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Tim Kennedy And The Cool Kids Of Northwest Jazz

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Parker Miles Blohm
/
KNKX

Tim Kennedy is one of the shining stars of the current Northwest jazz scene, and jazz is just the beginning. You’ll find him playing classic rock in the group Hot Rod, electric keys in the modern jazz trio Gravity, doing solo gigs as pianist, guitarist and/or singer, and often embracing electronic dance music as his alter ego Richie Aldente.

He’s also on electric keys alongside organist Joe Doria in one of Seattle’s hottest young groups, The Happy Orchestra, and featured two of those players – the group’s leader, drummer Tarik Abouzied and trumpeter Thomas Marriott – along with Art Brown’s sax and in-demand bassist Evan Flory-Barnes for a session of his own compositions that enthralled our studio session audience.

Kennedy considers himself a songwriter first, and finds more opportunities by playing as much music with as many players as he can. The result is a player and composer who thinks more about each song than about any preconceived ideas of what jazz should be.

A nominee for this year’s Golden Ear Award for NW Jazz Instrumentalist of the Year at this year’s Earshot Awards, Kennedy says that after spending the '90s playing with top talent in New York City (the jazz center of the universe), these days it’s Seattle that’s providing the musicians and musical diversity he loves. With plans for a new album with this group later this year, the Northwest should thank our lucky stars he’s building his vast catalog in our backyard.

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The Band

Tim Kennedy (piano), Evan Flory-Barnes (bass), Tarik Abouzied (drums), Thomas Marriott (trumpet) and Art Brown (saxophone)

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Abe grew up in Western Washington, a 3rd generation Seattle/Tacoma kid. It was as a student at Pacific Lutheran University that Abe landed his first job at KNKX, editing and producing audio for news stories. It was a Christmas Day shift no one else wanted that gave Abe his first on-air experience which led to overnights, then Saturday afternoons, and started hosting Evening Jazz in 1998.
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