Ending on a high note

By Mary Rose Fissinger and Catherine Wang

The audience that packed Typhoon restaurant at the Santa Monica airport Saturday night cheered as the members of Jazz Band took their places in the front of the room for their last performance of the year.

The band played two 40 minute sets of five songs each. The Advanced Jazz Combo kicked off the first set with “Within You, Without You” by George Harrison, followed by four songs performed by the entire jazz band.

The second set started with the Jazz Explorer’s performance of “Home Fries” by Joshua Redman and concluded with the fast-paced “Cut ‘N Run” by Gordon Goodwin.

“It was blazing fast, and everyone was playing their absolute loudest, so it was so exciting and so much fun,” Jazz Explorers bassist Hank Adelmann ’11 said.

“We picked the final song to have something extremely challenging to work on,” jazz teacher Shawn Costantino said.

Andi Ardidi ’14 replaced Jazz Explorers saxophonist Alex Scharch ’11 for the night, as Scharch was in Florida celebrating his uncle’s 95th birthday. Costantino substituted for Scharch in the Jazz Explorers’ performance of “Home Fries,” commenting afterwards to the crowd that he was proud it was so difficult to replace one of his students.

“I know I’m doing something right,” he said, smiling.

The venue is located on the second floor of the Santa Monica airport restaurant complex. Dim lighting, wood furnishing and a menu that consists of everything ranging from brown rice to Taiwanese crickets characterized the restaurant.

“We’ve never played there before. It was super exotic,” Adelmann said.

Playing at a restaurant differs from playing at a regular show, Costantino said.

“Playing in a restaurant is different because it is a paid show in a professional level musical environment. The students know that they have less room for mistakes and have to really be on their A plus plus plus game, which they all were,” Costantino said.

However, most musicians prefer the restaurant venue to the standard show in Rugby auditorium.

“I like restaurants more because they feel more professional,” Advanced Jazz Combo trumpet player Noah Weinman ’12 said.

Costantino believed it to be a wonderful culmination to the Jazz band’s year.

“The show was amazing. I’m so proud of the students and I think they played better than ever,” he said.

This final show came just a week after the 6th annual Jazz Festival, which took place in Rugby on Sunday, May 15. The festival featured the jazz group “Kneebody,” which led an afternoon workshop for students before taking the Rugby stage at 7 p.m.  

Organized by Jazz Explorers Adelmann and Jordan Bryan ’11, all the proceeds of the festival went towards Inner City Arts, an organization that funds education in the arts for students in low income areas. The founder of Inner City Arts also spoke at the festival, as he has done for the past few years.

About 40 students from Brentwood School, Colburn School, Windward School, New Roads School, Crossroads School and Harvard-Westlake attended the workshops and performance, raising about $1,500, Bryan said.

“It was a little under-attended, but the energy in the room was amazing. It was definitely one of the best jazz festival performances of all time,” Adelmann said.