Musical inspirations

One of the great rewards as a professor in the Jazz Area is to hear the artistic growth of our students that culminates in their final recitals.  It truly is inspiring to hear the original and creative sounds that our students produce year after year.

Equally thrilling for me was the opportunity to work with one of my former teachers, David Liebman, at U of T thanks to the support of Dean Don MacLean and our donors John and Claudine Bailey.  We were able to hire Liebman as a visiting adjunct professor in 2014 which was a fantastic boost for our program and a wonderful inspiration to our students.  Having access to an artist who worked and recorded with Miles Davis, Elvin Jones and other legendary musicians offered an invaluable experience to all of us at U of T Jazz.

Liebman also recorded two critically acclaimed albums at U of T during his time with us, one with students and one with faculty.  Sweet Ruby Suite, with the UTJO directed by Gordon Foote, featured the music of Kenny Wheeler with Liebman and vocalist Norma Winstone as featured soloists.  Live at U of T, as the title suggests, was recorded live at the Upper Jazz Studio at 90 Wellesley by Professor Jeff Wolpert and students from his MMus sound recording program.  Featuring Liebman, myself, and fellow faculty members Jim Vivian and Terry Clark, this recording managed to capture the energy of live jazz played in an intimate setting for an engaged audience.

What a thrill be able to do all of this as my “work”.

  • Mike Murley, Associate Professor, Jazz Saxophone