This model of youth jazz education feels very appropriate to the culture of New Orleans. Some of the city's great jazz musicians on the current scene have passed through the Heritage School, among them Troy “Trombone Shorty” Andrews, Sammie “Big Sam” Williams and Shamarr Allen. Personally, the idea of jazz as a vehicle for this work is exciting because of the inherent presence of improvisation. If the ability to read, write, and speak a language implies literacy, then improvisation is the ability to speak. There is a larger question here, which hopefully we'll explore further- Can the rigor and discipline which has made El Sistema so successful both socially and musically in Venezuela live side-by-side with the creativity and freedom of improvisation and composition?
Questions of the day:
How many people do you need to share experience with to foster a sense of community?
Can rigor and discipline live side-by-side with creativity and freedom? Can they nurture each other?
Will sistema work with genres other than classical music? With ensembles other than orchestra?