Greetings and happy summer!
It has been ages since I’ve put up a new post here. So much has happened in the last two years – it’s difficult for me to even know where to begin.
While the entire world went on pause in March 2020, I quietly began another milestone in my musical career. I was accepted into the Ph.D. program in musicology at the University of Western Ontario and began my studies in September 2020. My first year was online and completed (almost) entirely from my basement in Saskatoon: I took a handful of fascinating seminars on topics from Enlightenment opera and theatre, music and trauma, Gregorian chant from the ninth to the thirteenth centuries, and a unique course on the field of research creation. My second year was spent in London, Ontario attending in-person seminars and working as a teaching assistant for undergraduate music history courses. At this point, I’m finished my coursework and my comprehensive exam, putting me about halfway through my program. It has been overall a wonderful experience so far – one thing that I have greatly appreciated is the challenge of thinking about music from a wide range of perspectives and methodologies, which has fed directly into my approach as a performer and a teacher in all sorts of ways. My research interests and dissertation topic will need to wait for another post…
(I had many opportunities to check out London’s fabulous River’s Edge disc golf course while I was living out East)
If you’re curious about some of the other projects I’ve been involved in over the last two years, check out my Upcoming page and especially the “Past performances” section. I had the immense pleasure of sharing the stage with Grammy Award-winning drummer Larnell Lewis for the Saskatoon Jazz Orchestra’s Dimensions in Sound concert last month. If you were there, you already know how spectacular of a concert that was!
I have been working closely with my good friend Brett Graham this summer to refresh our saxophone & vibraphone duo project. Brett and I met at the University of Saskatchewan several years ago while completing our undergraduate degrees and have been collaborating in a variety of different settings ever since. We blend our interests and backgrounds in jazz, classical, funk, fusion, metal, folk, and pop and embrace the challenge of the duo context, especially when it comes to creating variety between roles of melody and accompaniment. I run my saxophone through guitar effects pedals to expand our musical options for texture and form. With the help of my looping pedal, Brett and I have done a few different covers of songs, ranging from works by Joe Henderson and Chick Corea to Tears for Fears’ “Everybody Wants to Rule the World.”
…”Tears for Fears, you say?”
Yes – here’s my solo saxophone version from the 2019 Music for the Gut Artist Showcase!
It’s been very encouraging to see a surge in live music events all over Saskatoon this summer. Brett and I were fortunate enough to kick off the 35th SaskTel Saskatchewan Jazz Festival on June 30 and play for the DTNYXE Noon Tunes series on July 16. Rick Elvin, one of the Jazz Festival’s photographers, took a couple of great shots from our performance, which you can see here below. (a couple of things you might notice: Brett’s sheet music hints at the wind vortex we endured throughout the performance, and…I got a hair cut. Kind of a big deal, since I hadn’t had one in six years!)
We have (at least) one more summer gig at Botté Chai Bar on Thursday, August 11 @ 7:30pm. Botté is one of Saskatoon’s newest members to the café scene, and I’m happy to see that they are also embracing live music this summer. Come check out what Brett and I have been working on lately!
Sounds like a pretty good excuse to try out Botté Chai Bar as well, right?