dillard centeroftheartsjazzensemble_web.jpgMembers of the Broward County School Board took time off from their meeting recently to recognize members of the Dillard Center of the Arts’ Jazz Ensemble which took first place in the 16th annual Essentially Ellington High School Jazz Band Competition & Festival held at Lincoln Center in New York City.

Jazz legend Wynton Marsalis presented Christopher Dorsey, director of the ensemble, with the first-place trophy and $5,000 prize at the end of the May 14 concert that concluded a week-long festival.

Dillard had placed second in last year’s competition.

The ensemble, which is part of the Center for the Arts magnet program at Dillard High School in Fort Lauderdale, was recognized at the School Board’s meeting May 17.

Dillard was among the 15 finalist bands from across the country selected to enter the prestigious competition.  A panel of judges comprising distinguished jazz musicians and historians determined which three bands would be finalists.

Those finalists performed at the culminating concert with Marsalis as a soloist.

The panelists included Marsalis, who is the Lincoln Center’s artistic director; David Berger, composer, conductor and Ellington authority; Rich Derosa, composer and arranger; Vincent Gardner, trombonist, educator and Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra member; and Jeff Hamilton, drummer and big band leader.

Besides the top prize, several members of the Dillard ensemble won recognition for their solo performances.

Those receiving an outstanding rating were Patrick Bartley, alto saxophone; Anthony Burrel, tenor saxophone; Max Boiko, trumpet; Christopher Dorsey II, trombone; Russell Hall, bass; and Armando Zamora rhythm guitar.

Kirby Fellis, trombone, and Daryl Jones, piano, received Honorable Mention honors.

The reeds and the rhythm sections were recognized as outstanding.