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

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. 

Justin Steyer / KPLU

Drummer Jack DeJohnette was 23 years old when he made his first recording with The Charles Lloyd Quartet in 1966.  Since that time he’s been a driving (and we do mean ‘driving’) force in the world of jazz.  This year he’ll be celebrating his birthday (August 9th) all year long with a number of special events, such as his current tour with his old friends, Chick Corea on piano and Stanley Clarke on bass.

Justin Steyer / KPLU

Singer Tierney Sutton’s band were in deep discussion five minutes before their live in-studio performance on KPLU last Wednesday, trying to decide which three songs to play for our audience. It was just one example of how interconnected each member of this quartet really is.

We learned more about each band member’s extra-musical skills were divided, how they’d go about sharing their surely impending Grammy Award (they've been nominated for five so far), and Tierney told us about walking the fine line as lyrical story teller and vocal improviser.

Justin Steyer / KPLU

In the first generation of be-bop musicians, Ray Brown was King of the Jazz Bass.  Today, the ‘go-to’ jazz bassist is Christian McBride, so we felt quite lucky when he said he had the time to stop into to KPLU studios for a performance with pianist, Peter Martin.

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