One of the things that you discover during the Rochester International Jazz Festival is that many of the high school jazz ensembles around here have "chops" way beyond those that my high school group had back in the 70s. I'm always impressed by them both as groups and some of the individual players.
I was recently contacted about a new documentary film called Chops. The film is about one high school jazz band's experience at the Essentially Ellington high school jazz competition, following them from their hometown of Jacksonville, Florida to NYC to participate in the 11th annual competition at Lincoln Center. The film has been endorsed by Jazz at Lincoln Center where the competition and festival is held and was screened there, film festivals throughout the country. One cool aspect about this film is how its makers and distributors are promoting it (in addition to contacting jazz blogs, that is). As jazz festivals and publications are hurting in today's economy, the film's distributor has set Chops up to be a great fund raising tool for jazz-related organizations, distributing it through a screening approach that allows anyone who hosts a screening to keep 100% of the proceeds from a screening. You can view the trailer for Chops at its official website and check out their unique approach to the screenings. There is also a page on Facebook to get updates about the film.