These Cats Can Play!

Above: Next Generation Jazz Orchestra at Dizzy’s Club-Coca-Cola at Jazz at Lincoln Center in New York City, June 25. ©Andrew Lepley

Below: Tenor saxophonist Solomon Alber solos on Herbie Hancock’s “Riot” at JALC.

The 2017 Next Generation Jazz Orchestra is now on tour from June 24-29! Twenty of the best high school student musicians in the United States were selected to this year’s band, which began in 1971. They all have unique accomplishments.

By the time they performed their second gig at Jazz at Lincoln Center, the band had only existed for three days! Nobody in the NGJO is over the age of 19.

Bass trombonist Joshua Hernandez of El Paso, Texas posted this video about the tour.

Aaron Kranzler, alto / Aragon High School, San Mateo, Calif.
Willie Bays, alto / Olympia High School, Olympia, Wash.
Abdias Armenteros, tenor / New World School of the Arts, Miami, Fla.
Solomon Alber, tenor / Amador Valley High School, Pleasanton, Calif.
Duncan McElman, baritone / Rio Americano High School, Sacramento, Calif.

Jasim Perales*** / Berkeley High School, Berkeley, Calif.
Leo Markel / Alexander W. Dreyfoos School of the Arts, West Palm Beach, Fla.
Rashaan Salaam / Dillard High School, Ft. Lauderdale, Fla.
Wyatt Forhan / St. Dominic High School, O’Fallon, Mo.
Joshua Hernandez** (bass) / J.M. Hanks High School, El Paso, Texas

Carlos Ramos*** / Downey High School, Downey, Calif.
Brandon Star / Smithtown High School East, St. James, N.Y.
Geoffrey Gallante** / West Potomac High School, Alexandria, Va.
Zaq Davis / Saint Ann’s School, Brooklyn, N.Y.
Kate Williams / Vanden High School, Fairfield, Calif.

Luca Mendoza,** piano / Crossroads School, Santa Monica, Calif.
Jordan Reifkind, guitar / Los Angeles County High School for the Arts, Los Angeles, Calif.
Gabriel Rupe, bass / Denver School of the Arts, Denver, Colo.
Christian McGhee, drums / Westminster Christian Academy, Town and Country, Mo.
Joshua Tazman Reinier, vocals / Nueva Upper School, San Mateo, Calif.

** 2-year NGJO member
*** 3-year NGJO member

2017 Summer Tour Dates

June 24: Orpheum Film and Performing Arts Center, Tannersville, New York, 7:30pm
June 25: Dizzy’s Club Coca-Cola, Jazz at Lincoln Center, New York City, 7:30/9:30pm
June 27: Xerox Rochester International Jazz Festival, Jazz Street Stage, Rochester, New York, 7:30/9:30pm
June 28: TD Toronto Jazz Festival, OLG Stage, Toronto, Ontario, Canada, 12pm
June 29: Montreal Jazz Festival, TD Stage, Montreal, Quebec, Canada, 6pm

NOTES FROM THE ROAD, JUNE 27: (via Ruth Mason, MJF Ticket Services Manager):

The tour is going well. The kids have come together quickly and jelled. The first gig in the Catskills was over 70 minutes and the audience gave them a standing ovation at the end of their performance. We did have our bus breakdown on the way to Tannersville. Ended up spending over 2 hours at a rest stop while waiting for another bus to arrive and take us the rest of the way.

Two sets at Dizzy’s Club at Jazz at Lincoln Center in New York City, and both were sold out. The kids played great and were absolutely energized by the crowd, playing at this particular location as well as New York City. They all had a great attitude and were ready to go!

Just arrived in Rochester after a 6 hour bus trip. Kids are a bit tired and it was a quiet ride. At the hotel now and will be leaving at 6PM for the Rochester Jazz Festival. The band will be ready to put on a great show.


Rochester was great. No bus issues getting there. The band sounded so good for both sets. The crowd was very receptive to them. The more they play together the better they get.

Early start this morning to Toronto. We met in the hotel lobby at 6:15AM. As you can guess the bus is very quiet. We are crossing into Canada at Niagara Falls, and should be at the border soon. The kids play at the Toronto Jazz Festival at noon today and then we head to Montreal.

[BELOW: Next Generation Jazz Orchestra at the Xerox Rochester Jazz Festival, June 27. Photo courtesy of XRIJF/Facebook.]

Next Generation Jazz Orchestra at the Xerox Rochester Jazz Festival

[BELOW: Next Generation Jazz Orchestra at the Montreal International Jazz Festival, June 29. Photo courtesy of Victor Diaz Lamich Photographe/Facebook.]