This Saturday, KNKX presents the 100th episode of The New Cool. This weekly two-hour adventure through the world of cutting edge modern jazz was inspired and informed by our listeners, and wouldn't be here without your support. THANKS! We'll celebrate with more new releases, exclusive studio session performances, and a few of the world-class musicians in our own backyard who continue to make this music their own.
On the "new" list, the show kicks off with music from the red-hot London jazz scene. Kamaal Williams is a keyboard player, drummer and producer who emerged from English hip hop and 90s acid jazz scene. Expert in eclectic electronic landscapes, Williams new album The Return marks his debut as a bandleader and adds another chapter to London's patchwork of new jazz, soul and electro styles. Dig the loose, funky groove of "High Roller", a keyboard trio sound not too far removed from Herbie Hancock's 70s moods.
The New York trio dustlights are equally atmospheric, but trading keyboards for a saxophone sound tweaked by effects. Their debut album In a Stillness evokes a long road trip into a desolate world. Joe Wilson's spooky cool saxophone is propelled by acoustic bass and drums that suggest more than demand the direction of the music. "Night Tide" is a perfect example of the dustlights sound. As the band says, it's great for headphone listening or blasting out the car speakers "while driving toward a volcano on the last day of earth."
Swedish group Tall Tales, a musical collective led by multi-instrumentalist Arvid Ingberg, put out a fun and funky single this Summer that I'm thrilled to play for you this week. Inspired by a love of pop music, funk and modern jazz, Tall Tales make music with the subtle twists and turns of a well-told short story. "Have You Ever Traded All Your Gold for Money?" sets up a bouncy groove, then drops into a meditative break with Inberg's trumpet in echoes, then punching up the tempo. The song then slows back into a "sunken place" of dubby effects before returning to poppy funk a la Vulfpeck. Make up your own tall tale to go with this music, and check out their video!
Also on New Cool #100, a heaping helping of the musicians around Puget Sound who have talent and passion I'd match against any region in the world. On any night in Seattle and surrounding areas, you can see these world class players in a variety of settings, often for free. They're exploring the endless possibilities of standards and modern pop, while creating compelling new music.
Because of the cross-pollination of musicians' abilities to play with just about any group in town, they keep pushing each other to greater heights. They're great and only getting better! My point: get out and support these musicians by seeing them play live, you won't regret it.
On The New Cool this week, you'll hear the pastoral beauty of Hunter Gather, Tim Kennedy's grimy eclectric keys trio Gravity, an unreleased Industrial Revelation song performed live on 88.5. My hero, Skerik, is also featured in a studio session with Omaha Diner for a wild Beyoncé cover. His pals in McTuff, organist Joe Doria, guitarist Andy Coe, and drummer D'Vonne Lewis, honor Prince with a beautiful cover of his song "The Beautiful Ones" from the iconic Purple Rain album.
It's a great time to be a jazz fan, especially here in the Pacific Northwest. Thanks SO much for listening, and for your continued support of these musicians and the radio station that plays their music. Now is the time to take the next step, make a generous donation to KNKX here and support The New Cool. Thank you!!
The New Cool airs Saturdays from 3 to 5pm, hosted by Abe Beeson and produced by KNKX Public Radio in Seattle, Wash.