JHK Wins 8 Awards at Mingus Festival

February 5, 2024

Jazz House Kids won eight awards at the recent Charles Mingus Festival & High School Competition at The New School of Jazz in New York City. Two were group awards, and six went to individuals. Here they are:

  • Best Specialized Combo: Jazz House Ambassadors Combo, directed by Mike Lee.
  • Best Specialized Big Band: Jazz House Big Band, directed by Nathan Eklund, tied with Jazz at Lincoln Center Youth Orchestra, directed by Tatum Greenblatt.
  • Outstanding Student Arrangement for Specialized Combo: bassist Sam Konin
  • Outstanding Soloists: drummer Alex Kavlakian, tenor saxophonist Ben Sherman, bassist Sam Konin, and vocalist Zuri McCune.
  • New School Scholarship Winner: drummer Alex Kavlakian, $15,000.

The Mingus Festival, held February 16-19, celebrated the music of the late bassist/composer Charles Mingus and hosted competition among 140 high school student musicians from seven states. The judges were members of the Mingus Big Band: bassist Boris Kozlov, saxophonist Wayne Escoffery, trombonist Conrad Herwig, trombonist Earl McIntyre, alto saxophonist Mark Gross, baritone saxophonist Jason Marshall, guitarist Andy McKee, and trumpeter Ingrid Jensen. The competition was presented by Charles Mingus’ son, Eric Mingus.

Konin performed in a Rising Stars opening act at the August 2022 Jersey Jazz LIVE! concert. He was part of a quartet led by trumpeter Alvaro Caravaca, who is now attending the Eastman School of Music in Rochester, NY.

(Photo above is of the Jazz House Ambassadors Combo, from left: pianist James Pakamou, bassist Sam Konin, drummer Alex Kavlakian, vocalist Zuri McCune, and saxophonists Kristian Greene and Ben Sherman).

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