Upperclassmen create club, share passion of jazz with students

By hosting weekly meetings, the Jazz Combo Club has banded together to learn combo jazz pieces. The club started in January of 2021.


**Swinging into action…** *Earlier this year the Jazz Combo Club was made for students that wanted to play combo jazz. Vice President Adam Mast (left) and President Nick Mancini (middle) run and play combo jazz in the club along with Advisor Adam Tucker.* *Arrowhead photo by Alec Sprouse*

To give students a combo jazz feel opposed to the big band jazz played in classes, the Jazz Combo Club was created this year by Combo Club President Nick Mancini and Vice President Adam Mast. In the club they practice jazz improvisation.
The Jazz Combo Club meets every Monday after school and the club allows students that were unable to make the Jazz Band or the Lab Band a chance to play jazz music.
Combo jazz can be found in restaurants, bars, local events, and clubs.
According to band teacher Adam Tucker, he likes that the club is “student driven.” I think it gives students more responsibility for the club.
“It’s never happened before in my 20 years that students have made a jazz club,” Tucker said.
Mast plays baritone saxophone in jazz band class and piano for the Jazz Combo Club.
Mancini plays alto saxophone in both jazz band and the Jazz Combo Club. He is playing guitar, and is learning piano in the Jazz Combo Club.
According to Mancini the club was made so students can play more small band songs.
The club plays various swing songs. “Definitely I would like to play other songs that aren’t swing tunes,” Mancini said, “Latin especially.”
Mast agreed that he also would like to play Latin in the Jazz Combo Club.
Currently the Jazz Combo Club is playing Blue Train, Blue Monk, Moanin and Walkin. Within all the songs there is a head of each song and then the song goes into improvisation solos where everyone in the club can solo. Then they go back to the head.
“I think future classes will benefit from the club because if they’re doing it, it not only teaches them how to solo, but gives them the confidence to solo,” Tucker said. It’s the “roadblock” when it comes to jazz. People always want to try to solo, but are afraid to do it infront of other people. solos require “self-confidence.”
“I think that it’s a great thing. It’s always going to benefit musicians. Solos are always beneficial. It’s what jazz is, it’s based off of improvisation,” Tucker said.
According to Merriam-Webster Dictionary the definition of jazz is “American music developed especially from ragtime and blues and characterized by propulsive syncopated rhythms, polyphonic ensemble playing, varying degrees of improvisation, and often deliberate distortions of pitch and timbre.”
According to Merriam-Webster Dictionary the definition of combo jazz is, “a usually small jazz or dance band.”
The Jazz Combo Club has no limit on the number of members. Big Band jazz bands usually consist of 10 or more musicians. Combo bands usually have 7 or less musicians.
While Mancini is the president “we act more like co-presidents,” Mast said.
Mancini plans to continue to work in the club next year.
“I think Nick has a lot of interest from underclassmen in there which is very, very optimistic for the future,” Tucker said.
Mast said he wants to play jazz in college bands after he graduates.
“I’m glad that we were able to establish this, not only for my generation but for future generations,” Mancini said. “I’m excited to see where this club goes in the future. I hope we can get as many students out as possible.”