Neighborhood Music School has a long history of Jazz programming.
Our world renowned faculty leads ensembles for all levels of improvisers (including our Premier Jazz Ensemble), helping to produce a long history of CT All-State musicians. Our jazz alumni include Grammy-nominated musicians such as Christian Sands and Wayne Escoffery. We also produce engaging concerts and run a beloved Summer Jazz program. Jazz at NMS is alive and well.
As you will learn in the stories below, Jazz at NMS expands beyond our music department.
If you love jazz, I hope you will consider joining us for a (not to be missed) streaming Jazz Concert on May 4th, featuring members of the Roots’ horn section from the Jimmy Fallon Tonight Show Band. Also, our Summer Jazz Program, featuring a truly world class faculty, will run again this August.
With you in swing,
Jazz drums student Wiley Bartels highly values the relationships he has built at NMS.
“What I like best about NMS is the strong sense of comradery among the students,” said Wiley.
“Every rehearsal feels like a jam session with your friends, and even outside of rehearsals we continue to collaborate and create together. I’ve always kept in close touch with many of the kids I meet through NMS.”
Wiley first came to NMS in September 2011, when he began drum lessons with Nick Forte, who has since retired from teaching at NMS.
“I have studied drums with Nick as my private instructor, been a member of Jesse Hameen II’s Latin Jazz ensemble for two years, and am currently in my second year playing with the Premier Jazz Ensemble with Jeff Fuller.”
Following a rigorous audition process, advanced jazz students chosen for the NMS Premier Jazz Ensemble each year are offered a unique opportunity to explore their artistry together and serve as NMS ambassadors in the community.
Jeff Fuller, faculty member on bass and coach of the Premier Jazz Ensemble, has been impressed by Wiley’s dedication and musicianship.
“Wiley Bartels has been an outstanding and conscientious member of the Premier Jazz Ensemble for the last two years. He has held down the drum chair with great skill, ensemble awareness, cooperation, and panache. He is a serious-minded musician who also plays with a good sense of fun. I know he will go far in music!”
Wiley has continued to build his jazz skills every summer through NMS’s Summer Jazz program, which he has attended every year since Summer 2016.
“Some of my favorite NMS memories were definitely during Summer Jazz,” said Wiley. “Perhaps my fondest memory was rehearsing and performing with [guest artist] Wayne Escoffery’s ensemble in the summer of 2019. Wayne really taught us how to bring all of our cards to the table when on the band stand, musically and personally. And even with the high intensity and seriousness of every rehearsal, it still felt like a jam session with all the other musicians. We became a tight team of artists in that one week under Wayne’s instruction and leadership.”
Wiley credits NMS with helping him learn “so much about myself and music.”
“There are many life lessons I can take away from my time at NMS, but some of the biggest are to not let other people’s opinions create your path; you create your own path. And of course, as Jesse Hameen always tells us, play from the heart.”
Wiley expressed gratitude for everyone who has impacted his life over his past ten years at NMS.
“I’d like to thank everyone there who has helped me find my way through the journey of life and music. I still have a long way to go, but I couldn’t have asked for a better place to start. Thank you, NMS.”
Jazz isn’t just for musicians: dance faculty member Stacey Richetelli teaches jazz dance as well as tap, contemporary, and Broadway dance at NMS.
Here, Stacey introduces herself to the NMS community:
Need help with your turns? In this video, Stacey gives tips on spotting during pirouettes: