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

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.

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.

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