November 3rd, 2012
Last night at Town Hall, Earshot Jazz presented the Ballard and Roosevelt High School Jazz Bands as part of the 2012 Earshot Jazz festival. I missed the Ballard Band but made some pictures of the Roosevelt HS Jazz Band. Under Scott Brown, Roosevelt has been a perennial powerhouse at the national Essentially Ellington festival. It shared the stately Town Hall stage with its ever-strengthening Ballard HS counterpart, directed by Michael James.
The 2012 Earshot Jazz Festival continues in it’s last week ending on Sunday with Robert Glasper. Click on the schedule here 2012 Earshot Jazz Festival
Roosevelt returned from a two-week summer European festival tour and second place finish at New York’s Ellington contest last May. “With loads of new talent and a strong core of veteran leadership,” Brown writes, “this year’s band is sure to be swinging!”
Brown, a trombonist, loves his job. “As a director, I am blessed to have so many wonderful musicians attending Roosevelt High School. When everyone in the band is ‘on the same page’ musically and spiritually, there is nothing better than to hear them swinging their tails off!”
These band directors draw on the pool of professional freelance regional artists to mentor their students. Brown hired saxophonist Stuart MacDonald as assistant director. MacDonald graduated from Roosevelt in 1991. James enlisted saxophonist Gary Hammon to help develop his band. Hammon emerged from the Seattle funk and free jazz scene, studied at the New England Conservatory of Music, toured with organist Big John Patton, returned to Seattle and recorded Fangs in 2005 with saxophonist Hadley Caliman.