Jazz Ensemble Shares Their Joy of Music

Preview clip of Bay Ridge Prep Upper School Jazz Ensemble show on June 11, 2019. Video by Moses Millman '20


Upper School Jazz Musicians showcased their love for the music genre during their June 11 evening performance, "The Jazz Encounter". Among the talented musicians were Joe Anzalone, drums & percussion; Matt Barraclough, guitar; Leslie Wang, flute; Si Hao Wang; piano & harmonica; Aidan Walsh, drums & percussion; Josh Jeremie, percussion; Olivia Fiocco, vocals; and Lauren Parnes, vocals. The students performed under the direction of Mr. Daniel Greene, who also accompanied the ensemble with his expert bass playing while Dr. Noreen Stewart joined the students to as a guest vocalist on one song. 

The mission of the Jazz Ensemble is to provide excellent jazz education to musicians in a collaborative, creative learning environment. The language of jazz, its historical past, the legendary players, and its global influence are major areas of study. Most importantly, the students gain freedom on their instrument of choice – freedom to improvise, freedom to create, freedom to express musical ideas and obtain technical mastery whether it be on guitar, bass, drums, keyboard, percussion, saxophone, trumpet, and especially, our voices.

Jazz students participate in group and individual instruction. They apply theory directly into tunes from the jazz repertoire.  They learn how to read sheet music and are exposed to various tune styles (e.g., blues, swing, funk, ballads, Latin), as well as increasingly complex forms (e.g., 12-bar blues, modal, and “rhythm” changes).   Members also have the opportunity to compose and arrange original jazz tunes.

The Jazz Ensemble rehearses three times weekly after school with Mr. Greene who says his ultimate goal is to help students gain a greater appreciation of jazz and encourage the pursuit of undergraduate studies in music programs across the country.  In years past, Jazz Ensemble alums have enrolled in some of the nation’s top music schools.

Developing the whole student since 1998, Bay Ridge Prep is an independent, K-12 college preparatory school offering a strong academic program in a student-centered community that values the unique talents and learning styles of each person.