Jun 27, 2008 Russ Tarby Uncategorized
Manlius Pebble Hill High School trumpeter Nick Frenay will perform alongside Maceo Parker and Christian McBride at the 2008 Monterey Jazz Festival in California.
A 16-year-old junior, Frenay has won a chair in the brass section of the 2008 Next
Generation Jazz Orchestra, the Monterey Festival’s renowned high-school all-star big
band. This is the second year in a row that Frenay was chosen for the orchestra.
Before heading to the Golden State for the Monterey fest, the NGJO will fly to Europe to play at the North Sea Jazz Festival in the Netherlands on July 7. Frenay, whose paternal grandfather was Dutch, will be accompanied to Holland by his parents, Jackie and Gary Frenay, of Syracuse.
The Frenays are accustomed to traveling to their talented son’s prestigious performances. In February, he played in Los Angeles with the Gibson/Baldwin Grammy Jazz Ensembles, also for the second year in a row.
Locally, he sometimes leads his own combo as he did last summer opening for the Mario DeSantis Orchestra at an Armory Square Candlelight Concert. That evening Frenay led his quartet through a nine-song set comprised primarily of mid-tempo swing standards such as “Autumn Leaves” and an occasional samba like “Recordame.” He blew the copper lacquer off of his flugelhorn on “Someday My Prince Will Come.”
The teenager played some Duke Ellington (“Things Ain’t What They Used to Be”) on the trumpet and some Harry Warren (a decidedly uptempo “There Will Never Be Another You”) on the flugelhorn. But when he picked up his Schilke trumpet again, Frenay seemed to burst forward, becoming one with the shifting syncopations of “Caravan.” Frenay rarely indulges in speed for speed’s sake, but even when he did, as on “There Will Never Be Another You,” on flugelhorn, his tone remained unshakable.
More recently, Frenay has been subbing with the Salt City Jazz Collective and playing lead horn in the MPH Jazz Combo and the Young Lions of CNY. The Collective, the Combo and the Lions are all led by trombonist Joe Colombo. Guess what? Frenay plays trombone too!
The Next Generation Jazz Orchestra (known from 1971 to 2004 as the MJF High School All-Star Big Band) nurtures future jazz stars through a program that selects the best and brightest high school jazz musicians in America. In 2008, the 23-piece ensemble features members selected from 18 high schools from the four corners of the country.
Previous Monterey teen sensations have gone on to shape modern jazz, including pianists Benny Green and Patrice Rushen, bassist Larry Grenadier, drummer Chad Wackerman and saxophonists Joshua Redman and Dave Koz.
Under the direction of Paul Contos, the saxophonist and flutist who directs the Next
Generation, the ensemble tackles the most challenging big band charts it can find.
Contos considers Frenay one of his “key soloists,” but he won’t be the only one.
“All of these players have already garnered reputations as highly skilled and prominent
voices for the future of jazz,” the bandleader said.
Before the NGJO commences rehearsals July 5 at the Berklee College of Music in Boston, Frenay will be on the bandstand when the MPH Jazz Combo plays the national Grid Scholastic Stage at this year’s JGB Syracuse Jazz Fest, beginning at 4 p.m. Saturday June 28 at Onondaga Community College.
No doubt, the young man with a horn will also seek out 2008 Jazz Fest Artist-in-Residence Randy Brecker for a few brass tacks.
Nationwide radio exposure
The same day he’s playing the Syracuse Jazz Fest, Frenay will get some national exposure on the syndicated radio game show, “Says You,” which airs locally at noon on Saturdays and 11:30 a.m. Sunday on WRVO-FM. Frenay’s septet taped the shows some months ago at the Palace Theater in Eastwood.
Next month, Frenay will travel with the NGJO to the 33rd Annual North Sea Jazz Festival in Rotterdam, for a July 7 concert. While in Rotterdam they will perform three times, returning to Boston on July 13. A disc is also planned for the summer.
On Sept. 20, the orchestra will back up saxophonist Maceo Parker at the 51st Monterey Jazz Festival Presented by Verizon. The next day, Sept. 21, the Next Generationers will accompany bassist Christian McBride.