Newark Academy’s Jazz Band “Chameleon” directed by Julius Tolentino won 4th Place/Honorable Mention at the 22nd Annual Essentially Ellington High School Jazz Band Competition & Festival, which took place at Frederick P. Rose Hall, home of Jazz at Lincoln Center. In addition, individual awards were earned by Reed Christmann, Cosimo Fabrizio, Alan Lin, Teddy McGraw, Shaan Pandiri, Charles Penn, Samantha Powell, and Allen Zhu. (See below for details). Julius Tolentino says, “I couldn’t be prouder of Chameleon’s performance at the 2017 Essentially Ellington Festival. They placed fourth out of the top jazz programs in the nation and earned a Honorable Mention, as well as two Outstanding Section Awards and eight Soloist Awards. They represented our community on a national level with the highest level of musicianship and professionalism.” Enjoy these three excerpts from Chameleon’s spectacular performance!
INTO/JUMP FOR JOY
JACK THE BEAR
SUGAR HILL PENTHOUSE
Essentially Ellington 2017 Competition & Festival Awards
FIRST PLACE: TUCSON JAZZ INSTITUTE
SECOND PLACE: DENVER SCHOOL OF THE ARTS
THIRD PLACE: DILLARD CENTER FOR THE ARTS
HONORABLE MENTION: NEWARK ACADEMY
In addition, Newark Academy earned the following individual awards:
OUTSTANDING RHYTHM SECTION
OUTSTANDING REED SECTION
OUTSTANDING BASS: Shaan Pandiri
OUTSTANDING GUITAR: Cosimo Fabrizio
OUTSTANDING DRUMS: Teddy McGraw
OUTSTANDING CLARINET: Alan Lin
OUTSTANDING ALTO SAXOPHONE: Charles Penn
OUTSTANDING TENOR SAXOPHONE: Allen Zhu
HONORABLE MENTION TROMBONE: Reid Christmann
HONORABLE MENTION VOCALS: Samantha Powell
ABOUT THE COMPETITION:
Beginning on May 11, the top 15 high school jazz bands in the country participated in the Essentially Ellington High School Jazz Band Competition & Festival and for the first time ever, Essentially Ellington welcomed guests from the Orquesta Juvenil de Jazz de Cuba to perform in exhibition. Their performance enriched the community and expanded Jazz at Lincoln Center’s reach to the educational system in Havana. All 16 bands were immersed in three days of mentoring, jam sessions, and workshops.
On Friday, May 12, the competition kicked off with a second line parade, United We Swing, with all participating bands, hosts, community members and city officials parading from Columbus Circle Park to the Jazz at Lincoln Center marquee at the Time Warner Center. The United We Swing second line parade was held in celebration and support of arts programs and arts education nationwide.
The competition culminated with each top-placing band performing alongside their choice of guest soloist from the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra. The final concert also featured the world-renowned Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra with Wynton Marsalis – whose members served as mentors for the finalist bands throughout the festival. The Orchestra performed the music of Chick Webb and Duke Ellington which will be featured in next year’s Essentially Ellington Program.
Each finalist band was selected by a panel of adjudicators including: Loren Schoenberg, Mark Buselli, Steve Fidyk, and Todd Coolman. At the Festival, finalist bands were critiqued by a panel of judges comprised of distinguished jazz musicians and historians: Jazz at Lincoln Center’s Managing and Artistic Director Wynton Marsalis; acclaimed trumpeter and Artistic Director of the Pittsburgh and Cleveland Jazz Orchestras Sean Jones; big band leader, drummer and Grammy-nominated recording artist Jeff Hamilton; renowned flautist, saxophonist, composer, educator, and EE Alum Erica von Kleist; and Director Emeritus of Jazz Studies Houston’s High School for Performing and Visual Arts Dr. Bob Morgan.