Saxophonist John Doheny was born in Seattle Washington in 1953 but has spent much of his adult life in Canada, primarily in Vancouver and Toronto. After early experiences accompanying strippers in bars and cabarets he became a professional R&B sideman in the late 1970s, touring and recording with artists both prominent and obscure. In 1991 he returned to Vancouver and began a program of intense musical study, both in academe (Vancouver Community College, the University of British Columbia) and in the more informal area of performance. He asserts that "all human intercourse is either an opportunity to learn or to teach. Everything that I know about jazz performance (to the extent that I know anything at all) I owe to those players, teachers and students who have suffered to share the bandstand and the teaching studio with me." Since 2003, Mr. Doheny has been a permanent resident of New Orleans, Louisiana, but makes every effort to spend summers in Canada because "it's too damn hot down here then."

Saturday, April 14, 2007

Alan Matheson in New Orleans

Everytime something really amazing happens to me in New Orleans, I can't help but think how nice it would be if my old friends and colleagues from Vancouver were here to share it with me. Every once in a while, I can connive to make it happen.
I've known Alan Matheson since 1976, when we were both students at Vancouver Community College's fledgling Jazz and Commercial Music program. Although we very quickly went our separate ways (he to Northwestern University in Chicago to study with renowned trumpet instructor Vincent Chickowitz, and to develop over the years into a world class trumpeter, pianist, composer, arranger, bandleader, jazz historian and educator. Me to go on the road with a bunch of blues bands and hustle cocktail waitresses) we kept in touch over the years. When I started directing combos and jazz orchestra at Tulane a couple of years ago, I didn't want to just play the usual stuff you find in every jazz-friendly university's music library, so I started using my music budget to buy some of Alan's charts. His combo things are very challenging, but when you get it right they sound really great. Over the last two years or so, my combos have presented Matheson compositions like Modalee, Cypress, T.S.C., Sisu, Further East, and Alan's arrangement of Cedar Walton's Ugetsu and Charlie Parker's Parker's Mood. We'd talked about him coming down to do some clinics and concerts, and this spring we made it happen.
Alan arrived on wednesday April 11th, and so far he's guest lectured my Improv class, played a gig with two of my students (bassist Will Buckingham and pianist Jon Cohen) and is currently in the middle of a clinic here in the band room. This Tuesday night he's appearing as a guest artist with the Tulane Jazz Orchestra, playing some arrangements he originally cooked up for Clarke Terry, when Clarke was guesting with the Vancouver Festival Jazz Orchestra, which Alan directs.
Alan will be playing cornet and flugelhorn on Intimacy of the Blues, Indiana, When It's Sleepy Time Down South and Is It True What They Say About Dixie?

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