The ETHS Jazz Ensemble led by Matthew Bufis worked hard to make some amazing recordings this winter. The recordings were done live in the ETHS auditorium before and after school 12/19/22 - 12/20/22. The students got to school at 7, recorded for an hour, went to class until 3 and went right back to recording. Yikes. The recording were done to get submitted to the Essentially Ellington Competition and Festival, a prestigious high school jazz festival at the legendary venue Jazz at Lincoln Center in New York City. "In Tandem" is an original composition by ETHS junior Sam Persell. The other three songs are part of the Essentially Ellington catalogue.
It was mixed and mastered here at Butcher Boy Studios by Jim Tullio. The recording was done using mostly ETHS' sound equiptment with a few vintage microphones from BB for soloists. Ryan Tharayil (ETHS 2020) and Soren Dorr (ETHS 2021) assisted Jim Tullio and Mr. Bufis in the recordings, with help from Haley Nichol.
Composed by Sam Persell (ETHS 2024)
Featuring Solos performed by Paul Hletko & Sam Persell
Composed by Mary Lou Williams
Featuring Solos performed by Daniel Durango Cohen, Luke Van Leer, Elliot Persell & Sam Persell
Composed by A.K. Salim
Featuring Solos performed by Mitchell Nakamoto & Paul Hletko
Such Sweet Thunder
Composed by Billy Strayhorn & Duke Ellington
Featuring Solos performed by Sam Persell & Jonah Stewart
The ETHS Jazz Ensemble
Alto Sax 1: Mitchell Nakamoto
Alto Sax 2: Elliot Persell
Tenor Sax 1: Liam Philips
Tenor Sax 2: Tony Rubenstein
Bari Sax: Sam Diener
Trumpet 1: Paul Hletko
Trumpet 2: Josie Macek
Trumpet 3: Sam Persell
Trumpet 4: Joshua Hoather
Trombone 1: Max Smith
Trombone 2: Ella Macek
Trombone 3: Mitchell Fabri
Trombone 4: Jonah Stewart
Guitar: Sam Roberson
Guitar: Skye Elzaurdia
Bass: Violet Weston
Piano: Daniel Durango-Cohen
Piano: Luke VanLeer
Drums: Nicholas Selvaggio
Drums: Toby Perlstadt
Vibraphone: Tanner Carlson-Huber
Vocals: Lucy Starr-Escobar
Directed by Matt Bufis
About the Composers
I was looking up who composed these songs and got blown away by the biographies of these musicians/composers so I felt obligated to write a little something about them.
The song "In Tandem" was written by ETHS' very own Sam Persell. Everybody involved in this project was blown away by the writing and arrangement of his song. Sam, his brother Elliot and his sister Abby are all talented musicians who are/were in the ETHS band and jazz programs. While Sam's biography is considerably shorter than the other composers we recorded, from this song we assume he can go on to have a long and illustrious career in music.
"Roll 'Em" was written by Mary Lou Williams, a virtuostic piano player and a legendary composer/arranger. She arranged for the biggest swing bands of the 30s, including bands led by Duke Ellington, Louis Armstrong & Cab Calloway. Williams was a large part of the beginnings of bebop and a huge influence on pioneers like Charlie Parker, Thelonious Monk, and Dizzy Gilespie. She moved to New York in the early 40s and started playing with the young up and coming bebop musicians. After Charlie Parker died in 1955 she took a break from performing to help musicians struggling with addiction. Williams returned to the stage 3 years later and started her own record label, Mary records, which was one of the earliest female owned record labels.
"Congo Mulence" was written by A. K. Salim, who grew up close by in Bronzeville, Chicago. Salim went to high school at DuSable High, where he met and played with lots of other young jazz musicians who went on to have careers as performers. in the 40s he arranged for the big bands of Cab Calloway, Lionel Hampton and Count Basie. Later he got into writing Latin Jazz songs, like "Congo Mulence" for Tito Puente, Dizzy Gilespie and others.
"Such Sweet Thunder" was written by the iconic duo, Duke Ellington and Billy Strayhorn. Strayhorn and Ellington wrote together for almost 3 decades. Strayhorn never got a lot of the fame and recognition Ellington got, but his contribution to Ellington's career had an undeniable impact on Ellington's music. Many of Ellingtons most famous songs/recordings were written or co-written by Strayhorn including “Take the A Train”, “Satin Doll” and “Something to Live For”. The exact nature of their collaboration in songs they wrote together isn't clear (Who wrote what parts? Who did the most work? etc.), but Ellington says Strayhorn was, "my right arm, my left arm, all the eyes in the back of my head, my brain waves in his head, and his in mine".