GARFIELD HIGH JAZZ BAND TAKES FIRST PLACE AT ESSENTIALLY ELLINGTON

Seattle Times

Performing in perhaps the strongest field of bands in the event’s history, Garfield High School won the Essentially Ellington high school jazz band competition for an unprecedented fourth time Monday night at New York’s Lincoln Center. Led by director Clarence Acox, Garfield’s lead trumpeter, senior Riley Mulherkar, named the “outstanding soloist” of the three-day festival, played a solo with trumpeter Wynton Marsalis on the Duke Ellington tune, “The Shepherd.” The two traded measures in a moment Mulherkar called “more than a thrill. … I can’t imagine anything better than to share it with one of my biggest idols.” With four wins in the past decade, Garfield is the most successful and consistent band in the competition, considered the most prestigious of its kind. Bands from two other schools in the Seattle area, Roosevelt and Edmonds-Woodway high schools, also competed. Three-time winner Roosevelt earned an honorable mention by placing fourth; Edmonds-Woodway did not place. Each of the schools also won a number of individual awards. Garfield High School jazz band won 10 individual awards, more than any other band, and their rhythm section won an outstanding rhythm section award. Roosevelt won three individual awards and one section award for outstanding trombone section; Edmonds-Woodway won four individual awards. The 15 final high school jazz bands were culled from hundreds of schools in the U.S. and American schools worldwide. “The level of musicianship, interpretation, improvisation and soloing has gotten 10 times better,” said Erika Floreska, the director of education at Jazz at Lincoln Center. “None of them sound like concert bands anymore. They all sound like jazz bands.” To read full coverage of the Essentially Ellington competition, follow the above link.

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