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

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.

Ear Up Records album cover design for Dream Shanti

Since the late '90s, Jeff Coffin's skills on saxophones have been well featured with Bela Fleck and the Flecktones and the Dave Matthews Band. Fans of the New Cool love his own group, the Jeff Coffin Mu'tet, and now Coffin shares his love of Indian music with a new modern jazz project he calls Dream Shanti.

Parker Miles Blohm / KNKX

“I’m a true believer,” trumpeter Marquis Hill told us. The modern, acoustic sounds of his Blacktet draws inspiration from across the history of jazz. It’s also music of the 21st century, created by young musicians who see a distinct through line that renders genres meaningless. “It’s a continuum,” Hill says. “It’s all connected.”

Marica Ball in the KNKX studios.
Parker Miles Blohm / KNKX

She's a legend of blues piano, but singer-songwriter Marcia Ball is so charming you quickly consider her a good friend. In the KNKX studios, our audience cheered on Ball and her band like they were gathered for a good time on the front porch.


Ernie Watts
Parker Miles Blohm / KNKX

Ernie Watts has built an enviable musical résumé. The sax player was a key member of Charlie Haden's Quartet West, played with the "Tonight Show" band for 20 years, and lent his jazz expertise to the rock music of The Rolling Stones and Frank Zappa's band.

Larry Fuller
Parker Miles Blohm / KNKX

Celebrating his new album Overjoyed, pianist Larry Fuller returned to the KNKX studios to play a few songs and talk about his working trio, his partners on the new album, and feeling good at the piano.

 

Some of the earliest music of America, created by the enslaved Africans and their descendants along the country’s southeastern coast, is getting a fresh makeover by the young musicians of Ranky Tanky. They performed four songs from their hit second album, Good Time, to a loving studio audience here at KNKX that we’re proud to share with you.


Dmitri Matheny Group is amon the many friends of KNKX who have performed at Tula's Restaurant and Jazz Club over the years. The group will perform Aug. 7, about a month before Tula's will close for good.
Parker Miles Blohm / KNKX

September marks the end of an era for Seattle jazz performers and fans: the closure of Tula’s Restaurant and Jazz Club in Seattle’s Belltown neighborhood. It’s a real blow to jazz in Seattle, says Abe Beeson, KNKX’s resident jazz expert and host of The New Cool.

“It’s really been the central headquarters of the Northwest jazz community,” Beeson told Morning Edition host Kirsten Kendrick.

Parker Miles Blohm / KNKX

Since he was a teenager, guitarist Lee Ritenour has been proud to call Dave Grusin his friend. While in Seattle for a stretch of nights at Jazz Alley, Lee and Dave returned to the KNKX studios to play together and for each other.

Parker Miles Blohm / KNKX

With one of the area's finest trumpet players acting as mentor, the all-star ensemble from Ballard High School's award-winning jazz program proved that these young musicians belong in any conversation about the northwest's finest teenage jazz bands.

Will Bernard in the KNKX Seattle studios.
Parker Miles Blohm / KNKX

  

Before starting our studio session with Brooklyn-based guitarist Will Bernard, with Seattle favorites Joe Doria and Tarik Abouzied on organ and drums, I told him most of the interview would focus on "the out-of-towner." Will said, "wait, I'm here all the time!" 

Xavier LeXavier Lecouturier in the KNKX Seattle studios. couturier
Parker Miles Blohm / KNKX

Performing in the KNKX studios, young jazz upstarts Dylan Hayes (keyboards) and Xavier Lecouturier compose intricate jazz with improvisational energy. It's a tricky balancing act that these two Californians continue to refine, made easier by their relatively longtime working relationship.

Parker Miles Blohm / KNKX

After nearly two decades leading the bands at Timberline High School in Lacey, Cal Anderson knows he has some special players on his hands now. Performing three varied standards in the KNKX studios, these five young men impressed our audience and their mentor, Andy Omdahl.

Catherine Russell in the KNKX Studios.
Parker Miles Blohm / KNKX

It seems the timing was just right for Catherine Russell’s third KNKX studio session. Her new album, Alone Together, had risen to the top of the jazz charts. Also, the just-ended fund drive had all of us in the mood to celebrate.

Parker Miles Blohm / KNKX

The all-star jazz ensemble from Monroe High School, calling themselves Kelsey and the Boys, showed their love of jazz in the KNKX studios. The session provided a good reminder that as the Northwest grows, the once-small-town of Monroe is growing an impressive jazz program.

BrandonLee Cierley of 322.
Parker Miles Blohm / KNKX

Saxophonist BrandonLee Cierley has now performed in the KNKX studios four times, the first as a student at PLU with his band director, David Deacon-Joyner in the lead. Now, after a third session with his own band, 322, Cierley is coming into his own as a player and a band leader.

Sinne Eeg
Parker Miles Blohm / KNKX

With her recent debut at Jazz Alley nearly selling out, there’s no doubt that Danish jazz singer Sinne Eeg is gradually growing her fanbase in the United States.

Reid Anderson of The Bad Plus in the KNKX studios.
Parker Miles Blohm / KNKX

After 17 years with pianist Ethan Iverson, Orrin Evans made his Seattle debut with The Bad Plus to sold out shows. Stopping by for a live session at the KNKX studios, it was clear that the moods of bassist Reid Anderson and drummer Dave King had improved for the better, and their playing showed it.

Los Angeles-based Seattle native Sara Gazarek returned to Seattle for a series of performances at Jazz Alley recently, billed as a Seattle-only, new-album preview. 


Wayne Horvitz in the KNKX Seattle studios.
Parker Miles Blohm / KNKX

The perpetually busy pianist, composer, arranger, educator and bandleader Wayne Horvitz brought his recently formed Snowghost Trio to the KNKX studios for a live performance. Added to his piano and the bass-and-drums combo of Geoff Harper and Eric Eagle, Sarah Shoenbeck brought her bassoon to the proceedings for a wonderful selection of music, both beautiful and strange.

Pianist Jonas Myers
Parker Miles Blohm / KNKX

Making a debut appearance in the KNKX studios, the Seattle-based The Walking Hat Trio seemed a little nervous while warming up for their first-ever live broadcast. But once the music started, our audience got an earful of fresh, confident swinging and impressive new music.

Cory Weeds in the KNKX Seattle studios.
Parker Miles Blohm / KNKX

Four of the Northwest's top jazz musicians teamed up to celebrate a new release of sax great Cannonball Adderley's band with concerts around Puget Sound. A delightful addition to the group was the longtime drummer in Adderley's '60s band, the charming Roy McCurdy.

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