This week we feature bassist Lauren Falls. Originally from the town of Port Alberni in British Columbia, she later moved to Toronto to complete her undergraduate studies at Humber College. Following that, she completed her master’s degree in jazz performance at Manhattan School of Music. Lauren’s teachers have included with Mike Downes, Don Thompson, Denny Christianson, Dave Liebman, Phil Markowitz, Jay Anderson, and Justin DiCioccio.
Since moving the New York City, Lauren has performed at Dizzy’s Club Coca-Cola, Cornelia Street Cafe, Fat Cat, and Cleopatra’s Needle. She was an artist-in-residence in Betty Carter’s Jazz Ahead program, a member of the Sisters in Jazz of the IAJE, and has shared the stage with Dave Douglas, Mike Stern, and Kurt Elling.
Lauren is also an accomplished composer, performing her original music with her self-titled group extensively throughout North America and releasing her debut recording in 2013.
Lauren participated in the Jazzology program in 2007. She contacted us from India, where she discussed her current activities and reflected on the Jazzology experience:
1) Describe your experience with the Jazzology program. What was your favourite aspect?
I was very excited to be on the radio! I think my favourite aspect was that we got to choose our own tracks to play.
2) What is your strongest memory of the program? Are there any funny stories or incidents that come to mind?
I think just the experience itself was my strongest memory. It was definitely one of the highlights of my time at Humber.
3) Would you recommend this experience to other young musicians?
I would definitely recommend this experience to other young musicians. Like I mentioned before, getting to choose the music that gets played is very exciting. It was also hard to narrow it down to three or four tracks. And just having the chance to be interviewed on the radio is a great learning experience.
4) How has this experience helped in your personal and professional development?
I think it helped prepare me for other similar situations. Whether it’s a radio interview, magazine or newspaper; it’s good to get your feet wet somehow and the Jazzology program definitely helped me in that way.
Jazzology is made possible by our generous donors and RBC Royal Bank who strongly believe in the importance of arts education initiatives. If you had the opportunity to thank them in person, what would you say?
Thank you for supporting the young generation of jazz musicians. It’s hard enough out there so it’s encouraging and inspiring to participate in such a great and positive program.
6) Why is music education important?
I think when you’re developing as a musician it’s important to be in a place where you’re surrounded by people who are facing the same challenges. It’s both humbling and inspiring. And studying with musicians and faculty that have experienced these challenges and can pass on knowledge and advice is extremely beneficial. I am extremely grateful for my time at Humber College and for getting the chance to take part in Jazzology.
7) Since participating in the Jazzology program, what have you been doing?
Since I participated in the Jazzology program I received my master’s degree at Manhattan School of Music on scholarship. I was awarded a study grant from The Canada Council. And just this past December I released my debut album, The Quiet Fight.
8) What music are you listening to at the moment that you find particularly inspiring?
I have a pretty random collection of music… Some of my favorites in the past couple years have been Ben Wendel, bassist Thundercat, and Ambrose Akinmusire’s new record, the imagined savior is far easier to paint. And it just came out, but I’m enjoying Nir Felder’s new record, Golden Age. I think what I like about all these musicians is that their music sound fresh and original. On the other hand there are still the classics I will never get enough of like Ahmad Jamal, Miles, and definitely some Ray Brown and many, many more! You see, all over the map….
9) What are your plans for the future?
At the moment I’m actually teaching in Mumbai, India at a sister school of Manhattan School of Music. It’s called the True School of Music. I’ve been here since January and I will be staying until April. So I’m finally getting to experience the other side of music education and I’m finding it very rewarding. I have some very enthusiastic students and I’m feeling very inspired.
10) How can people learn more about you and your activities?
Later this spring when I’m back in New York I’ll be having an official CD Release party and you’re all invited! Info will be on the website: www.laurenfallsmusic.com
Jazzology is proudly sponsored by RBC Emerging Artists Project.
About RBC and the Arts
RBC sponsors a wide-range of grassroots and local initiatives that contribute to the cultural fabric of our communities. Proud to support events and passions that resonate with our clients and all Canadians, RBC provides opportunities for up-and-coming artists through programs such as the RBC Canadian Painting Competition, one of the largest competitions of its kind in the world; and the RBC Emerging Filmmakers Competition, part of our commitment as the Official Bank and major sponsor of the world’s top public film festival – the Toronto International Film Festival®.