Guest Student DJ Adam Zacharia: Jazz Is Collaborative Independence | KNKX

Guest Student DJ Adam Zacharia: Jazz Is Collaborative Independence

Dec 2, 2015

Note: Each month, KPLU invites a teen guest DJ to play his or her favorite pieces on the air. The program is part of KPLU's School of Jazz.

Adam Zacharia from Meadowdale High School is the Student DJ for the month of December. Adam's hour aired from 8-9 p.m. on December 3.

To get to know him better we asked Adam to answer a few questions about jazz:

Which instrument do you play and why?

My primary instrument is tenor saxophone, but I also play soprano, alto, clarinet, and piano. I was drawn to the saxophone because of how many different sounds you can get out of the single instrument. I’m a fan of every style of playing from Ben Webster to Michael Brecker, and my favorite part of being a sax player is having so much freedom in deciding what I want to sound like.

What’s your all-time favorite jazz piece and why?

My absolute favorite piece is “School Boy” by Wynton Marsalis, off his album "He and She". I love this piece because of how incredible the interplay is between each musician. Hearing the way that Dan Nimmer supports the horns, and how Walter Blanding and Marsalis fit their lines together, always inspires me to listen and respond more when I’m playing in combos. I first heard this song when I was 12 years old, and since then I’ve listened to it hundreds of times; I know every chord, every note, every beat of the piece, but I never get tired of hearing it.

Who’s your jazz hero and why?

My jazz hero is without a doubt Dexter Gordon. His sound is warm and compelling, his phrasing is excellent, and his ballads in particular always blow me away. Even though he has inspired a lot of other players to mimic his technique, Gordon’s playing always stands out from the crowd.

What is jazz, exactly? How would you explain it?

That’s really the question, isn’t it? I’ve heard so many people argue over what qualifies as jazz and what doesn’t, but I’ve never heard any single description that completely sums it up. Improvisation is central to jazz, but there’s more to it than that. Bach and Mozart and Schubert were all incredibly talented improvisers, no doubt just as skilled as Basie and Monk and Shorter, but nobody would define their music as jazz. In lieu of a better answer, I’ll say this: jazz is collaborative independence. Each musician involved has his own focus, his own part, but it’s also the role of each person to listen and respond to what other musicians do. Jazz is a lot of people with a lot of different ideas, trying to come together and make one single, unique moment.

Adam's Playlist:

  1. “BLOOD COUNT” DUKE ELLINGTON (And His Mother Called Him Bill)
  2. “GUESS I’LL HANG MY TEARS OUT TO DRY” DEXTER GORDON (Go!)
  3. “SMASH” AVISHAI COHEN (Continuo)​​
  4. “CAN A GOOD THING LAST FOREVER?” JOSHUA REDMAN (Elastic)
  5. “INTERLUDE (A Night In Tunisia)” JAMIE CULLUM (Interlude)
  6. “HYMN TO FREEDOM” OSCAR PETERSON (Night Train)
  7. “SCHOOL BOY” WYNTON MARSALIS (He And She)
  8. “THREE TO GET READY” DAVE BRUBECK (Time Out)
  9. “SOME PLACES ARE FOREVER AFTERNOON” WAYNE HORVITZ (Some Places Are Forever Afternoon)
  10. “IN A SENTIMENTAL MOOD” D.ELLINGTON & J.COLTRANE (Duke Ellington & John Coltrane)