The Juilliard Jazz Meets the Basie Band!
One of the reasons I love being a Juilliard student is that it can really keep you on your toes, especially as a musician. On Tuesday, October 13, the Juilliard Jazz Orchestra performed the music of Ernie Wilkins, Billy Byers and Benny Carter.
What made this concert so demanding was not just the music we had to play at that high level, but the time we got to rehearse. Now, the JJO usually rehearses twice a week, and we usually get a pretty nice chunk of time between concerts to practice for the next. That was not the case here! We basically only had a week and some change to prepare for this Basie concert! Young jazz musicians think that the Basie Band’s music is just really simple and easy, that it doesn’t require much effort to play. Ohhhhhh, they couldn’t be more wrong...
We had the opportunity to learn from Mr. Scotty Barnhart, current director and trumpeter of the Count Basie Orchestra, about how to play this music with integrity and spirit. I’m not going to pretend like everything was perfect, even though it’s Juilliard. We had our rough patches during that week, but we ended putting on a wonderful show that people are still telling me about!
I loved playing that music so much, so you could imagine my excitement when Mr. Barnhart called me that weekend and asked me to go on tour with the REAL Count Basie Orchestra. It’s such a legendary band, and Mr. Barnhart thought enough of me to invite me to have that kind of experience. I just can’t wait! If you’d want to be updated, just follow me on all my social media:
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Here’s a video of the 2015 Legendary Count Basie Orchestra that I’ll be playing with soon: