Jazz ensembles from the University of Arkansas at Monticello captured numerous individual and group honors at the Elmhurst Jazz Festival in suburban Chicago and the Northwestern Jazz Festival in Natchitoches, La., held the last two weekends.
UAM jazz groups swept the top three places at the Louisiana festival with Jazz Combo 2 named grand champion, UAM Jazz Band 1 in second place, and UAM Jazz Combo 1 in third place. UAM Jazz Band I earned the highest score of any jazz band at the festival and also brought home awards for the outstanding trumpet, trombone, saxophone and rhythm sections.
Individually, Nathan Carman of Heber Springs was named outstanding saxophone soloist, Bass Deese of Texarkana, Tex., was the outstanding trumpet soloist, Zach Wilson of Sheridan was the outstanding piano soloist, Stuart Coles of Sheridan was the outstanding bass soloist, Phillip House of Cabot was the outstanding drummer, and Jake Miller of Sheridan was the outstanding guitar soloist.
Jazz Band I and Jazz Combo I each performed at the Elmhurst festival, which conductor Gary Meggs described as their “best performances of the year.” UAM won four individual awards at Elmhurst – Nathan Carman for outstanding jazz alto sax solo, Zack Wilson for outstanding jazz piano solo, Phillip House for outstanding jazz drummer, and Matt Schatz of Sheridan for outstanding tenor sax solo.
Meggs, Les Pack, C.E. Askew, John Webb and Mark Windham are instructors for the UAM jazz program. Meggs directs Jazz Band I, Pack conducts Jazz Band II, and Askew is the leader of Jazz Band III.