On May 10th, the Tucson Jazz Institute's Ellington Big Band has won Jazz at Lincoln Center's Essentially Ellington high school jazz band competition for the second straight year.
After a packed three days of mentoring, jam sessions, and workshops, EE culminated with a final concert where the top-placing bands each performed with a member of the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra (JLCO). The second half of the final concert featured the world-renowned JLCO with Wynton Marsalis – whose members served as mentors for the finalist bands throughout the week – performing a repertoire of tunes made famous by Duke Ellington.
Culminating at the ceremony, Wynton Marsalis presented awards to each of the 15 finalist high school jazz bands. Again, New Orleans high school jazz ensembles were no where to be seen.
Doug Tidaback, director of Tucson Jazz Institute, accepted the 1st place trophy and an award of $5,000.
Julius Tolentino, director of Jazz House Kids, Montclair, New Jersey, accepted the 2nd place trophy and an award of $2,500.
Christopher Dorsey, director of Dillard Center for the Arts, Ft. Lauderdale, Florida accepted the 3rd place trophy with an award of $1,000.
Garfield High School, Seattle, Washington, directed by Clarence Acox, received honorable mention with an award of $750. The remaining eleven bands were each awarded cash awards of $500. All monetary awards are to be used for improving the jazz education programs of each respective high school.
To get an idea of the quality of the musicianship and excellence of the bands, check out a short video of part of 3rd place Dillard’s presentation. http://www.usnews.com/news/entertainment/articles/2014/05/11/tucson-band...
In the spirit of creativity and continuing the jazz legacy, Jazz at Lincoln Center also recognized the winner of the 2nd Annual Gerhard W. Vosshall Essentially Ellington Student Composition/Arranging Contest to Jeric Rocamora of Rio Americano High School, Sacramento, California.
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 more than 21,600 newly transcribed scores by the end of this school year. For more information including background, history, photos, and audio recordings of the Essentially Ellington 2014 repertoire, and more, visit: http://academy.jalc.org/ee/
This year, the Essentially Ellington Competition & Festival was more media accessible than ever via JALC social media on Facebook, Twitter @EssEllington, Instagram @jalcnyc, and Tumblr. Throughout the weekend, students, viewers, and participants shared their thoughts and photos by using the hashtag #EE2014.