School Of Jazz Studio Performance | KNKX

School Of Jazz Studio Performance

The Northwest jazz scene is enhanced by some of the finest high school bands in the country, including Garfield and Roosevelt who are perennial finalists in the national Essentially Ellington Competition. Jazz has a tradition of teaching, learning and sharing and for KNKX, jazz education and performance is vital to the music’s future.

School Of Jazz sponsors include, Integrative Family LawBECUBeacon Plumbing and Half Price Books

Located between the cities of Seattle and Tacoma, Decatur High School in Federal Way is in prime position to soak up all the arts activities on offer. And these teenagers are creating their own art as part of a successful and still-growing jazz program.

Snohomish High School's band program celebrates it's 90th year this year, and the allstar jazz ensemble showed us how talented their musicians are. With saxophonists Kate Olson and Brent Jensen in mentor and instructor roles, it's clear there's some fantastic jazz blowing down from the north.

Adrian Florez

Ingraham High School's jazz program is booming, expanding to include a pair of big bands under the direction of Shane Henderson. With their mentor, saxophonist Peter Daniel, Ingraham's all-star jazz ensemble showed off their passion for this music in the KNKX studios with a trio of classic tunes.

For a third time, KNKX hosted an all-star jazz ensemble from Central Washington University for a studio session performance. The fresh faces of this combo did have some familiarity, with two former School of Jazz high schoolers in the group as well as our friend, saxophonist Mark Taylor, acting as mentor.

Saxophonist Anton Schwartz wished he'd had more time to work with the young jazz combo from Eckstein Middle School. In the KNKX studios, these six young women stepped up and showed Schwartz there was no need to be nervous. These kids can really play.

Eckstein Middle School's stellar reputation for early jazz education comes largely from the director of the school's jazz bands, Moc Escobedo. Last year he was given the Jazz Education Achievement Award from Downbeat Magazine, which noted Mr. Escobedo's "legendary work ethic."

Parker Miles Blohm / KNKX

Jazz musicians are always learning, and thanks to Seattle's nonprofit Jazz Night School program, students ages 10-74 are getting that education. An all-star ensemble mentored by trumpet and sax player Jay Thomas showed us how fun the early stages of learning jazz can be at any age.

Under the direction of Jim Sisko for the past seven years, the jazz program at Bellevue College is emphasizing a more diverse set of musical skills. The well respected big band remains, but students are focusing more on small groups, improvisation, arranging and composition. When Sisko brought an all-star combo from the college into the KNKX studios, he told us that new focus is paying dividends.

Parker Miles Blohm / KNKX

With one of the area's finest trumpet players acting as mentor, the all-star ensemble from Ballard High School's award-winning jazz program proved that these young musicians belong in any conversation about the northwest's finest teenage jazz bands.

Parker Miles Blohm / KNKX

After nearly two decades leading the bands at Timberline High School in Lacey, Cal Anderson knows he has some special players on his hands now. Performing three varied standards in the KNKX studios, these five young men impressed our audience and their mentor, Andy Omdahl.

We were so please to have the Mercer Island High School Combo for a School Of Jazz studio performance. Not only did they play some challenging works – they were also able to let us on their musical influences as well as why they love jazz.  Band teacher Brian Lawrence described how he chose the tunes for the session.  You can catch Dan Marcus preforming with EntreMundos and well as coaching the Seattle Youth Symphony.  

Musicians:

Trumpet: Brennan Tien

Trumpet: Justin Lesko

Alto Saxophone: Cindy Huang

Piano: Harry Brown

Bass: Grady Short

Parker Miles Blohm / KNKX

The all-star jazz ensemble from Monroe High School, calling themselves Kelsey and the Boys, showed their love of jazz in the KNKX studios. The session provided a good reminder that as the Northwest grows, the once-small-town of Monroe is growing an impressive jazz program.

Kenji Wagner plyaing trumpet in the KNKX Seattle stuidos.
Parker Miles Blohm / KNKX

Asked about learning jazz in the red-hot Northwest scene, Interlake High School junior Kenji Wagner told us the best part is sharing jazz with the community of teenage musicians he encounters.

Dylan Hayes
Parker Miles Blohm / KNKX

We first encountered talented pianist Dylan Hayes performing with a trio at Centrum's Jazz Pt. Townsend camp this Summer, and we knew this young man was ready for the KNKX studios.

Hayes is in his final year studying jazz at Cornish College in Seattle, and he brought a fellow student and a few friends in town for a sonic display of his skills as a player, bandleader and composer.

KNKX hosted students of Seattle JazzED's Summer Advanced Institute for a second time in August, and the kids set a new record for largest group to play in our studios.

A total of 29 students split into 3 combos with mentors Riley Mulhelkar (trumpeter with the Westerlies, this Seattle native now lives in New York City), Sammy Miller (New York-based drummer who leads Sammy Miller and the Congregation), and Marina Albero (the Spanish pianist who's thrilled Seattle audiences upon her arrival in 2014).

Parker Miles Blohm / KNKX

It was a fun jazz session with a great group of students, which included two different schools and a variety of age groups.  The energy brought by some of the young lions melded nicely with the older aesthetic.

The first song by Sun Ra titled “El is a Sound of Joy.” Mentor Keyboardist Josh Rawlings was happy to hear the group was already doing the song and encouraged them to “get weirder on it” and to explore the dynamic range and tempo.

Students from Central Washington University and pianist Dawn Clement performed in our Seattle studios for a special School of Jazz performance.

Bassist Domi Edson arranged the first tune, a lively fun rendition of Chick Corea’s “Spain.” She said she has most of her ideas for arrangements at night when trying to fall asleep. It was fun watching Owen Evans, Ryan McKnight and Henry Sparks trading solos on the alto saxophone, tenor saxophone and trombone.

Mountlake Terrace High School
Parker Miles Blohm / KNKX

We welcomed an energetic and skilled high school combo into our studios with Mountlake Terrace.  Band members included leader Ethan Pyke on trombone, Benjamin Leonard on tenor sax, Henry Smith-Hunt on trombone, Gian Neri on guitar, Andrew Vinther on bass, Josh Setala on drums and Dimitrio Neri on piano.  

Courtesy of Tom Collins

 

The KNKX School of Jazz hit the road for a performance at Seattle Pacific University's beautiful Nickerson Studios and we were knocked out by the talented sextet that makes up the S.P.U. Jazz Ensemble.

Guitarist Chase Rabideau told us that S.P.U. is one of the few places you can earn a degree in his chosen field, Music Therapy, right after showing off his beautiful acoustic guitar technique on the Antonio Carlos Jobim song "Look to the Sky."

The students from Tahoma High School in Maple Valley, Wash. performed effortlessly in our studios for their School Of Jazz studio performance. Led by trumpeter and mentor Bobby Medina, the group kicked off their performance with a rendition of “Girl From Ipanema.”

Next, the group performed “Just The Two Of Us” by American singer-songwriter Bill Withers.

The group listed their influences that ranged from their parents to jazz legends. The group finished their performance playing the jazz standard “Killer Joe” composed by Benny Golson. 

School Of Jazz
Parker Miles Blohm / KNKX

They planned it out and executed flawlessly. The teens of drummer Elijah Baradi's Quintet were well prepared for their KNKX School of Jazz studio session. Unlike most groups of a high school age, this talented group from Interlake High in Bellevue played live on 88.5 without an adult mentor. They didn't need one.

Drumming since age 6, Baradi drives a strong rhythm section. The sophomore teams with seniors Mert Selcuk on piano and Kai Wagner at the upright bass, an instrument this electric bass player only recently picked up.

Jim Sisko performs with students from Bothell High School.
Parker Miles Blohm / KNKX

From their perch in the suburbs, just northeast of Seattle, the jazz program at Bothell High School is producing some powerhouse musicians. This all-star ensemble’s performance with mentor Jim Sisko was a bold statement that these teens can keep up with anybody.

The front line horns of Richard Connelley's trombone and Preston Lee's sax have earned valuable experience working with Sisko's big band, and they showed it. Both took daring solos and pushed each song with their enthusiasm.

Parker Miles Blohm / KNKX

Entering our studios to meet the early-arriving all-star jazz combo from Lake Stevens High School, our sessions engineer John Kessler tells me, "This might be the best School of Jazz band yet!" Well, all right!

Tito Rios Viche in the KNKX studios.
Parker Miles Blohm / KNKX

A confident septet of teenagers from the jazz band at the Seattle Academy of Arts & Sciences took over the KNKX studios with their mentor, Steve Treseler featured on sax.

Treseler has a new tribute to trumpeter Kenny Wheeler ready for release in the New Year, but he had to keep his wits about him with this group.

Seattle JazzEd
Parker Miles Blohm / KNKX

Twenty-eight teenagers filled several rooms at KNKX's Seattle studios to perform in 4 groups as a sort of graduation from the Seattle JazzED Summer Advanced Institute. On paper, it looked like disaster... but the kids made it work.

Parker Miles Blohm / KNKX

The energy in the KNKX studios was evident just days from graduation for three of the Shorecrest High School Jazz Band's Allstar quintet. With their mentor, saxophonist Mark Taylor's guidance, the fellows found the groove and wouldn't let go.

Based in Centralia, flugelhorn player and band leader Dmitri Matheny teamed up as a mentor with the Kelso High School all-star jazz combo in the KNKX studios and told us that smaller towns can provide great opportunities for musicians willing to look for them. These teens from the south end of the state made the most of their opportunity to play live on KNKX.

Parker Miles Blohm / KNKX

When the teenage all-stars of Five Feet Up came to play live on 88.5 recently, we were excited to see three old/young friends: Bell Thompson and Margaux Bouchegnies on trumpet and bass had performed in our studios as half of the 10 O'Clock Quartet. Guitarist Julia Tanner had played live on 88.5 with her bandmates from the Melba Liston All-Star Combo.

Parker Miles Blohm

In his fourth visit to the KNKX Studio Sessions, we finally put saxman Anton Schwartz together with one of our School of Jazz all-star combos.

Lynnwood High School was the beneficiary of Anton's mentoring, and his advice to the teenage musicians sounded just as applicable to life: "You gotta be where you are, not where you want to be. By perfecting where you are, you'll get to where you want to go."

Parker Miles Blohm / KNKX

The all-star combo from Juanita High School's jazz band made their studio session on 88.5 with young trumpeter and educator Jared Hall featured on trumpet, and proved they're ready to take their place among the promising teen jazz ensembles around the Northwest.

Parker Miles Blohm / KNKX

Until very recently, Decatur High School in Federal Way didn’t have a jazz combo.  What they had was a full jazz big band.  When knkx put out the call to regional school jazz programs to send us demo tapes so we could select groups for live studio sessions, Decatur’s band director, Jeff Chang, recorded the big band and sent it in. 

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