Cutler Jazz Festival

——By Suha Choi ‘22 and Thomas Li ‘22

On the Sunday night of April 7th, lively sounds of the jazz bands filled the Class of ‘45 Hall. Tthe Cutler Jazz Festival presented successful performances once again this year. The festival was named in honor of Tim Cutler ’89, an avid musician whose passion for music began during his time at St. Mark’s. Followed by his death in 1996 due to an unfortunate car accident, a fund was established in the memory of Tim to create the Cutler Jazz Festival at St. Mark’s.

In the past few years, students have collaborated with numerous talented musicians and bands for Cutler. The school is especially fortunate to have invited the BT ALC band this year. BT ALC is a professional jazz big band from Boston, dedicated to creating original jazz music.

The Cutler festival started with the lively and funky performance of SM Jazz Ensemble I. A group of talented musicians including Kareem Chambers’19 on drums, Jocelyn Cote '22 on trombon,; Ewan Leslie '22 on trumpet, Logan Matthews '22 on tenor saxophone and Arden Williams '22 on flute. They stirred up the atmosphere in the class of 1945 hall by playing Pass the Peas by James Brown and interacting with the audiences. Following is the SM Jazz Ensemble II, featuring Matthew Walsh '19 and Henry Sansone '21 on trumpet, Rick Sarkar '19 on trombone, Alan Zhu '19 on guitar, Leo Xie '19 on bass, Nick Bechard '19 and Julian Yang '20 on tenor saxophone, Truman Chamberlin '20 and Nolan Willoughby '21 on alto saxophone, Laura Drepanos '19 on clarinet, Holden LeBlanc '21 on drums and guest faculty artist David Lubick on baritone saxophone. Their skillful performance and dynamic expressions captivated the audiences. The performance pieces from Jazz Ensemble I included Kenny Dorham's 1963 "Blue Bossa," the 1972 composition "Pass the Peas," and Ben Tucker's 1962 "Come Home Baby." Jazz Ensemble II performed three showstoppers of their own: Lee Morgan's "Sidewinder" (1964), the Miles Davis 1954 classic "Solar," and Josef Zawinul's "Birdland" (1977). The festival concluded with the performance from BT ALC Band. Their splendid performance inspires SM musicians to persist in their practice of jazz in the future. Our very own trumpet player, Matt Walsh, also performed with the professional band and impressed the audiences. A big thanks to all the performers, directors, and audience for taking a part in this wonderful event!

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