Last Year’s Honorees, This Year’s Winners (again)
America’s best high school jazz bands are directed by JJA “A Team” honorees, according to Jazz At Lincoln Center, announcing winners of its 15th annual Essentially Ellington competition.
The Garfield High School (Seattle) Jazz Band took first place, a trophy and $5,000 in the weekend-long competition and festival, which comprised performances and workshops by 15 finalists drawn from 96 bands applying with recorded material. The winning band was led by Clarence Acox, who was inducted into the Jazz Journalists Association’s celebrated circle of “activists, advocates, aiders and abettors of jazz” in 2009. The Roosevelt High School Jazz Band — also based in Seattle, and typically Garfield’s hot rival — received an honorable mention (and $750). Roosevelt is directed by Scott Brown, who was also named to the JJA’s “A Team” in 2009.
Second place in the competition went to the Dillard Center for the Arts (Fort Lauderdale) ensemble, and third to Foxboro High School (Foxborough, MA), whose jazz program supporters are as yet unrecognized by the JJA. However, Essentially Ellington adjudicators included Jimmy Heath, reeds player, who was elevated to “A Team” status with his brothers Percy (posthumously) and Tootie at the 2005 Jazz Awards, and is nominated for the Lifetime Achievement in Jazz Award in this year’s JJA Jazz Awards. Also a judge was Jazz at Lincoln Center artistic director Wynton Marsalis, a nominee in the 2010 JJA Awards for trumpeter of the year. Recipients of the JJA Awards are to be announced at a gala party at City Winery, NYC, on June 14. Get more details at jjajazzawards.org).
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