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

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.

Jacob Zimmerman in the KNKX Seattle studios.
Parker Miles Blohm / KNKX

On both saxophone and clarinet, Jacob Zimmerman is a versatile musician working with various bands around Puget Sound. For his own group, this master of creative swinging jazz focuses on the remarkable transition from big-band swing to small group bebop in the 1940s.

Alex Monfort
Parker Miles Blohm / KNKX

How does a talented young jazz pianist find himself in the upper left corner of the United States? Well, it's a funny story from both sides of the Atlantic.

Kenji Wagner plyaing trumpet in the KNKX Seattle stuidos.
Parker Miles Blohm / KNKX

Asked about learning jazz in the red-hot Northwest scene, Interlake High School junior Kenji Wagner told us the best part is sharing jazz with the community of teenage musicians he encounters.

Raymond Larsen of Tyrant Lizard in the KNKX Seattle Studios.
Parker Miles Blohm / KNKX

With bassist Carmen Rothwell and guitarist Gregg Belisle-Chi settling into New York City in the past couple of years, trumpeter Raymond Larsen keeps them coming back to Seattle. It had been two years since their last performance in the Northwest, but their musical development shows on their new album "Story Time."

Delvon Lamarr in the KNKX Seattle Studios.
Courtesy of Tom Collins

One of Seattle's most beloved organ players, Delvon Lamarr and his wife/manager Amy Novo are moving to Austin, Texas, in the new year. They close this chapter with New Year's Eve shows at the Triple Door, and stopped by the KNKX studios to share a few musical pages of the chapters to come.


Alex Chadsey of Duende Libre in the KNKX Seattle studios.
Parker Miles Blohm / KNKX

While recording two albums as a trio (mostly), Seattle's Duende Libre has worked with singers Chava Mirel and Frank Anderson in live settings almost since the group's founding. In a recent visit to the KNKX studios, Mirel and Anderson truly felt like integral members of the band.

Emmet Cohen in the KNKX Studios.
Parker Miles Blohm / KNKX

There are 100 years of jazz recordings, most available a click away. Emmet Cohen says he wants to make music that honors all of it.

Cohen is two albums into his Masters Legacy Series. The first featured legendary drummer Jimmy Cobb, the second with bass icon Ron Carter. Future releases include Cohen's work with jazz giants Benny Golson, Tootie Heath and George Coleman.

When our friend Anton Schwartz came into our studios to lead his sextet of Seattle all-stars, it was an opportunity to see the saxman in the spotlight after his sideman work in a series of live collaborations on KNKX.

Chad McCullough
Parker Miles Blohm / KNKX

A quartet split between American and Belgian musicians, it's strangely logical that trumpeter Chad McCullough and pianist Bram Weijters first met in Banff, Canada about a decade ago. It's been a long-distance relationship made in heaven ever since.

Both co-leaders say the collaborations have many side benefits beyond their music. They're able to coordinate tours of the US and Europe with an adopted home base, and they can market their music from two locations as well.

Jazzmeia Horn in the KNKX Seattle Studios.
Parker Miles Blohm / KNKX

I like to fantasize about using a time machine to catch early concerts by jazz legends of the past. Every once in a while, a young talent emerges that has me searching their crowd for curious time-traveling jazz fans from the future. Jazzmeia Horn is certainly worthy of such a trip.

Christian Sands in the KNKX Studios.
Parker Miles Blohm / KNKX

Talking before our live session with pianist Christian Sands and his trio, I told him his former boss, bassist Christian McBride, formed his New Jawn without a pianist because Sands is irreplaceable. He laughed out loud and said, "I like the way you think!" After hearing his phenomenal trio in our Seattle studios, that idea may not be so farfetched.

Kelsey Mines of SmackTalk in the KNKX Seattle studios.
Parker Miles Blohm / KNKX

The two-sax quintet SmackTalk is well trained for jazz, but their music is more than that. Much more.

Performing live in the KNKX studios, the band’s energy, and a good deal of their sound was reminiscent of the indie rock that filled nightclubs in Seattle 20 years ago, filtered through cool modern jazz swagger.

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