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May 5, 2012 at 8:00 AM

Roosevelt makes top three at Essentially Ellington

Final update: Roosevelt couldn’t quite pull out a first-place win this year. The band placed second, Dillard came in first (as it did last year) and New World place third. Please see for the full story.

Sunday second updateAnd the three top placing ands are…(envelope please): Roosevelt, Dillard and New World. Go Roughriders! And great job, Ballard and Mountlake Terrace.:

Sunday update: The chips are in. Mountlake Terrace sounded clean and sleek and John Vance turned in some nice trumpet work on “Riding on a Blue Note.” Congratulations, Ballard, for an excellent performance your first time out at EE. Rockin’ “Tutti for Cootie” and swingin’ Helen Miller on piano and a fun vocal on “I’m Just A Lucky So-and-So.” This year has been great, particularly from the standpoint of the variety of music played. In years past, you heard the same songs over and over. All kinds of different stuff this year.

No idea who’s going to pull up front. Missed New World, but the Seattle bands sounded great, so did Dillard, and I liked Esperanza yesterday, too. We’ll find out in a couple of hours. Two bands left — Eau Claire, from Wisconsin, and DeKalb, from Illinois.

Third Saturday update: Well, well. Dillard, from Ft. Lauderdale, killed. No argument. What a big sound and wide swing pocket. And that bass player! I think they might have shot themselves in the foot on “Tunisia,” though. We shall see! But they’re definitely in the hunt.

Second Saturday update: Well, Roosevelt got its shot and they sounded great, especially tenor saxophonist Adrian Noteboom on the ballad, “I’ve Just Seen Her.” Lush perfection, Roosevelt band. “Theme From The Asphalt Jungle” swung like mad and Adam Shimabakura played a warm, relaxed guitar, swingin’ solo on “A Night in Tunisia.” Let’s see what the competition brings the rest of the afternoon, but they’ll have to be good to keep up with that.

Saturday update: You can now see the live stream of the Essentially Ellington competition below. The stream begins Saturday at 11:30 a.m., Pacific Time.

Preview: Three Seattle area high school jazz bands — Roosevelt High School, Ballard High School and Mountlake Terrace High School — compete Saturday and Sunday, May 5-6, in the prestigious Essentially Ellington competition in New York The competition will be streamed live at There are 15 finalists. Roosevelt performs at 12:40 p.m. Saturday; Mountlake Terrace at 10:10 a.m. Sunday; Ballard at 10:30 a.m. Sunday. The top three bands are announced at 1 p.m.; the winners concert begins at 4:30 p.m. (All times PST.) At the end of the concert, the order of the top three is announced.

Roosevelt has won the competition three times; Mountlake Terrace has been in the finals five times and come in third twice; Seattle bands have taken first place seven times since 2002. But it’s still going to be a horse race. Last year, Roosevelt and Mountlake Terrace lost to Dillard Center for the Arts, from Florida. Dillard is back. So is Florida’s New World School for the Arts, which took first place in 2005.

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