Wilson jazz band proves noteworthy


Photo by Rebecca Smith

Ayomi Wolff

Many people are familiar with the genre of jazz. Deep soulful saxophone, blaring trumpets, and the kind of music that will give you the blues. But not everyone is as familiar with Wilson’s Jazz Band. The Jazz Band is a group that congregates in the band room located in the C wing during fifth period and is “one of the most advanced [Wilson] ensembles,” drummer Simon Rosenthal said. It is taught by Paul Phifer, who tenor saxophonist Elena Bagnoli describes as “a great teacher.”

Jazz Band, however, is more than just a class. The Jazz Band plays annually in both spring and winter concerts at Wilson, such as “The Blues Alley,” in addition to outside competitions and trips. The group takes yearly trips to places such as Kings Dominion and New York, and this year they went to Williamsburg. There is also a subsection of the band, made up of the rhythm section called a combo (a small jazz ensemble), which plays smaller events and different out of school gigs.

Perhaps the most enticing thing about the Jazz Band is the jazz itself. Anna Wilson, a senior and fourth year guitarist in the Jazz Band, loves the creativity that jazz allows. “It’s unlike any other type of music in that you can make up everything yourself,” she said. Although the Jazz Band usually spends its time learning pieces and songs, another part of Jazz Band is learning to improvise, to be able to get up on stage and play.

“Jazz is more interesting. It’s more fun,” Bagnoli said. In jazz, there is a lot of room for improvisation and the ability to “make it your own,” Bagnoli continued. Jazz truly is unlike any other art form, giving you room to both be a participant in a group as well as to be independent, fostering and developing your own style. “It’s like [a] team sport!” Wilson said.

With all of that in mind, one should think twice before choosing a music class. Perhaps take a ride with the Jazz Band because, as summed up perfectly by Wilson, “Jazz is great.”