Toronto Jazz Academy Orchestra
Alex Dean- Saxophone Fundamentals
Alex Dean, one of Canada’s foremost jazz saxophonists, has been a mainstay of the Canadian music scene for many years. He has played and recorded with Gil Evans, Kenny Wheeler, Aretha Franklin, Natalie Cole, Harry Connick Jr., Phil Nimmons, the Dave McMurdo Jazz Orchestra, the Toronto Symphony Orchestra, and the Hamilton Philharmonic Orchestra.
Brian O'Kane-The Art of Brass Playing
Kelsley Grant- Improvisation 101
Kelsley holds a Bachelor of Music from McGill University and completed his Graduate studies at the Manhattan School of Music. Shortly after leaving New York he joined Maynard Fergusonʼs Big Bop Noveau and toured the United States, Germany, Switzerland and England. Kelsley has performed with Aretha Franklin, Jackie Richardson, Frank Sinatra Jr., Michael Buble, Maria Schneider, Michel LeGrand, Nicholas Payton, Sophie Milman, Ranee Lee and Karen Young.
He toured with Forever Swing and took part in the Toronto productions of Annie, Romancing The One I Love, Ainʼt Misbehavinʼ, The Rat Pack, Kinky Boots and Matilda. He has played on several movie soundtracks including Born To Be Blue, Cirque de Soleil-Alegria and Les Triplettes De Belleville.
Kelsley has been twice nominated for trombonist of the year by the National Jazz Awards. He has composed and arranged for many ensembles. The Jefferson-Grant Quintet, won an Opus Award for their first recording and was nominated Acoustic Ensemble of the Year by the National Jazz Awards. Kelsley has served as a faculty member at McGill University and has given Master Classes and clinics at Universities across Canada. He is currently on Faculty at Humber College andUniversity of Toronto.
Mike Downes- Creating a Solid Groove
Multiple JUNO award winner Mike Downes has been a prominent Canadian bassist, composer, arranger and educator since the early 1980s. His musicality, emotional depth and melodic approach to the bass have thrilled audiences in Europe, Japan, South Korea, Brazil, Mexico, Israel, Iceland, the United States and Canada. In addition to leading his own groups, Mike has performed with virtually all of Canada's top jazz musicians, including Molly Johnson, Oliver Jones, PJ Perry, Lorne Lofsky, Don Thompson, Kirk MacDonald, Robi Botos and Pat LaBarbera. He has performed with international artists Pat Metheny, Chris Potter, Michael Brecker, John Abercrombie, Peter Erskine, Kenny Wheeler, John Taylor, Dave Liebman and many others.
Helping to mentor and inspire young musicians is an important component of Mike’s career. He has been the Bass Department Head at prestigious Humber College in Toronto since 2000. He has also been featured as a Yamaha artist/clinician throughout Canada, at the Paekche Institute in Seoul, South Korea and the infamous Conservatoire de Paris. Mike is the author of The Jazz Bass Line Book published by Advance Music of Germany. The book is receiving world-wide acclaim as one of the most informative books available on the subject. He is also co-author of Jazz and Popular Music Theory.