(In December 2013 the GRAMMY Foundation announced the 32 high school students selected to join the 2014 GRAMMY Camp — Jazz Session. The students have traveled to Los Angeles for a weeklong musical adventure that includes performances at various GRAMMY Week events, including an appearance at GRAMMY In The Schools Live! on Jan. 22, and the recording of an album at Capitol Studios & Mastering in Hollywood, Calif. To provide an insider's perspective on this unique opportunity, 2014 Jazz Session drummer Cameron MacIntosh will share his GRAMMY Week experience.)
I still remember with excitement the moment I landed at LAX two years ago for my first time as a member of the GRAMMY Camp — Jazz Session. That level of excitement is still present as my journey west has arrived once again. There are so many things I look forward to and being part of this wonderful experience a second time is an honor.
One thing that still resonates with me is the time all of the Jazz Session members assembled for our very first rehearsal. What an amazing, highly charged moment it was as we played our first song together. I can still distinctly remember the chills I got; I had only heard such incredible musicians onstage and on records! I am really looking forward to that moment with a new band — consisting of both some close friends and fellow musicians I have previously worked with as well as new members I have heard about and can't wait to get to know and play with. I am sure some of the friendships I forge will last a lifetime.
What is also gratifying is being treated like a true professional musician during GRAMMY Week. All members of the band are respected and the week is filled with opportunities to play and record in some of the most incredible venues in Los Angeles — everything from the intimate setting of Spaghettini's to GRAMMY In the Schools Live! at USC, and even recording at Capitol Studios & Mastering in the same room in which everyone from Nat "King" Cole and Frank Sinatra to Justin Timberlake recorded.
And, of course, there is walking the red carpet at the GRAMMY Awards on Jan. 26 and playing at the GRAMMY Celebration after-party. Last time I experienced the unbelievable surprise of playing one of legendary GRAMMY winner Chick Corea's compositions with the man himself at the event.
As my second and final year of being a member of GRAMMY Camp — Jazz Session is here, I cannot wait to see what incredible experiences await me, and what I will learn from so many great young people who share the beautiful language of music.
(Cameron MacIntosh is a 17-year-old senior at Columbia High School in Maplewood, N.J., where he is a member of the jazz and wind ensembles. MacIntosh also attends the the Precollege Division of Manhattan School of Music and performs in their top combo and big band. MacIntosh is also the drummer for the Montclair, N.J.-based Jazz House Kids big band, with whom he won the 2012 Charles Mingus High School Competition in New York where he was the recipient of the Outstanding Soloist Award. In 2013 the Jazz House Kids won the best rhythm section award at the Essentially Ellington Competition at Jazz at Lincoln Center, where the band placed second overall nationally.)