Fine Arts News

Saint Maur Honor Jazz Combo Shines at KPASS Jazz Festival in Tokyo

Saint Maur Honor Jazz Combo Shines at KPASS Jazz Festival in Tokyo

On 8 February, the Saint Maur Honor Jazz Combo, a decet featuring many of Saint Maur’s finest young musicians, performed at the KPASS Jazz Festival hosted by the Christian Academy in Japan. The festival included big bands, vocal ensembles, and jazz combos from international schools in Tokyo and Kanagawa. “I really enjoyed seeing all the other schools’ jazz bands,” said our participating saxophonist in Grade 11. “I got an idea of where we were are in relation to the other bands.”

The Honor Jazz Combo was the final student group to perform, opening the set with a swinging version of “In A Mellow Tone” by Duke Ellington. On the second piece, “Afternoon in Paris” by John Lewis, the trumpet and tenor saxophone soloists navigated nimbly through the challenging harmonies. The band stretched out with solos all around on “St. Thomas”, a Sonny Rollins classic. This would have been the end of the performance, but the adjudicators and the audience wanted more, so the decet finished with a joyous romp through Billy Strayhorn’s “Take the A Train”.

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The adjudicators offered praise along with suggestions on the finer points of soloing and playing as an ensemble. They commented on the group’s “chamber jazz” sound, and the “wonderful selection” of jazz standards. “There was some great, very specific feedback from the adjudicators,” said Mr Doherty, Head of Music and the group’s director. “They’re all professional musicians and they had technical suggestions on things we could work on.”

IMG 0642 Christina Furstenau

After a break for lunch, the adjudicators, all professional musicians, displayed their talents by performing a set of jazz standards and originals for the students. “They were incredible,” said one of the Jazz Combo students. “I feel inspired.”


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