Recently, a very special guest taught a masterclass to the musicians of the Triangle Youth Jazz Ensemble. That special guest was alumni Philip Norris, a current student at the Julliard School and a highly acclaimed string bass player. Norris was a member of multiple Philharmonic Association ensembles for many years as both a bass guitar player and a french horn player. From 2014-2015, he played the string bass in TYJE. It is always a treat when alumni come back to collaborate with the Philharmonic Association and the musicians of TYJE truly enjoyed the experience of working with Philip Norris and the rest of the Isaiah J Thompson Quartet.
One student, Jonah Smith, a pianist in TYJE, described his experience participating in the masterclass. “Working with the Julliard cats was amazing,” he said. “Evan Harris, the tenor sax player, had a lot of good advice and suggestions for the horn players. He helped sections add more clarity and contrast to how they articulated lines. Zach Adleman (drums) and Philip Norris (bass) helped the rhythm section a lot. Isaiah Thompson (piano) showed me how I could play using more of the range of the piano, specifically in the Ellington music we are working on.” Jonah went on to say that, “Listening to the Julliard guys play after rehearsal Sunday was amazing as well. They had a Q&A afterwards and had a lot of advice and insight about being a serious musician, going to college at Julliard, and about practicing.”
Other musicians in TYJE agreed that the masterclass with the Isaiah J Thompson Quartet was an enjoyable and educational experience. The Philharmonic Association is grateful for alumni like Philip Norris who use their musical gifts and passion to educate young musicians such as the students in our ensembles.