Roosevelt High School jazz band | KNKX

Roosevelt High School jazz band

Roosevelt High School jazz band in New York at the 2019 Essentially Ellington competition
Ayano Hisa / Jazz at Lincoln Center

Seattle's Roosevelt High School won first place in the Essentially Ellington High School Jazz Band Competition and Festival on Saturday.

The band played against 14 other finalists in the prestigious national competition put on by Jazz at Lincoln Center in New York City.

Andrew Swanson

The Westerlies are a new young brass ensemble based out of New York City. They’re an all-over-the-musical-map group whose first album is already garnering critical praise.

And this first bit of success could have something to do with their Seattle roots. All four musicians, all in their 20s, grew up in Seattle where they absorbed much of the local music scene. They’re the product of two of the best high school jazz programs in the country: Garfield and Roosevelt high schools. And their debut album, recorded in a family friend’s cabin on Lopez Island, is a reinterpretation of an eclectic mix of compositions by Seattlelite Wayne Horvitz.

Roosevelt High School senior John Otten discovered the trumpet as a fourth grader.

"I thought, 'It’s only three valves. It wouldn’t be that hard. I bet I could do it,”’ he said.

Turned out, it was hard; he couldn’t even get a sound out that first month.

Fast forward eight years, and Otten is headed to the Grammys as the only student from the Pacific Northwest selected for the Grammy Band Jazz Session program.

Essentially Ellington's Facebook page

Three area high schools jazz bands are in New York this weekend to compete in the 18th annual Essentially Ellington Festival, the most prestigious high school jazz band competition in the country. 

Edmonds-Woodway High School, as well as bands from Seattle's Garfield and Roosevelt high schools are among the 15 national finalists from across the U.S. and Canada. 

www.theculturemom.com

Three Seattle-area high school jazz bands have been selected from nearly 100 schools across the country to compete in this year’s prestigious Essentially Ellington Competition in New York City.

Jazz bands from Garfield and Roosevelt in Seattle as well as Edmonds-Woodway were the only three high schools selected from a region that includes 11 states and several Canadian provinces.