Who would have thought award-winning jazz saxophonist David Rubel and former Humber jazz student played for a full house.
Now less than 10 years later, Rubel is performing to sold out jazz venues promoting his latest album “Into the Dark” and gearing up for a U.K. tour set March 2016.
Rubel said he used the school to begin his career writing and collaborating with talented musicians.
The Jazz Bistro on Victoria Street in Toronto opened its doors March 5-7 to Rubel as he played a three-day performance comprising of 14 jazz swings and standards.
Each performance was recorded for a live-off-the-floor CD that will be released next spring.
His skilled quartet consisted of Winston Matsushita, Malcolm Connor and Robin Claxton showcased guest vibraphonist Nat Steele from the U.K.
Before the show Rubel shared his thoughts on how he measures his progress and what he does to improve his craft.
Recording songs and tracing back how one sounds is a nice way to measure progress, Rubel said.
“The mood you’re in as you are playing really dictates how you feel about what you just played. A lot of the times I’ll play a solo that I think isn’t happening and when I listen back to it, I realize it wasn’t so good,” he said.
Rubel said that he enjoys listening to his music.
He laughed as he told the story of a man who sat beside him in a barbershop and expressed his distaste for the music playing and more specifically for the saxophone in the song. Rubel’s “Into the Dark” was playing at the time.
Rubel would not have been able to produce his latest album without the help of art grants. He will soon begin writing applications for new grants and encourages students to do the same.
“If you can’t sell your music how can you expect someone else to,” Rubel said. If you’re not 100 per cent for this and not ready to hustle for gigs you should absolutely quit, he said.
George Martinez, a first-year Commercial Jazz student, said that one of the biggest challenges is maintaining motivation.
“You hear of all these prodigy players and it makes you second guess yourself. It’s not the easiest scene to break into and to make it big. You have to put in work and play with a great sense of soulfulness,” he said.
Lydia Van Dyk, a first-year Humber Jazz student, cited many challenges facing jazz musicians such as: receiving adequate pay, reaching a large audience and not living up to personal standards.
“Students hoping to break into the scene should lift many different styles of music, network with other musicians and continue expanding musical knowledge and repertoire,” she said.
Nate Mantle, a second-year Humber Jazz student, said that drawing influence from multiple genres is a good way to keep a craft lively.
“Take up more than one instrument. Don’t limit your options,” he said.
Rubel’s philosophy is that musicians should stop trying to change their sound.
“I was taught that you couldn’t change your sound. You can improve your soul but the core, your sound remains the same,” he said.