Guest artist to join jazz students

Grammy-nominated trumpet player Wayne Bergeron will play alongside each student band for one or two of their songs on May 26 during the Spring Jazz Concert.

Bergeron, who plays lead trumpet in the L.A.-based jazz ensemble Gordon Goodwin’s Big Phat Band, has played in more than 250 film and television soundtracks.

“He is probably the most recorded trumpet player on the planet,” jazz teacher Shawn Costantino said. “If you can think of a famous trumpet solo on anything, he’s played it.”

Costantino hopes that having a guest artist will not only jazz up the concert, but will also benefit the jazz students educationally.

“If we bring a guest artist to play with us during the concerts, it forces the students to play more professionally and ups the whole level of their playing,” he said. “And that in turn gives them a more positive educational experience.” Bergeron will rehearse with the jazz bands during class and after school.

Parents of some of the jazz students know Bergeron, who lives near the Upper School, and asked him to perform at the concert. Rob and Kazue McGregor (Isamu ’07) helped Costantino coordinate Bergeron’s appearance at the concert, which will be partially funded by Yamaha.

“It was just a convenient L.A. connection,” Costantino said.

Major film soundtracks in which Bergeron has played include “Rocky””and “Pirates of the Caribbean.” He has also recorded with numerous pop artists.

“He’s the top call trumpet player in L.A.,” Costantino said.

Bergeron is not the first guest artist at the school this year. Distinguished jazz saxophonist Kenny Garrett performed at the Second Annual Harvard-Westlake Jazz Festival last month.

Costantino, who is in his first year at the school, believes that guest artists are an important part of pushing the jazz program in a new direction. He plans on continuing the practice in the years to come.
“There are a lot of things that people do in other parts of the country with their jazz programs that we haven’t done yet,” he said. “And a big thing is bringing in guest artists,” he said.

Costantino went on to explain that jazz students might not be able to play certain musical thoughts they hear in their heads because they don’t know the theory, technique or concepts behind the idea.

“But if a professional plays it next to you, then you can see how they do it,” he said. “They’re just handing you gems of knowledge right before your very eyes.”