KNKX's Virtual Holiday Jam 2020 | KNKX

KNKX's Virtual Holiday Jam 2020

Nov 30, 2020

KNKX presents our first-ever virtual Holiday Jam concert in partnership with Town Hall Seattle on Saturday, December 19 at 7 p.m. PT hosted by Abe Beeson.  The event is free.  REGISTER HERE.

Due to the COVID-19 lockdown in Washington State--and to assure the safety of all event participants--this year’s Holiday Jam will be completely pre-recorded, but you’ll still be able to connect with other KNKX listeners and our team through a live video and comment stream on Crowdcast.

Our annual program of yuletide cheer showcases some of the Northwest’s top professional jazz musicians and jazz students.  While we wish you could enjoy the event in person this year, the KNKX virtual Holiday Jam is the next best thing, bringing this joyful music into your own home.  We’ll kick things off with three videos featuring the acclaimed Roosevelt High School Jazz band under the direction of Scott Brown performing selections from Duke Ellington’s Nutcracker Suite, which are jazz interpretations of Tchaikovsky’s “The Nutcracker” arranged by Billy Strayhorn, and a Roosevelt Jazz holiday tradition.  (The students were recorded playing in their own spaces and through the magic of technology, you’ll see the entire band on screen performing together.)  Our featured musical guest is pianist and vocalist Darrius Willrich, in a solo performance of timeless holiday favorites made famous by Nat King Cole, including "Deck the Halls" and "The Christmas Song."  Abe will talk with Darrius before his set gets underway.  We hope you’ll join us for this KNKX holiday tradition in a different format designed to bring everyone together safely.

And here’s another treat in store: the KNKX Holiday Jam will be rebroadcast on 88.5 KNKX and on Christmas Eve at 7 p.m. PT and on Christmas Day at 2 p.m. PT.  Your support helps make KNKX’s virtual events possible.  Thank you!

Enjoy this Holiday Jam "extra" featuring the Roosevelt Jazz Band performing "Toot Toot Tootie Toot" from Duke Ellington's Nutcracker Suite.



Led by Scott Brown and Dr. Jean-Marie Kent, Roosevelt Jazz is part of the dynamic performing arts department at Roosevelt High School in Seattle, Washington.  The program consists of four instrumental big bands and one vocal jazz group, all supported by the Roosevelt Jazz Booster Club.  The Roosevelt Jazz Band has consistently been a finalist in the annual prestigious Essentially Ellington High School Competition and Festival presented by Jazz at Lincoln Center, and most recently, they won first place in the 2019 under the direction of Scott Brown.  Roosevelt Jazz has participated in the KNKX School of Jazz program since the program's inception in 2005.

Roosevelt Jazz students performing as a part of this year’s Holiday Jam:

Woodwinds--Eli Sullivan, alto saxophone and clarinet (soloist on "Peanut Brittle Brigade"); Sydney Colescott, alto saxophone; Rachel Nolander, alto saxophone; George Fulton, tenor saxophone (soloist on "Peanut Brittle Brigade"); Owen Gwinn, tenor saxophone and clarinet (soloist on "Overture"); Emily Spencer, tenor saxophone (soloist on "Sugar Rum Cherry"); Calvin Rey, baritone saxophone

Trumpets--Colin Brace, Hans Faul (soloist on "Overture"), Javier Gonzalez (soloist on "Peanut Brittle Brigade"), Rei Ichikawa, Sylvie Kromer

Trombones-- Nick Mesler (soloist on "Overture" and composer/arranger of trombone soli), Parker Casazza, Thomas Evans (soloist on "Overture"), Thatcher Sexton (bass trombone)

Rhythm-- Kohl Hébert, piano; Theo Shouse, piano (soloist on "Peanut Brittle Brigade"); Nathan Mesler, vibes (soloist on "Peanut Brittle Brigade"); Maco Dacanay, guitar; Grace Kaste, bass; Anna Thielke, bass (soloist on "Overture"); Alexander Polyakovsky, drums (soloist on "Sugar Rum Cherry" and "Peanut Brittle Brigade")

Scott Brown, director


Darrius Willrich is a singer, songwriter, pianist, and educator from Seattle, WA.  He is a Cornish College of the Arts graduate with a degree in jazz piano.  He is on faculty at Seattle Central College, North Seattle Continuing Education, Seattle JazzED, Off The Wall Music and Seattle Drum School (Lake City) as a piano and vocal instructor.  He is the creator of the Critical Sun Recordings and Critical Sun Publishing. Darrius is currently the keyboard player for Digable Planets. He is a featured vocalist on Wiz Khalifa’s “Rolling Papers 2” and produced South African rapper Nasty C’s song, “Overpriced Steak” along with Jake One and Sam Wish.  “Easy to Forget” is his latest single (2020).