Jazzin’ it up in Truckee
November 27, 2002
Homeroom by day, jazz clubs by night.
That’s the lifestyle one group of Tahoe Truckee High School students have been living for the last couple months.
Alex Dita (tenor saxophone), Chris Brouwers (trumpet), Cody Brouwers (bass) and Brian Ivie-York (drums), the young musicians who make up the Truckee High Jazz Quartet, have garnered quite a local following since they began playing gigs around Truckee and the North Shore late last school year.
“It all started when the PUD called our band teacher to see if there was a group of high school students who could play at their 75th anniversary party,” Brouwers said. “I think they had originally wanted the whole school jazz band to play, but since that wasn’t going to work, our teacher had Alex gather a small group to go out and play. Things have just kind of gone on from there.”
The band, which takes it repertoire from old jazz standards – Herbie Hancock, Miles Davis, Duke Ellington and the like – even dresses the part.
Dita sports an old pinstripe suit he says was stolen out of the depths of his father’s closet, while the entire crew dons bowler-style hats.
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“I guess they’re sort of our trademark,” Brouwers said.
Aside from various business grand openings and community events, the group even scored a regular, paid gig at Moody’s Bistro and Lounge, which attracts talent from all over the region and beyond.
While an average performance brings in only a few dollars in tips, during one Moody’s show the group raked in close to $90 thanks to the help of one enthusiastic club patron.
“There was this guy visiting the area from Half Moon Bay and I guess he liked us so much that he thought he’d try and help us out,” Brouwers said with a laugh. “So he took the hat that we leave near the stage for tips and went around to everyone in the restaurant, encouraging them to give money. It was crazy.”
The group’s next show is scheduled for Dec. 4 at the party for the Tahoe Yacht Club, but they’re hoping people will book them for holiday parties and events.
“All of us just really enjoy playing music and we’ve got a good group,” Brouwers said. “We’ve all been friends for awhile and for us, this is like a job – only it’s a job that we really like doing.”
“Each time we play together, it’s more and more fun, especially as we keep getting better,” Dita added.
For more information on booking the Truckee High Jazz Quartet, call Chris Brouwers at 582-8651.