School Of Jazz: The Ryan Leppich Quintet – A Final High School Swing

Drummer Ryan Leppich has graduated Mountlake Terrace HS and is preparing to go off to college.  However, while at MTHS, he formed a jazz quintet consisting of some of his school band mates as well as fine players from other high school jazz programs in the area.

3 of the 5 are graduating, so we were fortunate to get them into the KPLU performance studio before they went their separate ways.   In this session they take on some pretty complex jazz compositions and they do with an ease that belies their years.  Dig in.

The Band:

  • Joel Steinke-soprano sax (Edmonds-Woodway)
  • Jacob Krieger-tenor sax (Mountlake Terrace)
  • Leo Folsom-piano (Roosevelt)
  • Luis Ross-bass  (Edmonds-Woodway)
  • Ryan Leppich-drums  (Mountlake Terrace)

Gingerbread Boy

Katrina Ballerina

This I Dig Of You

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Guest Student DJ Jacob Shaffer: ‘Jazz Is Like A Kaleidoscope’

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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.

Stadium High School’s Jacob Shaffer is KPLU’s guest DJ for the month of August. Jacob’s hour aired from 8 p.m. to 9 p.m. on August 6th. To get to know him better, we asked 17-year-old Jacob to answer a few questions about jazz:

Which instrument do you play and why? Read the rest of this entry »

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Guest Student DJ Joel Steinke: Ushering In The Next Generation Of Jazz

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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.  

Joel Steinke from Edmonds Woodway High School is the Student DJ for the month of July.  Joel’s hour aired from 8 p.m. to 9 p.m. on July 2.

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

Which instrument do you play and why?

I play the saxophone because it allows the player to emulate the voice of a singer, and to me is one of the most personable instruments.

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

I don’t have just one “all time favorite jazz composition” but lately it’s been the music of Keith Jarrett.

Who’s your jazz hero and why?

My jazz hero(s) has to be John Coltrane for his spirituality, and Lee Konitz for his personality.

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

I don’t really like to define what jazz is, because it can be so many things. To me personally, jazz is what you play when surrounded by people, and how you play differently or how they change your playing, as opposed to playing by yourself in a practice room.

Joel’s Playlist:

1 “I Want To Talk About You” John Coltrane – Newport ’63

2 “Hi Beck” Lee Konitz – At Storyville

3 “Kitty B” Sal Mosca – Warne Marsh/Sal Mosca Quartet Vol 2

4 “East Of The Sun” Charlie Parker – With Strings

5 “Ankara” Bobby Hutcherson – Patterns

6 “I Waited For You” Art Farmer – Sing Me Softly Of The Blues

7 “I Can’t Give You Anything But Love” Warne Marsh – Unissued Copenhagen Studio Recordings

8 “Love No. 1” Keith Jarrett – Life Between The Exit Signs

9 “Resolution (alternate take)” John Coltrane – A Love Supreme: Deluxe Edition

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School Of Jazz: Meadowdale High School Jazz Combo – Raising The Bar

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As we welcomed Lynnwood’s Meadowdale High School Jazz Combo into the KPLU live performance studio, they looked like normal, hard-working music students.  When they started to play, however, it was soon clear to us that we were hearing a band that was a cut above.

Along with their mentor, trumpeter Michael Van Bebber, the combo nailed each of the 3 songs they performed.  If you have doubts about whether or not high school students can really play jazz, listen to this session.  Your doubts will disappear.  Out thanks to the band for such a fine performance and kudos to the band’s director, Jeff Horenstein.

Song List:

  1. Road Song
  2. Things Don’t Exist
  3. Smash

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Guest Student DJ Danny Quaranta: Staying True To The 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.

Issaquah High School’s Danny Quaranta is KPLU’s guest DJ for the month of June.  Danny’s hour aired from 8 p.m. to 9 p.m. on June 4th.  To get to know him better, we asked 17-year-old Danny to answer a few questions about jazz:

Which instrument do you play and why?

I was the classic “6th-grade clarinet for 1 year then switch to saxophone” kid, only my director set me up with a bass clarinet, which at the time was alright for me; a bigger instrument meant bigger buttons to press. When the next year rolled around, however, I was told I would be playing baritone instead of alto sax. At first I was hesitant, with my dad getting overly excited about how I would immediately become a competent groovy funk player the second I touched the horn, but it was whatever.

A year later a clipboard was passed around the band room for the kids that wanted to be in the jazz band. Me, having no intention of waking up early on Wednesday passed it on without a thought, only to receive a look of despair from my director. “Oh nononononono” he said, “I did not raise you on that instrument for you to wimp out of my band”. Smiling, gesturing for the kid I just passed it to to pass it back to me, I reluctantly printed my name in illegible print and never turned back.

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

Without a doubt, Body and Soul is my all-time favorite chart. Most people, myself included, usually picture beauty in our minds when we hear the word. I believe this song to be the best representation of what beauty sounds like.

Who’s your jazz hero and why?

This question took an hour or two of thought to answer, but I’d say Bill Evans in the end inspires me to stay true to music. It sounds like a meaningless and cliché thing to say, but Evans was the kind of guy who would wait 27 months after released his debut album despite the constant pestering of the label because, simply put, “Evans did not feel, during the intervening period, that he had anything new to say”.

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

Jazz to me is nothing more than a music genre, so I’ll put a quote here:

“Over all, I think the main thing a musician would like to do is give a picture to the listener of the many wonderful things that he knows of and senses in the universe. . . That’s what I would like to do. I think that’s one of the greatest things you can do in life and we all try to do it in some way. The musician’s is through his music.” – John Coltrane

Danny’s Set List:

  1. “The Way You Look Tonight” Sonny Rollins/Thelonious Monk – self titled
  2. “Rue Serpente” Pepper Adams – The Master
  3. “My Heart Belongs to Daddy” Oscar Peterson – Night Train
  4. “Dancing In The Dark” Cannonball Adderley – Somethin’ Else
  5. “Nardis” Bill Evans – Explorations
  6. “Dear Old Stockholm” Miles Davis – ‘Round About Midnight
  7. “El Is A Sound Of Joy” Sun Ra – Sound of Joy
  8. “La Pasionaria” Michel Legrand – Le Jazz Grand
  9. “Here’s That Rainy Day” Stan Getz – Getz Au Go Go
  10. “Body And Soul” John Coltrane – Coltrane’s Sound

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