Humber’s Introduction to Commercial Jazz Music certificate is a performance-based program designed to help you assess and strengthen your skills. It solidifies your knowledge of the fundamentals of western music and develops your current performance skills through the jazz-specific areas of improvisation, repertoire development and small group ensemble performance. You will emerge from the program with a clearer understanding of the field and your own career potential within it, and as a stronger candidate for entry into postsecondary music degree and diploma programs. All courses have a particular focus on the commercial/jazz field.
Upon successful completion of the program, a graduate will:
Recognize & identify common styles of music.
Describe the commercial/jazz field in terms of tradition, artists, & styles.
Explain the contribution of various artists to the development of particular styles & idioms.
Analyze the components & performance differences of recorded selections.
Play a repertoire of memorized materials that are considered standards in the commercial/jazz field & reflect the various styles inherent in this music.
Write diatonic melodies in various styles demonstrating knowledge of relevant harmonic & melodic concepts & structures of form.
Perform in an ensemble demonstrating basic ensemble skills such as intonation, tuning, time, feel, balance & dynamics.
Identify their own musical strengths & weaknesses in terms of a performance career in the commercial/jazz field.
Implement strategies & plans for on-going personal & professional growth & development.
Establish a practice of critical self-assessment & professional goal setting.
Select an instrument below to show specific program details including availability, admission requirements and how to apply.
The deadline for the first round of Music auditions is February 19, 2021. After this date, we will continue to take auditions on a first-come first-served basis until the programs are full.
Faculty are professional musicians and educators specializing in the area of jazz performance and theory.
Ben Ball grew up in Sarnia, Ontario, and began playing drums at age thirteen. At the age of seventeen he enrolled in Humber College and completed the Applied Music program by the age of twenty. During his student sojourn, he became focused on jazz music and after graduating from Humber, received a Canada Council project grant to study with Chris McCann in Kingston, Ontario. After touring and playing at various jazz clubs around Toronto, Ben received another project grant from the Canada Council and decided to move to New York to pursue his interest in jazz music.
During his two-year stay in New York, Ben played at the 55 Bar, Sonny’s Place and many more venues. He worked with such musicians as Billy Mitchell, Kermit Driscoll, Joe Knight, Ken Hatfield, Carol Sudhalter and many others. During this time he got a call to play in South Korea. After playing for three years in Korea, Ben decided to study further and enrolled in the University of Toronto jazz bachelor's program. He graduated in 2001 and then proceeded to study and get his bachelor of education from O.I.S.E. at the University of Toronto.
Upon completing his studies at the University of Toronto, Ben accepted a full-time contract-based teaching position in the Applied Music Department of PaekChe Institute of the Arts in South Korea. While in Korea, Ben worked with many visiting musicians including Kirk Macdonald, Lorne Lofsky, John Patitucci, Brian Dickinson, Ted Quinlan, Mike Downes, Jae Chung, Kenji Omae and many others.
He maintains an active international touring schedule and has played at many international jazz festivals including The New York J.V.C. Jazz Festival, Montreal International Jazz Festival, The MooJu International Jazz Festival, Toronto Downtown Jazz Festival, and many more. He has released three recordings as a leader: Words Within (2005), Type None (2011), and 401 Towards London (2015). Ben completed his master's of music (Jazz Performance) at McGill University in 2007 and taught jazz drums at Humber College until 2020. Since that time he has been active playing in Korea, Japan, Canada and the U.S. and is excited to announce the uppoming release of his forth recording, Chronicle. This new jazz recording was inspired by eight visual works and is performed by the Ben Ball Quartet.
Thomas Francis is one of Toronto’s leading pianists and is well-known for his extensive background in jazz and soul-based musics. He grew up in a house full of music, and has a shared a family lineage of musicianship. Thomas became sensitive to the structure of classical and standards while feeding off of the musicality and expression of jazz, soul, Latin and funk musics.
Entering Humber’s Community Music School children’s program at the age of three was the beginning of a long training process for Thomas. He began his piano lessons at age five – eventually making his way to jazz studies at age eight. At 16, Thomas was awarded Downbeat’s Outstanding Performance award, and in the summer of 2007 joined the Toronto All-Star Big Band. He completed his diploma at Humber College’s full-time program, and went on to complete his BFA in Music at York University. In 2017, Thomas completed his Master of Arts in Composition, for which he wrote a thesis on the relationship between jazz and hip-hop musics. Outside of piano and keyboard performance, Thomas is well known for his musicianship skills in writing and arranging for strings having established his own contemporary string ensemble, The Four Strings.
Thomas has performed and recorded with Canadian soul icons, country and pop artists, and Juno Award-winning artists, and can be seen in his element with his instrumental hip-hop/jazz ensemble, Thomas Francis Friends.
Tania Gill is a Toronto-based jazz pianist, improviser and composer who plays original, experimental and traditional music encompassing many genres. She leads and composes for the Tania Gill Quartet with Lina Allemano (trumpet), Nico Dann (drums) and Rob Clutton (bass). Her CD Bolger Station (Barnyard Records) was nominated for best debut album in the Village Voice jazz critics' poll and was Globe and Mail disc-of-the-week. She has performed, recorded and toured as a member of many notable projects/bands including The Brodie West Quintet, The Flying Bulgar Klezmer Band, Steve Reich’s 80th birthday concert at Massey Hall, Anthony Braxton and the AIMToronto Orchestra, Rebecca Hennessy, Deep Dark United, The Weather Station, The Titillators, The Mark Segger Sextet, St. Dirt Elementary School, The Woodshed Orchestra, Charles Spearin and the Happiness Project, the Victor Bateman Trio, Pete Johnston’s See Through Trio/Quartet and Quintet, Fides Krucker and many others.
“All aboard for first-class and fanciful Toronto pianist!” - Globe and Mail
Tania is a dedicated educator, who has taught at Humber for 17 years, and has worked as an adjudicator/clinician across the country. She has a MMUS in Jazz Performance from the University of Toronto and a BMUS in Jazz Performance from McGill.
Trombonist, composer and arranger Kelsley Grant received his bachelor of music from McGill University and completed his graduate studies at the Manhattan School of Music. Shortly after leaving New York, he joined Maynard Fergusonʼs Big Bop Noveau and toured the United States, Germany, Switzerland and England. Kelsley has performed with Aretha Franklin, Jackie Richardson, Frank Sinatra Jr., Michael Buble, Maria Schneider, Michel LeGrand, Nicholas Payton, Sophie Milman, Ranee Lee and Nikki Yanofsky. He toured with Forever Swing and took part in the Toronto productions of Annie, Romancing The One I Love, Ainʼt Misbehavinʼ, The Rat Pack, Kinky Boots, Matilda and Beautiful: The Carole King Musical. He has played on several movie soundtracks including Born to Be Blue, Cirque de Soleil Alegría and Les Triplettes De Belleville. Kelsley has been twice nominated for trombonist of the year by the National Jazz Awards. The Jefferson-Grant Quintet won an Opus Award for their first recording and was nominated Acoustic Ensemble of the Year by the National Jazz Awards. Kelsley has served as a faculty member at McGill University, University of Montreal and University of Toronto. He has given master classes and clinics at universities across Canada and is currently a full-time faculty member at Humber College
Johnny Griffith is a multi-Juno Award-nominated saxophonist, composer and producer who has played and recorded with numerous artists including Don Thompson, Hawksley Workman, Jeremy Pelt, Charlie Hunter, The Wailers, Fishbone, Ernesto Cervini’s Tune Town, Alex Dean, Laila Biali, Al Henderson Quintet, Brandi Disterheft and Terra Hazelton, to name a few, and is a member of the popular Canadian funk/hip hop group the Pocket Dwellers. He has toured extensively across Canada, the United States, and Europe performing at all the major Canadian music festivals as well as several international venues, including the Montreaux Jazz Festival in Switzerland.
Johnny co-leads the Griffith Hiltz Trio (GHT) with guitarist Nathan Hiltz, arriving on the scene with the 2009 album Now & Then, produced by and featuring Canadian jazz legend Don Thompson. Their debut album was selected by Terry McElligott at Jazz FM 91 as Jazz Album of the Year and was nominated for a Grand Prix du Jazz from the Montreal Jazz festival. Their second, more experimental release, This is What You Get, was produced by Canadian cult icon Hawksley Workman and sat at #1 on the national jazz charts for three weeks in 2013. Amid the 2020 COVID-19 pandemic, GHT released its third album, Arcade, a nostalgic chiptune-jazz fusion nod to the music of film and video games of the 1980s.
The Johnny Griffith Quintet is the artist’s first solo venture and launched with Dance with the Lady in 2015. Featuring NYC’s Jeremy Pelt on trumpet, the album was the featured release on WBGO Jazz radio New Jersey. 2018 saw the release of The Lion, Camel and Child, again with Pelt, previewing at the TD Toronto Jazz Festival 2018.
In 2015, Johnny created the non-profit independent jazz label G-B Records and has gone on to produce and/or engineer Nathan Hiltz’s Songs Poetic and Samways, Whitney Ross-Barris' The Bright Lunch Trio, Graeme Stephen’s Projector Trio, Adrean Farrugia/Joel Frahm’s Blued Dharma, Chris Wallace’s Many Names, Andy Ballantyne’s Play on Words and UK’s NeWt Trio’s “Drip.”
Johnny is also an active film and television composer. He has composed the scores for the films Still to Go and The Recipe, both films appearing in the Toronto International Film Festival, the Los Angeles International Short Film Festival, Montreal World Film Festival and the Vancouver International Film Festival. He is also a freelance composer for the Bell/CTV media group.
Born in St. Boniface, Manitoba, Johnny has a Bachelor of Music from Humber College, a master’s degree in jazz performance from University of Toronto, and for the past 12 years, he has been a Humber Music faculty member. Johnny Griffith currently lives and performs in Toronto, Canada.
Toronto-born drummer, multi-instrumentalist, and vocalist Steve Mancuso has been active as an educator, and performing artist on the Canadian music scene since 1988.
In 2008, Steve earned his MA in ethnomusicology (Cuba, Africa) at York University. He is presently completing a PhD (ABD) at York University under the guidance of South Indian master drummer Dr. Trichy Sankaran, focusing on the art of Konnakkol, the spoken rhythmic language of the Carnatic musical tradition. He has also studied privately with master educators such as Francis Kofi Akotuah, Bruce Becker, Jim Blackley, José Luis Quintana, and Marcos Suzano, among others.
Steve is currently on faculty at both Humber College and Centennial College (MIAP) where he instructs contemporary drum set, world percussion, and various performance and pedagogical ensembles. In addition, Steve is an educator and clinician endorsed by Bosphorus Cymbals, Vic Firth Sticks and Mallets, and Remo Drum Heads.
Born and raised in Ottawa, saxophonist Dave Neill moved to Toronto in 1995 to pursue a jazz performance degree from the University of Toronto, where he studied with Alex Dean and Mike Murley.
Working as a performer, adjudicator and clinician, Dave is active on the freelance scene, including jobs with Johnny Mathis, Wayne Newton, Frankie Valli, Regis Philbin and Nikki Yanofsky. He has adjudicated at festivals across Ontario, including the national Musicfest finals, and has given a clinic at OMEA entitled “Breaking Down Barriers for Jazz Improvisation.”
Now a full-time professor at Humber College, Dave teaches a variety of courses, including Business for Creative Industry and Song Materials, as well as private lessons in the woodwind area. Previously, he taught at the University of Toronto from 2004-2016 and the Humber College Community Music School from 2000-2015, as well as mentoring the next generation of performers at the Youth Jazz Canada’s Summer Jazz Workshop and the IMC Jazz Camp.
Dave completed his master’s in jazz performance at the University of Toronto, and has released two CDs as a leader. His debut quartet CD, All In, featured his original compositions, while his follow-up CD, Daylight, was named as one of the top Canadian Jazz CDs of 2014 by Peter Hum of the Ottawa Citizen.
Anthony Panacci attended the Humber Music jazz program from 1976 to 1980 and has also received his grade 10 Royal Conservatory of Music in Toronto. He is currently on faculty at Humber teaching jazz piano and in the recording studio department.
Since 1976, he has been playing extensively in the Canadian music scene both live and in the studio. Anthony is a very versatile musician who plays jazz in festivals and clubs across Canada, notably in Toronto, Montreal and Quebec City. In 1986, he toured Canada with classical guitarist Liona Boyd. He has played and recorded pop and country with David Clayton Thomas, Petula Clark, Shirley Eikhard, the Mersey Brothers and Pete Wade, and Latin jazz with the Montuno Police, Robby Ameen and his own project, Eclectica Latino, featuring Raul Pineda and Roberto Viscaino.
Anthony also owns a full digital recording studio in his house where he engineers and produces for bands, singers and music for TV, radio and many different jazz projects, including his own, Eclectica Latino and Blues for Jazz, and his wife Mary’s Her Perfume.
In 2016 and 2017, Anthony played in the house band for the CBC Canadian Screen Awards with Norm MacDonald and Howie Mandel. He was Mississauga's musician of the year award in 1999 and received the 2021 Lifetime Achievement Award for Mississauga.
After 52 years at the drums, Barry has established himself as one of Canada’s most unique drum set stylists. Barry has worked with some of Canada’s finest musicians, led his own groups, accompanied international artists, and has been featured on over 150 recordings, including 18 as a leader.
Barry was a Juno Award-winning sideman in 1991 and has 11 more Juno nominations from 2001 to 2012. Barry Romberg’s Random Access was nominated for Best Electric Group at the National Jazz Awards (NJA) in 2005, 2006, 2007 and 2009, winning in 2008. Barry was also nominated as the NJA's Drummer of the Year for four consecutive years starting in 2006. In 2008, The Random Access Large Ensemble was nominated as Best Big Band and Barry, Producer of the Year. The CD by The Random Access Large Ensemble, Existential Detective, was nominated for a Juno Award in the Contemporary Jazz Recording category in 2009.
Over the years, Barry has worked with the likes of Gil Evans, Hank Jones, Joe Henderson, Lee Konitz, Donny McCaslin,
Ben Monder, Don Pullen, Kenny Wheeler, Ritchie Bierach, Don Byron, Sam Rivers, Rez Abassi, Jeff Coffin and George Garzone, to name a few. Barry is also a featured member of bands led by Michael Occhipinti, Geoff Young, Kirk Macdonald, Lorne Lofsky, and Al Henderson.
As a student in our program, you will study with many of Canada’s finest jazz musicians, thereby learning the craft directly from the pros. The program will help you develop the ability to accurately and confidently assess your skills in relation to existing vocational opportunities and future career directions.
Music, Bachelor of
Credential: Honours Degree
Length: 8 semesters
Credential: Ontario Graduate Certificate
Length: 2 semesters
Credential: Ontario Graduate Certificate
Length: 2 semesters
Every attempt is made to ensure that information contained on this website is current and accurate. Humber reserves the right to correct any error or omission, modify or cancel any course, program, fee, timetable or campus location at any time without prior notice or liability to users or any other Person.
On October 21, 2019, the Provincial Government of Ontario announced the renaming of the Ministry of Training, Colleges and Universities (MTCU) to the Ministry of Colleges and Universities (MCU). Both names may appear on this website.