The future of jazz will be on display Thursday, October 21, when the Baker Street Trio performs at the New Jersey Jazz Society’s Virtual Social.
Members of the trio are: Ben Collins-Siegel and drummer Ben Schwartz of Maplewood and bassist Ryoma Takenaga of New Providence. Collins-Siegel and Schwartz are students at Newark Academy in Livingston; Takenaga attends the Academy for Information Technology in Scotch Plains. They started playing together at Montclair’s Jazz House Kids program and formed the trio in the fall of 2020. On September 25, they played at one of street stages at the Montclair Jazz Festival’s Grand Finale, and on Friday, October 22, they will be the opening act for guitarists Bernie Williams and Gil Parris at Maplewood’s The Woodland.
Takenaga and Collins-Siegel were Outstanding Soloists at the 12th annual Charles Mingus Festival & High School Competition at the New School of Jazz and Jazz Standard in New York City in 2020. This past summer, Takenaga was accepted into the Carnegie Hall NYO Jazz Orchestra. Schwartz won the 2021 New Jersey Association of Jazz Educators All-Region High School Jazz Ensemble first chair for drums.
The trio will be joined by special guest and host, alto saxophonist Alex Laurenzi, a Jazz House Kids graduate who is now on staff. Laurenzi is a 2020 graduate of Princeton University who grew up in Mountain Lakes. He has performed with several leading jazz artists including bassist Christian McBride, trumpeter Wynton Marsalis, and alto saxophonist David Sanborn. While still a student, he won two Essentially Ellington Soloist Awards and two DownBeat student Soloist Awards. He also performed at the last NJJS live Social, before the pandemic, in February 2020.
The October 21st Social will be streamed at 7:00pm on the njjs.org website as well as on the NJJS Facebook page and YouTube channel. There is no admission charge, but donations are welcome and encouraged. Funding for the NJJS Socials has been made possible in part by Morris Arts through the New Jersey State Council on the Arts/ Department of State, a partner agency of the National Endowment for the Arts.
PHOTO: (FROM LEFT) RYOMA TAKENAGA, BEN COLLINS-SIEGEL, and BEN SCHWARTZ. Photo by Adam Siegel