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Zach Rask Wins Louis Armstrong Jazz Award

  05/27/10 21:13, by , Categories: Music News, Percussion, Featured Artist, Awesome Nobodies , Tags: dan grigor, led zeppelin, louis armstrong, moby dick, rural oddities, zach rask

Zach Rask Winner  Louis Armstrong Jazz Award 2010

Tony Bennett once said, “The bottom line of any country in the world is ‘What did we contribute to the world?’ … We contributed Louis Armstrong.”

As if we had anything to do with it, contribute we did. We liked him, that’s how. We bought his records and watched his shows. He quickly became a founding father of Jazz. His influence and impact on the world of music is universal and will be felt forever. He quite literally changed the landscape of the musical world, making it infinitely more beautiful. Somehow, while remaining a humble working horn player he made millions of us smile. Satchmo made me smile for another reason just the other day. Let me explain.

In 1974,  a few years after his passing, Louis Armstrong’s family approved a program to honor and encourage high school kids for their hard work. Schools around the country have adopted the program and choose one senior each year to receive the award.

The Award reads: “In recognition of outstanding achievements in the field of jazz as demonstrated through the superior musicianship, character and individual creativity…”

This year one of the winners is a friend of mine and that makes me smile.

We met Zach Rask in 2009 when his band “Rural Oddities” played our Fourth of July JAM at the CAM. That day he was 16 years old and maybe 100 pounds soaking wet. He and the boys rocked the crowd of 400 or so within earshot of the Lakefront Stage and they yelled back loud enough to hear from 3 backyards away.

The other day we found out from his Dad that Zach Rask won the 2009-2010 Louis Armstrong Jazz Award for Outstanding Musicianship. As a result, Zach’s name will be forever etched on an eternal plaque at his school.

Zach Rask Winner Louis Armstrong Jazz Award 2010
How cool is that? We knew him when… Congratulations Zach! You deserve it. I talked to him – well, actually, he is under 20 so I texted him – Congrats today.  He texted back:

“It feels incredible, and I feel Honored. I had no idea it was coming. It’s just so awesome to receive an award that is only given out to one student per high school a year. I was speechless when my name was called.”

“As for Zach’s accomplishments, I can say that he never stops surprising me,” said his proud father, Steven Rask, when he told us of the award, “but then again, I’m not surprised. Aside from his innate abilities, Zach has a remarkable work ethic and incredible passion for music that shines every time he performs. I’ve seen him grow into a incredible musician since I first got him bongos in 2003. I do everything I can to encourage and guide him. I know that he has a great future in music.

“I spoke last night with his teacher, Mr. Arnold,” Rask continued, “and he said that Zach meets every challenge that he is given, from Latin grooves to Standard Jazz. He also mentioned his ability to be a team player. Zach performed last night at his high school “farewell concert,” and gave a piece that he normally plays with a big solo to a friend who is graduating, so his friend could have the spotlight. To me, that is true musicianship.” We’d have to agree. Zach’s mother, Cristine, has also been a strong force behind Zach’s musical career since she first entered him in band in the 6th grade…and that includes a lot of trips to performances and drum practice in the background of life! 

We join both of Zach’s proud parents and his teacher in congratulating him on the progress he’s made, his personal classy ethic, and the dedication to the art he continues to show, and wish him every success in what is sure to be an exciting future. 

Here is Zach Rask from 2009 with an amazing drum solo during a performance of Zeppelin’s classic “Moby Dick.”

 This playlist includes more classic covers from Rural Oddities



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Comment from: Cristine (Proud Mom)
Cristine (Proud Mom)

I couldn’t have been more proud of Zach. When Mr. Arnold called Zach’s name to receive the award, every hair on my body stood up. I welled up with tears, and was in awe by the shock Zach displayed when he realized it was him being called. Zach is an amazing son, an excellent student and an extraordinary musician! He continues to flourish each and every day!

05/30/10 @ 21:30
Comment from: Sandra

All I can say is WOW!!!Such talent and a promising future.Good luck and God bless your efforts!

05/30/10 @ 21:59
Comment from:

@proudmom We are so glad you folks came into our lives. You have an awesome son.

05/31/10 @ 01:10
Comment from: B.J. Lane (Proud Grandma)
B.J. Lane    (Proud Grandma)

Living about 800 miles from my Grandson, I don’t get to see him as often as I would like. This video has shown me what an amazing young man he has become. I couldn’t be prouder! Way to go, Zach!
I love you. Grandma Lane

05/31/10 @ 21:16
Comment from: Joni

Awesome job! Zack I am so proud of you and to say you are my nephew. I also listened to the video and I am always amazed when I hear you play. It is exciting to see how your talent has taken you to new adventures in your young life. I look forward to seeing you becoming a major rock star! LOL Aunt Joni

P.S I would like a BACKSTAGE PASS at your first rock concert please.

06/01/10 @ 15:17
Comment from: Grammy Patton
Grammy Patton

Love you Zach…awesome solo and awesome band. So proud of you. You’re a star!! And we can’t be happier you are following your dream. Stay focused and enjoy the ride. Hugs & Kisses

06/28/10 @ 15:09

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