Two weeks ago, Reggie’s Senior Jazz Band performed at the Optimist International Jazz Band Festival at Glenlawn Collegiate. They performed two Ellington pieces: Jumpin’ Punkins, Mood Indigo, and one Mingus piece: Nostalgia in Times Square. Like the Wind Ensemble Band’s performance at the Convention Centre two weeks earlier, the Jazz Band also received great reviews from the adjudicator.
The adjudicators, by the way, on this Music Festivals, are professional musicians who give them feedback on their playing. That night, their adjudicator was a lady bassist named Jodi. “Beautiful music.” “Classy.” “Pristine.” “You were all in tune.” These are just some of the words she used to describe the Senior Jazz Band.
The only suggestion she made was to make it dirtier. “That’s how Duke Ellington played his music and also the other musicians of his time,” she said. She told the young musicians to use their hips instead of their upper body when playing their instruments. Give it some sex. Just imagine what the parents were thinking when she mentioned the S-word to these 16- to 18-year old kids. 😉 Then she explained that she didn’t want them to DO IT, but rather to express that passion in the music.
And since she is a bassist herself, she showed the band’s bassist how to play it dirtier. You should have seen his red face. “Don’t be polite,” she said. “We, Canadians, are known for being polite. Give it some edge,” she added. She said that she had been to New York, and that’s how they do it over there.
She asked the band to play a little something from one of the pieces they played. “I finally heard that girth,” she said to the band’s bassist.
She said that she enjoyed their performance. “It made my weekend,” were her parting words.
This is the same jazz band that’s going to New York. They are the only Canadian group that made it to the 12th Annual Essentially Ellington Competition and Festival at Jazz at Lincoln Center in New York City this spring.
River East Collegiate was one of the 15 finalist bands, the rest of which are American. Eighty-eight bands entered the competition by submitting recordings of their performances of three Ellington songs. The two Ellington songs the senior jazz band played at the Festival were also two of the three songs that they submitted.
I think it’s pretty cool that they made it. The school is asking for funding from major corporations here in Winnipeg to help the parents pay for this expensive trip for these young musicians. And they are also thinking of a few fundraising events.
I just hope that somebody from a major corporation reads this and gets interested in helping out. Just imagine. They’re the only Canadian group. I think that’s something.
I will see if I can get Reggie download a copy of their CD, or at least one song, so that I could upload it on this website. I will also try to learn how to upload the video from my camcorder to our computer so that I could share it with you.
May 28, 2007 Update:
Here are the links to the videos: