Meet the JAZZ.FM91 Youth Big Band 17/18

Anji Zhang: saxophonist

Tenor saxophonist Anji Zhang’s musical journey has led her back to the JAZZ.FM91 Youth Big Band for a third and final year. Now in twelfth-grade, she makes every effort to contribute to the music and the band dynamic while looking forward to mentoring the younger musicians as well.

Anji is grateful to have had the fortune to study at Humber’s CMS with Lorne Lofsky, Kirk MacDonald, and Tara Davidson in recent years. Through CMS, she has begun to find her own voice, influenced as much by Stan Getz as Ella Fitzgerald as Clifford Brown. CMS faculty has recognized her musical progress through several awards during her time there. She leads her own small jazz groups through Earl Haig Secondary School’s jazz program and recently organized Sunnybrook Hospital’s first student-jazz concert series. She took on the role as first tenor in U of T’s Hart House Big Band in Summer 2017.

As Anji heads up the path towards a career in medicine, she carries her love of jazz into her future with pride and enthusiasm. Anji thanks JAZZ.FM91’s donors for allowing her the opportunity to share and develop her passion through the Youth Big Band.

Benjamin Lee: trumpeter

Trumpeter Benjamin Lee is currently in grade 10 at Upper Canada College It is his first year in the JAZZ.FM91 Youth Big Band, and his fifth on the trumpet. During that time, he has had the privilege of working with Brian O’Kane, participated in the Humber Community Music School, and plays in various bands his school has to offer.

As a musician, Ben would like to develop his sound, range, endurance, and ability to improvise. His greatest inspirations in music include Kenny Dorham, Hank Mobley, MIles Davis, Lee Morgan, Sonny Stitt, and John Coltrane. When he isn’t playing the trumpet, Ben participates actively in his school debate team and enjoys running recreationally. He is absolutely thrilled to be playing in the same band as some of the best young jazz musicians in Canada, and he looks forward to learning and developing in such. After high school, Ben hopes to pursue a career in law while maintaining his love and enjoyment for music.

Jason Town: trumpeter

Trumpeter Jason Town is in Grade 12 at The Woodlands high school in Mississauga and this is his first year in the JAZZ.FM91 youth big band.
Jason started playing the trumpet when he was 12 years old and is currently studying with Suzanne Jones.
He has also enjoyed playing piano from a young age as well as acoustic guitar and electric bass.
Jason was selected lead trumpet for both the Peel Honours Jazz and Concert bands in his grade 9 and 10 years, and enjoyed performing with those bands at the Living Arts Centre in Mississauga.
He is also playing the cornet in the Hannaford Youth Brass Band as well as three other school ensembles.
Jason enjoys listening to Jazz and is inspired by many great artists such as Miles Davis, Nat Adderley, Randy Brecker and Horace Silver.
Outside of music he enjoys playing hockey, snowboarding and fishing.
Jason intends to pursue post-secondary music studies and is excited to work towards the goal of becoming a professional musician.
He looks forward to being a part of such a talented group and learning from his peers.

Leo Silva: Trumpeter

Trumpeter Leo Silva was born in Graciosa, Açores. He started studying at five years of age at the AMIG Academy of Music and later joined the local community band, Sociedade, Filarmónica, União, Praiense. He was fortunate to partake in various competitions where he performed solo and obtained several awards, across the island of Açores.

In 2011, Leo arrived in Canada and joined a local Toronto band (Banda Lira Nossa Senhora De Fátima) for a few months and then joined the ABC Music Academy.

Since 2012, Leo has been playing with Banda Do Sagrado Coraçāo De Jesus. The ensemble’s conductor, Miguel Domingos, awarded Leo a scholarship to study at the Royal Conservatory of Music, where he was taught by Stanley Rosenzweig.

Leo’s biggest musical inspiration is Arturo Sandoval, because of his ability to play with an amazing open sound throughout the range of the instrument. His plans after high school include working towards an application to Humber College and becoming a professional musician.

Marton Pandy: trumpeter

Marton Pandy is a trumpeter in the JazzFm91 Youth Big Band. He is a grade 11 student at Earl Haig Secondary School in the Claude Watson Music Program. This is his third year in the Youth Big Band. In addition to playing the trumpet, he is also the drummer in his church band. Marton has been playing trumpet since grade six, and has enjoyed every year of playing his instrument. He studies with Norman Engel. Marton plays in numerous bands at his high school, including the Symphonic Band and the Jazz Band. This year at JazzFm, he’s really looking forward to all of the concerts as well as the challenge that comes along with all the difficult charts the Youth Big Band plays. He hopes that his improvisation skills will improve, as well as his abilities as an all around trumpet player, under trumpet section leader, Leo Silva. Marton ‘s biggest musical inspiration is Dizzy Gillespie, with his unique techniques and sounds. Outside of music, Marton plays hockey as a goaltender, competitive golf as well as many other sports recreationally at and outside of school. After high school, he hopes to pursue an engineering degree, while keeping up his pursuit of music and sports.

Mateo Mancuso: pianist

Mateo Mancuso is in Grade 12, and this is his first year playing piano with the Jazz FM YBB. His first instrument is actually drums, and he plays in the Humber College senior enriched band directed by Kirk Macdonald. He has also been under the direction of Lorne Lofsky. He studies with Brian Rudolph on piano currently, and has studied with Frank Falco. He studies with his father, Steve Mancuso, on drums. His favourite musicians and the ones who influence him include Elvin Jones, John Coltrane, Keith Jarret, McCoy Tyner, Charlie Parker and Tony Williams. When he is not playing jazz, Mateo enjoys songwriting. He also teaches drums at Kollari Institute of Music. Mateo‘s goals this year are to get better at sight reading in a big band setting, and to improve his piano playing to be at the level of his drumming. He will be taking a year off after he graduates to focus on being the best musician he can be and to decide whether he wants to study piano or drums. He hopes to attend either U of T or Humber College.

Nigel Luke: saxophonist

Saxophonist Nigel Luke is a grade 11 student at Westmount Secondary School in Hamilton and is in his first year with the Youth Big Band where he plays alto. He began studying saxophone in grade six with Scott Neilson, starting on alto and adding in tenor, soprano, baritone, clarinet and bass clarinet. He also studies flute with Máté Szigeti. Nigel participates in the Humber Community Music School, where he has had the opportunity to study privately with David French and Johnny Griffith. He currently plays in the Hamilton All Star Jazz Band, his high school jazz band, small ensemble, wind orchestra, as well as an independent saxophone quartet. He is very excited for the opportunity to perform with the amazing musicians in the Youth Big Band and looks forward to learning and improving as a musician. His biggest musical inspirations include Cannonball Adderley, Hank Mobley, and Snarky Puppy. Nigel enjoys listening to music, attending live performances, reading, hanging out with friends and walking his dog. He hopes to attend university or college for music, and after that, go into jazz professionally.

Mattaus Gretzinger: saxophonist

Tenor saxophonist Mattaus Gretzinger is in grade 11, and this is his first year in the JAZZ.FM91 Youth Big Band. He started playing the saxophone in grade six. He has studied with Pat Carey, Johnny Griffith, and is currently studying with David French at the Humber Community Music Program. He plays with the High Rendition Jazz Band and in a small jazz combo, and is the musical director for his school’s jazz band. Mattaus looks forward to the level of professionalism associated with the JAZZ.FM91 Youth Big Band, as well as the overall musicianship of the members. His biggest musical inspirations include Joshua Redman, Dexter Gordon, Hank Mobley and Victor Wooten. When he’s not making music, he enjoys going participating in his school’s swim and track teams. He plans to keep his options open for post-secondary education, as he is still undecided regarding a career.

Yoshi Maclear Wall: bassist

Bassist Yoshi Maclear Wall is in grade 11 at Etobicoke School of the Arts. This is his first year in the JAZZ.FM91 Youth Big Band. Yoshi began playing electric bass when he was 11 years old and switched to acoustic when he was 14. He has studied with Julian Anderson Bowes, Jack Steinwall and Lucian Gray, all through the Discovery Through the Arts program. He plays in various school ensembles, including the Etobicoke School of the Arts musical theatre pit band.

Yoshi is looking forward to collaborating with the excellent musicians of the Youth Big Band, improving his improvisation and increasing his ensemble playing skills. His biggest inspirations in music include Charles Mingus, Bootsy Collins and Les Claypool. Though he hasn’t decided on his specific career path, Yoshi is sure that music will always be a big part of his life.

Zarah Faiz: trombonist

Zahra Faiz is in grade 11 and this is her second year in the JAZZ.FM91 Youth Big Band. She plays trombone as well as piano, guitar, and violin. Zahra has been playing trombone for six years, studying with Cathy Stone. She plays in all of her school’s bands. In the next year, Zahra hopes to learn more about playing in different genres and styles. In terms of inspiration, she finds them whenever she hears a piece of music. In addition to music, Zahra is very interested in history, politics, and learning about ways that the world works.

Jacob Chung: saxophonist

Now in twelfth-grade, saxophonist Jacob Chung returns to the JAZZ.FM91 Youth Big Band for his second and final year. Jacob has been playing tenor saxophone since tenth-grade, and picked up alto saxophone earlier this year to play lead for the Youth Band. In taking on the challenge of the lead chair, he hopes to gain a deeper understanding of interpretation and section-playing.

For the past three years, Jacob is fortunate to have had the opportunity to study at Humber’s CMS with Jeff King, Kenji Omae, Luis Deniz, Lorne Lofksy, and most recently Kirk MacDonald. Jacob’s progress at CMS has been recognized through several awards.

Jacob co-leads an educational jazz combo at Upper Canada College with the intent of passing on some of the knowledge he has acquired. In addition, he was selected to participate in the 2017 Conn-Selmer Centerstage Big Band at Musicfest Nationals, and has participated twice in the Youth Jazz Canada Summer Workshop.

As Jacob is leaning towards a career in music, he intends to pursue a post-secondary education in jazz to refine his playing. He is grateful to be a participant in JAZZ.FM91’s education programs, and would like to thank the donors for allowing him the opportunity to develop and share his passion for music.

Jackson Haynes: drummer

Jackson Haynes is in grade 10 at Aldershot High School, in Burlington, Ontario. This is his third year in the Youth Big Band and he is looking forward to travelling and performing with his bandmates. He has been playing drums for 12 years and studies with his father, Joel Haynes. Other jazz bands he has played with include the Halton Junior Jazz Band, the Hamilton Junior All-Star Big Band and his school concert band. He is also involved in extracurricular sports, including soccer, volleyball, track and field, and hockey. Some of his drumming inspirations are Neil Peart, Buddy Rich, Philly Joe Jones, Mike Portnoy, Tony Williams and Roy Haynes. Jackson’s musical goals include focussing on his jazz up-tempo endurance, continuing to listen to a variety of jazz recordings, and to build on his playing repertoire. He hopes to continue with the JAZZ.FM91 Youth Big Band until graduation.

Nick Forget: trombonist

Trombonist Nick Forget is in Grade 11 and this is his third year in the JAZZ.FM91 Youth Big Band. He has been playing trombone for seven years. Nick has studied with Cathy Stone and Charles Gray. He currently studies with guitarist Lucian Gray and Matt Jefferson, the bass trombonist in the Maniacal 4 Trombone Quartet. In addition to the JAZZ.FM91 Youth Big Band, he plays in ensembles at Discovery Through the Arts Music School, The Eighth Street Orchestra, The New Age Brass Band, The Hannaford Youth Band and The Avery Raquel Band.

Nick looks forward to every aspect of playing in the JAZZ.FM91 Youth Big Band. He feels that his fellow players are excellent and ispiring and he loves performing with them.

He has many goals for the coming year; he plans to improve everything he does and to learn new skills. Last year, he was a member of the Conn-Selmer Centrestage Jazz Band in MusicFest, and he’d like to do that again, especially since Musicfest will be in Toronto this year.

Nick’s biggest musical inspirations are Jacob Collier, Pat Metheny, Charlie Parker, Jaco Pastorius, Maniacal 4, John Coltrane, Snarky Puppy, Billy Childs and Lucian Gray.

When not playing music, he likes arranging, composing, listening to music and beating his dad at Mario Kart.

After high school, Nick would like to pursue a career in music, focused on performing.

Vladimir Redzic: guitarist

Vladimir Redzic is in grade 12 and this is his first year in the JAZZ.FM91 Youth Big Band. He plays electric guitar and classical guitar along with bass. Vladimir has been playing for seven years and has studied with Mihai Musceleanu, Carmen Gassi and Joey Goldstein. He plays with High Rendition Jazz in Oakville and various smaller groups. He is very excited to have the opportunity of playing with some of the best youth jazz musicians in the country and to have all the amazing learning experiences with the band. He hopes to go to Humber College or University of Toronto next year for jazz guitar. Some of his biggest musical inspirations are James Brown, George Benson, Al di Meola, Joe Pass, David GIlmour and Bootsy Collins. When he’s not playing music, he’s always listening to music, whether in class or with friends.

Gabriella Ellingham: saxophonist

Gabriella Ellingham is currently in Grade 11 and is thrilled to be in her second year with the JAZZ.FM91 Youth Big Band. She plays baritone saxophone, but has also doubled on flute and bass clarinet. She began learning flute with Robin Habermehl while in Grade 6, and has gradually added saxophones and clarinets into her repertoire. She has continued to study with Robin Habermehl, currently in her 6th year. She started attending the Humber Community Music program last January and studied with Luis Deniz. This year she is studying with Tara Davidson at Humber College.

She plays with the Waterloo Regional Police Services Ceremonial Band as well as its Copper Brass Swing Band and Clarinet Ensemble. She plays baritone sax in Wellington Winds as well as in the Royal City Big Band.

Gabriella is most looking forward to reading challenging music, both contemporary and classic jazz. She is also excited to perform and meet other performers at the different jazz venues and clubs. Her goal this year is to improve her improvisational skills.

Gabriella most enjoys listening to the Gordon Goodwin Big Phat Band, Count Basie, Tower of Power and Charlie Parker.

When Gabriella isn’t playing music, she enjoys gardening, languages, and traveling. After high school, she is considering doing some post-secondary studies

Aiden Sheedy: trombonist

Trombonist Aidan Sheedy is in grade 12. This is his second year in the JAZZ.FM91 Youth Big Band. Currently attending Earl Haig secondary school, he has played as the first baritone in the Hannaford Youth Program. Aidan has been playing euphonium since grade six, and started playing bass trombone in grade nine. He is currently studying with Rob Miller, who is the principal euphonium of the Hannaford Street Silver Band. Aidan is looking forward to playing with the talented musicians of the JAZZ.FM91 Youth Big Band and developing as a jazz musician. He also enjoys reading, playing hockey, playing video games and composing and arranging music. Aidan is interested in pursuing a career in either music or the sciences.

Scott Oxholm: trumpeter

Scott is currently in grade 12 at Cawthra Park Secondary School and is in his second year as one of the trumpet players in the JAZZ.FM91 Youth Big Band. He began playing trumpet in grade six. He now studies with Andrew Jones as his primary jazz teacher and Suzanne Jones for classical. He plays with his school jazz band known as Jazz Lab along with his school’s senior wind ensemble. This year he is excited to collaborate with the talented musicians in the Youth Big Band. As the band improves, he feels lucky to be a part of that growth and hopes to continue developing his skills as a soloist and improviser. When it come to listening, Scott has a deep respect for Jacob Collier as an up and coming artist who is pushing the boundaries of jazz. As for a specific trumpet inspiration, he believes that Wynton Marsalis is the epitome of mastery in a field, in terms of humility and talent. When not playing the trumpet, Scott’s hobbies include solving the Rubix cube, circular breathing for trumpet and playing the spoons. In terms of his plans after high school, Scott enjoys the problem solving and critical thinking involved with engineering and the communication skills related to business.

Daniel Strickland: trombonist

Daniel Stickland plays tenor trombone and is in his second year with the Youth Big Band. He is in grade 10 at Cawthra Park Secondary School in the Regional Arts Programs for music. He also plays in the Mississauga Salvation Army Brass Band. Daniel studies with William Carn. He looks forward to playing with the very talented musicians of the JAZZ.FM91 Youth Big Band. He wants to keep improving his musical ability and expanding his musical knowledge. Daniel wants to keep pursuing music after high school and enjoys working toward this goal.