Humber presence strong at Juno Awards

by | Mar 28, 2014 | Arts

Courtesy of Brandi Disterheft.
Brandi Disterheft is up for her second Juno Award this year for Contemporary Jazz Album of the Year. The Juno’s air this Sunday, March 30.

By Natalie Hanniman

The Juno Awards represent the best in Canadian music, and this year  ten nominees have ties to Humber College.

Both faculty and Humber grads hope to bring home the hardware following the awards this weekend in Winnipeg.

Brandi Disterheft, who graduated from the Jazz Music Performance program in 2003, is up for her second Juno this year for Contemporary Jazz Album of the Year for her album “Gratitude.” She won in 2008 for Traditional Jazz Album of the Year with her debut album, “Debut.”

She decided to study jazz at Humber after receiving a scholarship to the school.

“Humber is one of the most reputable schools for jazz in the country and the faculty has the best musicians in Canada,” she said. “Since the school is quite large there’s a lot of students that you end up meeting, which is networking. When I graduated I was still working in a professional atmosphere with my friends I went to school with.”

Humber’s has a long history with the Juno awards.

“Five to 10 (nominated) records a year have Humber faculty, students or alumni involved,” Steve Bellamy, associate dean, School of Creative and Performing Arts told the Humber Et Cetera.

The music programs teach students more than just the fundamentals of music.

“These nominations are proof in a way that we are preparing people for the real music industry in a way that is more than just learning how to play your instrument,” Bellamy said.

Humber has very prestigious music programs, Jazz Performance and a Bachelor of Music.

Not only Humber music grads received nominations this year, Humber Journalism graduate Jon Hembrey and his band The Strumbella’s received their second nomination in two years for Roots & Traditional Album of the Year: Group.

The band members, who lost last year to Elliot Brood, are more relaxed this year, having last year’s experience under their belts.

“I’m more at ease this year, but when they announce our category I think I’ll be just as nervous and excited as I was last year,” said Hembrey.

The Juno Awards air live from Winnipeg this Sunday at 8 p.m. on CTV. The Juno Gala Dinner & Awards, where 35 additional awards are handed out, will be livestreamed Saturday night for the first time.

Humber Nominees This Year

Traditional Jazz Album of the Year

  • Carn Davidson 9 – Nine
    • Will Carn – part-time faculty and Tara Davidson – Community Music coach
    • Alumnus Fabio Ragneli played drums and Associate Dean Steve Bellamy mixed, edited and mastered the album.
  • John MacLeod & His Rex Hotel Orchestra – Our Second Set
    • MacLeod is a part-time faculty member
    • Ten Humber faculty and alumni performed on the record. It was recorded at Humber Recording Studio.
  • Mike Downes – Ripple Effect
    • Downes is a full-time faculty member
    • Faculty-member Ted Quinlan played guitar. Bellamy mastered the album.

Vocal Jazz Album of the Year

  • Amy McConnell & William Sperandei – Stealing Genius
    • Faculty-member Larnell Lewis performed on the record.
  • Matt Dusk – My Funny Valentine – The Chet Baker Songbook
    • Arranged and co-produced by Shelly Berger – part-time faculty
  • Mike Rud – Notes On Montréal ft. Sienna Dahlen
    • Sienna Dahlen is a part-time faculty member

Contemporary Jazz Album of the Year

  • Brandi Disterheft – Gratitude
    • Disterheft is a Humber grad.

R&B/Soul Recording of the Year

  • Joanna Borromeo – Kaleidoscope
    • Borromeo is a Humber grad.

World Music Album of the Year

  • David Buchbinder & Odessa/Havana – Walk to the Sea
    • Humber faculty Mark Kelso, Hilario Duran and Roberto Occhipinti all performed on the album, which Occhipinti also produced.

Roots & Traditional Album of the Year: Group

  • The Strumbella’s — We Still Move on Dance Floors
    • Guitarist Jon Hembrey is a Humber grad.