MURRIETA – Building on an already standout season, the Vista Murrieta High School Jazz Band will be performing this weekend at the 52nd annual Reno Jazz Festival. The event regularly features both talented student musicians and renowned professional artists.
“It’s one of the biggest high school jazz events in the country,” said Brent Levine, the Vista Murrieta band’s director. “These students have worked very hard to develop this jazz program with me over the last four years, and I think they deserve to go on a trip that they’ll probably remember for the rest of their lives. They are all going to learn a lot about this great music genre.”
On Friday, April 11 the 22 musicians from Vista Murrieta will be playing four selections that were written for and/or have been played by professional jazz ensembles. One of the tunes (“Four-Five-Six”) is straight from the Count Basie library, and another (“Honey’s Buckled Hose”) was written for The Tom Kubis Big Band, one of the top jazz orchestras playing today.
In addition, the Vista Murrieta students will receive instruction from professional jazz musicians and enjoy concerts by Avishai Cohen, a trumpeter who was voted a rising star in a 2012 critics poll by DownBeat magazine; and Kneebody, a Grammy-nominated quintet known for jazz-infused original sounds.
“They’ll learn a ton from listening to other great jazz groups, attending clinics with professional jazz musicians and attending the concerts by professional jazz musicians,” Levine said. “I also hope they’ll learn a lot about the value of teamwork and dedication. I love educational experiences like this that teach the value of hard work leading to long-term rewards.”
On the subject of rewards, the Vista Murrieta jazz band turned in a stellar performance at the 42nd annual Fullerton College Jazz Festival on March 22. The ensemble received a “superior” rating from each of the three judges, and scored 270 out of a possible 300 points – enough to win a six-group division that included some of the same bands that earlier in the month outscored Vista Murrieta at the Upland Jazz Festival.
“The highlight for me was seeing the students’ hard work pay off,” Levine said. “We improved so much in the three weeks leading up to Fullerton, and the kids seemed to really enjoy themselves while making great music.”
After performing at the Reno Jazz Festival, other appearances by the Vista Murrieta High School Jazz Band include the Riverside City College Jazz Festival on May 10 and a concert in Vista Murrieta’s Performing Arts Center on May 30.