The New Cool: Spanning The Globe With Coolness

Feb 10, 2017

One of the biggest drivers of the creation of The New Cool show on knkx has been the proliferation of incredible modern jazz talent right here in the Pacific Northwest.

This week's show provides another opportunity to showcase "Cascade cool" with current Seattle residents Bill Frisell and Jeff Johnson, as well as Portland favorites Trio Subtonic and the Todd Bishop Quartet.

You’ll also hear former Northwest jazz icons Ingrid Jensen, the Vancouver trumpeter, and Jessica Lurie, sax player and singer, both based in the New York area today.

But looking beyond our embarrassment of Puget Sound musical riches, you'll find modern jazz thrives worldwide. Not only are musicians around the world mixing jazz with electronic, soul and rock, they're finding inspiration in traditional music from a growing number of far-flung cultures. It’s in part thanks to the internet, of course, but the drive to discover new music is reaching into every corner of the planet.

On this week's show, we'll be hear the Una Mas Trio from Braunschweig, Germany.  This ensemble blends modern electronics with Latin rhythms, in what some fans call “electro Latino.” 

Christian Schilgen plays guitar and keyboards and also puts his producing talent to work, alongside Fab DJ Sammy, production whiz and general musical mastermind. The musical goal is to blend traditional music of South America with electro dance music into “Ritmo Del Futura,” rhythms of the future.

When their early collaborations started to produce magic and they needed a band name, they thought “duo” sounded “uncool” and thus, the Una Mas Trio was born. Their tune “Clear As Water” (featuring singer Bajka) gets an extra boost by way of a very cool remix by their German neighbors in the Hidden Jazz Quartett.

You’ll also hear Troker from Guadelajara running their boogaloo grooves through hip-hop and rock filters, and one of the pioneers of “future jazz,” Nils Petter Molvaer (NPM to the cool kids), fuses ethereal electronic production and his dreamy trumpet improvisation.

We’ll carve out more room on this week’s show for Sweden’s Esbjorn Svensson Trio and hot young Japanese trumpeter Takuya Kuroda, who’s now based in New York.

Further international blends come via American musicians including the Afro-beat of D.C. group The Funk Ark, and the aforementioned Northwest star bassist Jeff Johnson, who begins this week’s show with his funky African-flavored composition “Soweto Man” featuring Hans Teuber on flute.

Go around the world without leaving your radio each week on The New Cool, followed by an hour of Latin jazz with Robin Lloyd’s Jazz Caliente – bon voyage!

The New Cool airs Saturdays at 3:00 p.m. The program is hosted by Abe Beeson and produced by KNKX Public Radio in Seattle, Wash.