Three high school jazz bands took top honors in Jazz at Lincoln Center’s 13th Annual Essentially Ellington High School Jazz Band Competition & Festival. Each band was chosen by a panel of judges composed of distinguished jazz musicians and historians-Wynton Marsalis, Jazz at Lincoln Center Artistic Director; composer, conductor and Ellington authority David Berger; educator, clinician and pianist, Reginald Thomas; and master jazz clarinetist/saxophonist, Bob Wilber-from among the 15 finalist bands that earned spots by blind auditions from the U.S. and Canada that came to the competition and festival in New York City.
The three winning bands are:
1st Place: Roosevelt High School, Seattle, WA
2nd Place: Garfield High School, Seattle, WA
3rd Place: Sun Prairie High School, Sun Prairie, WI
Essentially Ellington culminated with a concert on Saturday, at which the top-placing bands performed with Wynton Marsalis as a soloist, followed by a performance by the 15-piece Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra with Marsalis. The JLCO’s performance included Ellington compositions plus, for the first time in the history of the program, Benny Carter repertoire, which will be distributed by Jazz at Lincoln Center for the 2008-2009 Essentially Ellington High School Jazz Band Program.
At the awards ceremony, Wynton Marsalis presented prizes and cash awards to each of the 15 finalist bands.