So, the photos are here.
And, the music is here.
The reason for the trip was for C and I to be here for RHS Jazz, for Max, to watch our son play at Lincoln Center in the Essentially Ellington competition held by Jazz at Lincoln Center, Wynton Marsalis, Musical Director. Unbelievably cool. Saturday a.m., up early (for us) with breakfast at the Wellington Hotel coffee shop, another great NYC waitress, but distinctly different from Monica (think Lewinsky) at the Carnegie the night before.
Monica (not Lewinsky) told us that she’d been there for 50 years, and when C asked if she could change her order (I’d like to share my husband’s pastrami sandwich!) responded that “It takes an act of Congress!) Great food, cole slaw, pickles, latkes…(Don’t tell ‘em you shared, it’ll cost more.)
Saw Max in the Wellington Lobby after breakfast. He acknowledged us, but flashed a look that said, "Don’t get within 50 yards of me." The band sure looked uptight, not the relaxed confidence we’re used to. Walked to Columbus Circle, up the escalator to Rose Hall in the Time Warner building, RHS up first at 10:00 a.m. (An unlucky draw says Roslyn, the Donna Reed vision of hard work, competence and conscience). First the intros of the judges then sound check, and then Scott walks on, no intros, the boys kick off with the Theme from the Asphalt Jungle, hit all the notes, swinging and rhythm section driving. Blue Serge is slow, melodic, soloists understated, but Wyatt, Corey and Sean all do their parts well, and then the finale, the big show stopper, led by Ethan and Alex D tap dancing the intro to Jam-A-Diddy, big flourish of a finish and a standing O. What could be better?
To this untrained ear, the next three bands could be better. Clearer solos, great style, swing, great ovations…..sheesh…hope that RHS even makes it into the finals, so Ba, Duff, Nick, and the Kanes can see them….
Returned to the Wellington about 4 to wait for Kanes, dropped C at Columbus Circle so she could be there for the announcement. C called at 4:10 to tell me that the announcement would be in ten minutes. I’m resigned for a let down, but the next call is from Kanes who are later than they thought, and that’s okay. Then, C calls back from inside, I can’t hear, although she says ‘Garfield,’ then she calls again from outside, and RHS, Garfield and Sun Prairie have made the evening show. Wynton says, “If your band didn’t make the finals, you need to think about how your rhythm section performed. Can’t have the bass going one way and the drums another.”
RHS is up second, after Garfield’s usual high-power blues and swing that always is a crowd-pleaser. Scott gets to do his great job of contrast, “We’re going to slow it down a bit…” and introduces Wynton who the band backs on “All Heart.’ Never better, but they conclude with the best version of Asphalt Jungle to date. (Andy C says later that this is the best they’ve played all year)
The last band performs, JALC rocks and swings through a selection of next year’s selections, and then it’s award time. First the sectionals, Garfield seems to dominate, when Sun Prairie is not, although RHS trumpets are recognized. Individual awards again focus on others. Wynton tells the winners to savor the moment, to thank their directors, “You’ll never forget your director!’ He ad-libs, he talks about playing with soul and humanity (We use that when we can’t decide who to give awards to) and the trade-offs between solo and ensemble work, plus the importance (again) of the drums and bass. Lots of life lesson reinforcement.
And then, what? Sun Prairie is third? And then, Garfield is second? And that makes Roosevelt #1, the winner in what the Band Directors have all described as the Best High School Jazz Festival in the World! Big Whoops, Standing O’s shouts, high fives, Max seeks me out and thanks me for everything, hugs, kisses, and disbelief, biggest smiles ever, flash bulbs and OMG. Scott later says that this may be his best band ever.
C had to be there for this. Wish Tony had been there. But Ba and Duff were there! Bob, Jen, Jack and Frances were there. And, Nick Hersh was there, so we’ve got witnesses…