I am a singer, trumpet player, composer and arranger. I love, and love to perform, a diverse selection of music including Jazz, Soul, Funk, Rock, Blues, Gospel and more. I love my job, and I love sharing music with people here in Calgary and anywhere that I am fortunate enough to travel to. I hope you enjoy your stay on my site.
I knew very early on the impact music would have on my life, and the influences of such amazing artists as Harry Connick Jr. and Louis Armstrong helped to shape both my passion and career. I started studying classical music in High School, and while I entered university as a classical trumpet player I quickly switched to the jazz program in pursuit of my passion. I owe much of my growth during this period to my teacher Al Muirhead and the hours I spent everyday honing my craft.
Although I had studied classical voice and had been singing jazz onstage, my vocal ability changed forever when I spent a period of time studying 4 hours daily with Dee Daniels (international jazz, symphony and blues vocalist) in Vancouver. She became a good friend, and opened my voice up to many possibilities. We studied jazz, gospel and blues singing in depth (as well as how to make a perfect sandwich!) and I have since continued to grow and study as much as possible, in the musical – not the culinary sense.
My first jazz group, a quartet, was formed while I was in University, and I have continually created new ensembles to grow as a performer, composer and arranger. This includes my Quartet, Quintet, the Johnny Summers Little Big Band and the Johnny Summers Orchestra. My latest undertaking was the creation of the Calgary Jazz Orchestra (CJO), which I founded and currently direct, play lead trumpet and arrange over half of the music performed. The CJO serves both to showcase the amazing talent in Calgary, and to bring to Calgarians the highest quality of jazz music possible.
I have had the extreme pleasure of working with some other amazing talent in some incredible places throughout my career. A highlight was during a stay in New Orleans shortly after University, where I had the great opportunity to meet and play with some great heroes of mine who had performed with Harry Connick Jr., as well as playing with Ellis Marsalis, a great educator and pianist of modern jazz. Although our encounter was brief, Ellis is without a doubt one of the most beautiful piano players and one of the nicest gentlemen I have ever met. Meeting Ellis was additionally amazing as his son, Wynton Marsalis, is one of the most prominent jazz musicians of the modern era and easily one of my greatest role models. His soul, intelligence and musical depth is a constant inspiration and continues to help shape and strengthen my musical passion.
One of my favourite things about music is how it connects people and the feeling it gives to the audience as a whole. I have had the unique pleasure of experiencing this many times in my career, and it is the most humbling and gratifying feeling I could ask for. One that comes to mind is when we performed 4 movements of a suite I wrote called Suite Jubilation. We performed it with the Calgary Jazz Orchestra and the Rocky Mountain Choir. I must have put close to two hundred hours into writing these 4 pieces, along with a lot of soul. During the performance, myself and the musicians were completely enraptured in the music, and afterwards I found out that much of the audience was moved to tears. Having so many people talk to me afterwards with tears in their eyes was astounding. I was overwhelmed, uplifted and humbled that so many people would latch onto something that I had done. I went home that night with a fervent promise to myself to do better every time I write and perform, and to use my craft to touch and connect with people and I have tried to stay true to that ever since.
My musical vision is simple: to reach people, to bring joy, to comment on the human condition, and to connect with others through my musical passions. There is no feeling more gratifying and humbling than to have touched someone through music, and I am forever thankful for the inspiration and encouragement this affords.
I hope you enjoy my music, and again thank you for visiting. I look forward to seeing you at one of our upcoming performances.
Wishing you all the best,