Jazz Night 2017: A Recap

Missed this year’s Jazz Night? Keep on reading for a recap of Jazz Night 2017!

Jazz Night: February 24, 2017. Tri-M pulled it off once again. Everyone welcomed the return of the annual night of jazzy tunes and mouthwatering food. It’s difficult to comprehend the amount of work that goes into scheduling and planning Jazz Night every year, especially when you consider the drastic transformation that the Conference Hall undergoes over two afternoons. Months of planning, preparation, and practice were poured into achieving the success of the event, and we were all reminded of one of KIS’ favourite traditions.

PC: Logan Choi (’20)

2017’s Jazz Night opened with the Middle School Jazz Band with many saxophone, trumpet, trombone, guitar, drums, and vocal solos by Daniel Kim, Ein Jun, Yoonsik Chung, Tae-Sung Uhm, Audrey Lee, Joanna Lee, Andy Kim, Nate Ritz, Ryosuke Sumi, Jack Choi, Sean Kim, Hannah Kim, Sarah Ju, Judy Choi, Eric Youm, Brian Lee, and Joshua Park. The Middle School Jazz Band played “Take the ‘A’ Train”, “Oye Como Va”, “As If To Say Goodbye”, “Kansas City Breakout”, “Poco Loco”, “Just the Way You Are”, and “Groovin’ Hard”.

PC: Logan Choi (’20)

After the Middle School Jazz Band, the Vocal Jazz A Capella “Nightingales” group brought some vocal tunes to the audience’s ears. They sang “Moon River”, “A Nightingale Sang In Berkeley Square”, and “Autumn Leaves”, with French solos by Stacy Jo (‘17) and James Lee (‘19). The Nightingales also gave a little snippet of a song that they are going to sing at the Spring Choir Concert on March 16.

PC: Logan Choi (’20)

Finally, the Phoenix Jazz Band swooped in with “Give It One”, “Shiny Stockings”, “Cut the Cake”, “Bernie’s Tune”, “Don’t Steal My Stuff”, and “Big Noise From Winnetka”. The Phoenix Jazz Band also had many solos throughout their repertoire: Charles Park (‘20), Zaiu Tei (‘20), San Yun (‘18), Kyle Son (‘20), Christopher Ryu (‘17), Jason Kim (‘20), Min Jun Kim (‘20), Sang Kim (‘20), Jin Kwon (‘18), Emily Lee (‘17), and Edward Huang (‘17). Their superb playing ended 2017’s Jazz Night, leaving the audience with both a superb appreciation of this year’s event and an even greater anticipation for what will come next year.

PC: Logan Choi (’20)


One can only imagine the stress that the event’s organizers went through since early on last semester. Tri-M impressed us all immensely with the professionalism and efficiency with which they prepared, conducted, and concluded this year’s Jazz Night, and we’re looking forward to another holistic and gratifying experience next year!

– Daniel Park (’17)

Featured Image: KIS Tri-M Music Honor Society

Post-Jazz Night Thoughts

“Jazz is love, I am Jazz.”

“Jazz is love, I am Jazz.” – Masa Sakakura.

Smooth tunes and snazzy melodies filled the air last Friday night as guests ate their fill of gourmet food, served by smooth waiters in their black and white suits. Decorative lighting helped set the mood as teachers and students alike took their seats and eagerly waited for the night to begin.

After months of four hour practices, days of frantic decoration and hours of covering the school with posters of the soulful musicians, Jazz Night was both a musical and entertaining success: over 200 guests attended, with tickets selling out within four hours of announcement.

The night first began with the Phoenix Jazz Band and JV Jazz Band, with stunning solos performed by the musicians such as Masayoshi (‘16), Joonyon (‘17), and Jin (‘16) for each song. There were many of those small moments during the performance in Esté Jazz Combo for whenever someone took solos.

Then, the guests took a break from instrumentals to watch the performance of the Vocal Jazz Acapella group, which performed a stunning take of the song “Words” by The Real Group. Soon after, the audience was surprised, yet delighted by a “surprise mystery guest appearance” of the elementary P-bones (short for plastic trombones). As quoted by Mr. Yanuszeski, “The elementary students were amazing- definitely the stars of the show.”

“The elementary students were amazing- definitely the stars of the show.” – Mr. Yanuzeski (Seiyeon Park ’17)

The Esté Jazz Combo stunned the entire crowd with their improv performance. Mr. Tebti, the high school French teacher proclaimed, “Personally, I don’t like jazz, but the improvised play by the Esté Jazz group blew me away.”

The Jazz Converter: “Personally, I don’t like jazz, but the improvised play by the Esté Jazz group blew me away.” – Mr. Tebti (Seiyeon Park ’17)

Peter Kim (‘15), an Esté Jazz member himself, noted, “Moments when you hear your band member play something insanely good while improvising are the best parts of the night. It’s even better when you and your band members make eye contact and show the ‘I know what you just did’ face”.

Peter and The I-Know-What-You-Did-Face: You can’t really beat that. (Seiyeon Park ’17)

This year’s Jazz Night was special, not only in the fact that there were several special guests performing along with the Phoenix and JV Jazz bands, but also in the fact that it was the seniors’ last night of performing together; they have participated in Jazz Night since the very beginning when the former band teacher, Mr. Jay Londgren, created this event four years ago. Jazz Band members, such as Hannah Park (‘16) expressed their grief of seeing the seniors go. “Now that it’s over, I’m kind of bored and sad. I’m sad because all of the seniors will be leaving this year. I will miss them very much.”

Jazz Night: Q&A

Check out our exclusive interview with Peter Kim (’15) about this year’s Jazz Night.

Whether it’s hard-hitting rhythms to lighten up the atmosphere or mellow tunes to serenade its listeners, jazz music has always been a classic and a favorite to a variety of people from all over the world for decades. Its soulful melody, as well as experiments with improvisation, make this music genre a loved one.

Luckily, we have incredibly talented students here at KIS to bring proper justice to jazz music. And they all come together to show off their talent, (or in the case of Masayoshi Sakakura (‘16), a lot of talents) on one very special, very entertaining, very amazing evening: Jazz Night.

#WERK: It’s no secret how talented Masayoshi is with his instrument, as proven by the many solos he performed at this year’s Jazz Night. (Justin Kwon ’16) 

This acclaimed event at KIS was first introduced by a KIS favorite: Mr. Jay Londgren, who was the band teacher at our school until last year. Four years ago, Mr. Londgren put together some of the best musicians our Band had to offer, and thus, Jazz Night was born. The first event was a total hit, and the night has become an annual occasion since.

But what is jazz, really?

“Jazz is intangible. You can only feel it with your sincere soul.” – Hyunjae Moon (‘16)

“There are two major art reformations: the Renaissance, and the Jazz Age. So come to Jazz Night!” – Terry Lee (‘16) 

“If you have to ask what it is, you’ll never know.” – Louis Armstrong


The Last Song: Jazz Night next year is definitely not going to be the same without Peter Kim (’15). (Justin Kwon ’16)

But that doesn’t really tell us what Jazz Night is all about. So Blueprint approached Peter Kim (‘15), an officer of Tri-M and one of the organizers and performers of this event, to see if he could tell us more.

Blueprint (BP): How did this all start?

Peter Kim (PK): In my freshman year, under the guidance of Mr. Londgren, that year was when the Phoenix Jazz Band first formed.

BP: How was the first event? And how has it developed over the years?

PK: I think the history of ticket sales would put the development of jazz night in context. It took 3 weeks for the tickets to sell out in the first year, 4 days in the second year, 8 hours in the third year, and 4 hours this year. As all events and organizations go, it was difficult to set precedence, structure and procedure. There weren’t a lot of students comfortable with improvising, and the genre of jazz itself was new to a lot of the students in the band. The program grew a lot more complex over the years, as we added different sub-genres of jazz and various instrumentations (ensembles) into the performance.


BP: What’s different/significant about this event from the past events?

PK: I think the absence of Mr. Londgren would set this event apart from previous ones. I don’t think I can deny the fact that there have been struggles in the preparation due to the transferring of responsibility from him to Tri-M. We’re experimenting with different things this year too. We’re investing a lot in decoration, to build a jazzy, cool atmosphere. This year, Tri-M is trying to provide a holistic experience where they can really immerse in jazz from the entrance of the G-building to the musical content to the ending of the show.


BP: How much time and effort have gone into making the event possible?

PK: The bands have been practicing since August, and Tri-M and the music department have been working since December. Hours and hours of work of the officers and the Tri-M members made this event possible. Since the target audience is mainly adults, (parents, faculty, and even board members) Tri-M had to approach the event from a different perspective. More emphasis on the quality of food and atmosphere was taken into consideration.


BP: Is there anything special you’re looking forward to?

PK: Not from a Tri-M officer’s viewpoint, but from a performer’s viewpoint, I think this year’s Jazz Night is much more special to me. Probably for the other seniors too. We’ve been playing together in band since 7th grade, and playing in a jazz band since 9th grade. It’s a bit weird to think that it’ll probably be our last gig that we’re playing together as a band. I want to put everything I have into it, so that I won’t have regrets later.


BP: What’s your favorite thing/aspect of the event?

PK: I’m probably biased since I’m a performer, but music would be my favorite aspect without a doubt.


BP: Anything else you want to add?

PK: I’ll miss jazz night a lot, it was a huge part of my high school life. Four hour long jazz rehearsals on Tuesdays were what really kept me going in life. I’ll miss it.


What were your thoughts about Jazz Night? Leave them in the comments below!

– Faith Choi (’16)

Captions: Faith Choi (’16)
Header: Justin Kwon (’16)