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.  

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.

They Greyboy Allstars release "Como de Allstars" Friday. (Left to right: Robert Walter, Elgin Park, Karl Denson, Aaron Redfield, Chris Stillwell)
Photograph by Robbie Jeffers

With their first new album in seven years, The Greyboy Allstars join forces once again to get you moving this holiday weekend. I spoke with the Allstars' guitarist, singer and songwriter Elgin Park about their latest release, their eventual return to touring, and reclaiming the boogaloo.

Abe Beeson

Organist Wil Blades was in Seattle for one of the last jazz concerts before the pandemic shutdown closed the clubs. He joined saxophonist Skerik and legendary drummer Mike Clark at The Royal Room on Feb. 28.

Two weeks later, the club was closed until further notice. To help ease the pain, get a full dose of Vitamin B3 from Blades’ Hammond organ (and clavinet and synthesizers) streaming live into your home Saturday night.

More than 60 bands around the world collaborate for a massive online festival Saturday.
The festival lineup from

Quarantine Comes Alive — a streaming, online music festival — will benefit more than 60 musical combos and several philanthropic groups in an all-day event Saturday, May 30. The New Cool will highlight several modern jazz acts featured in the festival on KNKX that afternoon.

Abe Beeson

Paris-based pianist and composer Alex Monfort recently reminded me that it's been two years since the release of his excellent trio album Introspection. A little over a year ago, Monfort made his Seattle debut at Tula's. Hear Monfort on The New Cool Saturday, and listen close for a chance to win a copy of the CD.

Photo by Avi Loud

Seattle's The New Triumph released their third album, Night Trip, this week. Like last week's release of the latest from Polyrhythmics, and so many more musicians, the band is hustling to make the best of presenting new music to an isolated world.

Photo by Megan Matheson

It can take several months to make an album, from writing to recording, mastering and all the other behind-the-scenes details. Of all the luck, the new Polyrhythmics album release date, May 8, finally rolled around in the middle of a nationwide pandemic shut down. Now what?

Abe Beeson

Livestreaming jazz performances continue to help, in mostly small ways, musicians make ends meet while unable to perform for live audiences. To get an audience these days, you have to go back in time. Snarky Puppy's March 2, 2018, concert at the SF Jazz Center in San Francisco will stream worldwide this Friday at 5 p.m.

Photo used by kind permission of the band.

It's not easy keeping up with the many musical pursuits of Tim Kennedy. The Seattle-based multi-instrumentalist, singer and composer isn't letting pandemic conditions slow him down, either. He's just released TK Special Trio featuring Home Team, created and produced at his place.

Album cover, Ray Larsen's "Songs to Fill the Air," art by Ray Larsen.

Fans of the modern jazz trio Tyrant Lizard know Ray Larsen as the owner of a beautiful trumpet sound and a love of American melodies and the tradition of musical improvisation. His new album continues to ignore musical category, while embracing the new designation as singer/songwriter.

Dylan Hayes artwork, layout by Regan Hagar.

You can hear a current of youthful energy flowing through everything Dylan Hayes plays. His newly released Songs for Rooms and People with his Electric Band really turns up the juice.

Album cover, High Pulp's Light Fix EP courtesy of the artist.

Saturday night on Capitol Hill, the Seattle funk-jazz fusion group High Pulp performs their latest vocal collaborations EP Light Fix. They'll also plant another flag along their impressive journey to becoming one of the most intriguing improvisational outfits in the Northwest.