Monterey Jazz Festival announces 2021 Next Generation Jazz Orchestra members

MONTEREY — Monterey Jazz Festival recently announced the 2021 members of its Next Generation Jazz Orchestra, the Festival’s internationally-renowned high school band, featuring some of the best high school jazz musicians in the country.

And it includes at least one second-generation member.

“My father was a member of the NGJO in 1988,” said Chase Bautista, a bass trombone player in this year’s orchestra. “I have heard him reminisce about the community he gained and the experience of playing in front of a crowd.”

Created in 1971 as a part of Monterey Jazz Festival’s continuing commitment to jazz education, former members of the orchestra include many professional musicians, including pianist Kris Bowers, saxophonist Joshua Redman, trumpeter Ambrose Akinmusire and big band leader Gordon Goodwin, among others.

The 20 students represent the nation’s most talented high school musicians from 11 states and the District of Columbia according to a Jazz Festival press release. They were selected through online auditions and judged by professional jazz artists and educators.

“I am really excited about our 2021 Next Generation Jazz Orchestra,” Monterey Jazz Festival Artistic Director Tim Jackson said in a press release. “Our amazing Band Director, Gerald Clayton, in partnership with a dedicated group of adjudicators, has chosen a diverse group of students from around the country that reflect the values of the artists that you hear on the stages of the Monterey Jazz Festival.”

In addition to Bautista of San Jose, this year’s roster includes Brandon Suarez of Miami and Kevin Brewster of Grand Rapids, Michigan on alto saxophone; Nick Caldwell of San Diego and Zeb J-A of Durham, North Carolina on tenor saxophone; Noa Zebley of Concord on baritone saxophone; Andre Perlman of Miami, Andrew Zhang of Sammamish, Washington and Bruno Tzinas of Miami on trombone; Santana Rojas of El Paso, Texas, Cameron Davidson of Tucson, Arizona, Jack Towse of Huntington, New York, Skylar Tang of Foster City and Lóren Littlejohn of Washington, D.C. on trumpet; Brandon Goldberg of Fort Lauderdale, Florida on piano; John Murray of San Diego on bass; Colman Burks of Plano, Texas on  drums; Blake Slaughter of Greenville, South Carolina on guitar; Ellah Brown of Rutherford, New Jersey on vocals and Kobie Andrews of Springdale, Maryland on steel pan.

Contributed by local news sources

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