Every year after Jazz Fest, Jelly Roll Justice heads to New York to attend and report on the Jazz at Lincoln Center’s (JALC) Essentially Ellington High School Jazz Band Competition & Festival. The 15 finalist bands that will compete in the prestigious competition at Frederick P. Rose Hall on May 8 – 10, 2014 come from all regions of the United States.
The Competition & Festival is the culmination of the annual Essentially Ellington High School Jazz Band Program (EE), which also includes non-competitive regional festivals around the country, teaching resources, a summer Band Director Academy, newsletters, and more. The year-long Essentially Ellington program will have distributed 21,600 newly transcribed scores by the end of this school year.
Throughout March and April, Jazz at Lincoln Center sends, free of charge, a professional jazz musician and educator to each of the 15 finalist band schools to lead an intensive four-hour workshop of rehearsals, lessons, and master classes. The Essentially Ellington Program will also provide free workshops to an underserved school in each of the finalist band communities.
Beginning on May 8, the 15 bands will compete for top honors and participate in workshops, jam sessions, and more during the three-day Competition & Festival. The first half of the final concert on May 10 will feature the three top-placing bands performing with a member of the world renowned Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra (JLCO) as guest soloist. The second half will feature the JLCO – whose members serve as mentors for the finalist bands throughout the weekend – performing a repertoire of tunes made famous by Duke Ellington. The festival concludes with an awards ceremony honoring outstanding soloists, sections and the three top-placing bands.
The entire weekend of EE events, including the final concert featuring the three top-placing bands and the JLCO, will be webcast live on jalc.org/live.
In the program’s history, 267 finalist bands have traveled to New York City to participate in the annual Competition & Festival. This unique music education program over the last 19 years has reached more than 504,000 students in more than 4,200 high schools across all 50 United States, Canada, and American schools abroad.
For more information including background, history, photos, and audio recordings of the Essentially Ellington 2014 repertoire, and more, visit: http://academy.jalc.org/ee/