Catching Up with the Jazz Band and Combos

Jazz Band is having a great year so far! The Jazz Combo started early in the fall, performing at the Australian Embassy for the Family Day Picnic, at Tokyo American Club for the annual art show of the College Women’s Association of Japan and to open the assembly presented by ASIJ parent and guest speaker William H. Saito.

In October, ten Jazz Band and two Vocal Jazz Ensemble students headed to Beijing with Randy Wanless and Julianne Bosch to the AMIS Honor Jazz Festival for a week filled with intense rehearsals, a bit of sightseeing and two final performances.

JB w-Takahiro Ninomiya croppedJazz Band presented concerts and assemblies on campus in November and January. The January concert featured guest trumpet artist Takahiro Ninomiya playing with the Jazz Band and in his solo version of “Over the Rainbow.” Both concerts may be viewed and/or downloaded at ASIJ TV.

The Combo performed downtown in December for Corning’s Christmas party, at the Conrad Hotel in January for the Australia Day Ball, at the Cerulean Tower Shibuya for Mylan’s Corporate Reception and as the only high school invited to perform at the Nakanobu Jazz Festival in February. These real-world engagements are invaluable for the growth of our students.

The Jazz Band then jumped on a bus and headed to St. Mary’s on January 28th for this year’s Kanto Jazz Fest, where we entered in two combo categories and performed together as a Big Band. We learned so much from the comments of the professional adjudicators and from their quartet performance, which capped off a great day.

Videos of these performances can be viewed at our Vimeo Early Fall Jazz Channel.

We would like to thank Tai Dirkse for taking care of us during off-campus performances and for advising the excellent ASIJ TV crew here on campus. (Randy Wanless, Instrumental Music and Jazz Teacher)