CALENDAR > Event Detail
The Advanced Jazz Quartet - Tom Wilson, Albert Kakkis, Henry Kinder and Michael Blasky - represented MA Music in a big way at the Berklee College of Music High School Jazz Festival in Boston, MA. March 10, 2012.
The four students played a three song set as part of the adjudicated program, and were one of only two high schools (more that 200 groups attended) invited to play an additional featured set on the bigger Ballroom Stage. The group received rave reviews, the first judge announcing to the crowd these that kids "play like professional musicians".
The playing was indeed very strong, their group sound unified and their individual strengths and extensive preparation in evidence. What set them apart from the other advanced groups from around the country was their complete ownership of the material, and their creativity. This is a student-directed group playing their own compositions (Kakkis, Wilson and Blaskey all contributed pieces that were praised) or adapting other contemporary works. While always responsive to advice from MA music faculty Bob Schleeter and Dartanyan Brown, and occasionally subjected to the poignant but grueling criticism of the legendary Mel Martin, the real credit goes to Tom, Albert, Henry and Michael for their dedication and artistry.
While the group downplayed the notion of a "music competition" in favor of "representing Marin Academy", awards were taken home. Tom Wilson and Michael Blasky received Outstanding Musicianship Honors, high praise in light of the quality of the better groups at the Festival. The judges gave the Quartet glowing reviews, and their point total put them second only to Idyllwild Arts Academy, ironically also from California. One disappointing aspect was that that second place finsih was not officially recognized because their competition set ran 23 seconds long (grumble, grumble).
So, congratulations to our Advanced Jazz Quartet on a fine performance from an outstanding group of young men with bright futures!!
The audio from the competition set is available on their Profile Page. Click on Albums, then Live at Berklee in Boston.
We should be receiving a video of the ballroom performance within a week or ten days.
You can find out more about the festival by clicking HERE.