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We introduce you to the Calgary Jazz Orchestra musicians. These are not only outstanding musicians, but they are also incredible people who make this orchestra the fun-loving, high quality and exceptional group you will experience at our shows. All photos are courtesy of Doug Wong.

Artistic Director

Johnny Summers is a multifaceted musician making his mark as a trumpeter, vocalist, arranger, composer and director. He has worked and performed with award-winning artists including, Bobby Shew, Maria Schneider, Ellis Marsalis, Tommy Banks, and Guido Basso to name a few. Johnny is the founding director of the Calgary Jazz Orchestra, and he writes and arranges well over half of the music performed by the CJO. As a writer and recording artist, Johnny has received much critical acclaim. He is the recipient of 11 Global Music Awards, 2 Gospel Music Awards and numerous nominations including one for an AMPIA award for best original film score for Burlesque Assassins. Johnny’s most recent release features his original composition, Award-winning Suite Jubilation, with artists of the Calgary Jazz Orchestra, New West Symphony Chorus, Dee Daniels and Vincent Gardner. His seventh studio album, Baker's Dozen, is set to release in February 2020 as a debut for Cellar Music Group. 

Gerry Hébert was awarded a Bachelor of Music from the University of Calgary, pursued Jazz and Classical Saxophone studies in Paris, France and attended various residencies at the Banff Centre for the Arts. Currently, Gerry is the Vice President and event coordinator for JazzYYC, Calgary’s jazz collaborative. Gerry is an active performer with credits that include many appearances with the Calgary Philharmonic Orchestra, multiple professional theatre productions, the Calgary Jazz Orchestra and his own Gerry Hébert quartet which has released three CD recordings. Overall, Gerry has appeared on over 25 CD recordings as well as numerous television and radio broadcasts. Gerry teaches individual students as the Music Artist in Residence at the Calgary French and International School. 

Richard Harding is a professional saxophonist who has performed with many outstanding groups including the Calgary Jazz Orchestra, the Calgary Philharmonic Orchestra, Lorna MacLachlan Quintet, Soul Providers, Penguins on Broadway, TR3, Tim Tamashiro Orchestra, and his own jazz quartet. His most recent show experience includes Billie Elliot at Theatre Calgary, the Roy Orbison Hologram Tour, La La Land, Rhapsody in Blue, An American in Paris, Let’s Dance and Sinatra and Beyond with the CPO, and Dancers in Love with Decidedly Jazz Danceworks. Richard’s soulful playing can be found on a number of recordings including CDs of the CJO, Lorna MacLachlan Quintet, CPO, The Henry Cowell Wind Band, Tim Tamashiro Terrain, Bluesland, and Camie Leard. Richard is currently a music educator at the Calgary Board of Education.

Jeremy Brown is a conductor, saxophonist, woodwind artist, lecturer, author, and professor of Music, as well as former head of the Music department at the University of Calgary. He attended universities in New York, Ohio, and Washington where he earned degrees in music education and woodwind performance. Dr. Brown has lectured internationally and is the author of numerous papers and the book The Wind Band of Henry Cowell, published in 2018. He conducts the Calgary Philharmonic Winds for the CD that is attached to this book. Jeremy is in his 20th year as artistic director and conductor of the Calgary Wind Symphony. His University of Calgary wind and jazz bands have been recognized for their original programming and performance excellence. Jeremy has recorded numerous critically acclaimed recordings, including recordings with Verismo debut album that was played at the Montreal Jazz Festival in 2007 and several recordings with Johnny Summers. 

Shane Statz studied at Humberg University with a major in music performance on woodwinds and moved to Calgary in 2003. He opened his own professional storefront studio Anacrusis Music in the Haysboro Community of Calgary in 2009 where he offers lessons and workshops to all ages and levels of musicians. Shane is an active performer, composer, and arranger leading his own ensembles and performing regularly with the Calgary Jazz Orchestra and other groups in the city.
When not performing, arranging or composing Shane is an active educator as a clinician for the public, private and separate school boards.

Sarah Matheson-Nadeau holds a Bachelor of Music in Jazz Performance from Rutgers University and a Master of Arts in Music Psychology from the University of Sheffield, with her research focusing on music's role in film, video games, and popular culture.  Sarah performs regularly with the Calgary Jazz Orchestra and various other ensembles in Calgary, Edmonton, and the surrounding areas, and is a faculty member at Mount Royal University in the Film Studies and General Education departments.  In addition to recording with the Calgary Jazz Orchestra on "When It's Christmas Time" and "Suite Jubilation", Sarah can be heard on the Jim Brenan 11 album entitled 50/50.

Jay Michalak
 is a native of Chicago, Illinois and received his B. Mus from Northwestern University. He completed his Master's degree at the University of British Columbia in 2000. In 2001, he joined the internationally recognized Foothills Brass Quintet and has been a solo trumpeter with the group since. Jay was a finalist in the 2004 Ellsworth Smith International Trumpet Competition and in the 2006 Jeju International Brass Competition. He was a featured performer at the 2008 International Trumpet Conference. In demand as one of Canada’s leading trumpeters, Jay is a regular performer with the Calgary Philharmonic Orchestra, the Calgary Jazz Orchestra, and the Johnny Summers Little Big Band. Jay has been featured as a soloist with the CPO, the Edmonton Symphony, the Lethbridge Symphony, the Calgary Civic Symphony, the Calgary Wind Symphony, Alberta Winds, and Kensington Sinfonia. Jay has just completed his Bachelor of Education at UBC.

Jon Day is a sought-after trumpet player and pianist, accompanist, director, educator, and orchestrator and composer based in Calgary. He studied at McGill University. As a freelance performer, Jon has had the privilege of sharing the stage with an extensive roster of world-call artists both here in Calgary and abroad. Jon was an early member of the Calgary Jazz Orchestra, performing at several of the first events. Following several years of traveling and working abroad, Jon has returned as a member of the orchestra. He has recorded with several local artists including Joanna Borromeo (“Kaleidoscope”), Keith O’Rourke (“Sketches from the Road”) and Ellen Doty (“That’s love”).  

Al Muirhead is known as the “Elder Statesman Jazz trumpet in Alberta”. Al is a source of constant inspiration to the world of music. Al has recorded as a sideman on 26 albums. Only a few years ago, he released his solo album, “It’s About Time”, featuring his good friend, the late great Tommy Banks. The album was nominated for a Juno in 2016.  In early 2016, along with Tommy Banks and PJ Perry, Al released a second album “Oop!". The list of musicians with whom Al has performed is impressive and includes such venerated names as Dizzy Gillespie, Guido Basso, Tommy Banks, Diana Krall, Paul Anka, Rosemary Clooney, Frank Mills & P.J. Perry. In 2008 Al had the honour of recording "All the Stars aren't in the Sky" with the all-star ensemble of Ted Godwin, Tommy Banks, Ryga Campbell, George Koller, and Blaine Wikjord. Over the course of his many decades in the music industry, Al has lived numerous accomplishments. In the 1960s, he played in the Regina Symphony and he was assistant-conductor with the Regina Police Boy’s Band. He opened Arcade Music in Calgary In 1966, today well-known as St-John’s Music. In the ’70s, Al was the Music Director for the CBC television show “On Stage” and he toured Japan with the Frank Mills Orchestra. He performed in the 1988 Olympics under Tommy Banks and toured Hungary, Germany, and Switzerland with the “New Orleans Connection” Dixieland Band. In the ’90s, Al had already been the music director for the Calgary Stamped Youth Talent Show for a decade and continues to hold that position today. In 2018, Al performed on the TD Stage of the world-renowned Montreal Jazz Festival for the first time. Al has mentored many young musicians, including our very own Johnny Summers. 

Brian Walley
 graduated from the University of Calgary. He has played with several prominent productions including the Calgary Stampede Grandstand Band, Ice Capades, South Pacific, A Chorus Line, Tom Foolery and The Full Monty. Brian currently plays lead trombone in the Calgary Jazz Orchestra. He is a regular performer with Johnny Summer’s Little Big Band and the Ray Charles Tribute Orchestra. He has appeared with Harry Connick Jr, Red Skelton, Diana Krall, Dizzy Gillespie, Lou Rawls, P.J. Perry, KD Lang, Tommy Banks, and many others. Brian plays on numerous recordings and currently performs with a variety of groups. He is an active teacher and clinician. 

Tim Embree started his professional career as a trombonist in the military. After playing in several professional military bands and touring extensively across Canada, Europe, and Australia, he settled in Calgary. For the past 20 years, he’s been a freelance player in Calgary performing in many groups covering everything from classical, Latin, jazz and R&B. He is a long-time member of the Calgary Jazz Orchestra.

Michael Callander began the journey to become a band teacher after graduating from E.P. Scarlett High School. He went to Toronto to study privately with world-renowned jazz trombonist Al Kay at Humber College. He returned to Calgary to pursue a combined degree in music and education. Michael freelances in Calgary and he has performed with a wide range of artists such as Christian McBride, Ingrid Jensen, Rich Harding Al Muirhead, and Brian Lynch. Michael credits the CJO’s Brain Walley as one of his musical influences. As a clinician during his high school days, Brian showed him the video of Frank Rosolino playing on Jazz Scene USA in 1962. Michael was hooked! Michael’s recording portfolio includes Humber College’s Midnight Sun album in 2017 on which he is featured as a soloist. 

Greg Robertson studied music at the University of Calgary, graduating in 1998 with a B. Mus. He has performed in Calgary with a variety of groups including the Calgary Jazz Orchestra, Altius Brass and the Red Deer Symphony Orchestra. Among his musical influences, Greg lists the late American jazz bassist Jaco Pastorius and bass trombonist, George Roberts, Frank Sinatra, and Darth Vader! Greg has performed on two CD’s with Johnny Summers, and, when not performing, he teaches private lessons. 

Rhythm Section
Neil McVey 
is a regular jazz guitarist in a number of Calgary bands. He studied at Mohawk College in Hamilton and Humber College in Toronto. He has also been involved in the Jazz Workshops of the Banff Centre for Arts and Creativity. Neil studied privately with Reg Schwager and Lorne Lofsky. His music was influenced by a broad array of artists including Wes Montgomery, Ed Bickert, Jim Hall, Sonny Greenwich, and John Abercrombie. Dexter Gordon, Hank Mobley, Phil Woods, Freddie Hubbard, and Kenny Wheeler rank high in the non-guitarist category. Neil teaches at Ambrose University and offers private lessons. Neil is well-versed in many musical genres and has recorded with an array of artists including Kenny Wheeler, PJ Perry, Jon Faddis, Renee Fleming, Denzal Sinclair, Cheryl Fisher, Henri Brown, Johnny Summers and members of the Platters, the Drifters as well as the Calgary Philharmonic Orchestra and Theatre Calgary. 

Egor Ukoloff 
is originally from Russia and has a master’s in jazz after graduating from Rostov-on-Don Music College and Rostov-on-on State Conservatory as a jazz pianist. As a performer, arranger, composer, educator, and bandleader, Egor went on to become one of Canada’s top and busiest piano players. His experience includes both private and public appearances, in Canada and overseas. He has worked in recording studios as a producer or sideman. Egor currently performs as a featured artist for many events sponsored by Steinway Piano Gallery in Calgary.

Kodi Hutchinson
 started his career in jazz while attending the University of Calgary where he received a Bachelor’s degree in Commerce in 1995. He soon after followed his true passion and pursued a full-time career in music. Besides being a sought-after sideman on the double bass and the electric bass, Kodi’s versatility and passion for music are evidenced by his work with his own musical group, the Hutchinson Andrew Trio, his CKUA radio show A Time for Jazz, and his record label, Chronograph Records. Cody has worked with artists such as P.J. Perry, Laila Biali, Oliver Jones, the Calgary Philharmonic Orchestra, to name a few. In 2013, the Hutchinson Andrew Trio won the prestigious TD Grand Jazz Award at the Montreal International Jazz Festival. All the trio’s albums have been nominated for Western Canadian Music Awards for Outstanding Jazz Recording. Chronograph Records was nominated for Independent Record Label of the year in 2009, 2011 and 2013. 

Jim Johnston
 is a graduate of Humber College’s performance program. He studied with some of Canada’s premier jazz musicians and drummers of all genres. A highly versatile drummer, Jim has worked with both cover and original projects, from folk, country, jazz, RnB, hip-hop, big band, blues, reggae, Celtic and African. As well as performing with the Calgary Jazz Orchestra,  Jim’s busy career has included performances with Juno-nominated Joanna Borromeo, Maple Blues award-winning Kirby Sewell Band, CBC radio host, and crooner Tim Tamashiro, as well as the premier event bands Billboard Collective and Side One.  Though Jim loves the performance aspect of music, he also imparts his love of the craft through his teaching.