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NMSA jazz combo wins NYC Jazz Fest honor

The NMSA Jazz Combo.

SANTA FE, N.M. — The New Mexico School for the Arts’ jazz combo earned first place at the New York City Jazz Festival in April.

According to a Monday news release, the Santa Fe-based statewide public charter high school’s group earned “First Place-Most Outstanding Group.”

Alto saxophonist Adam Griffo, drummer Malachi Roberts, and guitarist Weston Winkler were also honored as “Outstanding Soloists.”

The group performed on April 14 at New York’s Symphony Space. Jazz studies instructor Orlando Madrid led the ensemble.

“(The group) played absolutely fantastically and took a lot of risks in their playing, which is something I’ve never heard a high school group even attempt under that level of pressure,” NMSA Music Department Chair Kurt Isaacson said in the announcement.

The New York City Jazz Festival invites instrumental and vocal groups from across the country to perform for, and take clinics from, jazz experts.

The students worked with trombone player and composer Ryan Keberle. During the trip, they also met famous trump player Wynton Marsalis, members of the Lincoln Center Jazz Orchestra and jazz musician Steve Wilson and his band Wilsonian’s Grain.

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