The New Cool

Saturday 3PM-5PM
  • Hosted by Abe Beeson

The New Cool — 21st century jazz inspired and informed by the sounds of today: hip-hop, & funk, Electronic music and punk rock — the future of jazz has arrived.

The New Cool is hosted by Abe Beeson and produced by KNKX Public Radio in Seattle, Wash.  

Ways to Connect

Zem Audu in the recording studio.
Courtesy Zem Audu at zemaudu.com

KNKX is excited to debut a pair of new releases from talented musicians with international backgrounds on The New Cool this week, both released on Seattle's Origin Records. Along with modern music like electronica, hip hop, rock and soul, modern jazz is finding a world of inspiration and influence in traditional folk music from around the globe.

The New Cool: Barrett Martin Gets Busy

Jun 16, 2017
Charles Peterson

He may call himself a "rock musician by profession", but drummer, songwriter, bandleader, record label owner and producer Barrett Martin might more accurately be called a musician/student. His drive to learn about music has taken him all over the U.S. and around the world, and is evident in the five albums released as the Barrett Martin Group.

Marc Ressang

You might imagine Doc Cheatham raising his eyebrows at the sounds of his grandson's music. Trumpeter Theo Croker was inspired to play by watching his famous trumpeter and band leader grandpa, but his young career has been driven by musical exploration.

Raised in Florida, Croker began to attract attention as a trumpeter in his teens, which led to being doggedly recruited by jazz legend Donald Byrd to study in the jazz program at Oberlin College.

The New Cool: Mark Guiliana, Drummer Up Front

May 26, 2017
Deneka Peniston

When a friend recently told me that drummer Mark Guiliana is not just swinging through the Northwest with saxman Donny McCaslin's group next month, he's also bringing his own band to town this fall, it was juicy news indeed.

Guiliana is one of the most beloved drummers in modern jazz, or as the New York Times wrote, he's "a drummer around whom a cult of admiration has formed."

The New Cool: Too Many Zooz, Just Enough Rhythm

May 19, 2017
Brian Zak / Times Colonist

James Brown famously told his band that every instrument in the band was a drum, or at least, had the potential to be used to emphasize the beat rather than or in addition to the melody. The New York trio Too Many Zooz seems to take this philosophy to its logical conclusion.

The New Cool: Ballard Jazz Festival Preview

May 12, 2017
Ballard Jazz Festival photo gallery

Now in their 15th year, the folks at the Ballard Jazz Festival have put together quite a collection of talent for this year, including many of our favorite artists on The New Cool. On this week’s show, you’ll get a heaping helping of this festival’s coolest, and no lutefisk jokes.

Daniel Berman / www.bermanphotos.com

It’s one thing to play the coolest modern jazz on the radio for a couple hours each Saturday; it’s quite another to take the show directly to the people.

The full schedule for the 46th annual Northwest Folklife Festival has been released, and we couldn’t be more excited to bring you three of The New Cool’s favorite modern jazz groups from the Pacific Northwest live on stage at the iconic Memorial Day weekend music and arts extravaganza at the Seattle Center.

Pianist/keyboard player/composer Kris Bowers says the title of his debut album "Heroes + Misfits" refers to his generation. The “heroes” of the protest movements from Arab Spring to Occupy Wall Street to Black Lives Matter, and the “misfits” he sees in his peers’ drive to be individuals with their own style and personality.

That sounds like a generation of jazz fans to me.

Courtesy of Jacob Collier

Calling Jacob Collier a jazz musician isn’t quite right; it’s better to simply call him a musician. Born in North London to a musical family, Collier’s first stage work was as a young actor, often in musical productions, but that world wasn’t big enough to contain him.

Dino Perrucci

Singer, songwriter and keyboard player Marco Benevento was in town recently and I didn’t go. I’d rather see the keyboard player leave the singer/songwriter behind.

I first heard about Benevento from his second album, "Me Not Me," a mix of his original tunes and smart covers of obscure songs by artists ranging from Led Zeppelin to My Morning Jacket.

Justin Steyer / KNKX

When my wife and I first started getting romantic, comparing our musical loves was critical to determining our compatibility. Happily, we love a lot of the same jazz musicians, so the romance began to blossom, and then she asked if I knew about Sexmob.

After a quick blush, she said, “The band, dummy!” I hadn’t, but it didn’t take long to hear what she was so excited about.

The New Cool: Unstoppable Grooves of Velocity

Mar 31, 2017
facebook.com/realvelocitymusic

Tacoma quartet Velocity builds some serious musical inertia when they motor up to Seattle for a show at the Seamonster Lounge on April 1. No fooling, these four take their grooves seriously.

Their songs are mostly written by keyboard player Peter Adams, with Cliff Colon blowing a muscular tenor sax; Rob Hutchinson and Brian Smith form the rhythm pocket at the bass and drums.

The New Cool: Jazz Philosophers Of Moon Hooch

Mar 24, 2017
Erica Hernandez

The band Moon Hooch only exists thanks to their stubbornness. When sax players Mike Wilbur and Wenzl McGowan were studying at The New School in New York, they didn’t get along. Wenzl says he even dropped a class so he didn’t have to play with Mike. But they had a friend in common, drummer James Muschler, and eventually their proximity (the two young sax men lived across the hall at school) drove them to play together in subway stations to make a few bucks.

The New Cool: A Pair of Cool NW LP Previews

Mar 17, 2017

Do you still call them records? Or maybe you refer to a new CD? You're not still talking about the latest tape release, are you? Whatever you call them, new album releases are to musicians what children are to parents - although old albums are a lot easier to forget.

On this week's edition of The New Cool, you'll hear previews of two new releases due in May from two talented young Northwest groups. Both of whom KNKX is working with on upcoming live events.

The New Cool: Blackstar Jazz Star Donny McCaslin

Mar 10, 2017
Frederick M. Brown / Getty Images North America

It’s not the kind of fame you want, but sax player Donny McCaslin is reaping the rewards of his band’s work backing up David Bowie on his final album, "Blackstar," released just two days before Bowie’s death.

Accepting one of the five Grammys the album received at this year’s ceremony, McCaslin said, “I’m a better artist and better person for having known him.”

The Bowie influence on McCaslin has been profound, his new release with his quartet "Beyond Now" has been described as a continuation of the music they made on "Blackstar."

The New Cool: Passion for the Hammond B3

Mar 3, 2017
Ernie Sapiro Photography

Unveiled to the public in 1935, the Hammond Clock Company sold nearly 2,000 Model A organs to churches in the first three years of production. To this day, when I hear the warm, pulsing of the B-3, it sounds like gospel music.

In the '60s and '70s, with the help of jazz players like Jimmy Smith, Jack McDuff, Shirley Scott and rock groups like the Allman Brothers, the Hammond organ became a powerful messenger of soul and funk. For many jazz musicians of the 21st Century, the Hammond organ is reclaiming it's place as the backbone of countless varieties of soulful sounds.

The New Cool: Jazz Meets Funk For Mardi Gras

Feb 24, 2017
Justin Steyer / KNKX

In 1971, Bobby Byrd asked his boss James Brown what he was going to play next. James famously replied, "I don't know. But whatever it is, it's got to be funky!", and the drums and bass kick in.

For me, that's the heart and soul of funk music right there, and most people would say it happened at the beginning. But funk wasn't born in the '70s, or even the late '60s, but back at the birth of American music alongside jazz in New Orleans.

Getty Images

Late-February in the Northwest is a non-turning point. The Presidents’ Day three-day weekend feels like a holiday, but unless your making tracks on the ski slopes, the weather usually doesn’t offer much worth celebrating. With spring still a month away, this Puget Sound native knows it’s time to mix things up.

The New Cool: Spanning The Globe With Coolness

Feb 10, 2017
Agogo Records

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.

Abe Beeson

As a young music fan, I considered the radio DJ the ultimate gatekeeper to good taste and sophistication. Humbly, now in that position, I still do.

But the next generation of music fans has a different idea of what a DJ is. No longer sequestered behind a microphone in a cramped, dimly lit room filled with records and maybe a stick of incense, today’s DJ is at the front of the stage in a giant arena, surrounded by lights and computers.

J. Scott Shrader

The New Cool knows that the essence of jazz is in its immediacy, as it's happening. Records can document amazing moments in time, but this music was meant to be ever changing. And so the most rewarding moments in jazz are most often when you experience the music in person.

This week's program brings another chance for you to catch the coolest modern jazz for free, as we give away tickets to catch the bicoastal modern jazz group Kneebody at Nectar in Seattle's Fremont neighborhood on February 19.

Tim Knox Photography

Born and raised in soulful '70s Philadelphia, Adam Dorn’s father, Joel, was producing hits for Atlantic Records for Roberta Flack, Simon & Garfunkel, John Coltrane and George Benson to name a few.

Bass was Adam’s first instrument, and at age 15 he sent a fan letter to Miles Davis’ bass player, Marcus Miller, who invited the young man to hang out in his recording studio. One visit turned into three years, and eventually a degree from the prestigious Berklee College of Music.

Parker Miles Blohm / knkx

It was a return visit and a farewell party when the Tyrant Lizard trio performed in the knkx studios recently.

Bass player Carmen Rothwell had already relocated to New York City and guitarist Gregg Belisle-Chi was just days away from following her, leaving trumpeter Raymond Larsen to reassure us this wouldn't be the last we hear from this dynamic Northwest-grown threesome.

The New Cool: Coolest Grammy Nominees

Jan 6, 2017
knkx

It’s been a few weeks since the Recording Academy announced their nominees for this year’s Grammys – broadcast special on February 12 – but after the holiday craziness, I’ve just noticed them. And I’ve also noticed that a few of our favorites on The New Cool are up for big awards, and not always in the jazz category.

The New Cool: Coolness In The KNKX Studios

Dec 30, 2016
Parker Miles Blohm / knkx

Looking back at the year behind us, the newly christened knkx studios were home to a bevy of top young jazz talent, and on this week's edition of The New Cool, we'll remember four of our favorite groups who explored the limits of improvisation live on 88.5.

Regularly clad in a sports jacket with elbow pads and a casual, button-up shirt, Robert Walter comes off more professorial than soul jazz wild man. Don't be fooled, he's been laying down grooves and heating up dance floors on a variety of (mostly) electric keys for more than 20 years.

A founding member of the Greyboy Allstars, Walter has a sound that's earned him airplay on nearly every episode of The New Cool so far. Aside from the all-star band, his 20th Congress, and other solo albums, he's made himself at home grooving with funky New Orleans drummer Stanton Moore's trio.

Parker Miles Blohm / knkx

Blowing down from Minneapolis, The Bad Plus have been world-wide icons of modern jazz since the beginning of the century. A unique blend of Ethan Iverson's aggressive acoustic piano with classical echoes, Reid Anderson's rock solid yet fluid bass, and Dave King's play-every-inch-of-the-kit drumming, the trio has all the energy of a young rock band, but with the collaborative improvisation of a long-running jazz band.

The Grammy award he received for his “Black Radio” album in 2012 was in the Best R&B Album category, but there’s a lot of jazz improvisation happening in the music of Robert Glasper.

The fusion of rock ’n’ roll with jazz has existed since the birth of rock – I would even argue folks like Cab Calloway, Louis Prima, and especially Louis Jordan, helped invent it. As jazz moves through a new century, and early rock stars and fans move into their 70s, there’s still plenty of choice territory for the two styles to intertwine.

You've heard him live in the knkx studios with fellow Tacoman Kareem Kandi, and now he's in the spotlight - Hammond organ master Delvon Lamarr's debut with his organ trio, the DLO3, is out now, and it's just the thing to steam up a cold winter in the Northwest.

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