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

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?

Puget Sound Community School is a private school with just 53 students.  So the school’s excellent jazz studies program only has a few participants.  So few, in fact, that the instructors often have to serve as performers, just to round things out. 

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.

Anton Bingham from Shorecrest High School is the Student DJ for the month of July. Anton's hour aired from 8 to 9 p.m. on July 7.

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

Which instrument do you play and why?

The all-stars from the Mountlake Terrace High School jazz band were well-prepared for their live session in the KPLU studios, so well prepared, in fact, that their mentor, Seattle Repertory Jazz Orchestra saxophonist Travis Ranney, said all he had to do was show up.

Swinging through a pair of standards, the septet of kids also brought an arrangement of the very cool modern jazz tune, “Tall & Lanky” by Jeff Coffin to show off their own two-sax and a trombone front line.

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?

When this Central Washington University combo made the trip from Ellensburg to the 88.5 F-M performance studio, it was a first.  For us, anyway.  The group is the first Eastern Washington jazz band we’ve hosted, and we hope it’s the first of many to come. 

Of course, it didn’t hurt their cause when they enlisted their mentor, trumpeter Thomas Marriott, to join the festivities.  Check it out—three delightful arrangements from a group of young musicians on their way up.

Guest Student DJ Lane Wilkinson: Jazz Is Dancing Music

May 5, 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.  

Lane Wilkinson from Glacier Peak High School is the Student DJ for the month of May.  Lane's hour aired from 8  to 9 p.m. on May 5.

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

Which instrument do you play and why?

Parker Miles Blohm / KNKX

Tenor saxophonist Walter Blanding has been a member of the Jazz At Lincoln Center Orchestra (directed by Wynton Marsalis) since 1998.  One of the things that got him there was a great jazz education.  Walter attended LaGuardia High School of Music and Art and the Performing Arts, followed by more study at the New School of Social Research. 

The Pacific Northwest has played a big part in the evolution of vocal jazz.  The first attempt to transcribe Big Band instrumental music for a vocal choir was done in 1967 by Portland’s Hal Malcomb.  Malcomb’s group, Genesis, began hosting what is now the oldest vocal jazz festival in the country, The Northwest Vocal Jazz Festival.  Carrying on that tradition is the Bellevue High School vocal ensemble, The Bellairs—8 fine young singers, accompanied by piano, bass and drums and mentored by Kirk Marcy who was once a member of one of the world’s most famous vocal jazz groups, The Four Freshma

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.  

Sam Brink from Stadium High School is the Student DJ for the month of April.  Sam's hour aired from 8  to 9 p.m. on April 7.

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

At the end of January, 2016, the University of Washington presented its 1st Annual Jazz Festival for High School Jazz Ensembles and Combos.  To help draw attention to this first festival a jazz quartet called The Intension came to KPLU for a live studio session.  The members of the band are all U-W seniors in the Jazz Studies Program and they did more than draw attention to the event.  They set the bar for excellence—for that festival and all the U-W festivals that will follow.  Prepare to be amazed.

Ian Mengadoht - alto

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.  

Jungwoo Lee from Bellevue High School is the Student DJ for the month of March.  Jungwoo's hour aired from 8 p.m. to 9 p.m. on March 3.

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

Which instrument do you play and why?

I play the clarinet. I was more or less “tricked” into playing the clarinet at first, but as I got better and as I got to experiment with the instrument, I fell in love with the potential and the variety of the instrument. Clarinet, though it seems a bit restricted to classical music, is capable of being featured in countless genres of music; everything from Benny Goodman’s classics to the recent Apple TV commercials.

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

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