About Me

To learn more about my research, accomplishments as a university professor, and publications please go to the tab SCHOLARSHIP. Below, I highlight how I came to jazz.

Like many people at my stage in life, early piano study began as classical training where one’s grade on the test counted for everything, and one’s ability to perform on demand was a bust.

I recall, vividly, when my mother found a retired band leader who taught popular music, even WWII memorables. This was pre-Xerox days, so at every lesson I was given a hand-written music score to take home and recopy on clean score. The long-term pay off was invaluable.

I practiced and played music from the films, and whatever was hot on the radio charts. During one school lunch break, I found my way to a piano buried backstage in the auditorium and started playing. To my surprise, many students were drawn to the sound of my playing, and I was struck by the power of music-making.

About two decades later, I found my way to jazz piano. During my early years as a university professor, I attended a five-day jazz workshop. I had never seen a jazz “fake sheet” (photocopies that circulated from musician to musician) until I was thirty years old. Given the spartan number of notes, I was amazed how seasoned musicians could play on and on. For one year, I studied jazz piano vigorously, but given increasing demands as a university professor, study became ad hoc and occasional. For about fifteen years, I played with a trio, then a quartet, as time and tide permitted.

After moving to Vancouver, I found my way back to jazz piano study around 2012, first at the Jean Lyons School of Music (with Victor Noriega), then at the VSO School of Music (with Miles Black). Old, habituated ways of playing piano were stripped bare by my compassionate and mindful instructors. I practiced with varied informal groupings of musicians, but it was into 2016 that a surge of composing began. I had rediscovered early formative tune sketches (notably “Vancouver” first drafted in 1977) and other ideas that led to tunes such as “Pedal Off”, “Soft Green”, and “Remembering Ian”. I was surprised by my aptitude for composition, and the energy that arose from late night piano explorations.

I recorded my debut album STEP UP in 2018, followed by JUST ONE MOMENT in 2020. More information can be found throughout my website.

Music Lab