Hank Marr High School Jazz Award – Presented by Jazz Arts Group

JECO is proud to partner with the Jazz Arts Group of Columbus to promote the Hank Marr High School Jazz Award, celebrating the legacy of pianist and B3 organist Hank Marr through outstanding high school musicians.

Congratulations to the 2018 Hank Marr High School Jazz Award winner, trumpeter Charlie Merk, from Lakota West High School!


Open to 9-12 grade musicians from all over the state of Ohio!

Columbus musical legend Hank Marr was one of the world’s masters of the Hammond B-3 organ. Along with Hank’s celebrity status as a member of the jazz elite, he was a dedicated and gifted educator. In recognition of over fifty years as a performer, teacher, arranger and conductor, the Jazz Arts Group has established the Hank Marr High School Jazz Award as a tribute to this special individual. His willingness to "pass it on" makes the encouragement of young jazz artists an important and meaningful activity.

Grand Prize winner will be awarded:

  • The opportunity to perform as a guest soloist with the Columbus Jazz Orchestra at a JazZoo concert in Summer 2018
  • A $500 cash prize
  • Eight (8) Jamey Aebersold books

Runners-Up:

  • The two runners-up will receive eight (8) Jamey Aebersold books: four (4) to keep and four (4) to give to their school music program.

Important dates:

  • Dates for the 2019 Hank Marr High School Jazz Award will be announced in early 2019.

Submission Process & Eligibility:

All Ohio students, grades 9 -12, are eligible to apply. Individuals who have won the Hank Marr High School Jazz Award in the past two years are NOT eligible to participate.

How to Apply:

  • Audition information will be announced in early 2019.

Audition Submissions:

All entrants: (except drummers, vocalists and bassists) submit three (3) selections from the Jamey Aebersold collection of play-alongs (see below for tips on selecting tunes); select a jazz standard, a 12-bar blues, and a selection of your choice.  Entire audition recording should not exceed 20 minutes.

Drummers:  Record two selections of your choice from ESSENTIAL STYLES FOR THE DRUMMER AND BASSIST, Vol. I or Vol. II by S. Houghton & T. Warrington (Alfred); select one swing selection and one contrasting style (use tracks without drums); for your third selection, provide evidence of a medium swing, trade 4s for 32 bars (4 bars time / 4 bars fill).  Entire Audition recording should not exceed 20 minutes.

Bassists: Record two selections of your choice from ESSENTIAL STYLES FOR THE DRUMMER AND BASSIST, Vol. I or Vol. II by S. Houghton & T. Warrington (Alfred); select one swing selection and one contrasting style (use tracks without bass); for your third selection, provide a 12-bar blues of your choice: 1 chorus melody, 1 chorus walking bass line, 1 chorus solo on blues changes and 1 chorus melody.  Entire audition recording should not exceed 20 minutes.

Vocalists: Record three selections of your choice from Aebersold Play-a-Long Volume 107, Volume 113, or Volume 117. Selections should demonstrate contrasting styles. Entire audition recording should not exceed 20 minutes.

Audition Tips:

  • When choosing selections from the Jamey Aebersold collection of play-alongs, consider selecting from Volume 54, “Maiden Voyage”, which contains many good examples of common jazz standards. Click HERE to purchase.
  • For the complete “Rapid Reference” sheet of all Aebersold selections, including song titles, tempos and song types (Blues, Standard, etc.), click HERE.
  • Jamey Abersold’s list of songs for beginners contains many titles suitable for your audition. Download HERE.
  • There are many ways to record your audition, from an iPhone recording to a portable recorder such as a Zoom or similar device, or even a recording in a full studio. However, a high-quality recording will best represent your playing, and a sub-par recording could hinder the success of  your audition. For questions on how to record your audition selections, please ask your band director/private teacher, or don’t hesitate to contact Zach Compston, Jazz Arts Group Director of Education and Community Engagement at zcompston@jazzartsgroup.org.