Area students perform at the District Jazz Festival in a previous year. FILE PHOTO

District VI Jazz Festival at MDI



Jazz musicians from nine schools are to perform next week at the annual District VI Jazz Festival, this year hosted by Mount Desert Island High School in Bar Harbor.

A full day of music from eight big bands and 15 combos is scheduled for Wednesday, Feb. 24. Admission is $5 for adults, $3 for students and seniors and $10 for families. Food and beverages will be available. Snow date for the festival is the following day.

On Tuesday, the night before the festival, the high school’s two big bands are scheduled to perform in the school auditorium as part of Island Jazz Night, which begins at 6 p.m. Jazz bands from four of the island’s K-8 schools – the Conners Emerson School, Mount Desert Elementary, Pemetic Elementary and the Tremont Consolidated School – also are to perform.

The district festival is a prelude to the state festival in South Portland in March. Bands and combos are rated on their performances by a panel of judges. Those receiving a I or II rating move on to the state competition.

MDI High School has two big bands and four combos performing at the festival. They are directed by Michael Remy.

One of the big bands, Big Group, is tacking some serious charts, performing music by Than Jones, Gil Evans and Thelonius Monk. Evans’ arrangement of Kurt Weil’s “My Ship” was most famously performed by Miles Davis. In Big Group’s version, Hannah Edgecomb has the trumpet solo. Jones’ “Tip Toe” has solos from Ben Hagle and Lucas Wood. And Monk’s angular “Epistrophy” features Zak Charette, Simon Robertson and Breaux Higgins. Big Group performs at 8:15 p.m.

The other big band, Somes Sound, is performing a Lennie Nieuhaus tune, “Flashback,” which has solos by Nathan Stanley and Ben Watson. Watson solos again on the standard “I’m Getting Sentimental Over You.” Stanley returns for Ray Noble’s anthemic “Cherokee,” which also features solo work by Dawson Burnette. Somes Sound takes the stage at 5:15 p.m.

One of the high school’s combos, Ratwolf, recently traveled to Boston for the Berklee High School Jazz Festival. According to Remy, the group would have placed second in their division if they hadn’t exceeded the time allowed for performances. For the district festival, Ratwolf is performing “Dear Tucci,” “Flim” and “One Month.” They perform at 6:45 p.m.

Sketchy Marmot’s set list features more traditional material. The combo takes the stage at 3:45 p.m. to perform Bill Evans’ “Blue In Green,” John Coltrane’s “Moment’s Notice” and Joe Henderson’s “Recorda-me.”

A third combo, dubbed Beeeeeees, is scheduled to perform at noon. They are to play “Tangerine,” Erroll Garner’s classic “Misty” and “It’s Alright (Why You Gotta)” by “Late Night with Stephen Colbert” bandleader Jon Baptiste.

The final combo, Nonet, is tackling Sonny Rollins’ “Tenor Madness,” Horace Silver’s “Opus De Funk” and the standard “Angel Eyes.”

Performance         Warm up    Location     Group

BR = Band Room

L = Library

Rm = Room 125

9 a.m. – 9:45         8:30   BR    MDI Nonet

9:45-10:30  9:15   BR    GSA Tess & the Mess Jazz Combo

10:30-11:15          10      BR    Hampden Academy Jazz Combo

11:15-Noon          10:45 BR    Washington Academy Combo

Noon-12:45 p.m.  11:30 BR    MDI Beeeeeees?

12:45-1:30  12:15 BR    GSA Cymbal Pleasures Jazz Combo

1:30-2:15    1        BR    Hampden Academy R&B Project

2:15-3 Break time

3-3:45         2:30   L       Washington Academy Jazz Band

3-3:45         2:30   Rm    GSA Benny & the Jets Jazz Combo

3:45-4:30    3:15   L       Hampden Academy Jazz Band

3:45-4:30    3:15   Rm    MDI Sketchy Marmot

4:30-5:15    4        L       Brewer High School Jazz Ensemble

4:30-5:15    4        Rm    Calais Brumpo and the Tungus Tones

5:15-6         4:45   L       MDI Somes Sound

5:15-6         4:45   Rm    GSA High Five Jazz Combo

6-6:45         5:30   L      Hampden Academy Jazz Ensemble

6-6:45         5:30   Rm   Shead Combo

6:45-7:30    6:15   L       GSA Jazz Band

6:45-7:30    6:15   Rm    MDI Ratwolf

7:30-8:15    7        L       Ellsworth High School Jazz Ensemble

7:30-8:15    7        Rm    Brewer Combo 1

8:15-9         7:45   L       MDI Big Group

8:15-9         7:45   Rm    Bucksport High School Jazz Combo

Mark Good

Mark Good

Reporter at Mount Desert Islander
Mark Good

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