The New Cool: Celebrating One Year on KNKX

Nov 3, 2017

Fifty-two shows in the books! The New Cool celebrates one year on the air at KNKX this week. The essence of jazz is to push creativity forward, and we've shared some of the coolest music influenced by today's sounds - hip hop, rock, electronic, soul, funk and folk music from around the world. Now we're ready for Year #2.

The impetus for this show, besides the obvious need to showcase the best jazz from today's top players, was inspired specifically by the music of a few 21st Century talents. Many of them are right here in the Northwest.

The New Cool's roster has come to remind me of my early days in radio. I was obsessed with the amazing (mostly rock) music made around Puget Sound in the late 80s and early 90s. In fact, one of the show's most reliable contributors goes back to those days, former Sadhappy sax god Skerik has consitently blazed new paths in our neck of the woods. Never one to take genre labels seriously, you'll hear him blowin' some rhythmic funk with Garage A Trois on this week's show.

One of the hottest quartets in town for the past decade, Industrial Revelation has also been one of the key pillars of The New Cool. They attracted attention winning The Stranger's "Genius Award" in 2014, as well as several Golden Ear Awards from the fine folks at Earshot. Ahamefule Oluo's dramatic trumpet work soars over the dancing electric keys of Josh Rawlings, bouncing and grooving with the all-star Seattle rhythm section of bassist Evan Flory-Barnes and drummer D'Vonne Lewis.

They're a consistently thrilling live group, and the band adds pianist Marina Albero for a show November 11th at Nectar Lounge. Then they'll pay tribute to one of their biggest musical influences, Iceland's indie-pop queen Bjork at the Neptune Theatre December 20th.

Word is out that the band is preparing to release a new album for 2018, we'll enjoy a song from their most recent release, Liberation and the Kingdom of Nri on this week's New Cool.

It's on the business card, so it must be real!
Credit Abe Beeson

The Hammond B3 organ has become a vital ingredient on our Saturday explorations. This week you'll hear two of the Northwest's finest organ trios, both recorded live on 88.5 for KNKX studio sessions. McTuff - Joe Doria, Andy Coe and D'Vonne Lewis - performs a cover of Prince's "Beautiful Ones" from 2015, and from earlier this year the DLO 3 - Delvon Lamarr, Jimmy James and David McGraw - dig into the soulful original "Close But No Cigar" from their debut album of the same name.

The DLO3 forms the core of the 7-piece soul outfit The True Loves, and they're at the Tractor Tavern in Ballard on Friday night to celebrate their debut album. Joe Doria holds court every Tuesday night at the Seamonster Lounge in Wallingford with a rotating collection of guest stars.

Another exclusive performance this week comes from Seattle's molten-hot Polyrhythmics with their post-genre blend of rhythm, groove and earworm melodies. "Vodka for My Goat" lays down a 70s-soaked funk beat with punchy horns, shifts into a psychedelic break, and explodes with tasty solos from guitarist Ben Bloom and their 3-man rhythm section from their KNKX studio session this Summer.

Polyrhythmics are back from a national tour for homecoming shows at the Tractor Tavern November 24th and 25th. The DLO3 opens the Friday night show, with singer Whitney Mongee on Saturday.

A few of my favorite things. Keep 'em coming!
Credit Abe Beeson

You'll also hear a few gems from that very first New Cool broadcast this week. Listen for bouncy funk from Germany's Hidden Jazz Quartett, trumpeter Brad Goode's sitar-tinged cover of the "St Louis Blues", and the groovy duo of Wil Blades electric keys and Billy Martin's drums.

Always in search of the "new" New Cool, I'll also play new records this week from a pair of amazing drummer-led bands. You'll hear the latest from Tony Allen, the drummer from Fela Kuti's legendary afro-beat groups; and after they thrilled a packed crowd at an Earshot Jazz Festival concert last month, I'm excited to play one from Mark Guiliana's new quartet album Jersey.

One of the greatest strengths of The New Cool is the community of listeners that supports modern jazz. Many of the groups you hear on the show have been suggested by listeners just like you, so if there's some undeniable coolness out there that you think deserves to be heard on The New Cool, connect with the show and let us know.

Also, please get out to catch these amazing musicians playing live around Puget Sound and beyond, tell your friends where to find The New Cool, and keep listening! Who knows what we'll discover together over the next 12 months?

The New Cool airs Saturdays from 3 to 5 p.m., hosted by Abe Beeson and produced by KNKX Public Radio in Seattle, Wash.