ST. PETERSBURG, Florida — The Lakewood High School Jazz Ensemble is taking its music nationwide this Fall with the release of a new album entitled “Southside Groove." 

  • CD will feature standards, original compositions
  • Award-winning ensemble has performed at the Apollo Theaters in NYC
  • Release party for CD coming in December
  • Ensemble performs "You Don't Know What Love Is"

The CD will feature jazz standards as well as original music composed by some of the students.

“It's an opportunity for us as musicians to unleash our creativity,” said Lakewood sophomore Charlie Loyst, who plays the piano, “It's almost like we get to speak with our instrument. We can make it our own.” 

Earlier this year, we told you about the group’s trip to New York City, where they performed at the legendary Apollo Theater.

Before that, band director Michael Kernodle says the ensemble won a grand championship at a New Orleans music festival. 

“We're actually as educators, we're the lucky ones to be a part of their journey in the long run,” said Kernodle. “So, we could see another Duke Ellington. We could see another Charlie Parker or Miles Davis. Who knows what will come out of this program?”

Already there are some students looking to music as a lifelong career.

“I hadn't really thought about pursuing music or anything,” said Loyst, “but when I started playing jazz it really sparked my mind, and I started going to camps and stuff, and I've been becoming really interested in music now."  

The group is hosting a CD launch party on December 15 at 5:00 p.m. at the Carter G. Woodson African-American Museum, where they will perform live.

Copies of the CD can be purchased at Lakewood High School, Carter G. Woodson African-American Museum and St. Petersburg City Hall. It will also soon be available on iTunes and other apps.