Jazz Band Integrates Professionalism Into Performance With Native Soul

Following the introduction from the percussion instruments, the low brass and trumpets joined in with a rapid melody as the drums continued with their rhythm. Together, the instruments, played by members of the Academy Jazz Band, created the upbeat, multifaceted tune of the song “Sing Sing Sing” by Louis Prima. The song’s high energy prompted audience members to visibly nod their heads to the rhythm.

Peter Cirelli, Instructor in Music and Director of The Academy Jazz Band, wrote in an email to The Phillipian, “I was really happy with the performance… our students rose to the occasion and gave one of the best performances I’ve heard in all my years teaching here.”

This song was one of the pieces performed by the Academy Jazz Band as part of their concert held last Friday evening in Cochran Chapel. The concert featured guest artists Native Soul, a jazz band made up of four artists, whose appearance was funded by Thomas D. Chapin ’75. The members of Native Soul played alongside Andover students in many of the pieces, including “Sing, Sing, Sing.”

“For the piece ‘Sing Sing Sing’, I was especially excited about working with the drummer of Native Soul, Steve Johns. With him keeping the backbeat and foundation of the band, I got a taste of how great Johns is at drumming. In general, I was inspired by Marcus McLaurine and his bass playing, especially in his own composition, ‘To CT, With Love,’” said Shree Menon ’20, a bass player in the Academy Jazz Band.

The band also played “3:AM” by Rich Shemaria. Starting with a slow rhythm and low notes, the trumpets and higher brass created a contrasting, higher tune.  

“‘3:AM’ turned out to be my favorite, as it had a really great groove, and the composition developed in interesting ways,” said Cirelli.

The Academy Jazz Band played a total of seven pieces before turning the stage over to Native Soul, who performed a wide array of songs including their own compositions. They opened their program with a lighthearted, cheerful tune featuring the saxophone, played by Peter Brainin.

Eamon Garrity-Rokous ’20, a trumpet player, said, “I think it was definitely our best performance of the whole term, if not the whole year. We really just came together and performed to the best of our abilities and capabilities with help from Native Soul. I would say especially our soloists, melodists, and rhythm section all played great together, making it a really memorable performance for our graduating Seniors.”