While other teens head to the movies, the six members of Jazz Juvenocracy, aged 13 to 18, spend every possible minute perfecting their music. Trumpeter Bit Risner and drummer Rodney Rocques, who says jazz “kidnapped” him at a young age, played together at Booker Middle and three years ago decided to form a band. “Twenty-two kids showed interest, but when they announced everyday rehearsals there were four left,” says band mom Lisa Risner. They perform frequent local gigs, and their recreation of Duke Ellington’s A Night at the Cotton Club, inspired by original transcriptions and tips from Ellington’s bassist, led the way to a European tour of premier summer jazz festivals. Rocques and saxophonist Tommy Silverman are headed off to college this fall, but their replacements are already rehearsing. “Jazz is our life,” says bassist Brent Layman. “But maybe if we played rock ’n’ roll we’d get a few more dates.”
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