The New Cool | KNKX

The New Cool

Friday 9PM-11PM
  • Hosted by Abe Beeson

The New Cool — 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.

The New Cool is hosted by Abe Beeson and produced by KNKX Public Radio in Seattle, Wash.  

Cover artwork by Chris Ball

The New Cool turns our attention to modern jazz-funk from Italy this week, as Les Jeux Sont Funk unveils its new digital single, "Spike Lee," from Color Red Music. Like the famous director-actor-screenwriter, it's soulful and cinematic, and also a new direction for the band.

Screen capture by Kate Olson

Springtime is coming on a lot faster than the end of the pandemic, but there are more signs of artists and audiences reuniting in person in the near future. Making the most of quarantine restrictions, saxophonist Kate Olson presents a circus of sounds with her K.O. Solo project streaming live Friday night.

Photo by Hiroyuki Seo

The KNKX Spring Fund Drive begins Thursday and ends Wednesday, March 31. For fans of our modern jazz show, The New Cool, this spring marks the early weeks of our new time slot. When you listen to the show Friday night from 9 to 11, please contribute what you can to support the show!

Don Emmert/AFP via Getty Images

The waning months of the pandemic are still keeping stages empty of live jazz, but a terrific string of new releases have certainly helped fans stay sane. A streaming edition of the Grammy Awards Sunday night will celebrate new music, and The New Cool highlights a few modern jazz favorites Friday night on KNKX.

Album cover photography by Todd Cooper

Keyboardist, songwriter, bandleader and producer Robert Glasper formed R+R=Now to answer Nina Simone's message that an artist's duty is "to reflect the times." Glasper adds, "When you reflect what's going on in your time and respond to that, you can't not be relevant. So 'R' plus 'R' equals 'Now.' "

Photo by Lauren Desberg

Pronounced like beige, the vocal quartet säje is anything but bland. Sara Gazarek, Amanda Taylor, Johnaye Kendrick and Erin Bentlage formed the group in 2019 and are forging a new path and taking the vocal jazz ensemble into the 21st century. KNKX jazz host Abe Beeson spoke with the talented women about their unique style and the excitement of being nominated for a Grammy Award.

Photo by Shahaan Smith

Awards season is here, and Earshot Jazz's Golden Ear Awards return - virtually, of course - with a look back at bright moments from a difficult year in the Northwest jazz scene. The New Cool will feature a few on this week's show, as voting concludes Monday, March 1.

Digital single artwork by Peter Daniel

The busy bees of Seattle-area jazz keep producing honey-sweet new music in difficult pandemic times. The members of 45th St Brass band are the latest, with a pair of tasty tunes out now showing off their unique modern take on the brass band tradition. They'll celebrate the single with a live-streamed release show Thursday night.

Cover photography by Patrick Sansone

When my favorite musicians talk like fans, I listen. So I perked up when "saxophonics" icon Skerik wrote to me, "Nels (Cline) is such a force and he wrote some amazing music for this record, it's really special and I want everyone to hear it and support him. Thank you."

He's right, and you'll hear Nels Cline with Skerik on Friday's New Cool.

Meridian Odyssey: (l-r) Martin Budde, Santosh Sharma, Xavier Lecouturier, Dylan Hayes, Ben Feldman
Anna Yatskevich

If you've been following the Seattle jazz scene, no doubt you know a few of the musicians calling themselves Meridian Odyssey. They've played as sidemen with many of the city's top players and spent hours working together in each others' bands. Despite and because of the pandemic, the quintet of friends found room to collaborate in socially distanced Alaska, resulting in a great new album.

Cover photo by Leroi Conroy.

Friday brings new albums from two ends of the modern jazz spectrum. The Delvon Lamarr Organ Trio's groovy sophomore album, I Told You So, is packed with red-hot soul jazz, while the brass quartet The Westerlies joins forces with singer Theo Bleckmann on This Land, a collection of political songs inspired by modern times. Catch a song from both on The New Cool Friday night.

Photo by Deneka Peniston

The harp is a rare instrument in jazz, so everything the talented harpist Brandee Younger plays feels brand new. During the pandemic lockdown, Younger and talented bassist Dezron Douglas turned their New York City apartment into a space for healing and creating jazz both timeless and cutting edge.

Really cool black & white band photo by Janine Chiorazzi..

Seattle's premier soul jazz ensemble has released a new single, "Sunday Afternoon," moving its world-class horns to the front of the band's powerful rhythm section engine. Tune in for Friday night's New Cool to hear The True Loves' hip soundscape for relaxing and recharging for a new week, or a new year.

Photo by Abe Beeson

The new year has finally arrived, and everyone's is looking forward to gradually moving past the pandemic and returning to some version of normal. The New Cool is beginning a new normal Friday night. After four years, we're taking our modern jazz show from Saturday afternoons to Friday nights at 9 on KNKX. It's part of a brand new expanded jazz lineup that's sure to get your weekend started right.

Graphic design is by Pop Wonder Design, Portland, OR

It's nearly over, the shut-down-pandemic slog of 2020. The vaccine "light" at the end of the tunnel is still some ways away, and it will take a lot of work to return to some sort of normal next year. Thankfully, I believe jazz musicians are more than ready to do their part. Portland's Trio Subtonic offers the final word on the year past, and suggests better days ahead with their new single, "Coda."

Photograph by courtesy of the artist.

I've always been a fan of jazz puns — from album titles (Lee Morgan's "Lee-Way") to song titles (Dizzy Gillespie's "Dizzy Atmosphere"). They might be a little corny but I just love them. So, when an email from a new Seattle quartet calling themselves Al Hemiola arrived, I was more than a little interested.

Photo by Abe Beeson

This year will be one none of us forget. But while 2020 has earned its rotten reputation in many aspects, fans of The New Cool can at least celebrate some fantastic modern jazz albums. We'll recall several on this week's show, including many fantastic records from Seattle artists.

Photo courtesy of Lune Studio

Seattle's Duende Libre unveiled their new album The Dance She Spoke this summer. This time around, the group's pan-global musical influences have expanded to include West African rhythms. In the process, the band is becoming a more fully realized product of their own unique style.

Photo by Abe Beeson

Saxophonist Kamasi Washington, keys player/producer Robert Glasper, multi-instrumentalist/producer Terrace Martin and DJ/producer 9th Wonder (Patrick Douthit) comrpise the all-star lineup known as Dinner Party. Their self-titled album was released digitally in July, but with the recent vinyl issue a couple weeks ago, fans can finally take this Dinner Party home.

When The Beatles battle The Rolling Stones in modern jazz covers, everybody wins.
Abe Beeson / KNKX

It's a musical battle that's been argued for more than 50 years: who's better, The Beatles or The Rolling Stones? Happily, there are only winners in this battle. This week on The New Cool, you'll hear two modern jazz pianists submit their takes on these two titans of the British Invasion of the 1960s.

Trombonists J.J. Johnson and Kai Winding's ultra-rare 1970 album with Herbie Hancock and Bob James returns for Record Store Day.
Album cover courtesy of CTI Records

The pandemic-era Record Store Day celebrations return for a third time in socially distanced ways Saturday, Oct. 24. Reissues and first-time-vinyl releases from icons like Miles Davis, Dexter Gordon and Charles Mingus are great reasons to support your favorite independent record store.

Album cover design by Frank Vitolo

While the opportunities for live music have been locked down for eight months and counting, a number of fantastic new releases have done the heavy lifting of keeping up the spirits of music fans. Seattle's Bad News Botanists have just released a new album, offering modern jazz therapy for disheartening times.

He's a true friend of the station, and drummer Barrett Martin is donating copies of his latest CD to encourage your support of The New Cool.
Video image by Parker Miles Blohm

The KNKX fall pledge drive begins this Monday and ends Friday, meaning The New Cool will be uninterrupted this season. We'll celebrate by offering copies of the latest Barrett Martin Group album to listeners who chip in to support KNKX's modern jazz show before the drive begins.

Photograph by Koichi Miyagami

I learned early in my radio career, there aren't enough hours in the day to hear all the new music. So, listening to fellow listeners can be tremendously helpful. It was an email from a New Cool fan that introduced me to Toconoma, and I'm delighted to share them with you.

Album cover courtesy of First World Records

Brooklyn-based trumpeter and composer Takuya Kuroda is adding the title of beat maker to his resume, finding inspiration in the production chair on his new album Fly Moon Die Soon. Born as a solo bedroom production project, later adding live musicians, the new album is a logical next step for the talented Kuroda.

Photo credit: Adama Jalloh

English saxophonist Nubya Garcia (pronounced nuh-BI-ya) is one of the key players on the exploding London jazz scene. Already possessing her own powerful personality on sax, Garcia celebrates the full range of her influences on her new album, Source. This forward looking album has a strong connection to the past.

Socially distanced trio Rae, masked at The Royal Room, left to right: Ronan Delisle, Abbey Blackwell, Evan Woodle.
Photo by Haley Freedlund

Seattle bassist Abbey Blackwell may not know how exactly to describe the music of her new trio Rae, with guitarist Ronan Delisle and drummer Evan Woodle. But she knows what it is. Blackwell says "it's just about listening, it's just about groove, it's just about how it feels, really. That is what makes music, music to me. That's what makes it fun."

Young saxophonist BrandonLee Cierley steps up his game in jazz and hip-hop.
Photograph by Kyana Harris.

His Tacoma-based modern jazz band 322 became a favorite of New Cool fans since their beginnings as college kids at PLU. Five years later, the band's leader, saxophonist BrandonLee Cierley, moves in a new direction with his new release of jazz-meets-hip-hop, Here Comes a New Challenger.

Instrumental scene setters and mood music — the next generation.
ATA Records album cover, Neil Innes and Pete Williams

Originally created for commercial use, hidden gems in music libraries have inspired a new generation of musicians producing their own versions of these odd but ubiquitous musical interludes. Among them are the Englishmen of ATA Records, and you’ll hear their new-but-retro creation Saturday on The New Cool.

Photo by Cat Cassidy (@seriesoflight)

Greg Kramer has worked with some of the brightest musical stars of the Northwest. With his debut EP released this week, Kramer steps forward on his own, presenting three songs of sweet summer soul cleverly mixed with hip-hop, funk and big band jazz. The original music on Tell Me deserves attention.

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