Saturday, October 20, 2012

New projects are hatching! Lots of upcoming gigs!

Hi All,

I have been working very hard over the last few months cooking up all kinds of musical projects.  Now is the chance to hear some of them at the gigs listed below.
Please come out and hear some of the music and bear witness to the awesome creativity and consummate skill of the fine musicians with whom I am privileged to work!  

October 24 Curriculum Occulta at Presentation House Studio
8pm, $10 at the door.  333 Chesterfield, North Vancouver. Free tea and cookies.
An improvising orchestra is taking shape. This is a project I have been dreaming about for some time.  I have selected some of my incredibly talented students from the past few years of teaching at Capilano and will be throwing them in at the deep end with some of my long-time musical collaborators.  The newest generation of young Vancouver improvisors meets grizzled veterans in what we hope will be the first of many performances. Geoff Claridge, Ridley Bishop and Duncan Maunders (reeds), Stefan Thordarson (violin), Emma Postl (voice), Jared Burrows (guitar), Clyde Reed and Lyle Hopkins (bass), Brad Muirhead (bass trombone), Bill Clark (trumpet). 

October 25  Jared Burrows Sextet at Capilano U 
Fir building, room 113, 11:45am-1pm.  Free admission. 
This is my newest 'small' band with Steve Kaldestad (tenor sax),  Chris Davis (trumpet), Dennis Esson (trombone), Brent Gubbels (bass), and Dave Robbins (drums).  We'll do a concert of new compositions and arrangements written especially for this group.  If our smokin' premiere gig last month was any indication, it should be a great show!

October 26  Ensemble 306 plays the music of Charles Ives
Capilano U, Fir building, room 113, 11:30m-1pm.  Free admission. 
I direct a large ensemble at Capilano U (5 voices, cello, violin, piano, keyboards, percussion, drums, guitar and bass!) and we are presenting a unique concert of arrangements and re-compositions of selections from Charles Ives'  114 Songs.  Ives is one of my musical heroes and it has been a real thrill and privilege to work on this music with the students.  They have done a beautiful job collaborating with me on the arrangements.  Expect a wild amalgam of jazz, classical, musical meditation, chaos, Quaker poety, heavy metal etc etc.  In short, we will attempt to channel the spirit of Ives and conjure the very music of the spheres.

November 7 Jared Burrows Sextet at the Cellar
Come out and hear my new band at Canada's premiere jazz club.
Details and reservations at

November 14 Jared Burrows Quartet at Presentation House Studio
8pm, $10 at the door.  333 Chesterfield, North Vancouver. Free tea and cookies.
The quartet has been one of my most important creative outlets for several years now.  We will present my original music and some tunes by band members.  Our music is influenced by Wheeler, Shorter and Coltrane and we work hard to play with intense rhythmic interactivity and a sense of exploration and wildness! Lorne Kellett (piano), Al Johnston (bass), Stan Taylor (drums)
Stan and Al at Presentation House - photo Gord Montgomery

Monday, October 8, 2012

Taking stock and giving thanks

It is Thanksgiving in Canada today.  In addition to giving thanks for the many blessings in my life, I find this is the time of year when sit back and take a quick inventory of things that have happened and gather plans for the coming winter.  September has been great.  Our weather in Vancouver has been exceptionally dry and warm and it looks like it will continue for another week or so.  This has been a real pleasure I must say, especially as the weather for our 16th wedding anniversary on September 27 was absolutely perfect (21 degrees celsius!) and we had a wonderful day at the beach. I even had a swim, though the water was too cold to stay in for more than a few minutes. We've also had some nice family walks in Queen Elizabeth park and other lovely locations around this beautiful city.

The school semester is off to a good start.  I'm getting to know the new students and settling into my schedule.  In addition to my usual classes, I am teaching a course in conducting this semester.  I have been a conductor for quite a long time and have directed many different kinds of ensembles but I had never given much though to how this art could be taught.  I gave up teaching my favorite class (the 4th year small ensembles) to take this on as Rejean Marois, the usual conducting instructor, is away on leave. After some initial trepidation about how it would go and some grumpiness about giving up my favorite class, I am finding it to be a lot of fun, easier than I thought, and also a really good opportunity to analyse and improve upon my own technique.  The students seem to be enjoying it too.

Speaking of conducting, I direct one of the large ensembles at Capilano (5 voices, cello, violin, guitar, keyboard, piano, bass, drums) and with this group we are exploring some of Charles Ives' "114 Songs" for one of our fall concerts.  This is amazingly fun and exciting material to arrange and re-compose.   The songs are all for voice and piano and look pretty concise on the page, but they are so rich and densely packed with musical ideas. The group is really into the concept I have brought to them and all are making very cool creative contributions as we explore the possibilities together.  I've always liked Ives and this has made me fall in love with his music all over again.

On the performing front, I have played some fun gigs at Presentation House Studio - one with my new sextet and one with the poet, Daniela Elza.  The sextet gig was exceptionally good.  The hall was packed and everyone in the band really outdid themselves and made cool things happen with my tunes and arrangements. Two more gigs with this band are coming soon on Oct. 25 at Capilano U and Nov. 7 at the Cellar.  The gig with Daniela was really good too.  The audience was not very big, but the collaboration between musicians (Bill Clark, Clyde Reed and me) and poet was really happening.  You can hear examples of a June 2012 collaboration with Daniela here. I was quite inspired by the poetry and the way she reads, so much so that I have decided to write some music for Daniela's reading backed my new improvising orchestra, Curriculum Occulta.  This is a new musical project for me comprising seven of the best young musicians I have met at Capilano over the past few years as well as some of my usual musical cohorts like Clyde, Bill, and Brad Muirhead. The first gig with this band happens on Oct 24 and from there I'll start thinking about how to write for the group and how to incorporate Daniela's reading and poetry.

My ongoing work with percussionist, Curtis Andrews, continues to bear interesting fruit.  We had a nice gig in September with his band at the Kozmik Zoo and Pat Boyle came over from Victoria to play trumpet with us.  Pat is a fine musician and lovely person.  Curtis and Pat have worked together in Newfoundland for years.  It was so nice to finally meet him and play after hearing so much about him. Curtis has received a BC Arts Council Grant to produce a concert of his original music (Karnatic/jazz fusion you might call it) some time in the new year and he has invited me to play.  Rehearsals for this project should begin soon and I'm looking forward to the challenge (and it is ALWAYS a big challenge with Curtis) of learning the music and working on my Karnatic rhythm chops. Lastly, there is some talk about going tot the UK in the spring to do some recording and playing with Len Aruliah's octet.

In short, my life is full of cool musical projects, a rewarding job and, most of all, a great family.  I certainly feel grateful for all of it.   I'm really looking forward to all the work and other activities ahead. Happy Thanksgiving to all!

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Jazz at Presentation House Studio Returns September 12

Yes, we’re doing it again! Jazz at Presentation House Studio, the little concert series that could, returns September 12 for our 4th year of weekly concerts.  After a well-deserved summer rest, I'm really excited to hear lots of new music, to perform with amazing musician friends, and to mix and mingle with our wonderful audiences.  
Jazz at Presentation House Studio 
is an artist-run, weekly series embracing the full spectrum of jazz and improvised music from trad to post-bop, free improv to world music fusions. Presentation House Studio is an historic former church with excellent acoustics where the audience can be up close and personal with the musicians. It is easily accessible by public transit and is located just a few blocks from Lonsdale Quay. Lots of free parking. Come and join us for great music and a relaxed weeknight hangout.
333 Chesterfield Avenue (3rd St. one block west of Lonsdale) North Vancouver
Wednesdays at 8:00pm.
Admission $10 at the door. Free tea and cookies.
September 12   Copy/paste and Dobson Quintet
Copy/Paste is new electronic/pop group presenting covers and originals with Emma Postl (voice), Nancy Leticia (keyboard & laptop), Mili Hong (drums). The Dobson Quintet will “cover you in a deluge of tears and fears and weird dreams as they play originals inspired by things that they love and things that they don’t love.” With Alex Dobson (bass), Josh Wright (drums), Leo Bae (keys), John Nicholson – tenor sax, Keith Sinclair – guitar.
September 19   Ameoba
Amoeba is a collective of Vancouver young lions exploring composed and improvised material. Playing a mix of standards and originals, the band comprises  Mike Agranovich (guitar), Stefan Thordarson (violin), Eli Davidovici (bass), and Mili Hong (drums).
September 26   Jared Burrows Sextet
A brand new project featuring arrangements of Burrow’s original tunes played by some of Vancouver’s finest: Dave Robbins (drums), Brent Gubbels (bass), Bill Clark (trumpet), Steve Kaldestad (tenor), Dennis Esson (trombone), Jared Burrows (guitar).
October 3   Words and Music
Acclaimed poet, Daniela Elza, reads her richly evocative poetry in collaboration with veteran improvising musicians Bill Clark (trumpet), Clyde Reed (bass), and Jared Burrows (guitar).  
October 10   Fran├žois Houle Trio
Fran├žois Houle’s work is always searching for the unusual, while retaining a deep respect for musical tradition. This trio features Stephen Fisk (guitar) and Karlis Silins (bass) and performs original material focusing on the lyrical aspect of jazz.  Influenced by the work of great clarinetists of the past and present (Goodman, John Carter, Jimmy Giuffre, Don Byron), Houle’s compositions are at times seductive, reflective, and imbued with virtuosity. Houle was recently shortlisted in the prestigious Downbeat magazine’s Annual Critic’s poll as best clarinetist and rising star. He is recognized as one of the leading proponents of the clarinet on today’s music scene.
More music to come every Wednesday! Watch the Vancouverjazz calendar and forum for updates.

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Fraser MacPherson Scholarship Fund Seeks Volunteers

Fraser MacPherson was an important mentor for me in my early days of getting into jazz. Starting in about grade 11, I followed him and Oliver Gannon around to every gig that I could get to and pestered them incessantly about tunes, chord changes, improvising, and life in general.  Since shortly after Fraser's death in 1993, the Fraser MacPherson Scholarship Fund has been helping young musicians pursue their musical dreams.  In the past few years, finding funding for the scholarship has become more and more challenging.  Many board members who have served well for long periods of time are now retiring or are otherwise unable to continue as directors of the fund.  In order for the important work of the Fund to continue, we need new board members and directors who have the interest and energy to raise funds and manage the activities of the organization.

This is an open call to solicit support and interest from the Vancouver musical community. The qualifications we are looking for are a passion for jazz music and music education and a desire to volunteer your time to help young musicians.  If you are interested in vounteering some of your time to support this worthwhile cause by getting involved with the Fraser MacPherson Scholarship Board please contact President Fred Stride at   stride AT  or simply add a comment on this blog posting including your contact info.

Monday, July 9, 2012

South Delta Jazz Workshop 2012 is done!

The 9th annual South Delta Jazz Workshop is over and it has been great.  It seems cliche to say it was the most successful event ever, but I really think it was.   We had absolutely no problems with students and only minor logistical hiccups with facilities and gear. The concerts all came off very well, both from musical and audience numbers perspectives.  I couldn't be happier.  The community of people that participates in the event as audience members, faculty, and students has really solidified into a cool extended family.  At this time of the year when people ask me about next year, I usually say "We'll see".  This year I feel quite happy to say that we will certainly be doing the 10th annual SDJW in 2013.  I'm already scheming for something special on the 10th anniversary.  Below are some pictures from our final concert at the Delta Hospital Grounds.  More pictures to come soon once Stephen Robb has a moment to upload them....

My heartfelt thanks are extended to all who participated in the event.  Together we made something beautiful happen!

Brad Muirhead (trombone), James Dekker (tenor sax), Bill Clark (trumpet) and Hazel Lam (tenor).  I think they were playing Dave Holland's tune "Hoimecoming".  We had some really advanced students this year.

My son, Isaac, on bass and his cousin, Eric, on piano obviously enjoying themselves on the gig.

Don Burkett (bass and camp chiropractor), Isabelle Burrows (flute) and len Aruliah (soprano sax) at Petra's Cafe jam session.

just a few of the players involved int he final F Blues blowout at petra's jam session - perfect weather as always!

noon hour concert at DCMS with Bill Clark (trumpet), Spencer hall (bass), and Mili Hong (drums).  I think I am behind Bill somewhere....Miles is watching over us!

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Day 4

Day 4 was a great success.  I am too exhausted to blog much about it but the brief update is...

We had a wonderful noon hour concert featuring Bill Clark in which we played some standards and ended by paying musical tribute to Miles Davis'  "In a Silent Way".  When teaching was done, we had a brief rehearsal, scarfed some pizza and set up for a big evening concert with the faculty septet playing my arrangements.  The evening show came off very well with quite a large audience at All Saints Anglican Church.  The day went 13 hours from start to finish.  I am always amazed that the faculty are able to play at all by the time we get to Friday night. The students too were absolutely exhausted by the end of the teaching day and for them to come to an evening concert as well was a pretty big accomplishment.  I think going 'over the top' into a music overlaod state is a good thing for them to experience.  At the intermission, my daughter actually said she was amazed that I could keep going after such a big day and that she finally appreciated how busy and intense my life sometimes is - what a thing to hear from a 12-year old girl!

Final student concert/picnic extravaganza at Delta Hospital grounds from 12-3 today.  With luck the students will be too tired to be nervous, but energized enough to have a good time and play well.

Friday, July 6, 2012

Day Three

Day 3 of the South Delta Jazz Workshop is done and dusted.
The third day of the workshiop is always special beacuse you see students that have become completely immersed and comfortable with music.   Even when you give them a break for lunch they want to keep playing!  Music ceases to become a separate activity - music becomes an integral part of being like breathing. What an incredible thing to see.

We had a great noon concert featuring our our bass facvulty memebr, Rob Kohler.  We played some standards, one of Rob's tunes, and one by his son, Sam.  The concert also featured a "3-bass hit" with Rob and our two bass TAs, Wynston and Spencer, playing "Blues in the Closet".  Following the day's teaching we headed out to the hosue of Bob Miller, one of our adult students, for a nice did before the Petra's Cafe jam.  Bob, a tenor player, has been participating in our workshop since the very beginning and is a lovely person.  For the past few years he has been inviting us to his beautiful house beside the beach for a moment of physical and mental refreshment in the middle of our 12-hour day.  The jam at Petra's Cafe was very successful as always, with almost all of our students in attendance.  There weren't as many players from the community this year but that is ok; we have so many students this year it was a challenge to find opportunities for all of them to play a couple of tunes.

Today is our last full day of teaching as Saturday is a short rehearsal and final concert.  Tonight we will have a faculty septet concert at All Saints Anglican Church in ladner.  I have written some arrangements of my tunes for the show and I'm looking forward to hearing how they work out.  Music is at 7:30, tickets are $10 at the door.  Hope to see you there!

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Day Two of South Delta Jazz Workshop done!

Day two is finished and I am ready for bed.  Classes were really good today with students getting used to doing music for 7 hours in a row and most logistical snafus ironed out. We had a great noon-hour show planned by Len doing material from our "Recyclers" project. This is a band in which we do a whole bunch contrafacts (new melodies on old chord progressions) written by Len and me and today also one by Rob Kohler.  We took the unprecedented step of moving the concert out of the community centre hall and cramming everyone into the largest room in the Music School.  It was a little tight for 50 people and I'm glad the fire marshall didn't show up, but the acoustics were so much better.  Music is easier when you can hear. Why didn't we do this years ago?  Following a day of teaching and playing we went out for pizza wand then headed over to Diefenbaker Park in Tsawwassen for an evening gig with our older students.  Rob and I played drums - Rob on even-8s material and me on the swinging stuff.  Nice to play drums for a while as the sun set behind the hill. The weather turned out perfectly and the park was just beautiful with lots of ducks and big carp in the pond.

Pictures to follow soon - I promise.

Tomorrow is another day of teaching, a faculty part at Bob Miller's house (one of our adult student who lives by the beach in Boundary Bay), and then a jam session from 7-9 at Petra's Arts Cafe.  Life is good.  

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Day 1 of South Delta Jazz Workshop

Today we began the 9th annual South Delta Jazz Workshop.  This year we have a very full load of students and are running six student bands all day, every day. Some students have come for many years (a few of the adults since the very beginning) and some are showing up for the first time.  I find both groups and all the variations in between equally interesting and challenging.  It is always fun to hear how people have improved and grown musically over the space of a year, or to hear students who are just at the beginning of their musical journey.   Some of the younger kids have grown so fast I hardly recognized them from last year.   Both of my children are involved in the workshop for their second year as is Rob Kohler's son and this adds another dimension to the experience of teaching and organizing the workshop.  When I started this thing way back in 2003, the kids were just toddling around and going to preschool and kindergarten.  Now they are teenagers learning to play jazz!  Our faculty members have become like a family over the years as well - a very weird family maybe - but I really enjoy seeing the different ways that they approach playing and teaching the music.    

The first day was a success overall.  There were some shaky moments in our noon hour concert with missing charts and funny transpositions, musicians trying to remember how to play in the giant community centre hall where we hold those events etc... but people pulled through somehow and made music.  The best thing was that the students had a great time and I have rarely seen a happier group on the first day.  I didn't have one student in my beginning ensemble who was afraid to improvise. Everyone just jumped right into it.  A few students had to be moved around to bands which suited their abilities better, but generally there was a good fit in each group.  This is always a tricky thing to achieve when we don't know many of them and don't audition them beforehand.  I guess my mixture of little bit of luck and lots of careful planning worked out this time.

I will try to post a short message each day.  If you are reading this and feel like coming out to Ladner to hear some noon hour concerts or our other concert events on Friday night and Saturday afternoon, please check our website for details

Saturday, June 30, 2012

Words and Music review

The Words and Music series at the Prophouse is now complete, as are all but one of my jazz festival gigs for this week.  The series was absolutely amazing and inspiring.  Great audience every night, lots of sparks on stage with such a diverse and rich cast of creative people.  I just loved meeting everyone, listening, and playing.  There were some important collaborative connections formed which will surely bear fruit in the near future.

Check out Daniela Elza's blog for some pictures and a more detailed review. Below is a picture of Clyde Reed, Daniela, and Me on the opening night of the series. 

Friday, June 15, 2012

Words and Music at the Prophouse

As jazz fest time rolls around again, the city is in a flurry of creative activity. Bassist, Clyde Reed, is organizing a week-long series of words and music collaborations at the Prophouse Cafe. Several years ago, Clyde began working with the poet Kate Braid, collaborating with her at numerous readings, poetry festivals and the like. The partnership proved to be very successful and inspired Clyde to think of other collaborations with words and music. The Prophouse is a warm and intimate venue that provides close contact between artists and audience.  

Words and Music draws on Clyde's long-term artistic relationships with amazing musicians , poets, vocalists and spoken word artists from up and down the West Coast. Out-of-town guests will be Michael Vlatkovitch (trombone, Los Angeles), Rich Halley (tenor sax, Portland), Mark Weber (poet, New Mexico), and Laura Winter (poet, Portland). These folks will improvise together, with Clyde and local artists Kedrick James (spoken word), Jared Burrows (guitar), Daniela Elza (poet),DB Boyko (voice), Vivianne Houle (voice), Coat Cooke (saxes/flute), plus Ion Zoo: Carol Sawyer (voice), Steve Bagnell (saxes/percussion), Lisa Miller (piano).

The series will feature some established, long-term collaborations such as Kate and Clyde, Michael and Mark, Kedrick and Coat, but also a lot of new and unexplored combinations. Expect an incredible variety of improvised collaborations between words and music: song, poetry, found text, and spontaneous vocalizations of every description. 

Prophouse Cafe
1636 Venables St. Vancouver
admission by donation
June 25-28, 5-7pm. Sets at 5 and 6pm.

June 25

1st set: Daniela Elza (poet) plus Clyde Reed (bass) and Jared Burrows (guitar)

2nd set: Kedrick James (spoken word) plus Clyde, Jared, and Coat Cooke (reeds)

June 26

1st set: Kate Braid (poet) plus Clyde Reed
2nd set: Viviane Houle (voice) plus Clyde Reed, Jared Burrows, Rich Halley (reeds), Michael Vlatkovich (trombone)

June 27

1st set: Mark Weber (poet) plus Michael Vlatkovich and Ion Zoo: Carol Sawyer (voice), Lisa Miller (piano), Steve Bagnell (sax and percussion, Clyde Reed (bass)

2nd set: Ion Zoo

June 28

1st set: Laura Winter (poet) plus Clyde Reed, Rich Halley, Michael Vlatkovich

2nd set: DB Boyko (voice) plus Clyde, Coat, Jared Burrows and Michael Vlatkovich

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Dave Robbins Electric band studio session complete!

This afternoon we finished up the studio work for Dave Robbins' Electric Band project.  Working with these guys on various gigs over the past six months has been just fantastic.  The sessions went very well indeed with a relaxed feeling in the band and no technical hangups of any kind to distract us.

I am always a little apprehensive about recording creative music in a studio situation with headphones and people in different rooms etc.  I'm the first to admit that this kind of playing under an audio microscope makes me uncomfortable.  I needn't have worried though as Brad made it all very smooth and easy, setting up gear and getting amazing sounds with no fuss in very little time.  Brad was also a good influence for me in that he exudes a sense of calm and a tremendous confidence about everything he plays. Of course that is probably easier when you are the kind of genius/virtuoso that he is, but I found it quite remarkable nonetheless and a good lesson for me.  Our producer Bill Coon (also one of our city's finest guitarists), likewise puts out a calming and centered vibe.  Dave played amazingly well and seems to be able to generate a 'live' performance energy and enthusiasm in the studio.  I was grateful for that and hope I was able to connect with some of that energy.

Kerry is an old studio pro and that fact shone through on every take.  His playing was incredibly consistent and grooving as anyone could want. Evan really surprised me with his variety of approach from tune to tune and the wildness of his improvising.  It is kind of a cliche to talk about one of the Arntzen boys having a natural feeling for music (just about every member of the family going back to Grandpa Lloyd plays music)  but it is absolutely true.  Like Dave, he seems very at home in the studio despite his youth.

I'm really looking forward to the record coming out.  I deliberately didn't listen much to playbacks so as to be surprised when I hear the CD.  I'll keep you posted as to the release.

 Left is a cool picture that Kerry took and below is a shot of the band at the Cellar a couple of weeks ago (photo by Vincent Lim). Other studio shots from Kerry may be forthcoming....

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Jazz at Presentation House Concludes 3rd Year

Jazz at Presentation House concluded its third season last week with Zapato Negro Trio.  It has been a great year of music for us as our unique little scene grows in what Al Johnston calls “Vancouver’s Jazz Church”.  Clyde and I have really enjoyed listening to all the creative music making, hanging out with wonderful musicians, and meeting all the cool new people who come to listen.
with Stan Taylor at PHS (Gord Montgomery photo)
Some nights we have had packed houses and sometimes just a small handful of die-hard music fans.   I have enjoyed every single night.   The intimacy and immediacy of improvised music has proven time and time again to be transformative and inspirational for all who attend (in both senses of the word).  I think some of my favorite experiences have involved people just walking in off the street when they hear music.  They are always pleasantly surprised to find such a beautiful, warm, and welcoming space and friendly people and allow the music, as Art Blakey said, “to wash away the dust of everyday life.”

We are going to take a little break for the summer now and will be back in September 2012 with more music.  Stay tuned to the calendar and to my blog for news of the upcoming series.  We extend heartfelt thanks for those who have supported us over the past three years and invite everyone to come and check out and support the scene in the Fall.

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Jared's summer gig list!

Hi All

Here's a picture from the Dave Robbins Electric Band playing at the Kozmik Zoo a few weeks (photo by Tom Arntzen).  It was a great night of intense and energetic music with lots of musicians and students in attendance.  We'll be at the Cellar on Wednesday, May 30.

A pretty busy summer music season is getting started for me on Monday. Looking over the list of things coming up, I feel really blessed to be working with so many amazing musicians on such creative and original projects. Some of these bands are doing studio recordings during this period too so I'll be playing a lot for the next little while.  I hope to see some of my loyal blog readers and friends out at these gigs!

May 28
The Offering of Curtis Andrews @ Kozmik Zoo
8:30pm. 53 W. Broadway
Indo-Afro-Jazz-Rock music composed by drummer Curtis Andrews and performed by Curtis, Colin Maskell (tenor),  Chris Davis (trumpet),  Jared Burrows (guitar),  Tommy Babin (guitar), and Russel Shumsky (percussion).

May 30
Dave Robbins Electric Band @ Cellar Jazz Club
Rocking electric jazz fusion with Dave Robbins(drums/compositions), Brad Turner (keys), Jared Burrows (guitar), Evan Arntzen (tenor sax) and Kerry Galloway (bass).

June 7
Dave Robbins Electric Band @ El Barrio
9pm.  2270 E Hastings
Rocking electric jazz fusion with Dave Robbins(drums/compositions), Brad Turner (keys), Jared Burrows (guitar), Evan Arntzen (tenor sax) and Kerry Galloway (bass).

June 19
The Offering of Curtis Andrews @ Kozmik Zoo
8:30pm. 53 W. Broadway
Indo-Afro-Jazz-Rock music composed by drummer Curtis Andrews and performed by Curtis, Colin Maskell (tenor),  John Korsrud (trumpet),  Jared Burrows (guitar),  Tommy Babin (guitar), and Russel Shumsky (percussion).

June 23
Brad Muirhead Quartet @ 1067 
10pm.  1115b E Hastings (entrance is lower door on Glen)
Brad Muirhead (bass trombone), Jared Burrows (guitar), Bernie Arai (drums) and Tommy Babin (bass).  Brad's unique and original compositions played by a brand new band.

June 25
Len Aruliah Sextet @ Kozmik Zoo 
8:30pm. 53 W. Broadway
Len Aruliah (saxes), Jared Burrows (guitar), Joe Poole (drums), Colin Maskell (saxes), Lorne Kellett (piano), Brent Gubbels (drums). The sextet plays a concert of Len's original tunes while he is back in Vancouver again for a short visit. The music is very much inspired by the work of Kenny Wheeler and features intricate contrpuntal melodies and beautiful harmonies.

June 25-28
Words and Music @ The Prophouse
5-7pm daily. Venables at Commercial Drive
Poetry and music, improvised music, songs and stories.  A unique collection of poets and musicians from Vancouver, Portland and LA will gather for daily collaborations.  Watch for details to come.

June 29
Jared Burrows Trio @Vancouver International Jazz Festival
12-2pm at Canada Place stage.
Jared Burrows (guitar), Rob Kohler (bass), Stan Taylor (drums).  Orginal tunes, standards, and mprovised music from a trio that has been working together for over 10 years.

July 1
Len Aruliah Quartet @ El Barrio 
9pm.   2270 E Hastings.
Len Aruliah (saxes), Jared Burrows (guitar), Rob Kohler (bass), Stan Taylor (drums)

Noon-hour concerts every day at Lander Community Centre and other venues in Ladner and Tsawwassen.  Big evening facukty octet show July 6 and final student concert at Delta Hospital grounds on July 7.  Featuring an international cast of great musicians:  Len Aruliah (saxes), Brad Muirhead (bass trombone), Bill Clark (trumpet), Stan Taylor (drums), Rob Kohler (bass), Stephen Robb (clarinet/piano), plus students of the south Delta Jazz Workshop and special guests.

Monday, May 7, 2012

Audition time!

It is audition time again!
No, not for me.  I haven't auditioned for anything since about 1996.  And thank goodness for that, because it can be a very stressful and existentially disturbing experience.  I really feel for all the sweating and shaking hands and knitted brows that I see.  All the same, I really enjoy hearing auditions for our Jazz Studies program at Capilano University.  This year I am listening to four days worth of guitar and bass hopefuls with my colleague, Ihor Kukurudza.

There are several interesting aspects to this process.  The first is that Ihor used to be my guitar teacher 22 years ago and now we are on the same audition panel.  That lends a certain sense of nostalgia. The circle of six-string life continues! (wiping away little tear...) Connected to that feeling of continuity is the amazing experience of seeing fresh new musicians with a sense of wonder and excitement about their musical futures.   I have no idea what their careers in music might be like.  Everything about being employed as a musician has changed so much since I started and continues to change at an incredible pace.  Thinking about the changes since Ihor's student days really makes it clear that things will be radically different for these students.   That doesn't worry me much.  Humans are creating the change and so these humans will adapt and create new kinds of music and invent new careers of which I cannot conceive.

Something very encouraging to me is that a whole bunch of these new students actually like jazz and have jazz records and want to improvise solos and play in bands.  In some way, they must already recognize the beauty of the art form and perhaps sense the benefits of engaging with such a rich, complex, diverse and subtle musical tradition.  I have heard some who already show a real spark of creativity and originality, even in their green state.  I'm quite confident that by bending their roads through music school for a few years their minds will develop and grow and their musical skills and technical prowess will be honed in ways they can't imagine now.  It is fitting that we do the auditions in the spring when things are budding and sprouting.  I feel really blessed to be present close to the beginning of these beautiful musical lives.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Fred Stride's Birthday

Today is the birthday of the wonderful composer and educator, Fred Stride.

Fred was very important in my early development as a musician. In the summer before my grade eleven year at high school, I went to a summer music program at UBC and was playing first clarinet in Martin Berinbaum's wind ensemble.  After only a day or so of playing in that group I was not having fun playing that music and was beginning to think that all the work of preparing and auditioning for that group had been a waste of time and that being a musician was not such a great thing. I felt anonymous and unappreciated in that huge ensemble and felt no emotional connection to the music.

During a break I happened to wander from the Old Auditorium over to the music building and discovered that there was a jazz orchestra of other young musicians rehearsing there.  Fred was directing the band.  When I heard the music they were playing I felt what I can only describe as a call from the music, I felt a connection inside and I knew that I wanted to play in that band and to ditch the wind ensemble as soon as possible.

 At that time I was playing guitar with some competence in a jazz quartet with some friends and we had even played some gigs, but to that point my jazz playing had been almost entirely by ear. I really had no idea what the guitar was supposed to do in a jazz orchestra (still trying to figure that out in some ways!), my music reading on the guitar was terrible, and the music Fred's band was playing was much more difficult and demanding than the stuff we were playing at my school.  I have never been a timid sort and so I boldly approached Fred and told him I wanted to quit Marty's wind ensemble and join his group. I don't remember exactly what he said, though I had a sense that this sort of thing was not often done and what I was asking was not particularly appropriate.  I wanted to leave the group for which I had auditioned in the middle of rehearsals for a concert to join a band where there was really no space for me and for which I was not really musically prepared.

Fred must have somehow sensed my sincerity and desire to play jazz because he arranged things with Marty and later in the afternoon there I was sitting in the jazz orchestra, happy as could be.  I learned a whole lot in those next few days of playing and was in awe of Fred's knowledge of the music.  Many lessons were learned that have stayed with me over the years.

Tonight at the Len Aruliah Sextet gig at Presentation House Studio we'll be playing Len's arrangement of my tune, "For Fred Stride", and sending good vibrations his way.

Thanks for everything, Fred, and happy birthday!

Monday, April 9, 2012

Vibration Alters Consciousness

I have lately been corresponding via email with a number of very intelligent students.  I always have my best ideas while I'm teaching.  Somehow the desire to help or to respond to a query improves and focuses my thought patterns.  While writing a letter to Thomas today, the following idea (among others) emerged:

Don't forget that music is capable of bringing about much good in the world. The ancient writers of the Vedas understood thousands of years ago that vibration alters consciousness.  That is your true calling (and mine too of course) as a musical artist; to alter for the better the reality and consciousness of the people who hear you and to awaken them to a more profound understanding of their own worth and potential as living beings.  If you let it, this could become a tremendous motivating factor in your musical growth and development. 

I am pretty happy with that advice for Thomas and for me and will think about it (and try to DO it) some more this week while playing the string of cool gigs that start tomorrow night. See the previous blog entry for listings. Hope to see you there!

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Music, music, music

I know, I know, I haven't blogged in ages....and I'm sorry to say this won't really mark the start of anything new in that direction.  Look for more interesting posts later in April.  The good news is that I have been incredibly busy working on musical projects that I enjoy with wonderful musicians.  The fruits of those labours will be available to the public as follows:

April 10
Recyclers @ Kozmik Zoo
8:30pm. 53 W. Broadway
Len Aruliah (saxes), Jared Burrows (guitar), Al Johnston (bass), Stan Taylor (drums). Inspired by Lennie Tristano, Lee Konitz and associated musicians, the band plays new melodies on old tunes. Everything old is new again. Go green with the Recyclers!

April 11
Zapato Negro @ Capilano University
11:30am, North Van Campus, room Fir 113.
I'll be playing a few tunes with the hottest latin band in the city (maybe in the country!).  Allan Johnston (bass), Soto (drums), and Andre Carresquero (piano).

April 11
Burrows/Maskell/Reed/Taylor @ Presentation House Studio
8:00pm. 333 Chesterfield in North Van. $10 at the door, free tea and cookies.
Jared Burrows (guitar), Clyde Reed (bass), Colin Maskell (saxes), Stan Taylor (drums). An evening of free improvised music.

April 18
Len Aruliah Sextet @ Presentation House Studio 
8:00pm. 333 Chesterfield in North Van. $10 at the door, free tea and cookies.
Len Aruliah (saxes), Jared Burrows (guitar), Joe Poole (drums), Colin Maskell (saxes), Lorne Kellett (piano), Brent Gubbels (drums). The sextet plays a concert of Len's original tunes. The music is very much inspired by the work of Kenny Wheeler and features intricate contrpuntal melodies and beautiful harmonies.

April 20
Brad Muirhead Trio @ 1067 
1115b E Hastings (entrance is lower door on Glen)
Brad Muirhead (bass trombone), Jared Burrows (bass guitar) and Stan Taylor (drums). Free improv plus Brad's original music played by a trio with over 20 years of history on the bandstand.

May 15
Dave Robbins Electric Band @ Kozmik Zoo
8:30pm. 53 W. Broadway
Rocking electric jazz fusion with Dave Robbins(drums/compositions), Brad Turner (keys), Jared Burrows (guitar), Evan Arntzen (tenor sax) and Kerry Galloway (bass).

May 28
The Offering of Curtis Andrews @ Kozmik Zoo
8:30pm. 53 W. Broadway
Indo-Afro-Jazz-Rock music composed by drummer Curtis Andrews and performed by Curtis, Colin Maskell (tenor),  JP Carter (trumpet),  Jared Burrows (guitar),  Tommy Babin (guitar), and Russel Shumsky (percussion).

May 30
Dave Robbins Electric Band @ Cellar Jazz Club
Rocking electric jazz fusion with Dave Robbins(drums/compositions), Brad Turner (keys), Jared Burrows (guitar), Evan Arntzen (tenor sax) and Kerry Galloway (bass).

June 7
Dave Robbins Electric Band @ El Barrio
9pm.  2270 E Hastings
Rocking electric jazz fusion with Dave Robbins(drums/compositions), Brad Turner (keys), Jared Burrows (guitar), Evan Arntzen (tenor sax) and Kerry Galloway (bass).

June 29
Jared Burrows Trio @Vancouver International Jazz Festival
12-2pm at Canada Place stage.
Jared Burrows (guitar), Rob Kohler (bass), Stan Taylor (drums).  Orginal tunes, standards, and mprovised music from a trio that has been working together for over 10 years.

July 1
Len Aruliah Quartet @ El Barrio 
9pm.   2270 E Hastings.
Len Aruliah (saxes), Jared Burrows (guitar), Rob Kohler (bass), Stan Taylor (drums)

Noon-hour concerts every day at Lander Community Centre and other venues in Ladner and Tsawwassen.  Big evening show July 6 and final student concert at Delta Hospital grounds on July 7.  Featuring an international cast of great musicians:  Len Aruliah (saxes), Brad Muirhead (bass trombone), Bill Clark (trumpet), Stan Taylor (drums), Rob Kohler (bass), Stephen Robb (clarinet/piano), plus students of the south Delta Jazz Workshop and special guests.

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Brief update: CMS conference, gigs, new record label etc etc

Just a brief update for all my loyal readers...I'm heading into a very busy period of time and not sure how often I'll have time to write.

College Music Society Conference
Tomorrow is the closing date for registration on the College Music Society Pacific Northwest Chapter conference which will be held at Capilano U March 16-17.  I am president of the chapter and also the host of the conference this time around.  Tomorrow I'll find out which of the presenters who said they were coming will actually come.  Then it is time to schedule all the events, book equipment, book the catering, find student helpers, make a program etc.  I have done this before back when I was president for an earlier term so I know what I'm up against and what needs to be done, but it is daunting nonetheless.  In essence, a lot of very smart and creative colleagues from institutions all over the Western US and Canada (mostly the US) are showing up on my turf and I need to make everything look good and run smoothly.  This year, in addition to all of the usual lectures, performances, demonstrations,  seminars,  lunches and chapter business meeting, CMS has engaged the Saxophilia Sax Quartet to premiere nine new works by CMS composers on March 17.  That should be an amazing concert.

New Online Record Label
 Those of you who have known me for a while will remember that I operated a record label called Third Rail Music from 1998 until about 2005 or so, when CDs started to go the way of the Dodo.  Now that they are almost completely extinct as a commercial product, I figured it was time to get going on a digital version of the label and Bandcamp seemed the right way to go.  There are four recordings up there and available now for download.  When I get a few more up there I'll make a bigger splash about it.  For now, if you happen to check it out, drop me a line with your impressions of the appearance, sounds etc

Gigs at Presentation House are happening as usual and I'll be there this Wednesday with Bill Clark (trumpet) and Stan Taylor (drums).  Bill is back from New Mexico for a while and I'm really excited to get the group together again.  You can hear some of the trio's music here.  In addition to all this, my dear friend Len is back in town for a few months and we're starting some rehearsals for a Len Aruliah Sextet gig on Feb 15 at Presentation House.  Hear some of the sextet music here.

Lastly, stay tuned for news of a special Capilano U residency and concert with my friend Curtis Andrews, who is freshly returned from India, no doubt with more rhythmic goodies up his sleeves.

Friday, January 20, 2012

Dave Robbins Electric Band Gig #2

Just following up from the last posting...

Our gig at Capilano U this morning was fantastic.  Hugh Fraser was able to make it over from Victoria at last.  I had almost forgotten what a force of nature Hugh is on the bandstand and how much energy he brings to music.  He just gives his whole self over to the experience.  Playing with him again reminded me that his all-out approach was really influential on my playing at a very early stage.  I just realized now that the gig we played today was in the same room where I met Hugh as a student 21 years ago.  His intense energy and commitment made a huge impact on me at that time and made me re-think what it meant to play improvised music.  Some of my favourite phrases from Hugh are "More is more!" and "Too much is never enough!"

Kerry, Dave, and Evan were absolutely great just like Wednesday night and showed some other asides of their amazing musicality.  I think we played the tunes a little differently; a little less precise perhaps, but with more energy and wildness, almost achieving a kind of Mahavishnu "Birds of Fire" kind of vibe at times.

The room was absolutely packed with students and people were lined up the hall hoping to get a seat.  What a privilege to play with people of this calibre for a packed house!  Thank you Dave for setting this up.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Dave Robbins Electric Band Triumphs

I played an amazing gig with Dave Robbins Electric Band last night.  Brad Turner subbed for Hugh Fraser on keys (Hugh was stuck with the snow in Victoria). What a fun band. Dave's tunes are great and his playing nothing short of inspiring.  The tunes are really fun to play, are rhythmically interesting and just 'make sense' somehow in the way they are constructed.  I was sorry that Hugh couldn't make it, but happy to see Brad there. He was absolutely on fire and made all kinds of amazing sounds with his pile of electronic doodads. I always learn something from Brad and feel musically elevated and challenged by his playing.  It was my first time to play with the young tenor player, Evan Arntzen, who did his incredible musical family (see below) proud.

Lastly, it was really nice to reconnect with Kerry Galloway after 10 or 15 years - what a funky bass player! The last gig we played was with Bill Clark at some wedding reception with a lot of drunk bridesmaids at the Royal Vancouver Yacht Club.  Ugh.  This was a much better musical and social situation for us.  In addition to his great funkiness and absolutely complete professionalism as a player, Kerry is also tremendously funny and a great story teller.  I had forgotten that, but it was fun to be reminded.  This made me realize again that Vancouver seems like a small scene at times, but then I run into these monster players from time to time who I haven't played with in ages and somehow they have been playing a lot and doing interesting things without crossing paths with me.   There are so many good musicians in this town.

The 20 minute rehearsal for the gig was truly remarkable - one of the smoothest and most successful in recent memory. Everyone had worked on the music and was actually ready to rehearse instead of being there to learn their parts. Dave was very happy with the playing at the show, as were the musicians and the audience.  Dave is talking of recording at Brad's studio and of more gigs with the band.  I love it when I can contribute to a project like this where all the elements come together naturally, easily, and successfully.  We had a great turnout considering the frigid weather and snow still on the ground. Vancouverites are wimps about cold and snow! Lots of students from Cap were there, as well as some fellow musicians, Brent Gubbels and Steve Bagnell, and my good friends Dhavide and Meg.

Here's an interesting side story in connection with the gig...Evan Arntzen and I have an almost family connection.  His great Aunt Bev was married to my Grandfather's best friend, Ken, who we called Uncle Ken because of his closeness our family and who, obviously, is Evan's actual Uncle Ken.  Cool!  My Grandma was happy to hear that I was playing with one of the Arntzen boys and so was I.

I'm playing another gig with these guys at Capilano U tomorrow 11:30am in Fir 113 - free admission and good times if you are in the neighborhood. Looking forward to it!

Monday, January 16, 2012

When work is play

When you are a musician the word 'play' has many meanings.  We often call our work, the work of performing music with others for the enjoyment of an audience, playing.  This is true across musical genres in the English-speaking word as far as I can tell.  In the jazz world this word seems especially apt since what we do in our performing is closely related to actual playing that a child might do: imagining, experimenting, exploring, pushing boundaries.  Using the word play to describe what is also wage-earning work is problematic.  A photographer or painter might love what she does for a living just as much as the musician who goes out to perform at a concert, but we don't call it play.  This particular semantic confusion seems unique to music.  Why should people have to pay for us to get up onstage and play and have fun while they only get paid to do work?  This is a big issue for many musicians, but not the subject of my post today. 

With the first week of school this semester finished and another one beginning, I am thinking about how much I enjoy my teaching work at Capilano U.  While many people enjoy their work and find fulfilment in their jobs, I think you will find that the majority would not go on doing what they do if the wage were taken away.  If you had a plumber who suddenly became independently wealthy,  would that plumber head out every morning to clear blocked drains just for fun? Even within the music world there are many sad souls who would rather not play the kinds of music they are called upon to play.  A good wage is a serious part of the inducement to most kinds of work.

Don't get me wrong, I like money as much as the next person and have no desire to go without for the sake of my art, though I have done so many times and expect to do so in the future.  Nevertheless, where performance (playing) is concerned, it is pretty easy to see that most musicians would continue to play with or without a wage.  I feel that way about teaching too.  I think I would do it even if I wasn't being paid to do it, just for fun.  Maybe I wouldn't do it at 8:30am, but I really feel teaching is a kind of play for me just as much as music performance is.  Now of course I expect and demand to be paid and I need to be paid for my playing or I would have to spend my time getting wages some other way and thus be unavailable for teaching.  Same thing with music.

All this is to say that I am really enjoying teaching more than ever and count myself very blessed indeed to be able to go to work each day and talk about music with really intelligent and creative students and colleagues.  Of course there are small frustrations here and there and ups and down of various kinds and degree, but overall, I think this is a great way to spend my time.   I am thankful for a great job where I get to play for a living.

Friday, January 13, 2012

Best Pizza in Vancouver

Vancouver is the home to a lot of cheap but mediocre pizza.  It is a staple for jazz musicians coming home from late night gigs and I have eaten more than my share over the years.

Pizzeria Barbarella has finally opened at 654 E. Broadway.  I took the family down there tonight and it is absolutely fantastic.  There is no doubt that this is the best pizza I have ever had and the best you can find in our fair city.  Jennifer and the kids agreed.  We have eaten a lot of pizza together and take our food very seriously.  My son, Isaac, and I in particular have eaten at dozens of different places in town and have heated discussions about pizza regularly.

The owner and chef is Terry Dean. I first met Terry more than 20 years ago when we were both fledgling jazz players, though Terry was way better than me and just about everybody else our age.  Terry was soon off to NYC and other places and, in addition to playing the tenor saxophone incredibly well, has done a lot of different things to make a living in the intervening years.  His tenor playing is still really amazing but has now taken a backseat to an intense passion for pizza making.  Terry makes a real New York/Italian style pizza with very thin and crispy, hand-stretched, crust cooked in a super hot (870 degree!) oven.  The toppings are simple and of the finest possible quality, including house-made meats (salami, sausage and pancetta),  fresh fior di late, oven-dried cherry tomatoes, fresh basil, etc.  Terry does all the cooking himself. with just a couple of kitchen helpers to move pizzas in and out of the oven.  They also have salads etc, but we were just there for the pizza. The house stereo played Sonny Rollins nice and loud. No top 40 at Barbarella!  My friend (and wonderful trumpeter) Kevin Elaschuk, showed up with his wife Lori just as we were leaving.  I'm sure this will become a major hangout for Vancouver jazz people.

What an amazing meal.  I wish Terry all the success he deserves and for which has worked so hard.  The place was quite full when we were in and I hope it will continue like that.

Don't wait - head down to Pizza Barbarella as soon as possible.

Monday, January 9, 2012

Incredible Thelonious Monk video on You Tube

Clyde Reed turned me on to this incredible footage of the Thelonious Monk Quartet in Belgium.  This particular band has Frankie Dunlop on drums.  Clyde and I have had a long running discussion with our drummer friend, Joe Poole, about who was the best drummer with Monk.  Clyde and I have always liked Ben Riley while Joe insisted on Dunlop.  After hearing this, I have to go with Joe.  This is incredible footage and the sound is fantastic - like having a whole new Monk record!  I just love this.  The music is really alive and exciting. I think I like this even better than the Monk with Coltrane at Carnegie Hall.

Sunday, January 8, 2012


From  the stats I have recently looked at, it seems that there are actually a lot of people reading this blog and that makes me feel like I need to fill it up with things for people to read.  I'm glad that people are interested in what I'm doing.

January will be a month of musical reunions. First is a gig with Dave Robbins' Electric band featuring Hugh Fraser on January 18.  Hugh has been an important musical influence in my life and I haven't seen him in ages.  I'm really looking forward to playing with him and with the rest of the band. My dear friend and wonderful trumpeter, Bill Clark, will be coming home to Vancouver from New Mexico for a few months at the end of the month and we'll be doing a gig on February 8 with a trio with Stan Taylor on drums.  Lastly, Len Aruliah is coming over from England for a few months as well.  I'm looking forward to picking up where we left off in the summer with Len's Sextet and to just hanging out as well.  The new year is shaping up pretty well!