Jazz Festival

By Matthew Lee

The smooth comping of the guitar and piano enhanced the aura of the auditorium. As the tenor saxophone bellowed over the rhythmic unison of the bass and drums, the energy of audience at the Fourth Annual Harvard-Westlake Jazz festival increased until the audience members were not only bobbing their heads in appreciation of the sounds, but even rising out of their seat and cheering to feel and be part of the music.

This group was one of the student jazz combos that performed in event on April 18 at the Rugby auditorium. Student musicians from 10 local high schools played alongside six world-renowned jazz artists, and the event benefited the Inner-City Arts foundation. Charlie Fogarty ’10 organized the event.

The six musicians were bassist Marcus Miller, drummer Bernie Dresel, trumpet player Chris Tedesco, pianist Alan Pasqua, trombone player Bob McChesney and saxophonist Bob Sheppard.

“We enjoyed all playing together,” Sheppard said.

The festival began at 10 in the morning at the upper school campus, where student musicians from different high schools met for the first time and were arranged randomly into big bands and combos.

The jazz artists instructed and conducted the students for six hours.

A big band with composer Scott Whitfield opened the concert with “One Kettle for Count,” by Gary Tole. Next, a student combo took the stage and played “Autumn.”

Another student combo took stage followed by a big band led by conductor and pianist Matt Harris.

“It was exciting. The playing definitely exceeded my expectations. With six hours of practice, they were just as enjoyable as if they had played together for months,” Hank Adelmann ’11 said.

After a brief intermission, in which Marcus Miller auctioned off a bass signed by him for $600, the combo, consisting of the renowned musicians, played its first song of the night, “Jean Pierre,” by Miles Davis.

The combo was next joined by singer Nora Rothman ’09.

“The music was exquisite,” said Bob Bates, president of the Inner City Arts Foundation.

The foundation both provides different types of art programs for inner city children and trains teachers on how to instruct kids in the arts.

A big band consisting of all the student musicians and professional musicians concluded the concert with “Big Foot” by Charlie Parker.

“I was grateful for such an enriching event,” said Shawn Feldman ’09 after the concert.