Jazz Bands 

Jazz Band 1 is the premier jazz band at Ballard and has recently emerged onto the Seattle jazz scene as one of the Northwest’s top high school jazz bands.  Its accomplishments include prestigious invitations to perform at the Essentially Ellington competition in New York (2018 & 2012), the Swing Central Jazz Festival in Savannah (2014), and the Next Generation Jazz Festival in Monterey (2018 & 2015.)  The band won 1st Place at the Mt.Hood Jazz Festival (2013) and is the only band to have been named an Outstanding Jazz Ensemble for two consecutive years at the UW Jazz Festival (2016 and 2017).  Jazz 1 has also performed at Seattle’s Earshot Jazz Festival and Starbucks’ “Hot Java Cool Jazz” concert.

See the Jazz I performance at Essentially Ellington 2018

Jazz Band 2 is comprised of students interested in learning the art of jazz through the study of jazz technique and improvisation.  The band plays at all school concerts.

Jazz Band 1 and Jazz Band 2 both perform annually at Jazz Alley, one of Seattle’s most prestigious jazz venues.

 Jazz 1


The band is fortunate to have Saxophonist Gary Hammon provide mentoring and coaching. Mr. Hammon emerged from the Seattle funk and free jazz scene, studied at the New England Conservatory of Music, toured with organist Big John Patton, returned to Seattle and recorded Fangs in 2005 with saxophonist Hadley Caliman. 

Find out more: http://www.hammon-esvelt.com

Jazz 2

Jazz 2 is pleased to welcome Robert Beasley as an instructor this year. Robert is a trumpeter, composer, and educator based in the Seattle area. He holds a Master of Music from Duquesne University and a Bachelor of Music Education from the University of Northern Colorado. 

Robert performs regularly in Seattle with The New Triumph, Jim Cutler Jazz Orchestra, and Charly Hernandez. He has backed up many touring artists, most notably Ahmad Jamal, The Smithsonian Masterworks Jazz Orchestra, Maelo Ruiz, Tony Vega, and Frankie Negron. His theater experience includes Verlaine and McCann’s “Land of the Sweets: The Burlesque Nutcracker” and Seattle Children’s Theater’s “The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe.” 

As an educator, Robert maintains a large private studio of brass and piano students. He also composes big band music for professional and student level groups. His compositions have been performed by professional bands in the Seattle area and by school ensembles at various regional festivals.

2018 Essentially Ellington Jazz Competition, New York

Congratulations to Jazz 1 on their inspired and energetic performance at the prestigious Essentially Ellington Jazz Competition in New York City on May 12th.   From the surprise violin intro on "Night in Tunisia," to the emotional "Prelude to a Kiss," and the swinging sounds of the "Harlem Congo," our musicians represented Ballard well on the national stage. 

Recognition for their performances included:

  • Outstanding Trumpet Section - Joe Fotheringham, Lucas Beidler, Owen Ebersbach, & Evan Fekete 
  • Outstanding Trombone Section - Alli Beaulieu, Jane Christopherson, Parker Crotty
  • Outstanding Alto Sax Solo - Katie Webster  
  • Outstanding Violin Solo - Evan Snoey
  • Honorable Mention Trumpet Solo - Joe Fotheringham 

2018 Next Generation Jazz Festival, Monterey, CA

2015 Next Generation Jazz Festival, Monterey, CA

There’s no greater place to learn than on the bandstand. That’s why each spring we invite over 1300 of the nation’s top student musicians to play their hearts out at the Next Generation Jazz Festival (NGJF). One of the most inclusive festivals in the United States, the festival welcomes performances by middle, high school and collegiate groups of every kind: big bands, combos, vocal ensembles, as well as conglomerate bands. Ballard High School Jazz I was chosen to be one of only 12 bands to compete in the High School Big Band category and the only band chosen from outside of the state of California. Over the course of three days, students:

  • Hear and play with some the best student performers in the country
  • Learn tips and techniques in workshops led by the pros
  • Get their minds blown by our star-studded judges band
  • Receive detailed and thoughtful critique from our experienced adjudicators
  • Jam for each other and the locals all over downtown Monterey

Congratulations to Aisha Carpenter for winning an outstanding soloist award for her vocals on "Rocks in My Bed".

2012 Essentially Ellington Jazz Festival

Ballard High School Jazz Band I was 7th of the 15 finalists of the 17th Annual Essentially Ellington High School Band Competition & Festival, presented by Jazz at Lincoln Center in New York City.

Three BHS students were honored:
  • Ruby Fore: Honorable Mention Tenor Sax
  • Jade Likkel: Outstanding Vocalist
  • Sam Zisette: Outstanding Trumpet

Find out more - http://wyntonmarsalis.org/news/entry/winners-of-17th-essentially-ellington-competition-2012 

The band played three tunes:

Sepia Panorama

Tootie for Cootie


Watch the interview with Ruby Fore, Helen Miller, Sam Zisette, and Mr. James:

Ballard High School

1418 Northwest 65th Street, Seattle WA  98117

Ballard Performing Arts Booster Club  

PO Box 17774, Seattle, WA  98127

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