Calgary Creative Arts Ensemble

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The Calgary Creative Arts Ensemble is Calgary’s newest big band. Co-led by saxophonist Mark DeJong and drummer Jon McCaslin, the CCAE brings together 17 of western Canada’s finest musicians to collaborate with local, national and international performers and composers. Chosen by the Calgary 2012 committee to be included in the inaugural InvestYYC program, the CCAE brings exciting and dynamic new music to Calgary audiences.

The CCAE concert programs have included works by renowned Canadian jazz icons Rob McConnell and Kenny Wheeler, as well as works by Michelle Gregoire, Paul Read, Ian MacDougall Lorna McLaughlan and David Braid. The CCAE has performed with such notable guests as NewYork saxophonist Ralph Bowen, multiple Juno-award winning trumpeter Brad Turner , and former Lincoln Centre Jazz Orchestra lead trumpeter Sean Jones.

CO-LEADERS: Jon McCaslin and  Mark DeJong
One of Western Canada’s leading jazz drummers and educators, Jon McCaslin brings excitement and passion for the jazz to the bandstand and to the classroom. Raised in Regina, Saskatchewan Jon began playing the drums in the Regina Lions Band and the award winning jazz program, Campbell Collegiate. A graduate of McGill University McCaslin is currently a Doctoral Candidate through the University of Toronto. Since 2009 he has authored Four on the Floor, one of the world’s most recognized online jazz drumming blogs. Currently based in Calgary, he released his WCMA nominated 2012 album Sunalta on the Cellar Live jazz record label featuring Brad Turner, Phil Dwyer, Tilden Webb and Jodi Proznick. He has also performed with such internationally recognized artists as Mulgrew Miller, Peter Bernstein, Ralph Bowen, PJ Perry, Charlie Biddle, Kelly Jefferson, Ian McDougall, David Braid, Oliver Jones, Kirk MacDonald, Jeff Johnston, Chucho Valdes, Uri Caine, Peter Apfelbaum, Wycliffe Gordon, Linda Oh and Pat LaBarbera.

Mark DeJong is active as a performer, educator, composer and bandleader. A graduate of the University of Calgary, he also holds a Master’s degree in Jazz Studies from Rutgers University. He teaches jazz at Mt. Royal University, directs the TD Jazz Intensive in Saskatoon, SK, and is the co-director of the JazzYYC Youth Lab Band. He is a founding member of the New York-based group the Outer Bridge Ensemble, with whom he made his debut at the Blue Note (NY) in March of 2014. The Outer Bridge has opened for such luminaries as John Scofield, Christian McBride and Kenny Werner. Marks WCMA-nominated CD The Unknown garnered praise from around the globe. His recent recording, Where Everything is Music, features Juno Award-winning pianist David Braid and renowned bassist and cellist Simon Fisk. He has toured internationally including Europe, Japan, Cuba, and in 2010 was a featured soloist at World Expo in Shanghai, China. He has shared the stage with such international icons as Ray Charles, Lennie Pickett, Rob McConnell, Kenny Wheeler, Moe Koffman, David Braid, Hugh Fraser and Oliver Jones, as well as vocalists Nikki Yanofsky, Denzal Sinclaire and Carol Wellsman.