Monterey Jazz Festival

Diego Martinez, Copy Editor

On the weekend of Sept. 21, the Downey High Jazz 1 Band attended the annual Monterey Jazz Festival. The Jazz 1 group players hold themselves to high regards when it comes to their performance and note the event as their best in years.

The show time for the Downey High musicians began at 3:00 PM and band director Cory Olariu presented the Jazz 1 players. Olariu directed the Jazz 1 players through five songs, each highly enjoyed by the players. The setlist included favored songs such as “Wyrgly” by Maria Schneider, and groovy songs compositions such as “Besame Mucho Are” by Maynard Ferguson.


Sophomore guitarist in Jazz 1, Ivan Cuevas, enjoyed songs such as “Besame Mucho” by Maynard Ferguson and “Lifelong Friends” by Kris Berg. He pointed out the song “Wyrgly” by Maria Schneider to be his favorite in the setlist as it gave him strong vibes that he enjoyed to play along with his fellow players. Cuevas also noted that he found his best moments were listening to other jazz groups.


“‘Wyrgly’ was by far my favorite song. The feelings the composition gives off is amazing with its intricate harmonies and melodies,” Cuevas stated, “…the coolest part about the festival was witnessing other great and skilled jazz bands like Next Gen playing songs.”


The preparations for the festival took the whole 2017-18 school year, making it a good feeling for junior trumpet player Aaron Villalobos when it came to perform. He practiced the setlist numerous times making him feel accomplished after the festival.


“We worked all of last year for this festival, and I felt satisfied when we played the songs,” Villalobos stated. “The hard work put into the songs makes it satisfying and I really enjoy playing with such talented jazz musicians. ”  


With the practice paying off, players such as senior drummer Andrew Yanes, find the reflection process to be very positive. He feels the performance to be a great contrast from last year’s festival to this one, and felt more comfortable playing this concert than any other previous concert. Yannes noted working with his colleagues to be the most helpful factor in preparation.


“We all work with each other and help each other out with the music and playing techniques,” Yanes stated. “This is how we make our bands good in our performances.”


The Jazz 1 players felt accomplished afterwards and look forward to next year’s festivals. The band plans to add newer genres into the setlist to try and diversify their sound even more than before. The players are working towards another performance in the coming Fall Jazz Concert at the Downey High School Theater on Oct. 17.