On March 10, the Advanced Jazz Quartet (Michael Blasky ’13, Albert Kakkis ’12, Henry Kinder ’13, and Tom Wilson ’12) represented MA at the Berklee College of Music High School Jazz Festival in Boston. Founded in 1969, the annual event is the largest of its kind in the United States, and includes performances by big bands, combos, and vocal jazz ensembles. All groups are adjudicated by a panel of Berklee’s top faculty and receive a written critique of their performance. The day’s events also included performances by Berklee faculty, tours of Berklee’s campus, and open jam sessions.
MA’s ensemble played a three-song set as part of the adjudicated program and was one of only two high schools invited to play an additional featured set on the Ballroom Stage. The group received rave reviews, the first judge announcing to the crowd that they “play like professional musicians.”
“The playing was indeed very strong, their group sound unified and their individual strengths and extensive preparation in evidence,” writes music teacher Bob Schleeeter. “What set them apart from the other advanced groups from around the country was their complete ownership of the material and their creativity. This is a student-directed group playing their own compositions (Kakkis, Wilson, and Blaskey all contributed pieces that were praised) or adapting other contemporary works.”
The judges gave the quartet glowing reviews, and Tom Wilson and Michael Blasky received Outstanding Musicianship Honors.
Listen to their Berklee performances:
Congratulations to the Advanced Jazz Quartet for an outstanding performance and effort!
Many thanks to Berklee for the photos!