Jazz Cats’ splash at FHS April 30

Farragut High School’s new Jazz Cats performed its first concert in Vickie B. Wells Auditorium Tuesday night, April 30.

“They did great,” Rodney Brown, associate director of bands and director of the jazz band, said of the band members. “They played with a sound that was beyond their years. They impressed everyone who was in the audience that evening — myself included.”

Joining them were guests artists Tim Paul, minister of instrumental music at First Baptist Church Concord and a jazz drummer by training, and Joe Jordan, former band director at Gresham Middle School that teaches freshman seminar at FHS.

“(Jordan) is a very accomplished trumpet player in his own right and plays with local groups here,” Brown said.

Regarding Paul, Brown said drum is the one instrument he did not have for the jazz band originally.

“I thought, why not bring in the best of the best in the area.’ — (Paul is) right down the road, a friend if mine — to come in and be guest drummer.”

Besides the April 30 concert, “we’ve played during the third lunch — we’ve done that once or twice so far this year — just to get the kids out and expose them a little bit to playing in front of a live audience,” the jazz band director said.

Next school year, Brown said, “We’re hoping to have a couple more concerts.”

For Brown, who has a background in jazz, starting the band at FHS is “a dream come true.

“This is the first semester we’ve had a jazz band class in at least 10 years,” he added. “I went to (principal) Dr. (John) Bartlett last year, about this time, inquiring about starting a jazz band here as a class, not an afterschool club.

“He said, ‘Get me a list of 25 names (of students) and your class is made,’ so I provided those, and the class was put in for spring semester of this year and the rest is kind of history. The jazz band, because of the nature of it, promotes itself.

There’s interest “because it’s different music, much more commercial, and more people’s ears are attuned to that type of music,” Brown said.