School Of Jazz

Since 2005, School of Jazz has demonstrated a commitment to jazz education; in fact, it’s one of the cornerstones of KNKX’s mission as the station’s signature community outreach program.  School of Jazz provides mentorship, learning and performance opportunities to Western Washington middle school, high school and college jazz students.  Monthly during the school year, we invite a student jazz combo and professional mentor to perform live on the air.  And every month throughout the year a guest student DJ shares an hour of their favorite jazz on the air with host Abe Beeson.  Since its inception, School of Jazz has directly impacted nearly 3,000 jazz students, band directors and professional musicians. 

Band directors: if you're interested in bringing your combo in for a School of Jazz studio session and/or nominating a jazz student to be a guest student DJ, please contact Brenda Goldstein-Young at KNKX: bgoldstein@knkx.org.

School Of Jazz sponsors: Integrative Family Law, BECU, Beacon Plumbing and Half Price Books

Abe Beeson

Sixteen year-old Aaron Korver plays piano with the Roosevelt High School jazz band.  He shares an hour of his favorite jazz with Abe Beeson on September 7 from 8-9 p.m.

Seattle JazzEd
Parker Miles Blohm / KNKX

Twenty-eight teenagers filled several rooms at KNKX's Seattle studios to perform in 4 groups as a sort of graduation from the Seattle JazzED Summer Advanced Institute. On paper, it looked like disaster... but the kids made it work.

Abe Beeson

Seventeen year-old Manny Aldape will be a senior at Lake Stevens High School.  He shares an hour of his favorite jazz with Abe Beeson on Thursday, August 3 from 8-9 p.m.

Abe Beeson

George Fulton is a 14 year-old student from Seattle, WA. He is a tenor sax and clarinet player and will be entering Roosevelt High School in the Fall.

Parker Miles Blohm / KNKX

The energy in the KNKX studios was evident just days from graduation for three of the Shorecrest High School Jazz Band's Allstar quintet. With their mentor, saxophonist Mark Taylor's guidance, the fellows found the groove and wouldn't let go.

Abe Beeson

Everett High School seniors Paul Jaton and Ethan Schmidt are KNKX's guest student DJs for June.

Based in Centralia, flugelhorn player and band leader Dmitri Matheny teamed up as a mentor with the Kelso High School all-star jazz combo in the KNKX studios and told us that smaller towns can provide great opportunities for musicians willing to look for them. These teens from the south end of the state made the most of their opportunity to play live on KNKX.

Abe Beeson

Eighteen year-old Shelby Archer goes to Newport High School in Bellevue and plays saxophone in the jazz band.  She shares an hour of her favorite jazz with Abe Beeson on Evening Jazz, May 4 from 8-9 p.m.  More about Shelby:

Which instrument do you play and why?

My main instrument is alto saxophone, and I have played that in almost every ensemble I’ve been in up until this year. This year, I play alto in my school’s wind ensemble and I now play tenor in my jazz band. I also play percussion for my school’s philharmonic orchestra and marching band.

Parker Miles Blohm / KNKX

When the teenage all-stars of Five Feet Up came to play live on 88.5 recently, we were excited to see three old/young friends: Bell Thompson and Margaux Bouchegnies on trumpet and bass had performed in our studios as half of the 10 O'Clock Quartet. Guitarist Julia Tanner had played live on 88.5 with her bandmates from the Melba Liston All-Star Combo.

Parker Miles Blohm

In his fourth visit to the KNKX Studio Sessions, we finally put saxman Anton Schwartz together with one of our School of Jazz all-star combos.

Lynnwood High School was the beneficiary of Anton's mentoring, and his advice to the teenage musicians sounded just as applicable to life: "You gotta be where you are, not where you want to be. By perfecting where you are, you'll get to where you want to go."

Abe Beeson

This month's guest student DJ, Drew Thomas, plays trumpet in the Lynnwood High School jazz band. 

Parker Miles Blohm / KNKX

The all-star combo from Juanita High School's jazz band made their studio session on 88.5 with young trumpeter and educator Jared Hall featured on trumpet, and proved they're ready to take their place among the promising teen jazz ensembles around the Northwest.

Abe Beeson

Sixteen year-old Mairead Rising plays tenor saxophone and sings with the Glacier Peak High School Jazz Band in Snohomish, Wash.  She shares an hour of her favorite jazz with Abe Beeson on March 2 from 8-9 p.m. on KNKX's Evening Jazz.  Check out Mairead's killer version of The Jazz Messengers' "Moanin'" from Glacier Peak's School Of Jazz studio performance from January.

Which instrument do you play and why?

Mount Si Band

Knkx congratulates the Edmonds-Woodway, Mountlake Terrace and Mount Si High School jazz bands on becoming finalists in the 22nd annual Essentially Ellington Competition & Festival.  This year's event will be held from May 11-13 in New York at Jazz at Lincoln Center. 

Parker Miles Blohm / KNKX

Until very recently, Decatur High School in Federal Way didn’t have a jazz combo.  What they had was a full jazz big band.  When knkx put out the call to regional school jazz programs to send us demo tapes so we could select groups for live studio sessions, Decatur’s band director, Jeff Chang, recorded the big band and sent it in. 

Molly Gillespie

Harrison Hannon is 21 years old and a senior at South Puget Sound Community College.  He plays drums in the jazz band. 

Parker Miles Blohm / KNKX

The Glacier Peak High School Jazz Band director Tad Morris has raised some talented musicians under his care, with a largely senior class combo well-equipped with skills and a deep understanding of the importance of jazz.

Asked what this music means to them, bassist Alex Sturlaugson talked about how jazz transcends race, religion and politics and connects us on a deep level. Then there was the music.

Edmonds-Woodway High School senior Brandt Fisher is our first guest student DJ of 2017.  He shares his hour of favorite jazz with Abe Beeson Thursday, January 5 from 8 to 9 p.m.

They're not the first all-female jazz band to perform in the knkx studios, but after hearing the teens from Seattle JazzEd, it's about time it stops feeling like a special occasion.

Featuring their mentor Susan Pascal on vibes, the ladies thrilled our packed studio audience with jazz, soul, and a song by the modern jazz outfit Snarky Puppy, and made us forget about girls vs. boys.

Ninth grader P.J. Colino, who plays alto sax and clarinet in the Seattle Academy Jazz Ensemble, is our guest student DJ for December.

Parker Miles Blohm / KNKX

Mercer Island High School has a remarkable jazz orchestra, so we were very much looking forward to this live distillation of that band—the Mercer Island Jazz Combo.  You’ll hear the students on saxophone, trombone, bass, drums and piano.  Their mentor, Thomas Marriott is the featured trumpet player.  This live KNKX Studio Session is hosted by our own Mary McCann. Hit ‘play.’

Meet 16-year-old Dakota Huffman, who hails from Maple Valley and plays in the Tahoma High School jazz band. 

Abe Beeson / knkx

Fourteen-year-old Emma Usui-Villareal is our very first middle school student DJ, and she already possesses a very discerning jazz sensibility.  Emma plays drums in the Eckstein Middle School jazz band. 

Parker Miles Blohm / knkx

Named for their practice room at Pacific Lutheran University, 322 brought 4 of their 5 band members to the knkx studios for an afternoon of cool tunes they wrote themselves. Drawing on their jazz education in standards to the wide variety of music available to college kids, the band clearly finds as much inspiration from modern rock 'n' soul as they do the Great American Songbook.

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

Dimitrio Nero from Mountlake Terrace High School is the Student DJ for the month of September. Dimitrio's hour aired from 8 to 9 p.m. on Sept. 8.

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

Which instrument do you play and why?

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.

Brad Bjorn from Tahoma High School is the Student DJ for the month of August. Brad's hour aired from 8 to 9 p.m. on August 4th.

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

Which instrument do you play and why?

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