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Great Music at 2019 Cutler Jazz Festival
Great Music at 2019 Cutler Jazz Festival

The music was outstanding at this year's Cutler Jazz Festival, featuring two St. Mark's Jazz Ensembles and the renowned Boston-based BT/ALC Big Band.

Under the leadership of St. Mark's Jazz Director Stephen Fell and Tucker Antell, assistant jazz director at St. Mark's, the student ensembles took to the stage first in the Putnam Family Arts Center's Class of 1945 Hall on Sunday evening, April 7. Jazz Ensemble I played Kenny Dorham's 1963 "Blue Bossa," the 1972 composition "Pass the Peas," and Ben Tucker's 1962 "Come Home Baby."

Jazz Ensemble II followed with three showstoppers of their own: Lee Morgan's "Sidewinder" (1964), the Miles Davis 1954 classic "Solar," and Josef Zawinul's "Birdland" (1977).

Then The BT/ALC Big Band took the stage. For nearly 10 years, the BT/ALC Big Band has made music that pushes the boundaries of conventional big band, sounding closer to Parliament or James Brown than a modern jazz orchestra. Leaders Brian Thomas and Alex Lee-Clark have assembled a crew whose background spans funk, jazz, salsa, classical music, and more, making the band a home for musicians to both celebrate their own unique voices as well as share a new sound. They did not disappoint the enthusiastic audience of jazz aficionados at St. Mark's on Sunday night. At the close of the show, they jammed with the St. Mark's musicians.

The St, Mark's Jazz Ensemble I features: Kareem Chambers '19 and Eamon Connaughton '22 on drums; Jocelyn Cote '22 on trombone; Ewan Leslie '22 on trumpet; Logan Matthews '22 on tenor saxophone; and Arden Williams '22 on flute.

The St. Mark's Jazz Ensemble II features: 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.

Matt Walsh '19 and Rick Sarkar '19 are co- presidents of the St. Mark's Jazz Ensemble. Nick Bechard '19 is vice president.

An encore performance by the St. Mark's Jazz Ensembles was presented to the entire school community on Monday afternoon, April 8.

The Cutler Festival is presented in memory of Tim Cutler '89. "Tim initially became interested in music when taking a class at St. Mark's with former music teacher Jerry Bellows," according to former St. Mark's Music Director Tom Berryman. "From this point forward, Tim became an avid guitarist and songwriter." Also a strong athlete and outdoorsman, Cutler went on to the University of Colorado at Boulder, earning his bachelor's degree in 1994. He died in 1996 in a car accident. Today, the Cutler Jazz Festival continues in his memory, bringing great music and great opportunities for musical collaboration to the St. Mark's community.