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Drummer Willie Jones III sets the pace for a lively KNKX Studio Session

Willie Jones III is a top-tier drummer who has spent more than 30 years dedicated to the timeless jazz art form. Surrounded by an ensemble of talented musicians from multiple generations, Jones brought forth a dynamic session at KNKX's Seattle Studios. He was in Seattle for a pair of shows at Dimitrou's Jazz Alley.

Jones and the other veteran players of the group, Gerald Cannon on bass andJustin Robinson on saxophone, have known each other for more than 20 years. This includes their time together in the band of legendary trumpeter Roy Hargrove. They were joined by vocalist Christie Dashiell, Sam Hirsh on piano, and trumpeter Giveton Gelin rounding out the sextet.

One of Jones' landmark qualities is his commitment to independence and control of his own musical destiny.

Since 2000, he has released his music, and music from his peers, on his record label WJ3 Records. Jones told the studio audience that his commitment to this kind of independence was instilled in him by jazz legend Billy Higgins. WJ3 Records has released music from some of this generation's most gifted players including Cyrus Chestnut, Jacques Lesure, Eric Reed, and Justin Robinson.

Jones’ most recent album as a leader, 2021's Fallen Heroes, honors his friends and mentors who have passed away from the physical world. The album features songs for Roy Hargrove, Larry Willis, Jimmy Heath and Ndugu Chancler.

Musicians:

  • Willie Jones III - drums
  • Christie Dashiell - vocals
  • Justin Robinson - saxophone
  • Giveton Gelin - trumpet
  • Sam Hirsch - piano
  • Gerald Cannon - bass

Songs:

  1. Libra (Gary Bartz)
  2. But Not for Me (Gershwin brothers)
  3. Bye Bye Blackbird (Henderson/Dixon)
Justus arrived from KBEM FM Jazz 88.5 in Minneapolis, and the Association of Minnesota Public Educational Radio Stations (AMPERS), in the fall of 2023. For nine years he held many roles including Jazz Host and Production Director, producing a variety of programming highlighting new jazz artists, indigenous voices, veterans, history and beyond.
Abe grew up in Western Washington, a third 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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