In a unique event, sponsored by the Los Alamos Jazz Project, May 9, the award-winning Eisenhower Middle School Jazz One, directed by Aaron Lovato, from Albuquerque, performed alongside the Los Alamos Middle School Jazz One, directed by Ryan Finn, at the Los Alamos/Eisenhower Big Band Side-by-Side Concert.
In the same performance, both groups also performed together under guest conductor, Dr. Frank “Pancho” Romero, professor of trumpet and director of Jazz Ensembles, at New Mexico State University. “Combining two jazz bands to simultaneously perform is pretty unprecedented. Both bands were well-prepared, and Dr. Romero did a great job of putting them together, resulting in a fantastic performance,” Finn said.
May 10, approximately 45 jazz students from Los Alamos Middle School, Eisenhower Middle School, and the Los Alamos Jazz Project convened at LAMS to work with coaches on various aspects of jazz performance, ranging from improvised soloing to small ensemble playing. According to Finn, “It is so difficult to teach improvisation in a large group. Being able to split up the students into small groups and work on not only improvisation skills but also to help students with their fear of soloing helps make them better musicians.” The guest coaches who worked with the students included Dr. Pancho Romero, Aaron Lovato, Ryan Finn, William Finn, and Jeremy Bleich. Additionally, Eisenhower Middle School Band Director Sam Nesbitt provided support and guidance to make this event possible.
In the evening of May 10, the Student Jazz Combo Fiesta took place at Pig+Fig. The Los Alamos Jazz Project, followed by five jazz combos made up of Los Alamos Middle School and Eisenhower Middle School students, performed a number of famous jazz standards. The students applied the skills they practiced in their workshops to produce vibrant and lively music. After the students performed, the guest coaches provided all present with a special performance of “Tenor Madness”. A great time was had by all. LAJP would like to extend its gratitude to Pig+Fig Cafe and Sirphey for their support of the Los Alamos Jazz Project and the Student Jazz Combo Fiesta.
The Los Alamos/Eisenhower Big Band Side-by-Side Concert and the Student Jazz Combo Fiesta were both sponsored by the Los Alamos Jazz Project. This week, Tuesday, May 14, LAJP Big Band and Los Alamos Middle School Jazz One will be performing at Ashley Pond at 7 p.m. Additionally, LAJP is sponsoring a week-long summer jazz camp in Los Alamos that will be hosted at LAHS from June 17-21.