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Snohomish High quartet Jazz Illusion at the KNKX studios

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Following a septet performance nearly three years ago, an experienced quartet called Jazz Illusion from Snohomish High School arrived in the KNKX studios with confidence – and a little holiday cheer.

Led by alto saxophonist Anna McPherson, a previous School of Jazz guest DJ, pianist Nate Fodge and drummer Evan Sewell were members of the previous band. Bassist Tom Kuyper completed the quartet. Instructor and mentor Brent Jensen was also in the studios, but remained a spectator as this group needed no guest star.

McPherson organized this group of three Snohomish High seniors and recent graduate Sewell, who is now in the robust jazz program at Edmonds Community College. The band debuted at Folklife this spring, and McPherson has also recorded an album. She's planning a future as a music teacher to inspire the next generation of jazz lovers.

Next year, Fodge and Kuyper will both be playing jazz as students at Central Washington University. The pianist said McPherson's leadership helped further his passion for jazz. Kuyper plans to audition for three different bands at CWU and admitted he may run out of hours in the day pursuing music.

Jazz Illusion swung through Joe Henderson's Latin-tinged classic "Recorda Me" bookended by solo drumming from Sewell. Getting seasonal inspiration, they followed with a lovely version of "Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas" before closing strong with Charlie Parker's bebop favorite "Au Privave."

Jensen said there are other talented young musicians preparing for their time in the spotlight in the Snohomish High jazz band. This year, though, these four young adults are having a moment. The Snohomish Jazz Illusion is the real deal, just listen.

Musicians:

  • Anna McPherson - alto saxophone
  • Nate Fodge - piano
  • Evan Sewell - drums
  • Tom Kuyper - bass

Songs:

  1. Recorda Me
  2. Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas
  3. Au Privave
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.