Abe Beeson

Evening Jazz Host

Abe grew up in Western Washington, a 3rd generation Seattle/Tacoma kid. It was as a student at Pacific Lutheran University that Abe landed his first job at KPLU, editing and producing audio for news stories. It was a Christmas Day shift no one else wanted that gave Abe his first on-air experience which led to overnights, then Saturday afternoons, and he's been hosting Evening Jazz since 1998.

His most memorable KPLU radio moments include introducing Dave Brubeck, Ray Charles, Oscar Peterson and other greats; attending the San Sebastian Jazz Festival in Spain with a group of KPLU jazz fans; and locking himself out of the station on a particularly cold winter night.

Ways To Connect

Justin Steyer / KPLU

“’Nuff said,” is right.  When jazz fans hear the names Monty Alexander, John Clayton and Jeff Hamilton in conjunction, they know they’ll be treated great music, played with inspiration, joy and absolutely amazing technical chops.  

Monty (piano), John (bass) and Jeff (drums) have performed together off and on for almost 40 years. 

Justin Steyer / KPLU

On his first trip to Seattle, Grammy-nominated vocalist Gregory Porter stopped by the KPLU Seattle studios for a live studio session that you do not want to miss.  This also happened to be the day that Blue Note Records announced the release of Porter's new album, Liquid Spirit. 

Justin Steyer / KPLU

Frank Vignola is well-known as one of the most amazing guitarists on today’s jazz scene. Five years ago he hooked up with a young, extremely accomplished guitarist named Vinny Raniolo.

Since then they’ve worked together in a number of different group configurations but they’re at their best when it’s just the two of them, each armed with an acoustic guitar and a great desire to have a good time.

And that’s exactly what they do in this studio session with jazz host, Abe Beeson.

Justin Steyer / KPLU

During this performance interview with The Greyboy Allstars, KPLU jazz host, Abe Beeson, called their latest CD (Inland Emperor) ‘the party album of 2013.’

The Greyboy Allstars’ reputation as a party/dance band is well-earned.

Justin Steyer / KPLU

Vocalist, pianist and composer, Ann Hampton Callaway has had success in the worlds of jazz, Broadway and cabaret. She’s also one of our favorite KPLU Studio Session guests.

We invite her to perform every time she passes through Seattle because, from one visit to the next, we never know what kind of surprises she’ll treat us to.

This time around, with host Abe Beeson and a small audience of KPLU Leadership Circle members, Ann turned Our Love Is Here To Stay into an audience-participation scat-along which was enjoyed by all.

Justin Steyer / KPLU

In 2010, actress/singer, Molly Ringwald wrote her first book, Getting The Pretty Back. The "pretty" in the title is a reference to what is perhaps Molly’s most famous movie, "Pretty In Pink" (1986), directed by John Hughes.

She also worked with Hughes in "Sixteen Candles" and "The Breakfast Club." But before Molly Ringwald became one of the world’s most famous teenagers, she was a jazz singer. 

Yes. She recorded a traditional jazz (Dixieland) album when she was 6 years old, accompanied by her father, Bob Ringwald, and his Fulton Street Jazz Band.

Canadian vocalist, Holly Cole, is one of greatest song interpreters alive. 

She can take a song you think you know and bring something out of it that you’ve never heard before. 

For example, her latest CD, Night, contains Holly’s inventive re-imagining of a James Bond theme (You Only Live Twice), as well as songs by Danny O’Keefe, Tom Waits, Captain Beefheart, Rod McKuen and Gordon Lightfoot. 

Justin Steyer / KPLU

In this studio session singer, Jackie Ryan, gives us three of her favorites:  a gospel-tinged version of Accentuate The Positive, a beautiful reading of I Loves You, Porgy and the Spanish-language song, La Puerta, dedicated to her mother.

As you’ll hear Jackie  say in this interview, she grew up singing.  After years as a touring R&B singer, Jackie discovered jazz and never looked back.  Today, she’s one of America’s finest jazz singers. 

Justin Steyer / KPLU

On a recent visit to Seattle, Juan de Marcos and The Afro-Cuban All Stars stopped by for a three-song studio session with KPLU in the KCTS 9 studios.  How good was it? 

Well, as host, Abe Beeson says, “If this music doesn’t move you, you’ve got no place to go.”

Watch the full interview and performance:

Justin Steyer / KPLU

Grammy award-winning jazz vocalist, Dee Dee Bridgewater almost always performs with a band accompanying her, while pianist Benny Green is generally heard in a trio configuration and seldom works with vocalists (with the notable exception of being Betty Carter’s pianist when he was in his 20’s). 

So this session was a double treat:  hearing two great musicians, both slightly out of their performance comfort zones, but totally in the moment with each other. 

Justin Steyer / KPLU

It’s no wonder that pianist, Bill Charlap, loves the music that has come to be called The Great American Songbook—the songs of great Tin Pan Alley composers such as Jerome Kern, George Gershwin and Irving Berlin.  

He grew up with it. 

Justin Steyer / KPLU

Vocalist, Catherine Russell was raised in a musical family.  Her father, Luis, was Louis Armstrong’s band-leader and her mother, Carline Ray, was a member of the International Sweethearts Of Rhythm.

Justin Steyer / KPLU

Curtis Stigers is a singer, songwriter, saxophonist who loves the great Tin Pan Alley songs of George Gershwin and Cole Porter, but finds a greater creative challenge in doing jazz versions of songs by more contemporary songwriters. 

Justin Steyer / KPLU

Pianist Cyrus Chestnut came onto the jazz scene slowly. From the mid-1980’s to mid-1990’s, he apprenticed as pianist for Jon Hendricks, Better Carter, Donald Harrison and Wynton Marsalis. Since then he has toured the world numerous times and recorded 15 albums as a leader.

Justin Steyer / KPLU

Just in case you haven’t noticed, pianist Ramsey Lewis is having a great career. 

He’s won Grammy awards, hosted successful television and radio jazz programs and even had cross-over hit records on the pop music charts (quite by accident, he assures us).  He’s been playing professionally since about 1950 and has released more than 80 albums so far. 

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