Jazz ’round LA: Old Souls, Young Hearts Swing at Catalina Bar and Grill
By Joy Childs
Sentinel Contributing Writer
To a decidedly enthusiastic and proud crowd of parents, teachers and friends, three variations of the Washington Prep High School Jazz Band program came out swinging at the Catalina Bar and Grill on Tuesday, June 29. First, there was the opening by the school’s 23-piece jazz big band, doing an amazing homage to the Clayton-Hamilton Jazz Orchestra’s “Soupbone.” Then, the 7-piece “regular” jazz combo easily made Wayne Shorter’s “Footprints” its showpiece number. The all-new, all-girls’ 6-piece jazz combo…the only known one in the Los Angeles Unified School District…chose to showcase their talents on the bebop, bossa nova grooves of Kenny Dorham’s “Blue Bossa.”
Even band director Corey Hogan…who himself is a product of Washington High’s program, graduated from UCLA in 2002 and became band director in 2006 when he succeeded Fernando Pullam…got into the act. Hogan, who said he rarely performs publically, demonstrated the tenor sax influences of John Coltrane, Sonny Rollins, Joe Henderson, Sonny Stitt and Johnny Griffin on his own approach, technique and velocity in his solo performance.
Whichever group was on stage, it was clear that band director Corey Hogan and music magnet coordinator Stan Jackson do what they do less as a labor of love and more to ensure that these budding musicians have the musical muscle to compete for scholarships as well as the ability to audition for those coveted spots in today’s premier jazz ensembles. Said Hogan: “Technically speaking, coming from the inner city, they’re not expected to do much, [but] I have 25 reasons why they should feel the opposite. . . My jazz ensemble has [several] seniors in it, and I’m proud of all of them. They’re all going to college!”
Those who’ll be honing their skills in various colleges are A’aisha Atkins (trumpet); Manuel Aviles (trumpet); Brandon Bridges (drums); Oscar Granados (trombone); Javon Harvey (tenor sax); Bryan Johnson (trumpet); Hiezer Montes (alto sax); and Zachary Turcotte (baritone sax).
Rounding out the big band are Jesenia Barboza (tenor sax); Daniel De La Cruz (alto sax); Aisha Gaillard (drums); Daniel Granados (bass); Kimyon Freelon (drums); Joana Flores (trombone); Marcus Fulwood (trumpet); LaDarrien Lovett (bass); LaShanae McMillan (trombone); Kyle Poole (drums); Jocelyn Ramales (piano); Frances Rangel (alto sax); and Dominic Smoot (piano).
It turns out Catalina Bar and Grill isn’t the only big-time performance the jazz band has done recently: Members of Washington’s jazz who were part of the L.A. District High School Jazz Band that opened the Sunday lineup at this year’s Playboy Jazz Festival included Javon Harvey, Kyle Poole and Zachary Turcotte. These same three plus Brandon Bridges, Daniel Granagos and Bryan Johnson played for First Lady Michelle Obama at the White House.
After the set was over, music coordinator Jackson, history teacher Jeannie Washington, who’s been at the school for 19 years, and principal Dr. Todd Ullah said that the kids were, in a word, “great.” To that, Hogan added that he was “proud of the fact that he’s a part of a legacy” which says that these kids weren’t expected to do much but that “they’re doin’ it.”
That, they are.
For more information about how to enroll in the Music Magnet program for the upcoming 2010-2011 school year, you can contact Stan Jackson at (323) 418-4096.