Showcase shares jazz talents with all comers

Jessie Ryan (left) and Jacob Gorzhaltsan (centre) performed at Contemporary Jazz Showcase on Nov. 28.  Photo by Ashley Jagpal Jessie Ryan (left) and Jacob Gorzhaltsan (centre) performed at Contemporary Jazz Showcase on Nov. 28. Photo by Ashley Jagpal

Ashley Jagpal
A&E Reporter

Humber College students and the school’s community got an earful last Friday when they witnessed a two-hour Contemporary Jazz Showcase at Lakeshore campus.

Andrew Scott, a faculty member in the music program was one of the hosts for the Nov. 28 show.

“It’s great for Humber students and the community to hear them,” said Scott.

A full-time teacher since 2010, Scott said, “I love communicating music with students. It’s a valuable skill and it connects with culture.”

Two groups performed at the contemporary showcase: the Humber Advanced Jazz Workshop, directed by Kirk MacDonald; and the Humber Vocal Jazz Ensemble, directed by Lisa Martinelli.

“They start rehearsing the beginning of the academic year,” said Scott. “When they first auditioned to get into the program, they met with the head of the music department they were interested in.

“They are placed in an ensemble where they then practise a combination of their own music and other compositions that are considered American Standard,” he said. “But they then take those songs and bring a new perspective and fresh voice to it.”

Younger fans, including third-year Business Management student Jeremy McLoy, 20, were in the minority.

“I came because I enjoy jazz music,” said McLoy. “I’m used to being one of the youngest at a music show, so I am very surprised to see that I am not alone this time.”

McLoy attended because he wants to keep the live music industry alive.

“I try to go to as many live performances as I can because I feel like it is slowly dying down,” said McLoy. “People are so into buying music from iTunes or downloading them illegally that they don’t appreciate live music anymore, which is such a shame because live music is what music is all about.”

MacDonald acknowledged his music is challenging because he incorporates different techniques into one song, but praised his students for working hard to learn it.

They played a variety of songs including “Symmetry” and “The Power of Four,” both composed by MacDonald. He introduced his students which included, Jessie Ryan on alto sax, Jacob Gorzhalstan on tenor sax, Deniz Lim-Sersan on piano, Trevor Peverley on guitar, George Chenery on bass and Patrick Daniher on drums.

Next was a group featuring a first-year vocal performance student with a powerful voice, Jessica Chen, 17.

Chen trained classically three years before switching to jazz a year and a half ago.

“Anyone who wants to go into composition, (jazz) is the foundation for it,” said Chen. “It helps you find your way and it’s important to know. I really like it.”

Chen, in part, chose Humber for its global reputation.

“It’s a really great, well-known music program that has built a name for itself internationally.”

Performing live is something Chen enjoys tremendously.

“Just being able to share something you have is amazing,” she said. “Not everyone is an artist, so if you have that talent you have an obligation to share it with the world.”