April 4, 2014
Submitted by Jack Wagner
The Community High Jazz Program was asked to provide music for the UMS/Ford Honors Gala on Sunday night, March 31, where 9-time Grammy and Pulitzer Prize winning jazz trumpet star Wynton Marsalis was this year’s honoree. Mr. Marsalis, members of The Lincoln Center Jazz Orchestra, and nearly three hundred guests were in attendance for the ceremony and dinner.
The Community High Jazz Combo “Superbad,” directed by Jack Wagner, played for Mr. Marsalis and the crowd for several hours. At one point when the organizers were trying to get Marsalis to another room to take some photos, he said “Hang on. I don’t want to disrespect the musicians. In fact, I want to go play with them.” Marsalis then surprised “Superbad” by joining them on the Miles Davis tune All Blues. It was supremely exciting for the students and the audience. Marsalis said afterward “I love them! They can really play, man. They’re swingin’!” When Wagner thanked him for playing with them, the gracious Marsalis said “Please don’t thank me. The pleasure was all mine. They sound great.”
Members of “Superbad” are Adlai Reinhart (trumpet), Aidan Wada-Dawson (alto sax), Eddie Codrington (tenor sax), Zoe Cutler (trombone), Oren Levin (piano), Sam Collins (bass), and Deondrae Jones (drums).
I had the pleasure of attending this event. It was a wonderful evening of music, celebration, and conversation. The Community High Jazz Combo was outstanding! I was proud of its members, Jack Wagner, and AAPS. Very few school districts have an arts program which could produce a jazz combo that could entertain Wynton Marsalis with confidence and fun. I will remember this the rest of my life. Glenn Nelson