{TD Jazz Intensive performance, 2017 festival, photo by Nicole Romanoff Photography}

The SaskTel Saskatchewan Jazz Festival believes in supporting the musicians of tomorrow by providing opportunities that will assist secondary and post-secondary students develop as artists. With the support of TD, the festival is proud to present the TD Jazz Intensive, a week-long workshop running from June 25th to June 30th, 2018. 


Come participate in a creative and celebratory jazz education experience like no other. This unique and innovative 6-day jazz educational opportunity is open to all students on all instruments of secondary and post-secondary ages.

Under the guidance of distinguished jazz educators, program participants will create and work toward a public performance at The Bassment, the home of jazz in Saskatoon, at 1pm on Saturday, June 30, 2018 during the SaskTel Saskatchewan Jazz Festival.

The TD Jazz Intensive offers an extensive and broad range of valued musical experiences and opportunities that include:

  • Instruction in jazz history, jazz theory, jazz improvisation, jazz combo, jazz composition & arranging, and artist career development
  • Meeting like-minded peers from across western Canada eager to develop their jazz-specific music skill sets
  • Working with selected jazz festival headliner guest (TBA) who will visit specifically with Jazz Intensive participants
  • Challenging opportunities for students of all music levels
  • Increased one on one time between award winning all Canadian faculty and participants
  • Jam sessions featuring clinicians and participants
  • Workshop session featuring special guest musicians
  • Performing in jazz combo and big band settings multiple times during the 2018 jazz festival (e.g. The Bassment Jazz Club and Nutrien Free Stage)
  • Participants receive a Festival Pass. Pass holders are entitled to attend all 2018 SJF concerts that are not sold out (10 minutes prior to show time). Passes must be presented in person with ID for admission to events. 19+ events also require photo ID for proof of age.

What makes this experience particularly exciting and completely unique in our province is the opportunity for students to interact with touring musicians performing at the festival. At least one touring musician will drop in on the program and conduct a workshop with the students. The students will also have the opportunity to be part of the audience at many shows.


Most of the costs of conducting the TD Jazz Intensive are borne by its generous sponsors. Only a small portion of the cost is charged to the participants.

All applicants to the program must submit an application. A participation fee of $125 applies for each musician accepted into the program. This is only charged if the applicant is successful. Students from outside Saskatoon are responsible for their own transportation, accommodations and meals. Do not send the participation fee with your application. You will be contacted for payment information if you are accepted into the program.

Payment methods: Cash, debit, Visa, MasterCard or cheque (payable to Saskatchewan Jazz Festival, Inc.). Note: Cheques will not be cashed until after the applicant has been informed they were accepted into the program.



What makes this experience particularly exciting and completely unique in our province is the opportunity for students to interact with touring musicians performing at the festival. At least one touring musician will drop in on the program and conduct a workshop with the students. The students will also have the opportunity to be part of the audience at many shows.

Dean McNeill -Program Coordinator/High Brass/Large Jazz Ensemble


Award winning Canadian trumpet player/composer Dean McNeill regularly performs in both the classical and jazz idioms and has been a faculty member at University of Saskatchewan Dept. of Music for the past 19 years. During this time Dean has performed and adjudicating throughout Canada and the United States, released 2 critically acclaimed CDs as a leader, and produced and/or performed on over 12 CDs. Dean is the recipient of the Saskatchewan Jazz Festival’s Special Recognition Award, UofS’s campus-wide Student Union Teaching Excellence Award, UofS Dept. of Music’s Dwaine Nelson Teaching Award, and, a Downbeat Magazine big band arranging award. As an ensemble conductor and engaged music educator Dean has taught the UofS Jazz Ensemble, the International Music Camp’s (IMC) student big band, IMC Faculty Jazz Ensemble, UofS Kenderdine Campus Summer Jazz Retreat, the SaskTel Jazz Festival Jazz Intensive, and, he has led many of his own professional bands on Canadian tours. Since its inception Dean has been the Artistic Director of the Saskatoon Jazz Orchestra. Dean has performed 4 times at the Western Canadian Music Awards (W.C.M.A.) within various projects that have been nominated for W.C.M.A.s.

Jeff PresslaffRhythm section/Piano/Guitar/Composer


Jeff Presslaff is an award-winning trombonist, pianist, composer, arranger and producer, who has played with and written for a wide variety of performers and ensembles ranging from big band to symphony orchestra to clarinet choir to indie rock band. He has seven albums under his own name (two nominated for WCMA Jazz Album of the Year), and has contributed to many others. He is the principal arranger for the Winnipeg Jazz Orchestra, and Jeff has composed the world's first concerto for cello and big band. He has taught at Princeton University, Bard College, Union College, University of Manitoba, University of Winnipeg and the International Music Camp.

Greg Gatien - Sax/Improvisation


Greg Gatien is currently serving as Dean at Brandon University’s School of Music, where he has been a long-time member of the jazz faculty.  With a wealth of experience teaching saxophone, jazz pedagogy, improvisation, jazz history, and directing ensembles, Greg is an active educator and maintains a busy schedule adjudicating festivals, directing honor bands, and giving masterclasses and workshops.  He is also an active and accomplished performer, having played with many icons of the jazz tradition, including Kenny Wheeler, Benny Carter, Joe Henderson, and Bob Brookmeyer.  He has been featured on numerous recordings and radio broadcasts in both Canada and the US.  Greg is a frequent collaborator with renowned American pianist and composer John Harmon and has been a regular member of the Winnipeg Jazz Orchestra since 2002.

Soren Nissen -Rhythm section/Bass/Composer


Soren Nissen plays bass and is an in demand performer and educator in Toronto and abroad.  His musical roots are tied to his hometown of Saskatoon, Saskatchewan where mentors such as Dean McNeill and Mark DeJong helped him develop a passion for music.  Soren moved to Toronto in 2008 to study bass at Humber College and since graduating has since been a full time performer and educator.  Soren runs a private teaching studio and is on faculty at the Humber College Community Music program. He has also been on faculty at the Global Music Institute in New Delhi, India. Soren is a past participant of the TD Jazz Intensive and now continues his involvement on the educational side as a returning faculty member.

Paul Suchan- Resident Local Composer


Saskatoon’s Paul Suchan graduated with a B. Mus/B.Mus Ed (2007) from the University of Saskatchewan and M.Mus in Composition (2012) at the Université de Montréal where he studied with composer Alan Belkin.

Mr. Suchan’s compositions has been performed across Canada, the United States and Europe by leading university ensembles, symphony orchestras, community groups, choirs, small ensembles and soloists.   Highlights include performances at the National Arts Centre in Ottawa, and the performance of his opera The Beast in the Jungle in Montreal.  His piece for band The Colors and Contrasts of Grief has received over 100 performances throughout North America and has been professionally recorded three times.  Mr. Suchan is a strong advocate for fellow composers and in 2011 he co-founded the Strata Festival of New Music, an annual 3 day festival dedicated to high quality performances of Saskatchewan and Prairie composers and has been the winner of numerous composition awards including the 2014 Canadian Band Association Composition Competition for his band piece Swiftriver Passage.

Mike Rud - Rhythm section/Guitar/Composer


Mike Rud is a Juno award-winning jazz guitarist, composer and songwriter, living in Montreal. As an instrumentalist, Mike has played alongside some of the greatest musicians of the era like Peter Bernstein, Kenny Wheeler, Herb Ellis, Joey DeFrancesco, and Randy Brecker. As a composer, Mike won the 2014 Juno Award for his album Notes on Montreal, a critically acclaimed tour-de-force, featuring his lyrics, and compositions. It was inspired by the great literature set in Montreal (Michel Tremblay, Gabrielle Roy etc.) and sung by Sienna Dahlen. Mike’s 2015 solo release, Miniatures delighted audiences across Canada, creating the effect of a small group with only his voice and his guitar. Mike has a master’s degree from McGill, and studied privately in New York City with one of the fathers of jazz guitar, Jim Hall. Mike has taught at McGill, Western Washington and Carleton universities, and speaks frequently at other music schools.

Al Kay - Trombone/Low Brass/Composer


Alastair Kay, recently retired as Head of Brass at Humber College is busy as a clinician, arranger, composer, and a virtuosic jazz and classical soloist.  He has recorded and/or performed with hundreds of the very best artists and entertainers such as True North Brass, Ella Fitzgerald, Rob McConnell and the Boss Brass, Barbra Streisand, Diana Krall, Tony Bennet, Guido Basso, Aretha Franklin, Maria Schneider, Frank Sinatra, Warren Vache, Slide Hampton, Lighthouse, Bill Watrous, Wayne Bergeron, and All Star Brass. Al performs regularly with the bands of John MacLeod, Roberto Occhipinti, Hilario Duran, Lighthouse, Kirk MacDonald, Brian Dickinson, and his own 5 and 10 trombone jazz ensembles.

He has been a feature performer across Canada with the leading orchestras of Toronto, Calgary, Winnipeg, and Vancouver, toured seven seasons with the Royal Winnipeg Ballet Orchestra, and performed with dozens of brass bands, concert bands, big bands, and jazz ensembles.  Al travels regularly to the Calgary area to do brass and jazz workshops, concerts with Prime Time Big Band, the Yamaha Order of Canada Big Band, perform and teach at the Banff Centre, and adjudicate local music festivals. Recent recordings include Juno-winning or nominated CD’s by Phil Dwyer, Alex Dean, Brian Dickinson, John MacLeod, Kirk MacDonald, and soloing on the epic new video game “Cuphead”.

Ted Warren - Drums/Percussion


Ted Warren is an in demand active drummer in Canada’s jazz scene He teaches at Mohawk College and University of Guelph and is a well-regarded clinician and adjudicator. Ted fronts his own quartet, Ted’s Warren Commission, which has released their third CD, The Great Regina Pizza Debate . He was the drummer for the Boss Brass and can be heard on six of their recordings, including Velvet and Brass (with Mel Torme). Ted has worked with many acclaimed performers, including Slide Hampton, Bob Newhart, Maynard Ferguson, Lew Soloff, Chuck Mangione, Jeff Healey, Norma Winstone, and Sheila Jordan. Ted’s extensive touring has taken him to Poland, South Korea, Spain, Brazil, Iceland, and Japan. Ted was recently featured in a cover story in Drums Etc. magazine and has also written articles for Modern Drummer, Drum!, Canadian Musician, and Percussive Notes.

Kellylee Evans- Vocals


With six albums into an outstanding career, Juno Award winning vocalist Kellylee Evans is still shaking it up. The stylistic connoisseur has tackled everything from jazz to R&B and pop in such previous tasty classics fight or flight?, Nina – her Juno-winning tribute to the legendary Nina Simone – and I Remember When. Praised by the Latin Jazz Network for a "gorgeous voice (that) rises to the heavens in rapturous wonder as if in consanguinity with a chorus of angels" and by the Yukon Arts Centre for "a stunning crystalline voice, both powerful and emotive."

Forged by her jazz discipline, the runner-up of the 2004 Thelonious Monk Competition offers resonating soul groove vocals and that je ne sais quoi that is strictly Kellylee.