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The Little Hawk

The student news site of Iowa City High School

The Little Hawk

The student news site of Iowa City High School

The Little Hawk

Staff Profile
Will Hand
Will Hand
Reporter

Jazz Band Brings in Professionals

Jazz+Band+Brings+in+Professionals

For the first time in City High history, the Jazz Band program has expanded to four bands. There are simply too many enthusiastic students to fit into three bands. The jazz bands will also be hosting renowned jazz musicians Ron Carter and Wycliffe Gordon.

“In order to create a better experience for…(the saxophones), I created a group that is a saxophone section,” Ryan Arp, jazz band director, said. Since there were over 35 students that auditioned this year, and the average jazz band has only five saxophones, giving them their own band will allow these students to have a more individual experience, and contribute more to the band. Not that this will cause any problems with performing music, as the variety of notes available with saxophones makes everything from an soprano voice to a bass voice possible.

“A lot of the music is adaptable to fit the saxophones, so it should work out just fine,” Arp said. “You can cover all the parts of the jazz band with just the saxophone section.”

Also new this year are two visiting musicians, Wycliffe Gordon and Ron Carter, who are coming to City High to work with the students. Wycliffe Gordon is a nationally famous trombone player who was named Trombonist of The Year by the Jazz Journalists Association for the ninth time since 2001. Ron Carter is a globally celebrated jazz bassist who has won two Grammys and spent 1963-68 playing in the Miles Davis quintet. His newest album is called San Sebastian. A fifth year jazz saxophone player Josh Brook, ‘15, is excited to learn from these musicians.

“It is important that the jazz teachers come in because they teach us not only how to play jazz music better, they also teach us a sense of style” Brook said. “They give us confidence because we are able to play with musicians of such high caliber.”

“Music is going to go wherever we take it…It kinda connects us to the universe.” Wycliffe Gordon, trombone player, conductor, composer, and arranger came to City High this October to work with the jazz bands.

“I want to give them the advantage of my experience as a professional musician.” Gordon said. City High was chosen by Hancher Auditorium to host Gordon during a twelve day residency in Iowa City. With proficiency in over 23 instruments, including all the brass, piano, clarinet, drums, and bass, and a whole life of jazz music, he was able to really help with student musicians. Brook believes that experienced artists can help to install “a sense of confidence about performances. Not just in playing, but also in how we act.”

“Music affects everything in my life. Music will just take you places.” Gordon said. “How you practice, and develop your individual practice on your instrument it can be a good model for how you can do other things in all walks of life.” Gordon believes that music can help people to persevere through other aspects of their life, as long as they are truly dedicated to music and practice. In high school, he was in marching band, concert band, jazz band, and pep band. After sticking with music for his whole life, Gordon got to perform music with people like Buster Cooper and Duke Ellington. He has made a record label with his and other people’s music, mostly his good friend Wynton Marsalis.

Jazz is a unique type of music because performances are less strict and organized, with more imagination and creativity on the part of the musicians.
“I like jazz band because I can get up and do whatever I want.” Brooks said. The program has many new and exciting events this year, including a new band and visiting performers.

Wycliffe Gordon plays Yamaha

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Jazz Band Brings in Professionals