A Spot for Jazz

How a jazz players’ rhythm and beat secured him a seat


PC: Juan Madrigal

Madrigal with his bass guitar and stand up bass

Giorgette Ruiz, Staff Writer

He struts in the back, maintaining a steady rhythm that the rest of the players follow. He learned how to be in the background with the band while paving a way for him to shine. He is the bassist after all. He is the one who brings the funk.

Because of his steady tempo and funky beat, junior Juan Madrigal secured a spot for the Jazz Region Band, for the second year in a row. The auditions are a mix of improvising skills and maintaining a steady rhythm with different styles of jazz. Only one bassist gets accepted into the band every year. 

Madrigal has been a part of the Medina Valley band since his 6th-grade year and mainly plays the trumpet. When he came to high school, he took the opportunity to be part of the high school jazz band. 

“I was originally supposed to play guitar, then Mr.Jimenez (jazz band director) asked if I could be a backup bass player,” junior Madrigal said. “Then one of my classmates who was the main bass player quit, so I became the only bass player.”

Last year, he was convinced by Jimenez to try out for the regional jazz band. He was the first person in our school to advance to a regional level and was commended by his directors on his hard work. 

“I focused a lot on the funk portion of the audition,” Madrigal said. “So much that I got distracted and completely forgot about the rest of the audition requirements. I had to speed learn everything else two weeks before. I think it’s because funk is more fun to play than anything else.”

Even though the Covid-19 schedule restricts the jazz band from playing together, he practices in the comfort of his own home and works to improve his improvising skills. 

“I usually practice with my stand up bass Mr.Galvez (head band director) got me,” Madrigal said. “I like to play around with rhythms from popular songs. I would sometimes come up with my own rhythms or make a nice twist to certain beats.”

Today, he performs with the marching band while keeping his love for jazz on the sidelines. He excels on and off the field, performing his heart out no matter what instrument he plays. Make sure to catch him performing his solo on his trumpet in the marching band production “All You Need Is Love” and wish him the best of luck in his musical career.