Jazzing out first division ratings

Noelle Whorf '23, Copy Editor

The Jazz Band performed at MSBOA Jazz Festival Wednesday, April 5 receiving all first division ratings.

Meeting twice a week after school in addition to each member practicing rigorously in their own time, the band displayed a selection of music for the performance. Their music included “Isfahan” by Duke Ellington, “Nostalgia in Times Square” by Charles Mingus and “Let’s Face The Music and Dance” by Irving Berlin.

“Every year we try to perform a diverse selection of music at festival, so we played a ballad: ‘Isfahan’, a Blues song: ‘Nostalgia in Times Square’, and a fast-paced Mambo: ‘Let’s Face the Music and Dance,’” Trumpet player Sam White ’23 said. “Additionally, we try to choose pieces by well-known jazz musicians.”

Each of the pieces contain solo material, with “Isahan” being written as a full-length solo piece for a saxophonist, Harper Sendra ’23, with the rest of the band accompanying.

“The solos are fully improvised so the main challenge is learning which notes sound good and which notes don’t,” White said. “Learning to listen to the ensemble playing around you while you solo is the most important thing as that will clue you in as to which rhythms and notes you can play on the fly.”

Although each musician is crucial to the band, White stressed the importance of the upper-classmen and the effects of the dynamic that they create within the ensemble.

“Seniors have a responsibility to lead the ensemble with our playing abilities, but also have a responsibility to be role models for younger students in the band,” White said. “Jazz is something most people don’t have exposure to from a young age, so it’s typical for freshmen to be experiencing jazz music for the first time while they are rehearsing and performing in high-pressure situations such as Jazz Festival. It’s on the seniors to be mature and show patience with some of their inexperience.”