ROCKIN’ AND ROARIN’: KHS Jazz Band dominates music scene in Kaufman

BENJAMIN PASLEY, Staff writer

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It’s ninth period and the sounds of Paul Baker’s “Arnge Drank” fill the band hall. Beautiful and catchy music is trumpeted (figuratively, and literally in some cases) by the KHS Jazz Band. The jazz band is an extracurricular activity that is only available for concert band members, and consists of many talented young musicians.

Jazz emerged in America over 100 years ago. A well said definition of jazz is that of Travis A. Jackson, associate professor of music at The University of Chicago. “[jazz] is music that includes qualities such as swing, improvising, group interaction, developing an ‘individual voice’, and being open to different musical possibilities”.

(from left) Joshua Pasley, Jaime Llamas, Jordan Dennie, and Marco Palacios, trumpeters in the KHS Jazz Band.

(from left) Joshua Pasley, Jaime Llamas, Jordan Dennie, and Marco Palacios, trumpeters in the KHS Jazz Band.

One of the main differences between Jazz and Classical is improvisation. Traditional Jazz is often improvised, making up notes and rhythms as the musicians go along,  unlike classical. Another difference is location. Jazz often is performed in informal locations, such as clubs, cafes, and concerts. Inversely, Classical is often performed at formal venues. This change in style is embraced by most members of the jazz band.

 

“It’s not like concert band,” said second trumpet player Joshua Pasley.

trombonists Shae Cherry, and Seth Gonyea

trombonists Shae Cherry, and Seth Gonyea

“In concert you have to play classical style music, while in Jazz you play a variety of music like swing, blues, rock n’ roll, hip hop, et cetera.”

 

The KHS Jazz Band is led by director Don Harrell, a talented musician who specializes in brass instruments, but is more than capable with woodwind and percussion instruments as well. The Jazz band has performed numerous gigs this year, at elementary schools, nursing homes, and various other locations. The Jazz Band has multiple upcoming festivals, or contests, where they will play alongside numerous five and six A bands.

Jazz can be played on nearly every instrument, including the human voice, but the most common instruments are saxophone, trumpet, trombone, piano, drums and guitar, which are all, of course, present in our school’s jazz band. The KHS Jazz band consists of five trumpets, three trombones, three alto saxes, three tenor saxes, a baritone saxophone, a drum set, a bassist, a rhythm pianist, and a vocalist.

Roc Jones playing piano during rehearsal.

Roc Jones playing piano during rehearsal.

 

Though it is already filled with talented musicians, the KHS Jazz band urges any current members of the band to join. Joining not only offers the chance for more practice and experience, but also gives you the opportunity to bond with your fellow band members. The two closest Jazz events are on March 18-19, at the Fort Worth Jazz Festival, and March 31- April 1, at the Temple College Jazz Festival.

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ROCKIN’ AND ROARIN’: KHS Jazz Band dominates music scene in Kaufman