Lincoln-Way Norths Jazz Students Earn High Rankings at State Fest
Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Lincoln-Way North High Schools jazz ensemble and jazz lab earned high rankings at the Illinois State Jazz Festival on Saturday, March 27.

Jazz Ensemble was named Grand Champion of the festival after receiving Division 1 ratings from all three judges and Best in Class for Class 3A. Jack Kotze was recognized as Outstanding Soloist for Class 3A. The ensemble performed "Blue Cellophane" by Duke Ellington (featuring soloist Jack Kotze), "Afternoon" by Pat Metheny and "The Puffy Taco" by Victor Lopez. Jazz Ensemble is directed by Kirk Hickman

Jazz Lab students competed in Class B and received Best in Class and Division 1 ratings from all three judges. They performed "Mean Joe, Cool Joe (Killer Joe)" by Benny Golson and Quincy Jones / arr. Lisa DeSpain, "Somewhere Over the Rainbow" by Harold Arlen arr. by Alan Baylock, and "Afro Blue" by Mongo Santamaria arr. Michael Phillip Mossman. Jazz Lab is directed by Dr. Mark O'Connor.

"Both of these groups did a fine job displaying what jazz students at Lincoln-Way North have been steadily learning all year, said Hickman. "Jazz Ensemble has spent a lot of rehearsal time learning an area of jazz education often left out of our group rehearsal, improvisation. Every student in this group has learned to solo on at least two of our competitive songs.

At the last few festivals, judges have commented and the scores have reflected how impressed they are with the demonstration of this learning taking place in our rehearsals," Hickman added.

Jazz Ensemble was invited to perform on the evening concert and brought out Illinois State University guest artist Marshall Gilkes, a New York based trombonist. An amazing trombone battle with Jack Kotze and Marshall took place.

"Getting to perform on the evening concert was a very special honor and we are very humbled, Hickman said. Marshall agreeing to perform with us and solo with Jack was a very special experience neither I nor any of our students will forget."