Faculty 2024

Len Aruliah

Saxophone 

Len Aruliah is a freelance musician active in London and Vancouver. He released his first album Full Circle in 2007 with a quartet playing his compositions and has recently recorded current works with a new sextet. In London, Len has worked with the Charles Condy Quartet, Paul Weinreb’s Tarantula, the Hot Orange Big Band, the 4Seasons Band, and his own groups. He has also toured the UK with singer Gene Pitney, worked in theatre orchestras in London’s West End, and has toured the world performing on cruise liners. Len studied at UBC and the Banff Centre, working with great musicians such as Julia Nolan, David Branter, Stan Karp, Fred Stride, Hugh Fraser, Kenny Wheeler, Pat LaBarbera, and Don Thompson. Len holds a B. Mus. degree from UBC and is an experienced music educator, having worked in various London colleges, academies, and schools.

Kris Bowerman

 Trombone

As a child Kris took years of private lessons on trombone, ending up with a Bachelor of Music in trombone performance from San Francisco State University. At age seventeen he began passing on his knowledge to younger students, giving one-on-one instruction to aspiring trombonists as well as students of the trumpet, French horn, euphonium (baritone), and tuba.

The first two major performances for Kris were at the Monterey Jazz Festival — performing with some of the most well-known jazz artists of the time (Dizzy Gillespie, Max Roach, Clark Terry, Gerry Mulligan, Bill Watrous, and others). He went on to perform in symphony orchestras, Dixieland bands, swing bands, Renaissance groups, brass ensembles, an original music group with his wife Lark, and in small group jazz bands.

Presently, Kris runs a small jazz group called the Kris Jay Trio, which performs around the Vancouver area for various events, including concerts. Under the name Kris Jay, he is also publishing original music featuring trombone on platforms such as Spotify and Apple Music.

 

 

Brent Gubbels

 Bass

Brent Gubbels has been a Vancouver based professional musician and teacher for nearly twenty years. In that time he’s worked with a number of local musicians and ensembles including the Hard Rubber Orchestra, Gypsalero, Rumba Calzada, John Reischman, the Vince Mai Project, Jesse Zubot, Dal Richards, Lee Aaron and Dee Daniels.

Since 1992, he has toured North America and Europe extensively and played a variety of international jazz and folk festivals. Brent can be heard on recordings by Oscar Lopez, Gypsalero, Juno nominees Susan Crowe and Compadres, Juno winner James Keelaghan, and others.

 

Thomas Holden

Trumpet

Thomas Houlden is a Vancouver-based brass player with deep influences from Kenny Wheeler, Booker Little, and Bob Brookmeyer. He directs a large ensemble (The Thomas Houlden 11tet) built off the legacy of the Rob McConnell Tentet to perform his original compositions and arrangements, invoking sounds from The Boss Brass, The Jazz Messengers, and the Thad Jones/Mel Lewis Orchestra. He regularly performs around Vancouver as a small and large jazz ensemble player, and trumpeter/arranger covering video game music with the jazz-fusion band missingNo. since 2012.

Thomas holds an B.Mus in Jazz Studies from Capilano University where he studied trumpet with Brad Turner and Kevin Elaschuk, and a M.Mus in Jazz Performance from the University of Toronto where he worked with Chase Sanborn and Jim Lewis. He has performed with world-class musicians including Dave Liebman, Randy Brecker, Claudio Roditi, Bill Frisell, and John Abercrombie. He studied arrangement and composition with Terry Promane and John MacLeod of The Boss Brass, as well as Vancouver’s Jill Townsend and Rejean Marois. His pieces have been played by the Hard Rubber Orchestra and by various university and high-school ensembles across Canada.

When not writing or performing, Thomas currently works as a band teacher, private instructor, and jazz/brass clinician in the Greater Vancouver area. He has begun remote-recording several of his 11tet compositions, hiring a rotating cast of musicians from across Canada, which are available on his YouTube channel. A four-track EP by the Thomas Houlden Sextet recorded in 2018, “The Price of Wisdom,” is also available for purchase and download on Bandcamp.

 

 

 

Brad Muirhead

 Trombone

Brad Muirhead is well known to audiences across Canada and Europe for his powerful sound and inventive improvising and has been involved in the Vancouver music scene as a performer, composer and arranger for more than 20 years. He has recorded and toured extensively with his own groups Primal Orbit and Brass Roots as well as the NOW Orchestra, Hugh Fraser’s VEJI, and the Hard Rubber Orchestra. His latest original projects as a leader are “The Brad Muirhead Quartet”, his original modern jazz outlet and “Propulsion”, a hard-hitting jazz/funk horn band with Brad on Tuba-bass. Brad has been very active as a music educator and has held such positions as Coordinator of the Banff Summer Jazz Workshop, Producer of the Vancouver & Victoria International Jazz Orchestra Workshops and Artistic Director of the Renfrew Community Performance Project.

 

ROn Samworth

Guitar

Ron Samworth (guitarist) is known on the Canadian improvised/contemporary music scene as an inventive textural improviser and a strong fluid soloist inspired by a variety of traditions including jazz, rock, contemporary and world musics. He leads the Vancouver-based quartet Talking Pictures and co-directed the acclaimed NOW Orchestra from 1993-2003. He is also a member of The Unexpected, a Montreal-Vancouver collective, the Peggy Lee Band, DarkBlueWorld, François Houle’s electro-acoustic quartet and the Hard Rubber Orchestra. He has appeared at all the major Jazz Festivals across Canada, the Festival International de Musique Actuelle de Victoriaville, at New York’s Knitting Factory, and the New York Improvisation Festival, New Music America, Vienna’s “Let’s Cool One” Chamber Jazz Festival, Chicago and Berlin jazz festivals, and other leading venues in Europe. He has performed with many of the leading voices in contemporary music such as John Zorn, Dave Douglas, Evan Parker, Barry Guy, George Lewis, Wayne Horvitz, Kuzuhisa Uchihashi, Yasuhiro Otani, Butch Morris, Han Bennink, Barre Phillips, Marilyn Crispell, Claude Ranger, René Lussier, and Jean Derome.

 

Elliot Polksy

Drums 

Based in Vancouver, BC – Elliot Polsky is known for being a versatile, intuitive and musical performer. He is skilled in multiple musical styles on drum set, world and hand percussion – Elliot has performed live on stage locally, nationally and internationally. He has many studioand live recordings to his credit, and has provided leadership and guidance to many students, some of whom have gone on to their own professional careers. His performing arsenal includes the drum set, along with a variety of percussion instruments from all over the world. He is noted for his creativity and ability to blend hand percussion with the drum set into a hybrid percussive and musical style completely his own.

 

From the early 1990s to today, Elliot has performed on dozens of recordings, and hundreds of stages. He has performed and/or recorded projects with a varied group of musical artists. Urban Bandscape, Leela Gilday, Pacifika, The Good Noise Vancouver Gospel Choir, Zubot and Dawson, George Leach, Jim Byrnes, Norine Braun, Dave Quinn Quartet, Jamie Croil, Mariam Matossian, The Higgins Family Band, Gary Fjellgard, The Paperboys, Steve Dawson, Danielle Hebert, Babe Gurr, are a sampling of the many fine artists Elliot has had the privilege of sharing the stage or performing on their recordings.

 

Elliot also has performed with several artists who have won a variety of major awardsincluding: Four Juno-award winning projects, Maple Blues Awards, Aboriginal Music Awards, Canadian Folk Music Awards, Western Canadian Music Awards and West Coast Music Awards.

 

Elliot has many years as an educator, having guided students of all ages, whether one on one or in group settings, on the drumset in many styles, and with hand percussion.

 

  Stephen Robb

director – WInds, Piano

Stephen is an accomplished clarinetist jazz pianist, saxophonist, and arranger performing both classical chamber music and jazz idioms, performing the gamut from classical clarinet, chamber, and orchestral repertoire to jazz standards, original compositions, and free improvisation. Stephen is a graduate of Queen’s University at Kingston, McGill University in Montreal and the University of British Columbia in Vancouver. Currently, Stephen is Music Director of the Delta Community Music School, and the Music Director and Principal Conductor of the Richmond Delta Youth Orchestra. He teaches clarinet, saxophone and jazz piano at the Delta Community Music School. He is a member of the Kris Jay Trio and leads his own jazz piano trio.

 

 

 

 

 

Jennifer Scott

Vocal Jazz Workshop

Jennifer Scott is a Vancouver-born vocalist and jazz pianist specializing in jazz, blues and world music. Jennifer is considered one of the most important jazz artists working in Canada and the United States today. From sold-out concerts in San Francisco to exclusive local club performances, Jennifer’s performance experiences have been varied. Jennifer has appeared at Jazz Festivals all across Canada and in several of the United States. She has also appeared with such jazz luminaries as: Tommy BanksDon ThompsonKenny WheelerSkywalk, and Hugh Fraser, to name a few.

Jennifer Scott has appeared on JazzbeatWestcoast Performance, and CBC’s Hot Air several times, and was selected to be featured on four separate CDs produced by the CBC. She has also appeared on several TV shows as a featured performer.

Interactive, Jennifer Scott’s self-produced CD, was critically received and has sold more than 1500 copies independently. Jennifer had two subsequent releases: Something to Live By, featuring Jennifer on Vocals, Bob Murphy on Piano, and Rene Worst on bass; and Live at Monk’s featuring Jennifer’s vocals and her debut as a recorded jazz pianist. Rene Worst is, again, featured on bass; and multi-reedist Tom Keenlyside is also featured.

Jennifer is pianist/vocalist for San Francisco-based Novo Tempo, a Brazilian/jazz Fusion group featuring the music of Ed Johnson. She has recorded 2 CDs and toured extensively with this group, including dates at Dizzy’s in San Diego and Catalina’s in Los Angeles. She was featured with jazz legend Clark Terry, performing with him at the Centre for Performing Arts in Vancouver.

After a few years of performing and traveling, Jennifer returned to the studio to record her fourth CD, Emotional Girl. Produced by her husband, Rene Worst, this CD showcases Jennifer’s expanded emotional, performing, and creative ranges.

Jennifer and Rene then teamed up with S.F. Bay Area saxophonist Kristen Strom, guitarist Scott Sorkin, and drummer Jason Lewis to form Crossing Borders, a new international jazz group that performs and records music from the heart, whether an artful reworking of a standard or a new take on a classic pop tune.

Jennifer Scott is in demand as an educator and clinician both in the United States and Canada, and has taught and created many workshops and college courses.

For more information visit jenniferscott.ca

Dr. Laura Harrison

Vocal Jazz Workshop

Dr. Laura Harrison has returned to Vancouver, BC after a 20-year detour in Los Angeles, California. In all seriousness, she loved working in Southern California and was a performing musician, composer, arranger, director (both at the undergrad level and in sacred music), author, and private instructor in voice and theory. She was the typical music educator and performer in Southern California which means she worked 7 days a week, 12 hour days.

Before leaving Canada, she completed a Bachelor of Music degree at Capilano University and a Bachelor of Education degree at UBC to become a high school teacher. After being a teacher for a few years at Maple Ridge Secondary School, she was recruited by the Department Chair at the University of Southern California. Laura was granted a teaching assistantship to pursue graduate studies. She finished her Master of Music (2002) and Doctor of Musical Arts degree in Jazz Studies at USC (2007).

She is pursuing a unique, broad-spectrum vocal career equally represented in both the Jazz and Classical arenas. Dr. Harrison is a dedicated educator who has worked with a wide array of high school, college, and university students for over 30 years. Laura is currently a jazz arranger, composer, author, private voice instructor, and a full professor of Jazz Studies at Capilano University. Dr. Harrison’s private vocal studio allows her to work with students from all walks of life with varying abilities and interests.

Laura has been writing and executing curricula in a wide array of music courses during her pedagogical career. Dr. Harrison’s student-centred approach to teaching theory/sight-reading has become popular in the music communities she serves. Her love of theory and passion for teaching inspired her to write Enjoying Music Theory (ISBN-13:978-0986415401) and is used as a textbook in the United States. She felt the need to have a theory book deliver complicated theoretical concepts in a concise, clear manner. Dr. Harrison further wanted the language to be conversational and humourous. Those that have been using her theory book (and her approach to teaching musicianship) have given Laura positive feedback on the success of their students.

Dr. Harrison began her career at Capilano University in 2018 as a full professor in jazz studies. In addition to the vocal ensembles, Laura teaches a myriad of classes including theory, arranging, and pedagogy.

Laura is far from idle in her career. She is re-writing her ‘Enjoying Music Theory’ book to include all subjects required for advanced placement high school classes, she’s writing a second book about beginning improvisation for vocal jazz students using transcriptions of solos from the masters of the artform. Due to demand, Laura is now selling her vocal jazz arrangements. Please consider going to www.lauraharrisonmusic.com for more information.

 

RENE Worst

VOCAL Jazz WOrkshop

Rene Worst, an internationally known and well respected bass player, has established himself as one of the most influential and leading jazz voices in North America for several decades. He attended the UBC School of Music and Douglas College jazz program and was voted Bassist of the Year by the BC CARAS Tribute to West Coast Music for the 4 years that the awards were given. Rene was co-leader of the now-legendary fusion band Skywalk with six CD’s to their credit. He has toured Canada with jazz legends Chet Baker, Gene Bertoncini and Joe Pass and on the international scene, has toured the former Soviet Union with Paul Horn.

He is also the bassist with Brazilian band Novo Tempo and multi-disciplinary ensemble Crossing Borders, both bands having toured extensively throughout the US & Canada; he is a virtuoso on both string and electric basses. Rene Worst has recorded and performed with numerous jazz greats, including Jack Sheldon, Tommy Banks, Herb Ellis, Freddie Hubbard, Ernestine Anderson, John Faddis, Don Thompson to name a few and has recorded and produced 7 CDs for musical partner, Jennifer Scott, one of the top jazz artists in Canada, including the highly acclaimed “ Emotional Girl“. He has also been featured as a session player on recordings by Jennifer Love Hewitt, David Bowie, Aerosmith and Poison, to name a few. Rene has released a duo album with pianist Miles Black. It has received much critical acclaim. Renee’s  studio works include jingles, album projects, and movie scores. As a noted producer, Rene has helmed recordings for Sandy Foster, Megan Fanning, Skywalk, & Crossing Borders. This current year, Rene has released the Jennifer Scott CD StoryBookas bassist and producer and was featured on new releases by Keith Bennett and Hans Staymer.