ALL ARTS Celebrates Essentially Ellington

S2019 E1 | FULL EPISODE

EP. 1: The Competition

Experience the 2019 Essentially Ellington Competition & Festival with “The Competition.” This program features 15 of the best high school jazz bands in the country, literally Dukin’ it out on stage! These young musicians from across North America travel to New York City to spend three days immersed in workshops, jam sessions, rehearsals and performances at Jazz at Lincoln Center.

AIRED: June 09, 2019 | 1:38:55
ABOUT THE PROGRAM
TRANSCRIPT

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Hi, I'm Roxy Coss. And I'm Patrick Bartley.

Welcome to "All Arts Celebrates Essential Ellington."

For the next few hours, you have a front row seat

to the 2019 Essentially Ellington

High School Jazz Band Competition and Festival,

held at Jazz at Lincoln Center here in New York City.

So, first up, we have the competition --

15 of the best high school jazz bands in the country,

literally "Duking" it out on stage.

And as you'll soon see,

it don't mean a thing if it ain't got that swing.

Hope you enjoy.

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Essentially Ellington is...

I'm biased, I like to think it's the best

high school jazz festival and competition on the planet.

It is a celebration of the music of Duke Ellington.

More than 100 audition every year through audition tapes,

and 15 are chosen to play

this weekend in New York and compete.

Woman: And they're from all over --

we have bands coming from the West Coast,

from the Seattle area, from San Diego,

all the way to Tarpon Springs, Florida,

all over the U.S., they're coming.

It's a wonderful, wonderful festival and competition

for the high school students.

Man: This is an opportunity to learn,

and learn new music, hear other people,

and meet people that are going to be your community

when you go out there in the real world.

Are you happy to be here?

All: Yeah! All right! Thank you!

So, when schools arrive,

they are greeted with our cheer tunnel.

And that's just a way to welcome them.

So, we just like to say, "You're at the house of swing,

have fun, enjoy, this is a competition

but it's still very much a festival,

and we want you, you know,

to walk away feeling like you have a home away from home.

That is followed by section work

that each one of the section gets about

20 minutes or a half-hour with a mentor

and a band member from the orchestra

that works with them on specifics that they want to

work on for their music.

And then we go into the competition.

Two full days of performances,

each of the 15 bands gets a chance to play.

At the very end of the competition,

the top three bands get to perform

with guest artists from the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra,

and that's all concluded by a performance

of the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra.

So, it's a packed couple of days.

Man: I like the competition aspect of it,

it just makes -- it kind of creates a certain focus

to the festival.

And it makes it exciting.

There's these butterflies,

and you don't know if you're going to be in the finals,

and waiting to hear.

It creates a certain amount of excitement

that I think is important.

The competition sort of inspires you to play at your best.

My favorite part of this whole weekend of activities

is seeing the camaraderie.

Man: This is an opportunity for the kids to realize that

there's a huge community of support for this music.

Sometimes, as a jazz musician,

feel like you're kind of out there on your own.

It's a smaller community -- but then when you see this,

you see all the love...

It's like, there are no rival bands here,

they're all celebrating each other,

and that is -- that's just a testament

to jazz itself and Duke Ellington

and his writing.

I think what's so great about the music of Duke Ellington

is that it encapsulates all of the things that,

if one were to define what jazz music is, it has everything.

His music, more than anybody else's...

more than anybody else's...

is timeless.

It's -- it holds up.

It doesn't speak of a particular era, necessarily.

It still sounds modern.

There is endless amounts of things to learn from this music.

It doesn't matter -- it could be simple, it could be complex,

sophisticated, it's -- it's something

that you will constantly learn from.

It is communal and individual,

it is expressive on all levels,

and you're to just put a pinpoint on,

"Well, what is jazz?" Like, check out this dude,

come back, you'll have a better understanding

of what's going on.

[ Cheering and applause ]

Good afternoon and welcome to Jazz at Lincoln Center's

24th annual Essentially Ellington

High School Jazz Band Competition and Festival.

[ Cheering and applause ]

My name is Antoinette Henry,

and I am the manager for secondary and higher education

programs for Jazz at Lincoln Center.

First off, I would like to congratulate each of

our finalist bands here today.

All year, you worked incredibly hard,

and today we celebrate your diligence

and your dedication to the music.

We are also here to honor and celebrate

the music and legacy of the great Duke Ellington.

Through you, the spirit of Mr. Ellington

will be alive and well in "The House of Swing."

I'd like to introduce our judges for the competition.

Please welcome renowned pianist, composer,

Grammy award winner, and EE alum, Mr. Aaron Diehl.

[ Cheering and applause ]

Baritone saxophonist, composer, and educator,

and also an EE alum, Ms. Lauren Sevian.

[ Cheering and applause ]

Renowned saxophonist, arranger,

educator, and longtime member

of the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra,

Mr. Walter Blanding.

[ Cheering and applause ]

Acclaimed drummer, big band leader,

and Grammy nominated recording artist

Mr. Jeffrey Hamilton.

[ Cheering and applause ]

And last but not least,

managing and artistic director of Jazz at Lincoln Center,

Mr. Wynton Marsalis.

[ Cheering and applause ]

The mission of Essentially Ellington

is to introduce the music of the great Duke Ellington

and other seminal big band arrangers and composers

to high school students.

We at Jazz at Lincoln Center believe this music

teaches the history and language of jazz.

In Essentially Ellington's 24 years,

we estimate that nearly 700,000 students

have played this music,

and that we've distributed more than 250,000 total charts

to schools internationally.

Our 15 finalist bands represent the highest level of achievement

from our 6,600 member schools across the U.S.

Congratulations to you all.

[ Cheering and applause ]

Man: Now, our first band up today, Ft. Lauderdale, Florida.

The Dillard Center for the Arts Jazz Ensemble.

Give them a big Essentially Ellington welcome.

Welcome, Dillard!

[ Cheering and applause ]

[ Playing ]

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[ Cheering and applause ]

We are Dillard Center for the Arts Jazz Ensemble.

And we're here to swing.

My name is Carmen Murray, I go to

the School of Creative and Performing Arts in San Diego,

and I play drums in the jazz band.

My name is Tiger Diep, I am 18 years old,

and I play the alto saxophone, and I attend

San Diego School of Creative and Performing Arts.

Well, this is my first time in New York ever,

so it's been a really incredible experience.

Just the people, the atmosphere, and then also being around

all these kids who love jazz just like I do --

it's been really crazy.

It means a lot to me to be in New York

and performing here at Essentially Ellington.

I actually have been trying for the last three years,

and I didn't get in -- my band didn't get in

freshman, sophomore, junior year;

and then finally, my senior year,

we were fortunate enough to make it in the festival.

It was a pretty big deal for me.

I actually transferred schools

so I would have, like a better opportunity, to, yeah,

to do this thing -- it means a lot to me.

[ Cheering and applause ]

Man: Please welcome

San Diego School of Creative and Performing Arts,

Ellington Jazz Ensemble.

[ Playing ]

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[ Scat-singing ]

[ Cheering and applause ]

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♪ It don't mean a thing if it ain't got that swing ♪

♪ Doo wah, doo wah, doo wah, doo wah ♪

♪ Doo wah, doo wah, doo wah, doo wah ♪

♪ It don't mean a thing, all you got to do is sing ♪

♪ Doo wah, doo wah, doo wah, doo wah ♪

♪ Doo wah, doo wah, doo wah, doo wah ♪

♪ It makes no diff'rence if it's sweet or it's hot ♪

♪ Just give that rhythm, give it ev'rything you got ♪

♪ It don't mean a thing if it ain't got that swing ♪

♪ Doo wah, doo wah, doo wah, doo wah ♪

♪ Doo wah, doo wah, doo wah, doo wah ♪

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[ Scat-singing ]

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♪ It don't mean a thing if it ain't got that swing ♪

♪ Doo wah, doo wah, doo wah, doo wah ♪

♪ Doo wah, doo wah, doo wah, doo wah ♪

♪ Doo wah, doo wah, doo wah, doo wah ♪

♪ Doo wah, doo wah, doo wah, doo wah ♪

♪ Doo wah, doo wah, doo wa-a-ah ♪

[ Cheering and applause ]

Man: Please welcome the Sun Prairie High School

Jazz Ensemble 1.

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[ Cheering and applause ]

My name is Megan, I'm from Denver School of the Arts,

and I play guitar.

My name is Alex Street, I'm from Denver School of the Arts,

and I play the vibraphone.

It means so much to be in New York

performing here, so many people that I've looked up to,

bands in the past that have come here and played

in this competition and then,

um, just Lincoln Center Orchestra,

it's so cool to be in -- playing in the same place

as all of these people.

It's just an amazing, amazing experience,

and I wouldn't trade it for anything in the world.

Man: Please welcome Denver School of the Arts

Jazz Workshop Orchestra -- give 'em a big welcome.

[ Cheering and applause ]

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[ Cheering and applause ]

Man: We are ready for our next band,

they're from Raleigh, North Carolina,

please welcome -- please welcome

the Triangle Youth Jazz Ensemble.

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[ Cheering and applause ]

My name is Teddy McGraw.

My name is Vikram Ball.

My name is Luca Moretti.

I go to Newark Academy, and I play piano.

-I play drums. -I play the upright bass.

So, I first encountered the music of Duke Ellington

when I was watching the live stream

when I was in sixth grade,

and ever since then I've been really enthralled with the music

and discovering all sorts of jazz.

There's nothing like an experience

here at Essentially Ellington.

And it's really something you can't recreate.

I think it truly is a one-in-a-lifetime opportunity.

I mean, not a lot of bands, obviously, get to come to this,

because only 15 bands get selected.

But to be among the 15 bands is already incredible enough,

even if you don't get into the top three.

My school loves Essentially Ellington,

it's a big part of our culture.

And so, I started getting more into Ellington music,

and eventually I was accepted into this band,

Newark Academy Chameleon,

and, well, the rest is history.

Man: Please welcome the Newark Academy Big Band Chameleon.

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♪ My heart is heavy as lead

♪ Because the blues have spread ♪

♪ Rocks in my bed

♪ Of all the people I see

♪ Why do they pick on poor me ♪

♪ And put rocks in my bed

♪ All night long I weep

♪ So how can I sleep

♪ With rocks in my bed

♪ That mean man of mine, he's gone ♪

♪ And he won't come back

♪ That mean of mine, he's gone ♪

♪ And he won't come back

♪ That man is lower

♪ Than a snake in a wagon track ♪

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♪ There's only two kinds of people ♪

♪ I can't understand

♪ There's only two kinds of people ♪

♪ I can't understand

♪ That's a deceitful woman

♪ And a hard faced man

♪ Ooh

♪ She-e-e-e-e

♪ Took my man away

♪ And ain't gonna bring him back ♪

♪ She took my man away

♪ Ain't gonna bring him back ♪

♪ That woman is lower than a snake ♪

♪ Than a snitch, down in a wagon track ♪

♪ I got rocks in my bed

♪ I got rocks in my bed ♪

[ Scatting ]

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♪ Under-loved, over-fed

♪ My man's gone, so instead ♪

♪ I got rocks in my bed

[ Cheering and applause ]

Man: Give a big welcome to Beloit Memorial High School

Jazz Orchestra.

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[ Cheering and applause ]

My name is Toby Keys,

I'm from Rio Americano High School

in Sacramento, California,

and I play both piano and clarinet.

My name's Josh Murray, I'm the band director

at Rio Americano high school in Sacramento, California.

Being in New York and playing at Jazz at Lincoln Center

is incredible -- it's...

something I've fantasized about

and don't really comprehend yet as happening.

It's really special to be here in New York,

which is, of course, the epicenter of jazz.

I love just about everything about Duke Ellington's music.

It's just all such great music.

I mean, when you have these hundreds of Duke Ellington tunes

and by other great composers and arrangers,

you really can't go wrong.

And I just appreciate how it has a mood --

every single piece I hear

just makes me feel something different.

The most satisfying part is that this is the hardest-working

group of kids I've ever had in 22 years.

And never had a group that put in this much effort

and this much dedication,

and they just so deserve it,

and I'm just so happy for them.

[ Cheering and applause ]

Man: Rio Americano High School A.M. Jazz Ensemble.

Give 'em a big welcome. Rio Americano.

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[ Cheering and applause ]

Man: Welcome the William H. Hall High School Concert Jazz Band.

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[ Cheering and applause ]

My name's Alexis Stanke, I'm from Middleton High School,

and I play the trumpet.

My name is Andrew Stein,

I'm from Middleton High School,

I play the baritone saxophone and bass clarinet.

We're really proud that we made it this year,

this is our first year from Middleton.

And we're super excited to be here,

just to be surrounded by

all these other high school jazz musicians,

and it's just a really cool experience.

Uh, "Sophisticated Lady" is a very famous saxophone solo.

It's one of, probably, the most famous baritone saxophone solo

from the Duke Ellington repertoire.

And I think that's a really cool thing.

Man: Please welcome Middleton High School

Seven O'Clock Jazz Band.

Give 'em a big welcome.

[ Cheering and applause ]

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[ Cheering and applause ]

Man: From Seattle, Washington,

Garfield High School, Garfield Jazz Ensemble.

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[ Cheering and applause ]

My name is Bill Leather from Mount Si High School,

which is 30 miles east of Seattle

in Snoqualmie, Washington.

My name is Christian Palomo,

I'm from Mount Si High School,

I'm in the 12th grade and I play the alto saxophone.

In 2001, I was lucky enough to come with

the youth jazz ensemble of Dupage from Wheaton, Illinois,

which is near where I grew up.

So, it was an all-area, kind of, all-star band

that got to come and perform at Essential Ellington in 2001.

The competition doesn't get in the way of appreciating

the jazz here, and I think it's more about the celebration

of everyone's hard work and the tradition of jazz here.

And I think that's really special.

It's so much more about the love of the music

and the love of each other

and supporting each other through the struggle,

'cause we've all been there together.

We might have been rehearsing on opposite sides of the country,

but we're all going through the same thing,

we all put the same investment in.

And it's about a celebration of all of that work

culminating at this festival experience.

Man: Please welcome Mount Si High School Jazz 1.

Give 'em a big welcome.

[ Cheering and applause ]

♪ Ain't got the change of a nickel ♪

♪ Ain't got no bounce in my shoes ♪

♪ Ain't go no fancy to tickle

♪ I ain't got nothing

♪ But the blues

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♪ Ain't got no coffee that's a-perking ♪

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♪ Ain't got no winnings to lose ♪

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♪ Ain't got a dream that is working ♪

♪ I ain't got nothing but the blues ♪

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♪ Ain't got the change of a nickel ♪

♪ Ain't got no bounce in my shoes ♪

♪ Ain't go no fancy to tickle

♪ I ain't got nothing

♪ But the blues

♪ Ain't got no coffee that's a-perking ♪

♪ Ain't got no winnings to lose ♪

♪ Ain't got a dream that is working ♪

♪ I ain't got nothing but the blues ♪

♪ When trumpets flare up

♪ I keep my hair up

♪ I just can't make it come down ♪

♪ Believe me peppie

♪ I can't get happy

♪ Since my ever-loving baby left town ♪

♪ Ain't got no rest in my slumbers ♪

♪ Ain't got no feelings to bruise ♪

♪ Ain't got no telephone numbers ♪

♪ I ain't got nothing but the blues ♪

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♪ Ain't got the change of a nickel ♪

♪ Ain't got no bounce in my shoes ♪

♪ Ain't go no fancy to tickle

♪ I ain't got nothing

♪ But the blues

♪ Ain't got no coffee that's perking ♪

♪ Ain't got no winnings to lose ♪

♪ Ain't got a dream that is working ♪

♪ I ain't got nothing but the blues ♪

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♪ When trumpets flare up

♪ I keep my hair up

♪ I just can't make it come down ♪

♪ Believe me peppie

♪ I can't get happy

♪ Since my ever-loving baby left town ♪

♪ I ain't got no rest in my slumbers ♪

♪ Ain't got no feelings to bruise ♪

♪ Ain't got no telephone numbers ♪

♪ I ain't got nothing but the blues ♪

♪ Ain't got no east, no west ♪

♪ No good, no best

♪ Ain't got a man to choose ♪

♪ I ain't got nothin'

♪ I ain't got nothin' ♪

[ Scatting ]

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♪ I ain't to nothin' but the blues ♪

♪ Yeah

[ Cheering and applause ]

Man: Please give a big welcome

to Roosevelt High School Jazz Band.

Roosevelt High School.

[ Cheering and applause ]

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[ Cheering and applause ]

My name is Hailey Barton.

My name is Daniel Reichert.

My name is Chris Faison,

I go to Tarpon Springs High School,

a little city, a great city in Florida,

and I'm in 11th grade.

Being here is incredible.

We were blown away

to be invited to come to the competition this year.

I never thought this would happen.

This entire trip has just been mind-blowing.

It's honestly insane and kind of indescribable,

the feeling of joy that we had playing up there on the stage.

I know it's going to go with me for the rest of my life.

Man: Please welcome Tarpon Springs High School

Jazz Ensemble -- welcome them.

[ Cheering and applause ]

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[ Cheering and applause ]

Man: Please welcome our next band,

please welcome the Foxboro High School Jazz Ensemble.

[ Cheering and applause ]

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[ Cheering and applause ]

My band director at Dillard High School,

was Christopher Dorsey, and we auditioned

the first few years -- we didn't get in.

But then when we first got in my junior year,

it was like, "Wow, okay, this is the time,

we finally did it,

so now we just have to step up to the plate."

So, it's not like, okay, now you made it,

but what's the next step?

Are you going to take this into the grand stage?

That feeling of being there

and your audience is all the competitors,

and that was one of the biggest things for me,

because we always support each other.

I came to Essentially Ellington three years in a row,

and so, you know,

I had worked really hard to get there.

And coming to New York, you know, for the first time

showed me what it would be like to move here,

and I could actually do this for a living, like,

this could be my career.

Essentially Ellington was probably the turning point

for me of committing to become a professional jazz musician.

♪♪

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