Interlake and Newport jazz bands swept the top honors at the 38th annual University of Montana Buddy DeFranco Jazz Festival in Missoula, MT March 16-17.
The festival featured 25 bands from Montana and Washington. An adjudicator evaluated every band and selected four “Outstanding Soloists” and the festival’s “Best Selections” to perform during a Saturday evening concert. Bellevue School District musicians earned all four of the “Outstanding Soloist” awards. Interlake Jazz 1 ensemble members Mert Selcuk, piano; Amy Shell, trumpet; and Kenji Wagner, trombone won three of the top awards and Newport Jazz Ensemble’s Jason Schilling, trombone, won the fourth outstanding soloist award. An Honorable Mention award went to Interlake saxophonist Ryan Bui.
The “Best Selections” awards went to BSD schools. The top honors went to Interlake’s saxophones and trumpets and Newport’s trombone and rhythm sections. These sections combined to form the “Best Selection’ Big Band, which performed under the direction of Rob Tapper, University of Montana’s director of jazz studies.