Capilano jazz students to play at Vernon Jazz Club

Capilano University’s jazz programs are recognized nationwide as a top jazz training institution

Candice McMahon

For The Morning Star

Capilano University, located in North Vancouver, offers a premiere four-year bachelor of music and jazz studies degree, as well as a two-year diploma program, and is recognized nationwide as one of Canada’s top jazz training institutions.

Focusing on jazz performance and composition, the degree program sets extremely high standards of musicianship and draws the strongest music students in Western Canada.

“We feel very strongly about the importance of performing in public and in engaging as much as possible with the global jazz community,” said Dennis Esson, Jazz Studies Coordinator and Instructor, about their upcoming gig at the Vernon Jazz Club.

“Our students are in the process of becoming educators, performers, and composers, and it is very important for them to realize that they are part of a greater artistic and cultural community, which is often reliant on the hard work put in by organizations such as the Vernon Jazz Society.”

Capilano Jazz Studies’ graduates have an excellent record of national and international success as performers, composers, and teachers. Seven of the Capilano University jazz alumni and two of their faculty members were in the running for the 2017 Juno Awards. Alumna Bria Skonberg won Vocal Jazz Album of the Year for Bria, and instructor Brad Turner’s band Metalwood won Jazz Album of the Year: Group for their album Twenty.

“A” Band is the top level instrumental ensemble of Capilano’s Jazz Studies degree program, and Nitecap is the front running jazz choir. Lead by faculty member Réjean Marois, these groups have performed with Jane Bunnett, Regina Carter, Bob Mintzer, Dave McMurdo, Kevin Turcotte, Brad Turner, Fred Stride, Hugh Fraser, Phil Dwyer, and many others. They also frequently collaborate with jazz singers, including Dee Daniels, Denzal Sinclair, and Nnenna Freelon, to name just a few.

Marois has published original works for jazz band, choir, jazz choir, and concert band. For over 15 years, he has been in demand throughout North America as a clinician, adjudicator, conductor, music advisor, and arranger.

Accompanying “A” Band and Nitecap will be renowned Capilano University Jazz Studies Instructors Brad Turner on trumpet, Steve Kaldestad on saxohpone, Jared Burrows on guitar, and Dennis Esson on trombone.

Turner’s phenomenal talents as a trumpeter, pianist, drummer, and composer make him one of Canada’s most sought after and highly esteemed musicians. Turner’s groups have opened for McCoy Tyner, Roy Haynes, Wayne Shorter, Clark Terry, Diana Krall, and Tony Bennett.

Since moving to Vancouver in 2008, Kaldestad has become one of the most in demand saxophonists on the scene, performing as a sideman with the Dan Brubeck Quartet, Jesse Cahill’s Nightcrawlers, Jodi Proznick’s quartet, and Jill Townsend’s big band.

Burrows is a dynamic force on the Vancouver scene as a performer, composer, and community organizer. He works in a huge variety of ensembles in jazz, new music, and world music settings, and leads the Jared Burrows Quartet and Sextet, and the Vancouver Improvisers Orchestra.

Esson has recorded numerous CBC sessions as a featured soloist. He is also the lead trombonist with groups such as the Vancouver Ensemble of Improvisation, Orquesta Goma Dura, Jill Townsend Big Band, Hard Rubber Orchestra, and the Fred Stride Jazz Orchestra.

“A” Band & Nitecap will be onstage at the Vernon Jazz Club (3000-31 Street) Tuesday, May 9 at 8 p.m. Doors open at 7:15 p.m. Cash only bar on site. Tickets $20 online at and at Expressions of Time (2901-30 Ave), with a $5 rebate at the show for VJS members.

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