NOW Orchestra bios

NOW Orchestra bios

Who Is NOW Orchestra


Coat Cooke (reeds/flute) is one of Canada’s most lyrical and inventive saxophonists. He is the founder and leader of the renowned NOW Orchestra. He has toured Canada, the USA and Europe performing in major festivals in Berlin, Lisbon and Chicago. As a composer, he has written for dance, film, and spoken word, and for configurations from solo piano to large ensembles. His collaborations include work with George Lewis, Wadada Leo Smith, Roscoe Mitchell, Butch Morris, and most recently with Giorgio Magnanensi. He has two new CDs on the NOW Orchestra Records label: High WIre with Coat Cooke/Rainer Wiens and Conversations with Coat Cooke and Joe Poole.


Saul Berson (reeds/flute) has been exploring an extensive array of stylistic ground for the past 25 years. His abilities and interests span from the big band sounds of the Dal Richards Orchestra to the Sephardi-Klezmer band, Tsimmes, to the hard hitting, exuberant Hard Rubber and NOW orchestras. A native of Vancouver, Saul has recorded and toured with a variety of musicians, including Jaki Byard, Steve Grossman, George Lewis and Barry Guy. He has been described as having a "perfect, burnished saxophone tone that carves new paths through territory we had thought fully mapped." (Alexander Varty, Georgia Straight). The Saul Berson Quartet’s 1998 recording, From Here to Beyond, was nominated in the "Best Jazz Album" category for the 1999 West Coast Music Awards. Their latest album, Not Here, Not Now continues to receive airplay and praise from around the globe.


Paul Blaney (bass) is an acoustic and electric bassist and composer. Known for a fearless and inventive style, Blaney is active in the Vancouver music scene, playing both mainstream and avant-garde jazz styles with musicians such as Marilyn Crispell, Myra Melford, François Houle, Tony Wilson, Mike Zilbur, Al Wiertz, Sandro Camerin, and more recently Barry Guy, George Lewis, René Lussier, Freddie Studer, Elizabeth Fischer, Rick Bochner, Pierre Tanguay, Ingrid Jensen, Phil Haynes, Paul Smoker, Vinnie Golia, Lauro Rossi and Carlo Dato. Blaney plays with his own trio, Garbo’s Hat.


Kevin Elaschuk (trumpet) has performed with Sheila Jordan, Claude Ranger, Tony Wilson and P.J. Perry. He has recorded 3 albums as a leader, and is co-leader of esq (Kevin Elaschuk/ Dave Say Quintet).Kevin has worked with notable Canadian artists Campbell Ryga, Brad Turner, Owen Howard, Mike Murley and Roy Styffe among many others. He is also a trumpet instructor at North Vancouver's Capilano College.


Bruce Freedman (saxophone) is a saxophonist and composer who has played an active role in the creative jazz scene in Vancouver since 1973. A long-time member of the NOW Orchestra, Freedman has performed and recorded with Claude Ranger, Paul Plimley, Francouis Houle, and Hugh Fraser. Freedman's Coltrane-influenced music is intense, fresh and from the heart. His recent CD recording, Enormous Moments, captures this highly expressive artist's arresting music. Freedman leads his own groups, Chief Feature and The Bruce Freedman Quartet.


Kate Hammett-Vaughan (voice) is an adventurous, assured and hip vocalist who has earned acclaim as one of Canada's most distinctive jazz artists. She is equally recognized for her interpretations of jazz standards (notably with her outstanding quintet and in duo with bassist André Lachance) and for her improvising work with the NOW Orchestra and Cheep and T’Audrey, her duo with guitarist composer Ron Samworth. Hammett-Vaughan has received three JUNO nominations (1994, 2000, 2005) as well as recent nods from the Canadian Independent Music Awards and the National Jazz Awards. A performing and recording artist for more than two decades, her diverse musical projects include work on independent film scores, guest hosting of CBC television and radio shows, collaborations with modern dance artists, and a fulfilling career as a teacher.


John Korsrud (trumpet) has performed with artists George Lewis, Misha Mengelberg, Han Bennink, The Duke Ellington Orchestra, Vinny Golia, Barry Guy, René Lussier, Kenny Wheeler, Vancouver's New Orchestra Workshop, D.O.A., Veda Hille, Shango Ashe and the Vancouver Ensemble of Jazz Improvisation (VEJI) among others. John studied composition with Louis Andriessen at the Royal Conservatory of Music in The Hague (1995-1997) and was a frequent artist-in-residence at the Banff Centre for the Arts (1984 to 1994). His 17-piece ensemble, The Hard Rubber Orchestra, has performed over fifty times since 1990 including performances in Amsterdam, Montreal, Toronto, Halifax and the Festival International de Musique Actuelle in Victoriaville. The orchestra has released two CDs. Cruel Yet Fair (1998, Victo 059) nominated for a Juno Award for Best Contemporary Jazz recording and Rub Harder (2002, Victo 080). John recently released a CD of chamber works, Odd Jobs, Assorted Climaxes (Spool SPP 203).


Brad Muirhead (Bass Trombone / Tuba) has been an active Member of Vancouver’s jazz & creative music scene since 1980, both as a sideman and bandleader. In addition to BRASS ROOTS (since 1987), he is also leading and composing for the high-energy, modern jazz group “Primal Orbit”, which released its’ debut CD “Ignition” in fall 2002. His most recent original project is “Four Head”, an eclectic jazz / new music improv quartet. He is an original member of both Hugh Fraser’s V.E.J.I. band and John Korsrud’s Hard Rubber Orchestra, and is also a long-time member of The NOW Orchestra. Other musical associations have been with The Ken Aldcroft Quartet, Francois Houle Etc., Claude Ranger’s Jade Ensemble, Tribal Dynamics and many others. He is also active as a low-brass teacher, clinician and freelance musician.


Rod Murray (trombone) is among the newer members of NOW, first appearing on the group’s 1997 recording WOWOW, featuring George Lewis, Vinnie Golia and Paul Cram. Since that time he has performed with the group on numerous occasions including the 2002 Berlin Jazz Festival and the 2004 Jazz Em Agosto in Lisbon. He is a member of numerous other large ensembles including John Korsrud’s Hard Rubber Orchestra, Hugh Fraser’s VEJI and the Jill Townsend Big Band and a diversity of small groups including the Bruce Freedman Quartet, Ugetsu Project and Rumba Calzada. Over the last several years, Rod has performed with artists such as Kenny Wheeler , Maryilyn Crispell, Eddie Daniels and Slide Hampton and has appeared on recordings by Nancy Wilson, Yes, Colin James and Sam Roberts. Most recently, he had the pleasure of touring with the Royal Winnipeg Ballet’s production of “The Cinderella Story” under the musical direction of Ron Paley.


Graham Ord (reeds/flute) has been a featured soloist and section player in the Vancouver music community for many years. A multi - talented musician, Ord has played and recorded with groups as diverse as Uzume Taiko, Sumaláo, The Hard Rubber Orchestra, Garbo's Hat, Brass Roots, and has had the pleasure to work with noted improvisors Lori Freedman, Barry Guy, René Lussier & Pierre Tanguay, George Lewis, Paul Smoker & Phil Haynes, Paul Plimley, Wayne Horvitz, and Butch Morris. In 2000 Ord released the C.D. “highlights of a low life” with the group Lonesome Monsters with poet Bud Osborn and Bassist Paul Blaney. A recent improvising trio setting with George McFetridge and Paul Blaney known as This Trio resulted in a self produced CD entitled "Landscapes".


Clyde Reed (bass) has enjoyed long-term musical collaborations with internationally known artists including Rob Blakeslee, Vinny Golia, Rich Halley, George Lewis, Paul Plimley, and Claude Ranger. He is a founding member of the New Orchestra Workshop Orchestra Society. His playing has been featured on a number of critically acclaimed recordings, the most recent being “Blue Rims—The Rich Halley Trio with Bobby Bradford”.


Ron Samworth (guitarist) is known on the Canadian improvised/contemporary music scene as an inventive textural improviser and a strong fluid soloist inspired by a variety of traditions including jazz, rock, contemporary and world musics. He leads the Vancouver-based quartet Talking Pictures and co-directed the acclaimed NOW Orchestra from 1993-2003. He is also a member of The Unexpected, a Montreal-Vancouver collective, the Peggy Lee Band, DarkBlueWorld, François Houle’s electro-acoustic quartet and the Hard Rubber Orchestra. He has appeared at all the major Jazz Festivals across Canada, the Festival International de Musique Actuelle de Victoriaville, at New York’s Knitting Factory, and the New York Improvisation Festival, New Music America, Vienna's "Let's Cool One" Chamber Jazz Festival, Chicago and Berlin jazz festivals, and other leading venues in Europe. He has performed with many of the leading voices in contemporary music such as John Zorn, Dave Douglas, Evan Parker, Barry Guy, George Lewis, Wayne Horvitz, Kuzuhisa Uchihashi, Yasuhiro Otani, Butch Morris, Han Bennink, Barre Phillips, Marilyn Crispell, Claude Ranger, René Lussier, and Jean Derome.


Dylan van der Schyff (drums) has been devoting more and more of his attention to collaborations with his national and international colleagues and performing with international groups like Dave Douglas’ “Mountain Passages”, “Tigersmilk” with Chicagoans Rob Mazurek and Jason Roebke, “The Unexpected” with Ron Samworth and Montrealers Pierre Tanguay and Bernard Falaise, a trio with Kaufmann and Michael Moore, “Trio KHV” with Wayne Horvitz and Briggan Krauss, “Bow River Falls” with Louis Sclavis, Peggy Lee, Dave Douglas and “Hoxha” with Ken Vandermark, Paul Rutherford and Torsten Muller. Other recent collaborators include: Georg Graewe, Barre Phillips, Joelle Leandre, Marilyn Crispell, Eyvind Kang and Fred Londberg Holm. Dylan has also performed as a sideman with Roswell Rudd, Kenny Werner, Brian Lynch and recently, Joe Lovano (with the Brad Turner Quartet). Other notable recent performances include a tour of eastern Canada and performances at the Chicago, Berlin and Lisbon Jazz festivals with the NOW Orchestra led by American trombonist/composer George Lewis, a European tour with the Tobias Delius quartet, and performances in Italy with Dave Douglas’ “MOUNTAIN PASSAGES” project. He has also worked in large group projects led by Leo Smith, John Zorn and Butch Morris. His new recording “Definition of a Toy” was released this year on Songlines records and features Michael Moore, Brad Turner, Achim Kaufman, and Mark Helias. Dylan teaches at the Banff International Workshop in Jazz and Creative Music (May/June).