The new jazz generation 

Buselli-Wallarab Jazz Orchestra High School Jazz concert
Indiana History Center
Sunday, Jan. 7, 6 p.m., $5

Eighteen elite high school jazz players from across Indianapolis join the Buselli-Wallarab Jazz Orchestra musicians for a special concert this Sunday at the Indiana History Center. In its fifth year, the program aims “to keep Indiana’s jazz tradition alive,” says education director Mark Buselli.

“A lot of these students have gone on to careers in music,” he says. “While this program is an opportunity for students to work with peers who are on the same high level, the side-by-side portion of the concert provides each student with an opportunity to work one-on-one with a BWJO player.”

This is the traditional kind of mentoring passed on by jazz players since the late 19th century.

Buselli receives recommendations about top youth performers from band directors. His choices are based on interviews with each student and a desire “to make the [orchestra] as representative of all schools as possible,” filling requisite woodwinds, brass and rhythm sections.

In the early fall, students receive a packet of music chosen by Buselli and including “a nice mixture of great jazz big band artists like Basie, Ellington and Jones, and some new works.”

The first half of the show will feature the high school jazz players under direction by Brent Wallarab. For the second half, BWJO musicians join the young players, and the music gets progressively more challenging.

“Thirty-five players on the History Center stage is a full house,” Buselli says. “I hope a lot of people fill the seats and experience the next generation of jazz players.”

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Rita Kohn

Rita Kohn

Rita Kohn has been covering craft beer and the arts for NUVO for two decades. She’s the author of True Brew: A Guide to Craft Beer in Indiana.

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