Twenty-eight teenagers filled several rooms at KNKX's Seattle studios to perform in 4 groups as a sort of graduation from the Seattle JazzED Summer Advanced Institute. On paper, it looked like disaster... but the kids made it work.
Nervous energy upon arrival quickly turned giddy, no doubt a result of leadership exhibited by their mentors. Seattle native, trumpeter Riley Mulherkar, a member of the Seattle-via-New York brass quartet The Westerlies, had worked with Seattle JazzED before. For this week's Institute, Riley brought his friend, a beloved past studio session visitor, drummer Sammy Miller.
Along with their skills as musicians, both young men are strong proponents of jazz as a vehicle for a good time. That came through in their live performances with these talented young players.
The skill levels of these teens varied from those taking their first solos (on the radio, no less!), to veterans of the KNKX School of Jazz guest DJ program and past studio sessions.
Most impressive was the final group, featuring SOJ DJs George Fulton and Colby Jackson, as well as two members of 5 Feet Up, who performed live on 88.5 last Spring: trumpeter Bell Thompson and sax player Aiden Siemann. Their performance of the old Louis Armstrong favorite "Struttin' With Some Barbecue" was full of energy and joy that knocked us off our feet.
Twenty-eight kids, four bands, two terrific mentors, and a dedicated staff of educators at Seattle JazzED helped us achieve the impossible - herding jazz cats was never so much fun.