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Guest Student DJ Dimitrio Neri: Jazz Is Organic And Spontaneous

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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?

I play jazz piano. I chose the piano because I’ve always enjoyed listening to piano, even before I began playing music in a band class. As I continued to take private lessons, playing the instrument became a passion to me. When I play piano, I have a sense of both control and relaxation that I don’t get doing anything else. I still greatly enjoy playing jazz piano alone and in different group settings, such as in combos and in my high school big band.

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

It’s difficult for me to say my all-time favorite jazz song or recording because there is such a massive repertoire of great jazz compositions and many different arrangements and recordings of those compositions. However, if I were to choose one certain jazz piece, it would have to be “Too Close for Comfort”, specifically the recording of The Oscar Peterson Trio on the album, “Another Day.” I chose this recording because I really liked what Oscar Peterson did with the arrangement, in that he made just a trio sound like a whole big band which was really cool. I also really enjoyed his solos and interactions between the rest of the trio.

Who’s your jazz hero and why?

I would say one of my all-time heroes is Oscar Peterson. Oscar Peterson is a master jazz piano player that I have been listening to since I began playing jazz. He is a hero of mine because of his great talents as a soloist, composer, and arranger. Every time I listen to him play I am inspired and moved to play more and to aim for higher achievements. I aspire to play to his level and to play like him to an extent, because I greatly enjoy his style and nuances in his playing.

What is jazz, exactly? How would you explain it?

Jazz to me is not just a genre of music, but is more a form of improvisation that can be played to express the player’s emotion through their technical and musical skill. I feel that jazz is a very organic and spontaneous form of music that cannot be replicated. Jazz is unlike any other form of music because it is almost like a universal language, where anybody can play with a group of people and completely understand each other through the music that they create together. That’s why I love jazz.

Dimitrio’s Playlist:

  1. “BODY AND SOUL” ERROLL GARNER (Body and Soul)
  2. “ZOG’S JOG” JAMES MORRISON (Snappy Too)
  3. “LA VIE EN ROSE” LOUIS ARMSTRONG (All Time Greatest Hits)
  4. “MILESTONES” MILES DAVIS (Milestones)
  5. “SPAIN” CHICK COREA – RETURN TO FOREVER (Light as a Feather)
  6. “INCEPTION” McCOY TYNER (Inception)
  7. “ON THE SUNNY SIDE OF THE STREET” DIZZY GILLESPIE (Sonny Side Up)
  8. “SHINY STOCKINGS” COUNT BASIE (Timeless: Count Basie)
  9. “NAIMA” MICHAEL BRECKER (H.Hancock’s: Directions in Music)
  10. “TOO CLOSE FOR COMFORT” OSCAR PETERSON (Another Day)
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Guest Student DJ Brad Bjorn: Jazz Is Complex Music That Influences Emotion

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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?

I play mainly the alto saxophone, but also the soprano and tenor saxophone, because I watched my dad play those instruments as a kid and always wanted to play them just like he did. So I started playing in 6th grade and ever since then, I’ve been a very successful musician

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

My favorite jazz piece is “So What” by Miles Davis in the Kind of Blue album because it has three of the most iconic jazz musicians ever, Miles Davis, John Coltrane, and Cannonball Adderley, playing together. Also, because this song is a prime example that a jazz solo can be very simple and yet, sound so good.

Who’s your jazz hero and why?

My jazz hero is Charlie Parker because he’s the alto saxophone icon that I strive to be like, in terms of the musician that he was. He was able to master his instrument in every way imaginable, and could play any style of jazz with ease. Considering he only lived to be 34 years of age and is talked about as the greatest alto saxophone of all time gives me very good reason to call him my hero.

What is jazz, exactly? How would you explain it?

Jazz is a style of music that has much more depth than any other genre. It can be straight, swing, latin, funk, be-bop, etc. I think jazz is a more complex form of music that speaks differently than others. It can influence emotions in ways that some of the most popular songs today cannot. And unfortunately, it’s also one of the most underrated genres of music. But lucky for me, I’ve been able to grow a love for jazz that I believe will last forever.

Brad’s Playlist:

  1. “You’d Be So Nice to Come Home To” Art Pepper – Meets the Rhythm Section
  2. “So What” Miles Davis – Kind of Blue
  3. “Autumn Leaves” Wynton Marsalis – Marsalis Standard Time Vol 1
  4. “Confirmation” Charlie Parker – Compact Jazz
  5. “Misty” Bob Brookmeyer/Stan Getz – Bob Brookmeyer and Friends
  6. “Love For Sale” Cannonball Adderley – Somethin’ Else
  7. “Hide and Seek” Joshua Redman – Freedom in the Groove
  8. “La Vie En Rose” Louis Armstrong – All Time Greatest Hits
  9. “Nancy (with the Laughing Face)” John Coltrane – Ballads
  10. “Red Pepper Blues” Art Pepper – Meets the Rhythm Section
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Puget Sound Community School All-Stars — With D’Vonne Lewis

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.  But don’t let numbers fool you.  The group is small but mighty.  For this studio session, the Allstar trio enlisted D’Vonne Lewis, one of the West Coast’s hottest jazz drummers, as their mentor and drummer. The result was stunning.  From the hypnotic intro to their ultra-cool arrangement of Whims Of Chambers to the final note of their mash-up Mercy, Mercy, Mercy and Freedom Jazz Dance, this quartet will keep you amazed and enthralled.

Zane Taylor-guitar

Olive Haber-bass

Margaux Bouchegnies-bass,keys,vocals on “Inisheer”

mentor: D’Vonne Lewis-drums

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Guest Student DJ Anton Bingham: Jazz Connects Others Through Self Expression In Music

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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? Continue reading “Guest Student DJ Anton Bingham: Jazz Connects Others Through Self Expression In Music”

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School Of Jazz: The Kids Up North Have Come To Play

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.

Continue reading “School Of Jazz: The Kids Up North Have Come To Play”