Guest Student DJ Rose Reed: Jazz Requires Mastery But Not Perfection

Jun 2, 2016

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.

Rose Reed from Kent-Meridian High School is the Student DJ for the month of June. Rose's hour aired from 8 to 9 p.m. on June 2.

To get to know her better, we asked Rose to answer a few questions about jazz:

Which instrument do you play and why?

In wind ensemble, I play the bass clarinet, and in jazz band, I play the baritone saxophone. The main reason why I play the bari sax and love it so much is because it can create a unique, warm and powerful tone in its lower octave but can also produce a lighter tone in its higher octaves that sounds just as nice. It has a very specific and distinctive sound that I fall in love with every time I hear it.

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

Choosing a favorite jazz piece is difficult because there are so many incredible jazz pieces of all different styles, but in terms of picking a favorite piece I am torn between “Moanin” from the Mingus band and “Boplicity” by Miles Davis. “Moanin” is a lively chart featuring the baritone saxophone and is one of those charts that is impossible for me to listen to without smiling, it never gets old and it’s full of power. “Boplicity” is a slower piece compared to “Moanin” and although when one looks at the written music it may look easy, it’s really not; the solos and melody are still complex in the sense that they require the perfect amount of swing, style and feel, all aspects that work together to create to a very smooth and laid back vibe.

Who’s your jazz hero and why?

My jazz hero is Duke Ellington. Although many people would name a musician who shared the same primary instrument as themselves and although I have many jazz heroes who play various instruments including the bari sax, Duke Ellington is indisputably one of the most eminent and influential jazz composers and geniuses of all time, who even has a jazz festival in New York named after him that is solely dedicated to his compositions. He composed hundreds of classics that have been played by musicians as young as middle school jazz band students and as experienced as professional jazz musicians and his pieces are full of energy, style and emotion.

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

Jazz is a genre of music, encompassing various types’ styles, with a very loose, free and improvised feel and format. It’s a style that allows one room to express themselves in an accepting environment and a style that requires mastery but not perfection. It’s about being in the moment, swinging, and, as Dave Brubeck put it, is “the voice of freedom”.

Rose's Playlist:

  1. “DR. NO’s FANTASY” COUNT BASIE (History)
  2. “BWEEBIDA BOBBIDA” GERRY MULLIGAN (Complete Verve Concert Band Sessions)
  3. “OCLUPACA” DUKE ELLINGTON (Latin American Suite)
  4. “TUTU” MILES DAVIS (Tutu)
  5. “MALEGUENA” STAN KENTON (Sketches On Standards)
  6. “ST THOMAS” SONNY ROLLINS (Saxophone Colossus)
  7. “SIDE BY SIDE” J.J.JOHNSON/KAI WINDING (Jazz Dinner)
  8. “THE BIG HEAD” COLEMAN HAWKINS (Verve Jazz Masters 54)
  9. “MARIA” MAYNARD FERGUSON/BUDDY RICH (Play Selections from West Side Story)
  10. “DANCING IN THE DARK” CANNONBALL ADDERLEY (Somethin’ Else)
  11. “CASTLE ROCK” JOHNNY HODGES ORCH. (Sound of America: Singles Collection)
  12. “CORNER POCKET” COUNT BASIE (Live at the Sands – Before Frank)