Jazz spring show, a showcase of talent

Jazz band, choir, Skinny Seventh Ensemble impress with varied jazz styles and crowd-pleasing solo acts


From Left to Right: Junior pianist Matei Predescu was honored with the Green and White award along with sophomore Matteo Muscettola, who also received a $250 scholarship to the San Jose Summer Jazz Camp. Senior Amit Kohli received The Neil Griffin Scholarship and senior Shangyu Hsu received the Louis Armstrong Jazz Award.

By Michael Huang

I originally came to hear the highly-touted Skinny Seventh perform. What I left with amounted to much, much more.

The entire jazz group, including the jazz band, jazz choir and the Skinny Seventh Ensemble, performed on May 26 at the HHS Auditorium for their spring show, and they had excellent performances. I was truly unprepared for the talent and excellence I had the honor of listening to  that Thursday evening.

Playing between a range of smooth, swingy jazz and upbeat, energetic bebop style, the jazz performers put on a spectacle with fantastic melody and solos.

The night opened on a stellar performance by the jazz choir. The crew excellently incorporated all ranges of the vocal spectrum, soprano to baritone. Their acapella-like style emulated the swing and rhythm of jazz, which was fresh because I previously held a stigma that jazz was from musical instruments; I was wrong.

A particular standout singer, senior Miles Crawford, was honored with the Ella Fitzgerald Jazz Award, he said. He truly stood out from the crowd when he began to beatbox, adding a personalized beat to the rest of the choir.

In the second performance of the night, the jazz group commonly known as the Skinny Seventh Ensemble put on a mind-blowing show. The California Music Educators Association unanimous-superior awarded group not only created a jazz-house vibe with their instrumentation in harmony, but also featured every single member in stellar solos, including powerful performances by senior Shangyu Hsu on the saxophone, senior Amit Kohli on the guitar, junior Matei Predescu on the piano and keyboard, senior Ariel Sagie on the drum set, junior Sam Loebach on the bass and sophomore Matteo Muscettola on the bass. Each member had their own moments of glory, and each received hearty applause afterward.

Jazz band similarly impressed, as it was a more full-sounding jazz ensemble that carried on similar grooviness and style that the Skinny Seventh set. The band incorporated solos of its own, generating astounding applause from the audience as well.

The night ended with a jazz choir and band performance. This night struck me at the level of musical talent in our school and how foolish I was to not have recognized it before. All aspects of the jazz night, from the performers to the engaged audience, contributed to a fantastic experience.