Three high-school jazz bands from the Seattle area — from Ballard, Roosevelt and Mountlake Terrace — have been selected as finalists for the 2012 Essentially Ellington competition in New York.

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Three high-school jazz bands from the Seattle area have been selected as finalists for the 2012 Essentially Ellington competition in New York. For the first time, Ballard High School is in the running. The two other finalists — Roosevelt High School and Mountlake Terrace High School — are veterans of the contest. Roosevelt has won three times. Mountlake Terrace has been in the finals five times and come in third twice.

The 15 finalists were chosen from 111 applicants, who sent in recordings of three songs.

Essentially Ellington is sponsored by the nonprofit organization Jazz at Lincoln Centers. The finals take place May 4-6 at Jazz at Lincoln Center.

Paul de Barros: 206-464-3247 or pdebarros@seattletimes.com