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."

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Tulane at Jazzfest.

Here's a cut and paste of the article as it appears in the Tulane Hullabaloo.

Tulane jazz combo will perform at Jazz Fest
By: Emily Hohenwarter
Issue date: 4/20/07 Section: News

For the first time, students and faculty will represent Tulane University at New Orleans Jazz Fest, playing a 50-minute set Friday. They will perform at 11:20 a.m. at the Sheraton New Orleans Fais Do-Do Stage.

The four jazz combos at Tulane are named for the days they practice, and the Friday ensemble is the one that will perform at Jazz Fest.

For many members of the ensemble, playing at Jazz Fest is their ultimate dream come true.

"It was one of my goals when I came to New Orleans in 2002," said trumpet-player Joel Greco, a fifth-year biomedical sciences Ph.D. student. "You have to give a lot of credit to John Doheny. He really bolstered the program."

Doheny is the current director of jazz studies at Tulane.

"My students are very, very excited to be playing Jazz Fest, and I, of course, am excited for them," Doheny said. "My colleague John Dobry and I figured it was high time the university was represented [at Jazz Fest], and of course Barbara Jazwinsky, the chair of the department, has been very supportive of the program."

Saxophonist Caleb Dance said the program has improved dramatically since Doheny and his fellow instructor John Dobry joined the department.

"I've been very pleased with the movement of the jazz program over the past few years," Dance said. "My experience in the program has been primarily with Doheny, and he demands a high level of musicianship from the ensembles he directs. He also has lots of experience and advice regarding playing in professional settings, and to top it all off, he's a great player himself.

"Doheny was the one responsible for getting us this Jazz Fest gig. He submitted the recording we made at the end of last academic year. I'm a better musician for having played with him and the other great musicians in the combo," Dance added.

This spring, William Buckingham will be the first student to graduate with a degree in jazz studies. Though Tulane's jazz program is still developing, Doheny is confident in its ability to train musicians.

"While we don't have the long history in this area that a school like Loyola has, I like to think the students get more personal attention here," Doheny said. "Also, John Mahoney's focus at Loyola is very much on big band jazz, which is a difficult venue for development as a soloist. There just isn't enough space to blow. We have a jazz orchestra, of course, but we also run four small combos, which offer a great deal of opportunity to develop skills like soloing over chord changes and playing in more intimate, chamber-music style situations."

This past week, Canadian jazz great and Doheny's longtime friend Alan Matheson visited New Orleans and held clinics with the jazz combos, culminating in their spring concert Tuesday night. Matheson was featured in the concert playing the cornet and flugelhorn, and some of his arrangements were also used. While in town, Matheson got to explore the city and experience French Quarter Festival.

"[The trip has been] great. I've been able to work with some of the students from Tulane Jazz Ensemble," Matheson said. "It's nice for me because it's only the second time I've been here. I teach jazz history, so naturally New Orleans is the center of it all. It's exciting to be here."

In the future, Doheny hopes to bring more established musicians like Matheson to campus. He would like to see more adjunct faculty hired to teach brass band-type music.

"We do have some excellent resources in our Applied Music instructors. Drum instructor Kevin O'Day, for instance, knows all that stuff backwards and forwards, but it's a matter of paying people for their time," Doheny said. "We're hoping that enrollment stays strong and the university is able to free up more money for adjuncts."

Many of the music professors currently at Tulane, however, do have significant performance careers outside of teaching. The music department faculty band, the Professors of Pleasure, recently recorded a CD set for a fall release. The group will represent Tulane at the International Association of Jazz Educators conference in Toronto in January. With such talent, Doheny is convinced the jazz program at Tulane will continue to prosper.

"One of our primary goals post-Katrina was to make sure private music instruction at Tulane was of the highest possible quality, and I believe we've achieved that," Doheny said. "Our philosophy is that instructors should have viable careers as jazz professionals so they can act as conduits to the professional world for the students. That's how we all got into the business. First we studied with someone, then we were sitting in with them, then we were hired. Now is our chance to carry on this tradition, to 'pay it forward' if you will."

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