Talent and dedication lead


Jazz Ensemble members swap instruments and jam together after class.

Sarah Schisla, Scot Scoop Editor-in-Chief

It is no secret that Carlmont’s Jazz Ensemble members are dedicated, talented, and successful.

The group attends more events outside of Carlmont and has more awards than any other music group. “It’s partially because there are more competitions offered in [the jazz category], and the smaller group [of 21 students] is easier to transport on a bus. But overall, they’re one of our best groups, and we want to show them off,” said Assistant Instrumental Music Director Lieven Smart.

Jazz Ensemble received unanimous superior scores at this year’s California Music Educators Association (CMEA) Jazz Festival and Santa Cruz Jazz Festival.

Furthermore, two of its members were selected to participate in the CMEA Bay Section’s ensemble. Smart said, “These are the best players in the entire Bay Area. There are only 18 or 20 [invited], and we had two of them.”

Trombone section leader Adam Cobb said, “We have some incredible musicians in our band, and I feel very lucky to be among such wonderful talent.”

All members auditioned before being selected to play in the ensemble. Smart said, “They are typically our most advanced students on their instrument and tend to be [upperclassmen] as well. They practice a lot and are musically involved outside of school with the Peninsula Youth Orchestra, jazz gigs, and various other groups.”

To be selected for Jazz Ensemble, one must demonstrate skill in sight-reading and improvising. Members also have to take their music seriously.

These musicians demonstrate discipline, setting up and tuning as quickly as possible in order to maximize rehearsal time. They limit their talking during class and practice at home without being told to do so.

In light of Instrumental Music Director John DaBaldo’s extended absence, the students have become even more involved in the ensemble.

“Partly because I’m so overworked, I’ve been letting Jazz Ensemble run itself,” said Smart.

Tenor saxophone player Kaelen Ghandhi has been choosing the majority of the ensemble’s pieces. “Our jazz library is fantastic, and looking through it I’m [like] a kid in a candy shop. That’s why I took the opportunity to pick the music while DaBaldo is out,” he said.

The ensemble is preparing for their upcoming concert on Friday, May 16. It will perform classic songs such as Basie Straight Ahead and modern charts such as Jazz Police.

Cobb said, “Everyone in [Jazz Ensemble] genuinely loves to play music and strives toward the common goal of performing well. We really have fun playing what we play, and I think it shows.”