[Dixielandjazz] The Trad Jazz Kid

Steve barbone barbonestreet at earthlink.net
Tue Mar 1 05:46:08 PST 2005

List Mates:

Here is a copy of the note I got from 9 year old Jonathan Russell's mother
about his weekend in Reno and the 1st Prize for violinist's under 13,
awarded by the American String Teachers Association. (ASTA)

Note that "J" was the only "New Orleans" style Jazz player there.

Yet all you band leaders and festival producers ignore what this child could
do to increase your visibility with the kids and the general public.

Gee Whiz, when you hear opportunity knocking, don't forget you have to be
just a little pro-active and open the door.

Steve Barbone

"Well, it was for best improv!"  (Referring to the 1st prize category)

"Jonathan had an amazing few days. All the jazz teachers were buzzing about
him. Darol Anger (originally of Turtle Island String Quartet) coached him in
his master class, and was telling everyone they HAD to hear Jonathan. He
opened the concert (12 winners- some on fiddle, some on cello, some on
modern jazz. (He was the only "New Orleans" style jazz). His back up band
was Brian Torff on bass (great bassist who played with Grappelli) and a
pianist from Reno whose name I unfortunately forgot- but they were great
with him. He only got to play for ten minutes, but it was enough to set some
mouths agape. Of all the winners, he's the only player who traded fours and
twos. The comments ranged from- "amazing, killer, fabulous, he's going to be
really big" to "it makes you want to give up playing"....And those were from
the pros."

"We got to the airport and people stopped us who recognized Jonathan. One
woman said the only problem was that she couldn't get Lady Be Good out
of her head (his opening tune). When I pointed out that Regina Carter
(who was herself amazing) performed it at the concert that night too, she
said; "I preferred the first version". We got on the plane and people were
applauding him! And the coda is that I called my cousin today, whose son
plays violin in a middle school orchestra in Long Island. When I
mentioned to him that we had just gotten back from ASTA, he said that
his teacher had just come back from there and was talking about this
amazing 9 year old violinist. To which I replied- BILL- THAT WAS YOUR

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