Cassa Jazz

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Cassa Jazz: July 15 - 19, 2019

Performance Friday 7 pm

St. Vladimir's Cultural Centre, 404 Meredith Road NE

9:00 am - 3:30 pm daily

See the registration page and fee summary for further information.

This five-day session will combine elements of jazz that apply specifically to the role of the piano/keyboard to jazz, including comping and soloing. Ages 12 to adult.

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Ella, Ben and Sasha in Cassa Jazz 2019

Comping is the rhythmic chording that is provided by the pianist, and requires knowledge of rhythmic aspects of style, as well as a thorough knowledge of harmony and chord voicing. It is the 'supportive' side of piano playing!

Soloing Often perceived as the most daunting aspect of jazz — improvisation — will be discussed, demonstrated and analyzed. Once considered a mandatory skill for all keyboardists (Baroque, Classical periods), 'improv' has over the past 100 years been left pretty much to the jazz musicians. Participants in this program will play with exercises including 'conversations,’ 'melodic embellishment,’ and 'broken chord' studies. 


Recorded works of the master pianists (Art Tatum, Oscar Peterson, etc.) will be studied. Elements such as style, developing a solo, playing 'outside' are best understood by listening to a master. 

Participants will spend part of the program in a trio setting. That is, playing along with a drummer and bass player. Classes will also include theory, harmony, style and melodic development. Classes will be lead by Derek Stoll, a Calgary jazz player and teacher, and also by guest speakers. 


A minimum of grade 6 Royal Conservatory of Music /Conservatory Canada or equivalent is preferred.


Mark Limacher discussing the fine points of creating jazz 2019

Comments from Jazz Keyboard Participants

"Relevant material, given technical devices to practise and continue developing, mixture of background & views (teachers and students), hands on, feedback from teachers on what I’ve been working on.”

"I liked being able to work with others and yet I still get one on one instruction.  I liked the in depth study of jazz as well, not just the easier basses.  I got to play lots and try newer styles."

“I really liked working on a standard (piece) as well as creating.”

"I liked how we were taught what people were interested in learning and how in-depth each subject was, making sure that everyone understood before moving on to the next topic."

"It pushed me outside my box in terms of playing and ability. There were great handouts with notes to look back on after the program. There were great teachers with good playing examples, encouraging ideas and patience"

"Before starting I was afraid I would not understand anything. It was quite the opposite, as the program had an easy to follow format that helped me to be comfortable and be very proud of my very first jazz composition… Generally speaking it was a great experience for me to attend this program.”

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Performance images courtesy of Josh Boak

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