AUGUSTA — Jazz and the Air Force might seem to be an unlikely match, but the leader of Cony High School’s music department says Tuesday’s upcoming performance at the school by the Air Force’s 18-member jazz ensemble will feature musicians who are at the pinnacle of their craft.

“This is a group of professional, exceptional musicians that our community would rarely have the opportunity to hear,” Maria Sleeper, chairwoman of the music department at Cony, said of the Airmen of Note, the Washington, D.C.-based premier jazz ensemble of the Air Force. “Being a musician in the Airmen of Note is the equivalent of playing with the NBA or NFL.”

The 7 p.m. performance at the Cony High School auditorium is free, but attendees need to get tickets to attend ahead of time at the school.

Sleeper noted that despite being made up of active-duty members of the military, who normally might be associated with marches, the band is likely to play a variety of popular jazz standards in a high-energy performance.

The band, which includes a vocalist, is hitting Cony as part of its nine-day New England tour.

The band was created in 1950 to continue the tradition of Maj. Glenn Miller’s Army Air Forces dance band, according to information on the Airmen of Note’s website.

Over the years, according to the website, the Airmen of Note have played their own brand of big band jazz tunes, and contemporary jazz, in tours that have taken them across the country and to deployments around the world.

The band has performed or recorded with many accomplished jazz artists, including Dizzy Gillespie, Sarah Vaughn and Doc Severinsen.

Among the band’s members is Tech. Sgt. Ben Polk, a Greenbush native and bass trombonist.

“I’m really excited and honored to make this trip with the band,” Polk said in an announcement promoting the New England tour. “It’s an honor to get to play for friends and family I haven’t seen in quite a while as a member of the Airmen of Note.”

The band is one of six ensembles that make up the U.S. Air Force Band.

Sleeper hopes both students and area residents will atend the free performance.

“This is one of the highest-caliber groups that our students and community will ever hear,” she said. “Given our geographic location, groups like this don’t make it to our area often. For this reason, I believe it is invaluable to our students and community, especially since it is free, which makes it available to everyone.”

The band also is scheduled to play in Rockport, Hampden, South Portland and Biddeford.

Keith Edwards — 621-5647

[email protected]

Twitter: @kedwardskj

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