Biography

Since moving to Vancouver in 1980, Dennis Esson has established himself as a highly respected and sought after trombonist for a wide variety of musical endeavors.

He has recorded music for cartoons, movies, jingles and soundtracks in addition to albums with many pop and rock groups such as Stephen Fearing, The Paperboys, Buddy Miles, The Salteens, Veda Hille and others. He has also been in the pit orchestras for Broadway shows such as “Chorus Line”, “The Full Monty”, and “42nd Street”.

 As a jazz musician Dennis has recorded numerous C.B.C. sessions as a featured soloist. He is also the lead trombonist with groups such as the “Vancouver Ensemble of Improvisation (VEJI)”, “Orquesta Goma Dura”, “Jill Townsend Big Band”, “Hard Rubber Orchestra” and the “Fred Stride Jazz Orchestra”. Some of the musicians he has performed with include Kenny Wheeler, Phil Woods, Eddie Daniels, Marvin Stamm, David Foster, Maynard Ferguson, Natalie Cole, Clark Terry, Bud Shank, and Phil Nimmons. He has appeared and performed at all of the major jazz festivals across Canada.

 In addition Dennis was the recipient in 1993 of a Canada Council of the Arts “B” grant to study jazz trombone in New York where he studied with Conrad Herwig, Steve Turre, Benny Powell and Slide Hampton. More recently he resumed his studies and completed a Bachelor’s and Master’s degree in Orchestral Performance from the University of British Columbia.

 As a music educator Dennis has been the Jazz Trombone instructor at Capilano College since 1997 and has been the director of the UBC Jazz Ensemble 2 since 2000. In addition he has been on the faculty of the Courtney Youth Music Center since 2000 and prior to that time he was on the faculty of the Okanagan Summer School of the Arts from 1984-1999.

 As an adjudicator Dennis has appeared at many festivals throughout B.C. and western Canada including Kelowna, Edmonton, Whistler, Surrey, Burnaby, and Vancouver. He has also performed clinics and master classes at universities, colleges, and secondary schools throughout Canada.

Dennis is a Yamaha trombone artist and performs and records on the YSL697Z trombone.

Degrees
B.Mus., M.Mus.(UBC)

Performance Related
Has Performed With:

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Lionel Hampton Jazz Orchestra

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Tommy Banks Orchestra

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Vancouver Ensemble of Jazz Improvisation

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Kenny Wheeler

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Slide Hampton

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Steve Lawrence and Edie Gorme

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Ray Charles

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Martha Reeves and the Vandellas

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Jack Jones

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Natalie Cole

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Burt Bacharach and Dionne Warwick

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Mitzi Gaynor

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The Temptations

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Harry Connick Jr.

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Jimmy Dorsey Orchestra

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Barry Manilow

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Henry Cuesta and the Lawrence Welk Orchestra

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Maynard Ferguson

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Muhal Richard Abrams

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Marvin Stamm

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Brass Roots

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Clark Terry

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Bill Watrous

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Phil Woods

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Bud Shank

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Eddie Daniels

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David Foster

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and numerous others.

 Lead trombonist with:

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Fred Stride Jazz Orchestra

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Jill Townsend Big Band

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Vancouver Ensemble of Improvisation(VEJI)

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The Hard Rubber Orchestra

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Goma Dura

 Theatre Shows:

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Chorus Line

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Denzel Sinclaire- “A Tribute to Nat King Cole”

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Forever Swing

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The Full Monty

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42nd Street

Numerous recordings as a featured jazz soloist including many CBC sessions for a variety of different leaders:

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Hugh Fraser

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Ian McDougall

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Dave Robbins

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Mike Herriott

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Fred Stride

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John Korsrud

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Jill Townsend

A member of “The New Orleans Connection”, a Dixie-Swing showband performing throughout Canada and Europe.

Many studio sessions including jingles, cartoons, movie sound tracks, and television shows.

Discography

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Mike Herriot Quintet

Free at Last
A Piece Of The Action
Unto The Breach

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Vancouver Ensemble of Improvisation (VEJI)

Classic VEJI
V
VEJI Now
Big Works

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Banff Jazz Orchestra

Banff Jazz Orchestra at Banff

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Brass Roots

Brass Roots
Laconda Rift

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Shango Ashe

Timba Con Sandunga

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Stephen Fearing

The Assassin’s Apprentice

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Mart Kenney

Celebration 2000

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Hard Rubber Orchestra

Cruel But Fair
Rub Harder

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Buddy Miles

Miles Away From Home

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Dave Robbins Sextet

At The Mark
Veda Hille
Auditorium

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Forever Swing Cast Recording

Forever Swing

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Jill Townsend Big Band

Tales From The Sea

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The Paperboys

Dilapidated Beauty

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Patsy Goto

Near You

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Karin Plato

The State Of Bliss

Education Related

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Jazz Trombone Instuctor at Capilano College, 1997-2004
 

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Jazz Trombone Instructor at the Courtney Youth Music Center, 1986, 2000-2004
 

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Jazz Trombone Clinician at the U.B.C. Band Camp,1998-2002
 

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Jazz trombone Instructor at the Okanagan Summer School of the Arts, 1984-1999
 

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Jazz Trombone Instuctor at the Kelowna Summer Music School, 1993-1994
 

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In my teaching capacity at all of these summer schools I have also taught improvisation, jazz history, jazz theory,  combos and directed  big bands of all ages and abilities
                                            

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Clinician and Adjudicator for the Whistler Music Festival, April 2001-2004
 

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Clinician and Adjudicator for the Kelowna Interior Jazz Festival, April 2003
 

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Clinician and Adjudicator for the Edmonton JazzWorks Festival, 2002
 

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Clinician for the Vancouver Kiwanis Music Festival, 1999-2000
 

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Adjudicator at the Surrey High School Jazz Festival, 1998–2004
 

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Adjudicator at the Burnaby School District Jazz Festival, 2001
 

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Adjudicator at the Vancouver District Jazz Festival, 2001, 2004
 

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Director and guest soloist of the Coquitlam District Honor Jazz Band, 2004
 

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Director of the Junior All Star big band, Surrey Jazz Festival, 2001
 

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Conductor  of the UBC “B” Jazz Ensemble 2000-2004
 

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Have studied with Dave Robbins, Steve Turre, Benny Powell, Conrad Herwig, Slide Hampton, Herb Besson, Art Baron, Wayne Andre, Gordon Cherry
 

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I am active as a Yamaha Artist/Clinician throughout B.C. and Canada

Awards

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Recipient of a Canada Council Arts Grant “B” in 1993 to study jazz trombone in New York.
 

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Awarded scholarships to the Banff School of the Arts as a member of The Banff Jazz Orchestra 1992-93.
 

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Finalist in the 1988 Alcan Jazz Competition as a member of the Bill Clark Sextet.