All-Star High School Band Plays Berklee

Nick Balkin
June 19, 2008
The Next Generation Jazz Orchestra
Photo by R Andrew Lepley

The Monterey Jazz Festival presents the Next Generation Jazz Orchestra, an all-star ensemble comprising the top young jazz musicians in the nation. The 21-piece group features members selected from 18 schools across 11 states, including Massachusetts and Connecticut, in an unprecedented cross-section of the best high school jazz programs in the country. Former members of the ensemble include pianists Benny Green and Patrice Rushen, bassist Larry Grenadier, drummer Chad Wackerman, saxophonists Joshua Redman, Eric Marienthal, Dave Koz, trombonist Andy Martin, and big band leader Gordon Goodwin, to name a few.

The band will perform on Tuesday, July 15, 8:15 p.m., at the Berklee Performance Center (BPC), 136 Massachusetts Avenue, Boston. Tickets are $10; $5 for seniors, and can be purchased at the BPC box office. Call 617 747-2261 or visit for more information. The BPC is wheelchair accessible.

Orchestra members are selected through a rigorous audition process that includes review by a national panel of judges comprised of professional jazz musicians and educators. After obtaining a place in the orchestra, members gather in either New York City or Boston for one weekend in the summer to begin rehearsals in preparation for an international tour.

After returning from a performance at the North Sea Jazz Festival, in the Netherlands, the orchestra will track and mix an album in Berklee's Studio A, July 14, the day before the concert at the BPC. In September, the Next Generation Jazz Orchestra will gather once again to prepare for a slot on the main stage at the Monterey Jazz Festival, where they will be featured with one or more special guest artists.

Formerly known as the High School All-Star Big Band, the Next Generation Jazz Orchestra has performed at festivals and venues in Canada, Japan, Australia, and Europe, garnering worldwide acclaim. Under the directorship of Paul Contos, renowned saxophonist and flutist, the ensemble studies and performs the most challenging big band music available. For more information, please visit

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