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.

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KPLU Studio Sessions
2:01 pm
Sat April 20, 2013

Holly Cole: Reinventing the familiar

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. 

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KPLU Studio Sessions
4:12 pm
Fri April 5, 2013

Singer Jackie Ryan's life in music

Jackie Ryan and Seattle pianist, Randy Halberstadt, perform live in the KPLU Seattle studios on March 11, 2013.
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. 

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KPLU Studio Sessions
4:13 pm
Fri February 15, 2013

Juan de Marcos and The Afro-Cuban All Stars: The Soul Of Cuba

Juan de Marcos (center) and the Afro-Cuban All Stars performing live on KPLU from the KCTS 9 studios on Feburay 5, 2013. See more photos
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:

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KPLU Studio Sessions
4:57 pm
Thu January 24, 2013

The intimacy of the duo: Dee Dee Bridgewater and Benny Green

Dee Dee Bridgewater in the KPLU Seattle studios on January 22, 2013.
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. 

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KPLU Studio Sessions
12:30 pm
Mon October 29, 2012

Bill Charlap solo piano: Tradition, invention and wit

Bill Charlap performing live in the KPLU Seattle studios on October 24.
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. 

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KPLU Studio Sessions
12:56 pm
Wed October 24, 2012

Catherine Russell: Keeping the family tradition alive

Catherine Russell performing live in the KPLU Seattle studios.
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.

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KPLU Studio Sessions
8:00 am
Sat October 6, 2012

Curtis Stigers: Creating new jazz standards from contemporary

Curtis Stigers performing live in the KPLU Seattle Studios on September 11, 2012.
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. 

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KPLU Studio Sessions
2:07 pm
Fri September 21, 2012

Cyrus Chestnut: Solo piano with ‘The Nutman’

Pianist Cyrus Chestnut performing live in the KPLU Seattle studios on August 28, 2012.
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.

KPLU Studio Sessions
3:49 pm
Wed July 25, 2012

Live in the KPLU Studios: A rare solo performance by Ramsey Lewis

In his visit to the KPLU studios this afternoon, we heard Ramsey in a very rare solo piano setting, playing songs that are dear to his heart.
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. 

KPLU Studio Sessions
12:46 pm
Fri May 18, 2012

All-Star Trio: Jack DeJohnette, Chick Corea and Stanley Clark

Legendary drummer Jack DeJohnette in the KPLU studios on May 11, 2012.
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.

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KPLU Studio Sessions
5:00 pm
Mon May 7, 2012

The Tierney Sutton Band: A true group effort

Tierney Sutton performing live in the KPLU studios on May 2, 2012.
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.

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KPLU Studio Sessions
12:00 pm
Wed April 11, 2012

Christian McBride: The bass boss

Bassist Christian McBride and pianist Peter Martin perform in the KPLU studios on April 5, 2012.
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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KPLU Studio Sessions
1:19 pm
Thu March 22, 2012

Lynne Arriale: Pianist with that 'something extra'

When pianist Lynne Arriale released her first CD in 1994, KPLU began playing music from it right away.  It was clear to us that Lynne had that "something extra" that separates good musicians from great musicians.

Over the course of her career she’s continued to build on that quality, so we were especially pleased to finally welcome her as a guest artist in our Seattle performance studio.

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KPLU Studio Sessions
2:12 pm
Mon March 5, 2012

Benny Golson: The second half-century

Benny Golson perfroms in the KPLU studios on February 29, 2012.
Justin Steyer KPLU

Tenor saxophonist/composer, Benny Golson is now in his second half-century as a touring and recording jazz artist.  He began performing almost 60 years ago and recorded his first LP as a bandleader 55 years ago … and if his stop by the KPLU studios last week is any indication, he shows no signs of slowing down now.

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KPLU Studio Sessions
12:55 pm
Tue November 1, 2011

John Scofield: Exploring ballads (and the nature of 'cool')

Guitarist John Scofield performing in the KPLU Seattle studios on October 28.
Justin Steyer KPLU

John Scofield is one of the most innovative and genre-bending guitarists in jazz.  Over the years, his great talent and eclectic tastes have garnered him a huge international following; a following which includes a lot of people who didn’t know they liked jazz until they heard Scofield. 

On a recent swing through Seattle, Scofield, along his pianist Michael Eckroth, stopped by our studios for a duet performance, hosted by Abe Beeson. 

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