Tucson Jazz Institute Musicians Win Honors

Doug Tidaback, director of Big Bands at Tucson Jazz Institute (www.tucsonjazzinstitute.org), gave us the heads up on some recent honors and events.

Tucson Jazz Institute Ellington Band was awarded First Place Community Jazz Band in the Essentially Ellington competition and has been invited to perform at Lincoln Center in New York City in May. The Essential Ellington competition is considered the superbowl of high school jazz music competitions. This year, 96 bands entered a performance of three compositions. The TJI Ellington Band is the first Arizona band to make it to the finals.

The 15th Annual Essentially Ellington High School Jazz Band Competition and Festival takes place May 8-10 in New York. TJI Ellington Band will compete and participate in workshops, jam sessions and more. The three top-placing bands perform with Wynton Marsalis, artistic director of Jazz at Lincoln Center.

To help prepare the band, Jazz at Lincoln Center director Martin Hundley and clinician Dana Hall will work with the students from 4 to 8 p.m., Monday, April 5, at Tucson Jazz Institute, 6061 E. Broadway Blvd., Suite 121.

TJI is raising funds to assist students with travel expenses. To sponsor a student, contact Carol McCluer at 514-0935, e-mail tidaback@gmail.com or visit the TJI Web site.

Here's more news about TJI honors from a press release:

Two jazz bands from the Tucson Jazz Institute are among only six bands across the nation selected to compete in the community division of the Next Generation Jazz Festival April 8-10 in Monterey, California. Bands from throughout the United States submitted recordings and were judged by faculty members of the Berklee School of Music in Boston. The groups were invited based on outstanding musicianship and performance ability.

The TJI Basie and Ellington Bands will compete for the honor of being invited to perform in the 2010 Monterey Jazz Festival next September.

During the Next Generation Festival April 8-10 both groups will be featured in a variety of venues including performances at Fisherman's Wharf and the legendary Cannery Row.

The TJI Basie and Ellington Bands are each made up of 18 middle and high school musicians who study jazz at the Tucson Jazz Institiute. Both groups are directed by Doug Tidaback and assisted by Scott Black and Brice Winston. The Tucson Jazz Institute is made up of over 200 middle and high school students from the greater Tucson area.

Fullerton Jazz Festival

The TJI Ellington Band just won 1st Place at the Fullerton College Jazz Festival in the "Heavy" Division and the TJI Basie Band won 1st Place in the "Advanced" Division at the same festival in Fullerton California. The TJI Blue Note Combo won 1st Place in the Advanced Combo Division and TJI student Grant Cherry won 1st Place in the solo competition with a perfect score! Over 375 ensembles competed March 26-27 in the Fullerton Jazz Festival.