Flickr Creative Commons

In honor of Black History Month, we are taking a look into the career highlights of African American artists and their contribution to the world of jazz and blues

Charles Mingus is perhaps the jazz world’s most famous bass-playing composer. There are three repertory bands playing his music on a regular basis, and those compositions are still provoking and inspiring musicians and music fans around the world. Abe Beeson highlights his story.

Justin Steyer

As your humble New Cool host, I'm out and about catching live jazz on a regular schedule. In fact, when I miss a show I feel a little guilty. So, while I'm out of town for a couple weeks, do me and yourself a favor. Enjoy some of the fantastic modern jazz concerts, featuring a ton of heavy-hitting drummers, heating up mid-winter in the Northwest.

Terence Blanchard in the KNKX studio in 2015.
Parker Miles Blohm / KNKX

In honor of Black History Month, we are taking a look into the career highlights of African American artists and their contribution to the world of jazz and blues.

Terence Blanchard just won his sixth Grammy for Best Instrumental Composition for his music from the Oscar-nominated Spike Lee film “BlacKkKlansman.” But film music is just one aspect of this amazing artist, as his music continues to evolve.

Photograph by Peter Daniel

Saxophonist Peter Daniel was excited to tell me about a new collaboration with his 45th St Brass band later this month. I heard what he told me, but I didn't quite understand. So we met up in Fremont to get to the bottom of an intriguing new way of hearing and playing music.

The smiles were wide and contagious when Martin Taylor and Frank Vignola returned to the KNKX studios for a guitar duet performance. Regarded as two of the best acoustic guitarists in the world, our studio audience was thrilled to share their intense love of music and joy of playing that came shining through.

Located between the cities of Seattle and Tacoma, Decatur High School in Federal Way is in prime position to soak up all the arts activities on offer. And these teenagers are creating their own art as part of a successful and still-growing jazz program.

Snohomish High School's band program celebrates it's 90th year this year, and the allstar jazz ensemble showed us how talented their musicians are. With saxophonists Kate Olson and Brent Jensen in mentor and instructor roles, it's clear there's some fantastic jazz blowing down from the north.

Photo used by kind permission of the band.

Our New York City-based Northwest neighbors, The Westerlies, return to Seattle for their second annual Westerlies Fest. The brass quartet created the festival to "engage students and audiences in Seattle and give back to the city that raised them." This week, the New Cool previews the festival performances, special guests, and the new Westerlies album, Wherein Lies the Good, released today.

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.

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