Each June, at our last main stage concert of the season, Seattle Repertory Jazz Orchestra proudly presents a groups an award-winning soloists who are graduating from local high schools, and moving on from their school jazz bands. These experienced performers, veterans of high-profile competition performances like New York’s Essentially Ellington and University of Idaho’s Lionel Hampton International Jazz Festival, go on to top-flight music programs.
This year’s group of featured soloists, who helped open the band’s sold-out performances of Ellington’s “Far East Suite“, were no exception. They fronted the band’s spirited rendition of Benny Carter’s “Easy Money”, trading extended solos and bringing both Saturday’s and Sundays audience to their feet with a rousing ovation.
Bass player Carmen Rothwell (Garfield), alto sax player Evan Shay (Garfield), trumpeter Riley Mulherkar (Garfield), and trombonist/composer Andy Clausen (Roosevelt) are all winners of multiple soloist awards. Evan, pictured above (while an appreciate Hadley Caliman watches and listens) heads to the Schulich School of Music Jazz Studies Program at McGill University, in Montreal. Carmen Rothwell will be attending UW’s Jazz Studies Program, which just celebrated its 20th Anniversary, and where SRJO bassist Phil Sparks instructs.
Andy Clausen (above) and Riley Mulherkar (top) after battling it out for years at Roosevelt and Garfield, respectively, will be joining forces in The Julliard School’s Jazz Studies right at Lincoln Center, the scene of so many of their great Essentially Ellington performances. According to Mulherkar, he actually auditioned – and was accepted – just before Garfield’s award winning performance later that evening.
Trumpet player Corey Dansereau (Roosevelt) was also selected to perform but was unable to attend. Congratulations to these young musicians, their families, and their programs. Go out and continue to let the world know jazz is alive and well in Seattle. Have you heard this young blood? Know them? Spread the word.