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School Spotlight: Jazz Band (2016)

For Scott Jackson, Marshall Knight, and the rest of Jazz Band, B Block is a pleasure. They do not have a free block, but instead, they play jazz music together. Scott plays the drums, and Marshall plays the alto-saxophone. But, the two make up only a portion of Jazz Band. They are accompanied by four trumpets, a piano, and an effervescent vibraphone.

With this ensemble, Jazz Band has a broad range of available material to practice, learn, and understand. They play everything from smooth ballads to upbeat, funk-style pieces. And this year, their repertoire will grow to an even greater extent once they combine forces with the Jazz Combo time to time, in an effort to create a more balanced ensemble capable of playing even larger pieces.

Another enjoyable part of Jazz Band is the spontaneity within the genre itself. Scott calls jazz a “one of a kind genre” in that is it “more complex than other genres, such as pop, because you always have to be thinking when you’re playing.”

Marshall loves to think on his feet too. “I always strive to get better at playing, because it’s hard and takes a lot of practice to get comfortable improvising, but that’s one of the things that makes it great,” he stated.

The art of improvisation and the variety of pieces available to play heavily contribute to the excitement of playing jazz music. However, what really allows Jazz Band to thrive is the relaxed and encouraging culture that the people within it foster. Marshall explains that “it’s such an easygoing environment. Everyone has such a good time doing what they love.”

Scott emphasizes, “People may think ‘Oh man it takes away your free block, that sucks’, but it is absolutely worth it. We have such a great group of guys. I love to play music, and it’s a really great break in the day to come jam out for 40 minutes in between classes.”

The two also encourage anyone to join Jazz Band. “We’d love to see more people stepping out of their comfort zone and try playing music more,” Marshall exclaimed, “You aren’t going to be an outcast if you’re new and not as good as everyone. There’s a pretty wide range of ability, enough that if someone wanted to try an instrument and join the band, that they will feel comfortable to do so.” The band would be happy to have you.

Our Jazz Band is a pleasant representation of the arts that are overshadowed by the athletic culture of Belmont Hill. They perform many times throughout the year, both at school chapels and their own concerts. I have no doubt that they will play beautifully and have fun while doing so.


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