Jammin’ with Jamkestra

Harriet Eisman school holds annual talent show


Jamkestra, a large improvisational ensemble, made its debut before a packed house during the annual Talent Show of the Harriet Eisman Community School at the Long Beach Library on April 29.

Benior, a.k.a. Ben Metzger, an instructor at the alternative night school in Long Beach, led the ensemble of four guitarists, a bassist and drummer, laptop keys and guest vocalists consisting of staff, students and professionals. Jamkestra played three 10-plus minute improv songs.

“It had a rock and reggae edge to it, a Miles Davis of the 1970s kind of a thing, or fusion elements,” Metzger said.

Accompanying the ensemble was an audio-visual stimulation with live art improv featuring artist Jamie Massa and others. The projected images were created by students and Sean Fleck of the Film Arts Revolution, based in Hawaii. DJ JR played mostly original music by students.

During the performance, Massa and students picked up some brushes and did some improvisational painting, and students also painted plastic bottles and made them look like flowers.

The show also feature other various musical performances, ranging from acoustic guitars to Hip-Hop freestyle and rhymes.

“It’s like a variety show that I put together utilizing the talents that’s here now and previous students who graduated and students from my past school in Jamaica, Queens,” Metzger said.

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