Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

Guided by model mentors, the Auburn Mountainview High School jazz band swings

Ways To Subscribe

It’s good to be in the room when it happens – when a young artist receives just the right mentorship to put them over the edge with their performance.

And that’s exactly what happened at the KNKX School of Jazz studio session with the Auburn Mountainview High School jazz band.

The ensemble's trumpeter was tasked with leading the beautiful ballad “My One and Only Love.” But the notes that had come easily in previous rehearsals, weren’t coming easily the day of the session.

The entire band – and mentor Jeff Chang – patiently waited and talked through the challenges, until the notes arrived in the take you hear above.

Saxophonist Jeff Chang and band director Derek Pyle demonstrated good instruction and mentorship firsthand, gently leading the young group through a studio recording experience.

Chang came alongside the musicians, literally playing in the horn section. He cheered on the other soloists and gave the kind of feedback you see when jazz groups work, and grow, together. Pyle’s fun groovy arrangements had a "swinging '60s" vibe, making it impossible to hold still on “Watermelon Man” and “Pick Up the Pieces.”

During the interview portion of the session, the group answered questions about what the music they listen to and how they found jazz and blues. Their wonderfully articulate responses gave a clue as to the future of jazz – and the future looks good indeed.


  • Jeff Chang (mentor) - alto saxophone
  • Matthew Firman - alto/baritone saxophones
  • Nayu Isaacks - clarinet/alto saxophone
  • James Chavez - trumpet/flugelhorn
  • Connor Williams - trombone
  • Jalen Hicks - guitar
  • Scarlet Hopkins - keyboard
  • Justin Hovey - bass
  • Eliezer Mordo - bass
  • Joseph Wilcher - drums/percussion
  • Irene Chen - drums/percussion
  • Jasmin Cox - percussion


  1. Watermelon Man (Herbie Hancock)
  2. Pick Up the Pieces (Average White Band)
  3. My One and Only Love (Guy Wood/Robert Mellin)
Paige Hansen has been heard on radio station 88.5 KNKX-FM for over 20 years where she’s hosted news & jazz. You can currently hear her hosting jazz weekdays & Sundays. She is also an active musician, writer and singer.
Related Stories