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Piano star Jahari Stampley rocks and inspires in KNKX session

The excitement level was high as pianist Jahari Stampley opened his session in the KNKX Studio X, and it came from the audience as well as Stampley himself.

"Oh my God," he exclaimed as his trio brought his energetic and demanding tune "Unlimited" to a close. Then he called out his bandmates, drummer Miguel Russell and his mother D'Erania Stampley who was busy switching from saxophone to keyboards to the upright bass.

Her son beamed with pride throughout the performance, bragging that "she learned bass eight months ago, and she just got her pilot's license!"

A multi-talented, multi-instrumentalist, D'Erania has also been nominated for multiple Grammy awards. Jahari obviously wasn't exaggerating with his compliments, but it's the 24-year-old pianist who's been in the jazz world's spotlight recently.

Jahari won the prestigious Herbie Hancock Institute of Jazz piano competition last year and in December was named the "Chicagoans of the Year in Jazz" by the Chicago Tribune. Most exciting, though, was the release of his debut album Still Listening.

Joining host Abe Beeson in a post-performance interview were four students of the KNKX School of Jazz: Stephen Filippov, a pianist at Decatur High School; Miles Wieland, a pianist from Bainbridge High School; and two students from Lynnwood High School, saxophonist Tryston Gronning and trumpeter Jaeden Rubio.

Filippov and Wieland had previously recorded KNKX studio sessions with their school ensembles and Rubio will host a guest DJ show later this spring.

The students talked with Jahari about what inspired him to switch from drums to creating music on piano, which cultures outside of American jazz influence his music, and the most important universal lesson he could share about learning music.

"I think it's important to learn how to master your technique in a way that allows you to be comfortable," Jahari advised. "You don't want to injure yourself playing, you want to prolong your playing."

Jahari's playing in this exclusive performance was passionate, dynamic and filled with the youthful energy of the pianist and his favorite drummer. Russell's explosive electronic-beat-meets-progressive-jazz-rock style had the studio audience and his bandleader rising to their feet with excitement.

Enjoy this striking, flowing set of music from Jahari Stampley's trio and the charming conversation he shared with our School of Jazz friends.

Musicians:

  • Jahari Stampley - piano, keyboards, pedal bass, vocals
  • D'Erania Stampley - saxophone, bass, keyboard
  • Miguel Russell - drums

Songs:

  1. Prelude Entrance
  2. Unlimited
  3. Power
  4. Still Listening
  5. To Be with You Again
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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