For the third time in five years, the Medfield jazz band not only earned one of the few coveted spots in the national Charles Mingus High School Competition & Festival in New York, but this time around it also took home an “Outstanding Section” award for trombone. The weekend kicked off with a visit to a New York jazz club Friday night, followed by clinics with renowned artists, jam sessions with students from across the country, live jazz on Saturday and then the competition and awards ceremony on Sunday. Medfield was one of a dozen ensembles in total that performed in the competition.
The Rivers Select 1 Combo spent this past weekend in Manhattan at the 2015 Charles Mingus High School Jazz Competition. The quartet was one of just three ensembles in the non-Performing Arts High school category selected as finalists from the nationwide competition and was the recipient of the Mingus Spirit Award.
The Spirit Award is, in the words of Sue Mingus, “the most important award at the competition” as it is given to the ensemble whose spirit best reflects the unique style of the late Charles Mingus. Rachel Hawley ’15 was awarded an honorable mention for her performances on bass.
Sue Mingus with Esteban Castro, 12 years old, who played with both the 46th St Ensemble and the Jazz House Kids Big Band at the 7th Annual Charles Mingus High School Competition and Festival, and sat in with the Mingus Big Band on Sunday night! (He was incredible!)
One of the great jazz traditions in New York is the Monday-night performances by the Mingus Big Band at the Jazz Standard. When I heard them there on Jan. 12, the top soloists were saxophonist Wayne Escoffery, trombonist Frank Lacy, and trumpeter Alex Norris. Norris, of course, grew up in Howard County and teaches jazz part time at the Peabody Institute. And at the Jazz Standard’s bar, he told me he’d be holding the special “pre-release” show for his new album, “Extension Deadline,” at Peabody on Jan. 27.