Musician and educator
Photography by Pedersen
WHY HE’S TOP 40: He’s adding to Edmonton’s jazz scene through his music, including an award-winning album, while also mentoring future musicians as a professional educator.
KEY TO SUCCESS: “If you don’t believe in what you’re doing, everyone else will feed off of that.”
For Jerrold Dubyk, music is a social skill. “It’s about the community we all build around music.”
Take, for example, the album Dubyk wanted to record with Juno-winning jazz artist Brad Turner. After meeting the Vancouver artist only once at a MacEwan University jazz workshop that Dubyk helps organize, he called Turner with the proposition. Not only was Turner happy to work with Dubyk, but he suggested two other talents join in.
A few months later, Dubyk picked up the three musicians from the airport, took them to the studio and got to work. “We all bonded over those three days and it was a very good time.”
The camaraderie resulted in more than a good time. The Maverick won the 2009 Western Canadian Music Award for Best Jazz Recording. Tim Ries, a renowned saxophonist who toured with the Rolling Stones, called Dubyk “a gifted saxophonist, with a beautiful sound and great dexterity.”
“It was a good lesson to learn — that all you have to do is ask people and something good will come of it,” says Dubyk.
Such lessons are passed on to more than 200 junior and senior high school students Dubyk teaches annually at Victoria School of the Arts, in addition to post-secondary students at MacEwan and the University of Alberta. He deftly balances both his teaching gigs and his work as a musician, but admits “whenever I do more of one I want the other.”
Dubyk remembers hearing jazz recordings as a kid and thinking, “I want to do that; that’s the coolest thing I’ve ever heard.” Years of violin and saxophone lessons led him to pursue a degree in jazz studies, and in 2007 he released his first album, The Way You See It.
He simultaneously pursued his career in the classroom, armed with an education degree and, in 2005, a Master’s degree in jazz studies from Rutgers University in New Jersey. His time in New Jersey and New York only helped to increase his affinity for Edmonton. “There is something about spending time in the jazz mecca of the world and then bringing it back — I would like to think that I’ve helped maintain or even push the level just a bit higher.”