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!