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Published on February 8th, 2012 | by Staff 12-13


Winter concert — Play it again, Samo jazz band

Sintra Martins
Staff Writer

The smooth sounds of brass and jazz filled Barnum Hall on Thursday, Jan. 26. The culprit — Samo’s very own jazz band. The concert featured jazz bands I, II and an advanced combo ensemble. In addition, world-renowned jazz trombonist and mentor Andy Martin made a special guest appearance. Martin has long been one of L.A.’s go-to trombonists for commercial recordings, television and film, and live theater. He has collaborated on albums for many popular artists, including Coldplay, the Pussycat Dolls and Michael Bublé.

The show marked an end to a semester’s worth of rehearsal for the bands.

According to Assistant Jazz Director Jessica Swift, more exciting things await the ensemble, which recently won first place at Berklee College’s Festival of Music.

“We’re preparing long term for a big jazz festival that’s going to be happening in the Spring in Reno, Nevada,” Swift said.

The bands have been rehearsing twice a week for two hours since the first week of school.

“We’ve been working toward this for a while. We performed with Andy Martin and he’s really well known and we want to show that we deserve to be playing with him. We’ve only rehearsed two times a week which, compared to some competitive high school jazz bands, is a lot less,” sophomore alto saxophonist and flautist Sarah Ohanian said.

According to Visual and Performing Arts Coordinator and Jazz I Director Tom Whaley, because jazz band students don’t rehearse as much as other ensembles they need to work harder to continue their growth outside of rehearsal.

The hard work is worth it for junior Eli Brown, a featured trumpet player who performed a self-arranged piece alongside Martin and sophomore trombonist Kyle McCreight.

Brown and McCreight are both award winning soloists and honor orchestra members: Brown, a Semi-Finalist in the Los Angeles Spotlight Awards and McCreight, a lead trombonist in the California All-State Jazz Band.

In addition to a thin rehearsal schedule, jazz students have to juggle many other in-school ensembles as well.

“The kids work hard because they’re in marching band, concert bands, wind ensembles, orchestras, choirs and [school] so they really are some of the more advanced students in the school,” Whaley said.


Whaley’s stamp of approval is a testament to a lot of hard work, focus and a love for their craft.

“It’s a lot for them,” Whaley said. “It’s challenging music but I think they did a great job.”

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