about garfield Jazz

Garfield High School is full of music and always has been

We are proud to have Quincy Jones, Ernestine Anderson and Jimi Hendrix among our notable alumni.

Garfield High School is a public high school in Seattle and attracts students from a variety of cultural and socio-economic backgrounds. Garfield’s jazz culture has been built over 40 years and remains strong to this day. Garfield Jazz has over 80 students enrolled in the program in three levels of ensembles. Students learn the great jazz traditions including Duke Ellington Count Basie, as well as a variety of other jazz styles.

Garfield Jazz and the Garfield Jazz Foundation are committed to maintaining the vibrant, uniquely American art form that is jazz. This philosophy is shared by several high schools and middle schools in Seattle, including Washington Middle School, which acts as a “feeder” school for our student musicians.

Musicians of all levels are given the opportunity to learn, play, perform and compete at local venues and festivals around the country. For decades, Jazz Band 1 has made frequent trips to New York City (Essentially Ellington Festival and Competition) and Europe (Montreux Jazz Festival and the Umbria Jazz Festival). Jazz Bands 2 and 3 also compete at regional festivals such as the Lionel Hampton Festival and the Reno Jazz Festival.

About the program

There are three bands in the Garfield Jazz program. Bands 1 and 2 are directed by Jared Sessink. Band 3 is directed by Mike Sundt.

As the leading jazz band at Garfield, Jazz Ensemble 1 has won every major competition on the west coast of the United States, including the Reno Jazz Festival, Lionel Hampton Jazz Festival (named Outstanding Festival Band six times), Clark College Jazz Festival (seven-time Sweepstakes Award winner) and Mt. Hood Jazz Festival. Jazz Ensembles 2 and 3 have also competed successfully in events around in the Northwest.

Garfield is a frequent participant in the Essentially Ellington National Jazz Band Competition and Festival at Lincoln Center in New York City, the most prestigious high school jazz competition in the United States. Since 1999, Garfield has been selected as one of the 15 Essentially Ellington finalists fifteen times, including an unprecedented four first-place trophies (in 2003, 2004, 2009 and 2010), as well as second place finishes in 2002 and 2008 and third place in 2006.

Graduates of the Garfield Jazz program have gone on to study at leading music schools throughout the country, such as the Berklee College of Music, The Juilliard School, Eastman School of Music, Manhattan School of Music, The New England Conservatory of Music, USC Thornton School of Music, Oberlin Conservatory of Music, and Cornish College of the Arts.

Garfield High School Jazz is one of the truly outstanding high school jazz programs anywhere in the world.

Earshot Jazz