Cool Temps and Cool Jazz Fill the Air at All-City Jazzfest

The big chill on the Southside last night had nothing to do with plunging temps. It was the annual All-City Jazzfest in the Lincoln Commons and all five DMPS high schools contributed to the cool. Collectively there were 142 jammers, many of them just shifting grooves from the regimentation of the marching band season into freewheeling, exploratory jazz.

The concert was opened and closed by house bands from the host school. Lincoln’s Jazz II got things jumping with a powerful 47-piece ensemble, truly a big band! And the Railsplitters’ Jazz I capped the evening with a tune aptly titled Last Call.

In between were a couple of combos from Hoover, a tight ten-piece of Cool (not quite Polar) Bears from North, a bunch from Roosevelt with great depth in the rhythm section, and a strong set from East that included, refreshingly, a singer – exchange student Sonja Hjelle who came all the way from Norway (aka, Land of the Midnight Sun) to croon a Scarlet rendition of Blue Skies.

There’s nothing like a cornucopia of snappy jazz to whet an appetite for the holiday season. After a program roster that included tunes like Chitlins Con Carne and Buffalo Wings there was a loud mood of appreciation rippling through the crowd.

Let us give thanks for Miles Davis, Irving Berlin, Duke Ellington and the rest of the cooks who prepared last night’s tasty meal. And to all of the musicians and their directors:

  • Kevin Stegemann, Lincoln
  • Treg Marcellus and David Steinke, Roosevelt
  • Randy Hoepker, Hoover
  • Dave Brown, North
  • Joe Thering, East

Photos from the All-City Jazzfest at Lincoln

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