The award-winning Hoover High School First Edition Jazz Band competed against the nation’s top high school jazz bands at the Savannah Swing Central Jazz Festival, held March 30 through April 1. First Edition was one of 12 bands selected by audition. Under the direction of Sallie Vines White, this is the band’s fifth appearance at Swing Central since 2008.
Competing on a national level is a regular occurrence for First Edition. In 2014, the band was selected as a featured performer at the Jazz Educator’s Network in Dallas and in 2012 performed at the Midwest Clinic in Chicago. First Edition has received all superior ratings at the Loyola Jazz Festival in New Orleans from 2000-05 and again in 2015. Additionally, the band participated in the North Texas Jazz Festival in 2006 and 2007. The First Edition Jazz Band regularly performs at venues throughout the greater Birmingham area and is well represented at the Alabama All-State Jazz Bands each year. Recently, jazz artists Jeff Coffin and Rashawn Ross from the Dave Matthews band conducted a clinic with the band.
Swing Central Jazz (SCJ) celebrates 10 years of being affiliated with the 27-year-old Savannah Music Festival (SMF). The highly acclaimed SCJ brings the nation’s top high school jazz bands together in Savannah for three days of intensive workshops, performances and public competition. The 22-member jazz faculty, led by SMF Associate Artistic Director Marcus Roberts and SCJ Associate Director Jim Ketch, include some of the world’s best jazz performers and educators like Wycliffe Gordon, Stephen Riley, Brianna Thomas, Terrell Stafford and Jason Marsalis.
The competition concluded with a finale on Friday, April 1, at the historic Lucas Theatre for the Arts in Savannah. It included a showing of the 1920 film “Within Our Gates” with an original score composed and conducted by Wycliffe Gordon and performed by this year’s Swing Central Jazz faculty.
– Submitted by Debbie Greengard.