Jazz is alive and well at Bay! Over the last few weeks, Bay has hosted multiple on-campus events showcasing the art form and featuring musicians from across the West Coast. In mid-May, Bay hosted its second annual Jazz Fest, featuring the San Francisco Repertory Jazz Quartet (SFRJQ) and local middle school bands. To start the fest, the San Francisco School Combo and the San Francisco Friends School Band took the stage, playing tunes like Dave Brubeck’s “Take Five.” After each set, the musicians of the SFRJQ gave feedback to each band, providing insights into how to perform in front of an audience and different jazz techniques.
Bay’s Advanced Jazz Ensemble also performed for the middle schoolers and the SFRJQ, performing jazz, blues and soul standards. Playing tunes that had been chosen and taught to the band by various members of the ensemble, the group’s set list included James Brown’s “I Feel Good,” George Gershwin’s “Summertime,” Duke Ellington’s “It Don’t Mean a Thing” (featuring a rousing drum solo from Chris ’17) and Sonny Rollins’ “Tenor Madness.” The SFRJQ took the stage last, playing an hour-long set of deep cuts from myriad classic jazz albums. Check out their first album here. Getting the chance to work on tunes with a group of professional musicians, as SFRJQ saxophonist Patrick Wolff notes, is a valuable experience for young musicians. “In the modern era, it is rare to have a tight-knit working band with years of performance experience, and rare to be able to offer clinics with a full band. Knowing the commitment The Bay School has to music education, we were really excited to bring what we’ve learned to your student ensembles.”
Students from Oregon’s Molalla High School stopped by campus later that same week, showcasing their jazz band and their choir. After the Molalla groups and Bay’s ensemble performed for each other, the musicians from both schools jammed on a classic blues tune, highlighting just how music crosses state – or even international – lines to bring people together. Can’t get enough of Bay’s music program? Check out more photos of the events here, and stay tuned for next year’s Jazz Fest.