Wednesday 27 November 2013

Louis Hayes workshop featuring Cap Jazz Students!

Legendary Jazz drummer, Louis Hayes will be visiting Vancouver December 5 - 8 for some performances and a live recording at Cory Weeds’ Cellar Jazz Club.  Mr. Hayes is best known for his work with the Cannonball Adderly Quintet and has performed and recorded with many of the greatest jazz musicians of all time including John Coltrane, Dexter Gordon, Oscar Peterson, Sonny Rollins, Wes Montgomery, Cedar Walton, Curtis Fuller to name only a few. At age 76, Louis Hayes still plays with tremendous vitality and drive and is a living link to the history of the music.

In connection with Hayes’ residency at the Cellar, the Fraser MacPherson Jazz Fund will present a free workshop/masterclass with Hayes and a quintet of fine young musicians from Capilano University's Jazz Studies program:  Miles Wong (drums), Stephen Edwards (bass), Jonathan Tobin (piano), Ben Frost (trumpet), and Octavio Pauley (tenor saxophone).  The students successfully auditioned for this privilege by creating a youtube application video and all are very excited about this unique opportunity.

The workshop is a new venture for the Fraser MacPherson Jazz Fund and may be the start of a series of educational workshops if the event is well attended. The workshop is free and open to the public and music students are especially encouraged to attend.

December 7, 1:00-2:30pm
Cellar Jazz Club
3611 W. Broadway, Vancouver
Free admission. No tickets or reservations necessary.

Monday 11 November 2013

Hidden Gems: Graham Collier's Deep Dark Blue Center

I’ve been thinking of the days when I was a student and how we would get together to listen to new recordings that our friends had found.  With the nearly unlimited instant electronic access we have now it may seem strange, but in those days a new LP or cassette was a big deal and everyone was anxious to hear anything new.  In the interest of sparking some of that interest among some of you younger Cap Jazz folk, I’m starting a series of blog posts featuring ‘hidden gems’ that may not pop up so readily on youtube searches.

Here's the first one:

Graham Collier was an amazing English bassist and composer active from the early 1960s until his death in 2011.  This record features some of the best of the British scene of the time playing Collier’s compositions.  Everyone plays beautifully, but of special note for me is the contrast between the two great trumpeters Kenny Wheeler and Harry Beckett, as well as the great rhythm section hookup of Collier and John Marshall.  The writing is very diverse and inventive in its use of counterpoint, background figures, riffs and ostinatos. Think Gil Evans meets Mingus. Perhaps the most significant feature for me is the fact that large open spaces are left in the composed material for players to stretch out and make their own contribution.  This remained an essential component of Collier’s approach until the end.  His book, The Jazz Composer: Moving the Music off the Paper (there is a copy at the Cap library), is great read offering many opinions and perspectives that are unique to Collier and which will probably make you shout in agreement or slam the cover shut in anger - or maybe both in the same chapter.  It is a real mind-expander and highly recommended.  The book, this recording, and many others can be found at Graham's website, maintained since Collier's death by his partner, John Gill. PLEASE Don't be cheap and dishonest and look for a place to download the music for free. Download legally or purchase a hard copy. John is a lovely fellow and will be happy to send things in the mail.

Check it out!


Harry Beckett or Kenny Wheeler (trumpet and flugelhorn)
Dave Aaron (alto sax & flute)
Mike Gibbs (trombone)
Karl Jenkins (baritone sax & oboe)
Philip Lee (guitar)
John Marshall (drums)

Graham Collier (bass)

Monday 4 November 2013

The More the Merrier

w. Geoff and Emma at Tangent Cafe (Vincent Lim photo)
Re-blogged from Jared Burrows' blog.  
Cap student names  in bold...

My friend Dave Branter (a great saxophonist and teacher) mentioned in an email how he likes being 'the old guy' in Colin MacDonald's Pocket Orchestra.  I'm not as old as Dave, but I do know how he feels. One of the best things about being a music educator is watching students mature technically and artistically into wonderful musicians with whom I get to perform.  That seems to be happening a lot in the past little while and I have really enjoyed it. Stefan Thordarson (violin) was on the Colin MacDonald Pocket Orchestra gig with me last Friday and I've also been playing with him Lyle Hopkins (bass) Trio.  The week before that I played the music of Jimmy Giuffre at the Tangent Cafe in a trio with Emma Postl (voice) and Geoff Claridge (clarinet).   Two weeks ago Luis Melgar was playing second trombone with the Hard Rubber Orchestra and I see that Jeff Gammon (bass) is playing with Steve Kaldestad at the Cellar this Wednesday.  In a few weeks I'll be playing in Bill Clark's band with John Paton (sax).  We've been featuring Capilano U students at Presentation House each week since September and I recently heard some really good trio music from students Kyle Araki (drums) Jonathan Tromsness (bass), and Nick Leffler (sax).  This past week at the BCMEA conference I ran into a whole bunch of my students who have gone on to be really successful school music teachers and players.  It just feels good to see people continuing the tradition of bringing beauty into the world.  

Stefan between Elyse Jacobsen and Doug Gorkoff.

Monday 23 September 2013

Fraser MacPherson Scholarship Is Back!

After taking a year off for restructuring and renewal, the Fraser MacPherson Scholarship Fund is back. Following the retirement of several board members last year, the future of the fund seemed uncertain, but new volunteers have stepped in to revitalize the organization.  There are lots of exciting plans on the horizon.  In addition to the scholarship, we will be offering a series of free workshops and masterclasses for student musicians. the first of these will happen on Dec. 7, 2013 and will feature legendary drummer, Louis Hayes.  Check out the new website for details on application deadlines, application forms etc. and come back frequently for updates.

Saturday 22 June 2013

We're everywhere!

The Jazz Festival is upon us once again and there is an incredible amount of great music happening in the city.  As usual, our faculty and alumni are playing somewhere every day and every venue - often at multiple gigs in a day.  We're everywhere!

Here is a partial list of Cap Jazz people playing somewhere this week (I'm sure I have missed quite a few.....)  

Cat Toren
Bernie Arai
Dave Sikula
David Blake
Brent Mah
Shannon Thue
Gord Grdina
Jen Hodge
Jens Christiansen
Bruno Hubert
Adam Thomas
Andrew Rasmussen
Allan Johnston
Brent Gubbels
Scott Tucker
Jon Bentley
Russel Sholberg
Cory Weeds
Cole Schmidt
Evan Arntzen
Winston Minckler
Dan Gaucher
Brent Gubbels
Colin Maskell

Kate Hammett-Vaughn
Bill Coon
Jared Burrows
Dave Robbins
Brad Turner
Dylan Vanderschyff
Dennis Esson
Kevin Elaschuk
Ron Samworth
Chad Makela
Al Matheson
Andre Lachance
Steve Kaldestad
Chris Sigerson
Jodi Proznick

Sunday 16 June 2013

Faculty profile: Steve Kaldestad

Happy Father's Day !
Today we continue our profile of Capilano Jazz Studies faculty members with a feature on Steve Kaldestad.  Steve teaches saxophone, small ensembles, class woodwinds, sight singing and ear training at Cap.  He is also one of our fair city's first-call saxophone players leading his own quintet and performing with The Nightcrawlers, Jodi Proznick Quartet, Hard Rubber Orchestra, Jared Burrows Sextet and many others.  You can learn more about Steve at his website.   Here are his responses to the Proust Questionnaire.
What is your idea of earthly happiness?
1.To watch my two daughters grow up.
2.A happy home, with a practice shed in the back garden
3.Oh, and a well-paying local gig 4 nights a week with my favourite musicians. 
What do you regard as the lowest depth of misery?
To lose one's passion for the important things: music, teaching, learning, life, food, nature, friendship. 
Where would you like to live?
London/New York/Montreal/Vancouver in equal parts
To what faults do you feel most indulgent?
Well, when I lived in Montreal I devoted WAY too much time seeking out the city's best Pain au Chocolat. Way too much time. When I lived in England I spent a LOT of time trying to hunt down the perfect pint. So, well, whatever that fault is. 
Who are your favourite characters in history?
Darwin, Newton, Einstein, Coltrane
Who are your favourite heroines in real life?
All the mothers of the world
Your favourite painter?
My friend, local artist Paul Morstad, because his painting is truthful, humble, and humorous.
Your favourite musician?
Too many! If I had to choose one I'd say Barry Harris. Lee Konitz is up there. And of course Coltrane.  
The quality you most admire in a man?
The quality you most admire in a woman?
Intelligence again
Your favourite virtue?
Who would you have liked to be?
I'd happily be me again, but without quitting the piano lessons as a child. 
Your most marked characteristic?
My socialness
What do you most value in your friends?
Loyalty and truthful counsel
What is your principle defect?
That I often get overwhelmed with 'things to do' and opt for 'none-of-the-above' over a coffee and pastry.
What to your mind would be the greatest of misfortunes?
To live one's life without the opportunity to pursue one's joy, one's passion.
 What is your favorite color?
"Blue. No, Yellow - AHHHHhhhhhhhhhhhh" 
What is your favorite flower?
What is your favorite bird?
Jay (Eurasian)
Who are your favorite prose writers?
Robertson Davies, Milan Kundera
Who are your favorite poets?
William Shakespeare
Who are your heroes in real life?
Environmentalists and social justice warriors
Who are your favorite heroines of history?
Susan B Anthony, Jane Goodall. How can you pick only a few? 
What natural gift would you most like to possess?
Resistance to stress. And some cooking abilities would be nice.
How would you like to die?
Very old and fit, with all my faculties. Perhaps a gigantic boulder could fall on my practice shed while I'm in it playing through Body and Soul in all the keys.
What is your motto?
Be grateful.

Here is Steve and his marvelously swinging quintet playing Shimmy, a contrafact on Fats Waller's Jitterbug Waltz.

Wednesday 29 May 2013

Student profile: Mili Hong

Here is our latest student profile featuring drummer, Mili Hong.  

Where is your hometown?
I spent most of my life in Ilsan, Gyeonggi-do, Korea. I decided to go to Capilano to study Jazz and moved here when I was 21.

What is your favourite thing about learning in the Jazz Studies Department?

The fact that I can talk to faculty members almost anytime is the best thing. They are always willing to help students. Also, jamming at the school is convenient - rooms, gears, and people are there most of the time.

Please describe a few of your most exciting, happiest, or most significant experiences at Cap so far.

The first time I got a chance to play a graduation recital at the end of 3rd year was one of the best moments. I finally felt that I was rewarded for my practice time.

What has been the hardest thing about studying Jazz at Capilano?

In general, learning to play drums and being musical at the same time is hard, but taking all the elective courses is the hardest.  Some of the topics are not as interesting as playing drums! I’m now taking an English 100 course and it is the hardest thing EVER.

What has been the most surprising or unusual thing in your time at Capilano?
After every term or year, I feel like there is even more stuff to learn. It is endless and surprises me.

What are your plans for the future?
I need to graduate first. In the long term, I want to play a lot with many different people and want to be recognized as a good musician with a good soul. 

Here are links to video and audio featuring Mili's wonderful playing with some other fine Cap Jazz musicians.

Thursday 23 May 2013

Faculty profile: Bradshaw Pack

The Capilano Jazz Studies Department is well known for the incredibly high calibre of wonderful musicians we have on faculty.  I thought it would be fun to find out a little more about the personalities and people behind the music.  To this end, I will be asking faculty members to respond to the Proust Questionnaire.

Bradshaw Pack teaches theory, history, and composition in the Jazz Studies department. Bradshaw holds a M.Mus. degree from the University of British Columbia and has since augmented his studies with David Lang in New York, and Kees Boeke in Italy. He has composed works for Lori Freedman, Francois Houle, Vancouver New Music, the Standing Wave Ensemble, Kate Hammet-Vaughn, Pacific Baroque Orchestra, Talking Pictures, Sal Ferreras, Vancouver Chinese Music Ensemble, and the Turning Point Ensemble.

What is your idea of earthly happiness?
Dinnertime in Italy

What do you regard as the lowest depth of misery?
Being broke, heartbroken, and having the flu in New York in the middle of summer

Where would you like to live?
If Newfoundland had a cuisine that would be it; however, they don't and so I will have to say the Veneto in northern Italy

To what faults do you feel most indulgent?

Who are your favorite heroes of fiction?
1. Odysseus
2. Leopold Bloom
3. Tyrone Slothrop

Who are your favorite characters in history?
Lucretius and Epicurus 

Who are your favorite heroines in real life?

Who are your favorite heroines of fiction?

Your favorite painter?

Your favorite musician?
Bach (hands down)

The quality you most admire in a man?
The sartorial

The quality you most admire in a woman?
Sense of humour

Your favorite virtue?

Who would you have liked to be?
Radiohead's soundman

Your most marked characteristic?
Exaggerated hand gestures while speaking (it's annoying but I know no other way)

What do you most value in your friends?
The gastronomic 

What is your principle defect?

What to your mind would be the greatest of misfortunes?
To be loveless, broke, and sick in New York

What is your favorite color?

What is your favorite flower?

What is your favorite bird?

Who are your favorite prose writers?
(I thought you'd never ask)
1. Italo Calvino
2. Nabokov
3. George Steiner

Who are your favorite poets?
1. Rilke
2. Shakespeare
3. Wallace Stevens

Who are your heroes in real life?
1. Stephen Lewis
2. Beethoven
3. Winston Churchill 

What natural gift would you most like to possess?
To whistle three octaves 

How would you like to die?
I don't know, I just don't want to be there when it happens

What is your present state of mind?
Scattered; I'm renovating right now and I have to leave the country

What is your motto?
To do the right thing even when no one is looking

Here is a link to some of Bradshaw's music.

Alumni profile: Chris Trinidad

Here is the first of our alumni profiles!

Chris Trinidad is a bassist and educator in the San Francisco Bay area.  He was a student at Capilano from 1997 to 2002.  Folllowing his graduation from the Jazz Studies program, Chris completed a B.Ed. and M.Ed. degrees at UBC and taught at St. Thomas More Collegiate in Burnaby, BC, where he directed an award-winning choral program.  Chris's studies in the philosophy of music education led him to look into the relationship between music and spirituality and additional graduate studies in liturgy and theology at the Jesuit School of Theology of Santa Clara University where he completed an That led to his current position as Director for Campus Ministry and Director of Vocal and Choral Music at Saint Mary's College High School where he has worked since 2009.  In addition to this work, Chris is very active in a wide variety of bands and musical projects. 
Learn more about Chris at his WEBSITE

Here is what Chris has to say about his experiences at Capilano.

Going through the Jazz Studies program meant a lot to me and has set me up for many of the wonderful professional experiences I have been blessed to have to this point in my career.  Born and raised in Vancouver, I made the move to the San Francisco Bay Area in 2008.  Music making and teaching occupy most of my time while living in the Golden State.  I am fortunate to work with some incredible, creative musicians in two of the most exciting cities in North America: San Francisco and Oakland.

I learned of the commitment and discipline required to work on the craft of music while at Cap.  Being a musician is a privilege and though the musician's craft may not be valued by certain sectors of society, I learned that the journey of exploring music making has its own intrinsic value.  My experiences at Cap helped to galvanize my own thoughts about music making.  While I did not explicitly wish to become a jazz musician, the exploration of jazz studies gave me the necessary skills and knowledge to pursue other musics.

I remember a particularly pivotal moment during my second year when all of the work seemed completely overwhelming and my interest in devoting all of my attention, time, and energy in music began to wane.  A pianist whom I respected very much imparted some very important words upon me in the foyer of the Fir building, just outside the main office.  In a sense, he empowered me to pursue the kind of music making that I wanted to do, and to fulfill the vision that I had set out for myself when I started the program, namely to become a better musician through the medium of jazz.

Some of my best memories were taking lessons and classes with incredible musicians like Brad Turner, Chris Tarry, Andre Lachance, Dylan Vanderschyff, Ihor Kukurudza, and the late Ross Taggart and then minutes later seeing them perform at the old Mojo Room in East Vancouver or at Bar None with Soulstream in Downtown Vancouver.

Working with Chris Tarry and Andre Lachance, in particular, gave me the confidence to continue with the bass guitar as my chosen instrument. While double bass seemed to be the low-end instrument preferred by fellow students and most ensemble teachers in the program, I wanted to have my own voice, like most jazz musicians do, and studying the bass guitar gave me a path there.

I also value the so-called "extra" and liberal arts requirements of the degree program.  I had the opportunity to take some wonderful classes with a wide range of scholars.  In particular, I am indebted to philosopher Mark Battersby for his engaging pedagogy and ways of thinking, much of which helps to inform my teaching today.  I also enjoyed my time with Lars Kaario singing on Wednesday evenings with the Festival Chorus.  My experiences singing with his choir helped to shape the choral conductor I would later become.

Another encounter in my fourth year of studies with another respected pianist gave me the idea of pursuing studies in music education. Coincidentally, this also took place in the foyer of the Fir building right by those bulletin boards!  I was at another pivotal moment in my studies and my nascent music career.  I had observed that the music industry was changing all around me, and I had also experienced life on the seas as a cruise ship musician.  Both of those experiences, and the timing of my encounter with said pianist, catapulted me into the world of music education.

Now, the joy of giving back to people what music has given to me, and trying to inspire youth to value music is a direct testament to my experiences in the Capilano University Jazz Studies program.  I am in the fortunate position to maintain both a full time teaching and full time music making career.  It is difficult to juggle both, but the rewards are infinite and these are blessings, indeed.

Wednesday 22 May 2013

Student profile: Jesus Caballero

Here is the first of our student profiles!

Jesus Caballero is a drummer, bandleader, and composer entering his 4th year in Jazz Studies at Capilano University. I asked Jesus to respond to a few questions.

What is your hometown?
I was born in Coatzacoalcos, Veracruz, Mexico. When I was eight years old, me and my family moved to Monterrey, Nuevo Leon, Mexico. I lived there for sixteen years before moving to Vancouver.

What is your favourite thing about learning in the Jazz Studies Department?
The school is small. Everyone knows each other. Students can have a good relationship with faculty. Everyone has their unique sound and no one wants to copy the other.

Please describe a few of your most exciting, happiest, or most significant experiences at Cap so far.
In 2011 I auditioned for the big bands. Didn't get in. I worked hard on my big band chart reading during summer and auditioned again this last year, 2012. After seeing my name on the list of drummers who passed the audition I felt very happy! Thanks to Cap I had a whole year of big band experience. It is also significant that I have had the opportunity to play my own compositions with other great students. The fact that friends and even teachers enjoy my music makes me very happy.

What has been the hardest thing about studying Jazz at Capilano?
After learning all the theory, it was hard to apply it on my compositions. The more music I write, the easier it gets. Ear training and piano class were also hard. They are one of the most important classes I think, and its great knowing how to use the skills learned in them.

What has been the most surprising or unusual thing in your time at Capilano?
It was very surprising the first time a faculty member told me one of my compositions was great.

What are your plans for the future?
I want to record albums, tour, and be successful with original music. I also want to have my own students. Write music for a movie or TV series and probably do a Master' degree.

Here is some video of Jesus' band, The Caballero Quartet, playing one of his compositions with a band of other Cap Jazz students: Sara Kim (voice), Peter Seravalle (guitar) and Nikko Whitworth (bass).

Hello World,

This is the new blog for the Jazz Studies Department at Capilano University. We think our department is one of the finest anywhere and this blog will be a forum to tell the stories of the students, faculty, and alumni who make this such a great place to study and play jazz.

In addition to this blog you can find information about Capilano Jazz Studies on:


and on our


and at the


If you are a student, faculty member, alumni, and you have a story you'd like to share on the blog, please respond to this post and let us know. We would love to include you in our online community!