GSA jazz combo places third at Boston jazz festival

Posted March 09, 2011, at 5:06 p.m.
Last modified March 09, 2011, at 5:41 p.m.

BLUE HILL, Maine — Sam’s Soul Children, an honors jazz combo at George Stevens Academy, placed third last weekend at the Berklee College of Music Jazz Festival in Boston.

“They played really well,” said GSA music director Steven Orlofsky. “We’re really proud of them.”

According to Orlofsky, the combo’s third-place finish came against combos from schools in New England and around the country.

The septet performed three pieces: “Blue Rondo a la Turk,” by Dave Brubeck; “Infant Eyes,” by Wayne Shorter; and “Some Skunk Funk,” by Randy Brecker. Their performances earned the group a total of 271 points from the judges, all members of the Berklee faculty and professional musicians in their own right.

That score was just one point behind the second-place school, the Rivers School Conservatory of Weston, Mass. Boston Arts Academy finished fourth. The Idyllwild Arts Academy of Los Angeles, Ca., placed first at the festival, with a total of 292 points.

Although some of the members of the GSA group have performed together in the past, all seven began performing together as a combo at the start of this school year. Members of the group are: Haley Maiden, alto sax; Anne Ames, trumpet; Nicole Bakeman, tenor sax; Grace Bugbee, bass; Bjorn Peterson, guitar and violin; Emmett Scott, piano; and Sam Eley, drums.

Peterson also received the judge’s choice award, the festival’s equivalent of a most-valuable player award, Orlofsky said.

Two other Maine schools also competed at the festival, the Waynflete Upper School Jazz Combo of Waynflete School in Portland and the Thursday Jazz Combo of Cape Elizabeth High School.