Seattle Times: Newport's Ariel Pocock Could Be Next Ellington-Tapped Star


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The Seattle Times' reporter Hugo Kugiya is covering the Essentially Ellington competition in New York City.

NEW YORK CITY -- Newport High School sophomore Ariel Pocock was just one of about 400 student jazz musicians who filled the Frederick P. Rose Hall Friday afternoon for the official start of the Essentially Ellington High School Jazz Band Competition & Festival.

As a way of saying welcome, Wynton Marsalis, the artistic director of Jazz at Lincoln Center, took questions from two lines of students, who queried him about music, about life, and even about basketball--Garfield’s pianist Ben Hamaji challenged Marsalis to a game of one-on-one; after a jocular exchange, Marsalis committed to a “maybe.”

If this weekend is a lot to take in for most of the young musicians--there are celebrity judges and instructors and a high-stakes performance in perhaps the most heralded jazz venue in the world — it could be overwhelming for Pocock, 16-year-old who until one year ago had sung only in the shower. But come Saturday afternoon, Pocock, who is the band’s piano player, will sing Duke Ellington’s “Don’t Get Around Much Anymore,” as part of Newport’s competition performance.

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This story appears courtesy of Seattle Jazz Scene.
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