Sunday, September 30, 2018

Trichy Sankaran - a week of magic.

I've just finished a week of rehearsing, recording and performing with Trichy Sankaran and the Offering of Curtis Andrews.  Curtis has been Sankaran's disciple for over twenty years and did all the work organizing the visit, grant writing (thanks Canada Council!) logistics as well as writing some music.  Sankaran Sir was also commissioned to write a piece for the occasion "Chapu Tala Malika", a piece that turned out to be as difficult as it is beautiful in its rhythmic architecture.  The piece was constructed around a 24 beat cycle of chapu talas in 3, 5, 7, and 9.

To spend time playing with and learning from Sanakarn Sir was truly a privilege.  I feel like my rhythmic understanding and ability has grown exponentially as a result. His musical precision, gorgeous drum tones, deep laya (time feel or groove), improvisational prowess, and excellent jokes made for an enlightening and uplifting ten days. The experience was surely one of the top musical highlights of my career thus far.

Curtis, Dave Spidel, Robin Layne, Vidyasagar Vankayala, and Kaushik Sivaramakrishnan were dream band-mates throughout.

Pictures courtesy of Kaushik.

Wednesday, August 15, 2018

Upcoming gig with Trichy Sankaran

I am really excited about an upcoming gig with Sri Trichy Sankaran. Sankaran is one of the world's foremost Carnatic percussionists performing on mrdangam and kanjira. His 6 decade-long career has taken him around the globe as a performer, composer, collaborator, and teacher. This amazing opportunity has come my way through my friend, Curtis Andrews, a drummer and composer who is one of Sankaran's disciples and the organizer of this concert.

We'll perform music by Curtis and his guru in traditional Carnatic contexts as well as more fusion-oriented settings. There are some other excellent musicians and friends on board including: Robin Layne (vibraphone, percussion), David Spidel (electric bass), Kaushik Sivaramakrishnan (Carnatic violin), Vidyasagar Vankayala (Carnatic vocal)

Don't miss this one if you are in Vancouver on September 22.

Facebook event:

Monday, July 2, 2018

Recording with Vinny Golia

I've been fortunate to spend the last week rehearsing, recording and playing with Vinny Golia, Clyde Reed, and Greg Campbell. It has been a lot of fun musically and very important opportunity for personal growth as well.  Vinny is amazing in so many ways.
Many thanks to the Quan Family PD Fund for help in making this happen.
Recording will come out later this year.

Saturday, December 2, 2017

Photos from Narwhal concert Nov 28, 2017

Narwhal is a mixed vocal/instrumental ensemble that I direct at Capilano University.

The group focuses on student compositions and arrangements as well as collaborations with composers and players from a wide variety of musical styles and genre.

Recent Cap Jazz grads, Sara Kim (voice) and Mili Hong (drums) were special guests this semester as we explored a large ensemble version of Sara's Watermill Project: fusions between Korean folk music, jazz, and rock.

More photos of the concert can be viewed here:

photo by Vincent Lim

Tuesday, October 3, 2017

New CD plus release concert: Brad Muirhead 4tet and more

I've been working regularly with trombonist and composer, Brad Muirhead, since 1992. He is quite an amazing musician and organizer with his own unique way of thinking about and playing music. Playing with him and trying to achieve his vision for his work has taught me a great deal about myself and about music in general.

Brad is releasing his new CD "Old/In/Out/New" at pat's Pub this saturday.  as on the record, there will be the regular quartet with Bernie Arai (drums), Brent Gubbels (bass) and me (guitar) plus Jennifer Scott (voice), Raphael Geronimo (percussion), Brad Turner (piano/trumpet) and a host of trombones including Luis Melgar, Ellen Marple, Greg Farrugia, and Brian Harding.
Don't miss it!

Saturday, August 5, 2017

New CD from Len Aruliah

I'm excited to be part of No Complications, a new CD recording by my dear friend, Len Aruliah.  Len and I have been working together since 1990 and it is always a joy and a challenge to play his beautiful and intricate compositions.  I play guitar and accordion on the album and also mixed and mastered it.

It sounds great, so please go to CD Baby to buy a download or physical CD !

Friday, June 30, 2017

I'm very pleased to be among the authors in this new book, The Oxford Handbook of Critical Improvisation Studies. My co-author, Clyde Reed, is a tremendous improvising bass player and emeritus professor of Economics at Simon Fraser University. I learned a lot by writing the chapter with him. I've just been getting around to reading and enjoying some of the other chapters in the book. Many thanks to editors, George Lewis and Ben Piekut for their incredible work on seeing this project through to completion.  It is a pretty expensive book, so perhaps you may ask your local library to get a copy.
Note the new page links above. I'm gradually moving my website over to blogger to make it easier to control and update. You can still access my website at

Friday, June 16, 2017

Gigs in June and July

I hear blogs are old fashioned these days.  My kids tell me I should have an instagram account.  Not likely.  That is just as well as I will now feel less guilty for failing to post anything for months on end...I have been extremely busy playing and teaching as always and working on a very special studio project with brilliant young composer and reed player, Ridley Bishop. More on that soon.

Here are some upcoming gigs in June and July

  • June 15 and 16 with Thunder Lizard at Frankie's jazz club.  Happy hour gig 4:15-6:15
  • June 17 with Len Aruliah Quintet at Pat's Pub.  3-7pm
  • July 1 with Jared Burrows Sextet at Vancouver Jazz Festival 12:30-2:30.  Railspur Alley stage.
  • July 1 with Offering of Curtis Andrews at Vancouver Jazz Festival 2:30-4:30.  Ron Basford park stage.
  • July 4-8 at South Delta Jazz Festival.  Daily performances at noon with SDJF workshop faculty and evening show on July 7. Ladner, BC.
    Len Aruliah Quintet

Thursday, March 17, 2016

Carnatic music/jazz fusion

Yes, I know I haven't blogged for ages.  I've been busy with several significant musical undertakings including a massive project of arranging traditional Carnatic (South Indian Classical) compositions for my student ensemble, Narwhal. I've also been writing a whole pile of arrangements of Len Aruliah's music for Narwhal and for Capilano University C Band.
Some of the Carnatic/jazz fusion stuff was performed and recorded Feb. 24 and will be performed again on April 13 at the Blueshore theatre.  Len's music will be performed by C Band this Saturday, March 19, at Moberly Community Centre at 1:15pm and again at the Blueshore Theatre on March 30.

Here are some video recordings of the Carnatic material.  My students did a great job and we were very fortunate to have some wonderful guest musicians perform with us. More video to come soon.

Saturday, December 12, 2015

Video from Thunder Lizard Gig

Here is some video from a recent gig with Thunder Lizard.  Joe and Nick are two of my favourite musicians.