All That Jazz

Jazz Standard Youth Orchestra performing with FSSA's Christon Zawodniak and Matt Peralta.

Jazz Standard Youth Orchestra performing with FSSA’s Christon Zawodniak and Matt Peralta.

The Frank Sinatra School of the Arts (FSSA) Jazz Band recently performed at the Jazz for Kids event at the Jazz Standard in Manhattan. Conducted by Mr. Stevens, the group consists of instrumental majors from all grades who rehearse to share their love of jazz.

The Jazz Standard is a music venue in the basement of Blue Smoke, a barbecue restaurant owned by chef Danny Meyer. The Jazz Standard holds weekly performances, hosting some of the most prominent names in the jazz community. “It’s amazing to think that I am performing on a stage where jazz greats perform on a weekly basis,” says Marco Manrique, senior instrumentalist.

The FSSA Jazz Band played notable tunes including “Tippin on the QT,” written for the Count Basie Orchestra, “It’s Oh So Nice,” by Sammy Nestico, “Perdido,” by Duke Ellington, “Cotton Tail,” by Duke Ellington, and “It Don’t Mean a Thing,” by Duke Ellington. The band has been rehearsing these tunes since January and is eager to play them again on the April 1st Jazz Band concert at FSSA.

The FSSA set was  followed up by a performance from the Jazz Standard Youth Orchestra, an ensemble of young musicians who rehearse through the Jazz Standard. The afternoon’s performance was closed with a jam session, highlighting “The Black Jaguar,” composed and performed by FSSA’s very own senior instrumentalist Christon Zawodniak. “It was awesome that I was able to share a part of my piece with everyone and hopefully they felt the energy and fun we had up there,” said Christon.

Stepping outside the black-box theatre and into a jazz venue is an extremely exciting step for the Jazz Band, “To feel that energy rush through you is uplifting and only makes me want to continue practicing, and be able to reach that stage on a solo level,” Marco stated. The theatre was packed from wall-to-wall with guests of all ages, and people from all around the city. The Jazz for Kids program always nearly sells out, so reservations are a must.

For the Jazz Band, performing part of their concert repertoire acted as a dress rehearsal for their big night, “I feel very confident in the ensemble, there is just some fine tuning to be done,” said Marco.

The Jazz Band concert is on April 1st, 2015 at 7PM in the Tony Bennett Concert Hall. As with all FSSA performances, this show will be open  both to the Frank Sinatra community and to the public.

– by Emily Rosenberg ’15