The New Cool | KNKX

The New Cool

Photo by Abe Beeson, album design by Mike Tallman

The new trio W.R.D. is keyboardist Robert Walter, guitarist Eddie Roberts and drummer Adam Deitch. Their debut album, The Hit, on Roberts' Color Red Records was released last week, and you'll hear their gritty, greasy, pulpy grooves this Friday night on the KNKX modern jazz show The New Cool.

Photo by kind permission of the artist.

Guitarist Ari Joshua has been busy, and now the guitarist has begun releasing recordings he's been working on for years. In varied styles and collaborations, Joshua is making his mark as a modern player to watch. New Cool host Abe Beeson spoke to the Seattle-based musician about his vault of new material.

Photo by Chris Davis

Skerik, Charlie Hunter and Stanton Moore present Calm Down Cologne this week, their sixth album as Garage A Trois. It's the first G.A.T. trio album since its 1998 debut, Mysteryfunk, and New Cool host Abe Beeson got some inside information from the Seattle sax icon. The album release livestream concert is Friday night at 6.

Cover artwork by Chris Ball

The New Cool turns our attention to modern jazz-funk from Italy this week, as Les Jeux Sont Funk unveils its new digital single, "Spike Lee," from Color Red Music. Like the famous director-actor-screenwriter, it's soulful and cinematic, and also a new direction for the band.

Screen capture by Kate Olson

Springtime is coming on a lot faster than the end of the pandemic, but there are more signs of artists and audiences reuniting in person in the near future. Making the most of quarantine restrictions, saxophonist Kate Olson presents a circus of sounds with her K.O. Solo project streaming live Friday night.

Photo by Hiroyuki Seo

The KNKX Spring Fund Drive begins Thursday and ends Wednesday, March 31. For fans of our modern jazz show, The New Cool, this spring marks the early weeks of our new time slot. When you listen to the show Friday night from 9 to 11, please contribute what you can to support the show!

Photo by Shahaan Smith

Awards season is here, and Earshot Jazz's Golden Ear Awards return - virtually, of course - with a look back at bright moments from a difficult year in the Northwest jazz scene. The New Cool will feature a few on this week's show, as voting concludes Monday, March 1.

Digital single artwork by Peter Daniel

The busy bees of Seattle-area jazz keep producing honey-sweet new music in difficult pandemic times. The members of 45th St Brass band are the latest, with a pair of tasty tunes out now showing off their unique modern take on the brass band tradition. They'll celebrate the single with a live-streamed release show Thursday night.

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.

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.

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 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, 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.

Abe Beeson

This Saturday afternoon on The New Cool, you'll hear a few of the show's favorite albums of 2019. Snarky Puppy, Julian Lage, Theo Croker, Jeff Coffin's Dream Shanti all released terrific modern jazz this year. We'll also celebrate excellent new albums from Tacoma's Velocity and Seattle's Barrett Martin Group.

Abe Beeson

In another example of a group that doesn't quite satisfy strict definitions of jazz, the Australian band Hiatus Koiyote is making their own kind of music. Their blend of modern soul, electronica, popfunk and — yes — modern jazz is a big influence on how this music evolves in the new century.