May 10, 2015 12:28 PM
Oregon band wins Essentially Ellington competition
The Associated Press
NEW YORK (AP) The American Music Program of Portland, Oregon, has won Jazz at Lincoln Center's Essentially Ellington high school jazz band competition after an emotional performance honoring its ailing director.
JALC's Artistic Director Wynton Marsalis presented the band with the first-place trophy and a $5,000 award At Saturday night's finals concert at Frederick P. Rose Hall.
Marsalis helped judge the competition. He says he was impressed by the "emotional commitment" shown by the Portland band in playing one of Duke Ellington's most difficult pieces, "The Tattooed Bride," from memory.
He said the student musicians dedicated their performance to their director Thara Memory. Memory has been in poor health in recent years due to complications from diabetes.
Last year's winner, the Tucson Jazz Institute, took second place, while Lexington High School from Massachusetts finished third.