Humber’s guitar professor bags JUNO ‘Jazz Album of The Year’ award

Jun 15, 2021 | Arts

Jocelyn Gould, jazz guitar musician, and Head of Guitars Department at Humber College, wins the JUNO category award of Jazz Album of The Year, Solo. It was her first nomination. Photo credit: Courtesy Jocelyn Gould

Jocelyn Gould, head of Guitars Department at Humber College, said she was overwhelmed by all the positive vibes she received from the academic community after her debut album won a Juno.

The singer-songwriter told Humber News of an inspiring message she received from one of her students saying, “that if my professor can win a JUNO and it makes me feel like I can win a JUNO, too.”

Her album Elegant Traveler is only a year-old since its release last March. It was later announced the winner at this year’s Jazz Album of The Year Solo category at the 50th JUNOs — Canada’s major music awards.

Gould said music has been a huge part of getting through the challenging year-and-a-half as a musician and teaching online for Humber during a pandemic.

“Pedagogy, teaching and mentorship is really woven into the fabric of jazz history and culture. Some of the great musicians of history were also involved teachers, like Barry Harris,” she said.

A significant part of jazz culture is passing on the passion of the genre to the next generation.

Gould’s teaching career began at a 2019 jam session night in Manhattan, where she lived in before moving to Toronto. That night she watched Andrew Scott, then Humber’s Associate Dean of Faculty of Media and Creative Arts, play jazz guitar. They struck up a conversation and was ultimately offered a teaching job at Humber College.

Gould began teaching later that same year.

Being a musician in a COVID world was very difficult, and there was no roadmap on how to deal with it.

“It’s been a year of pivoting, constant improvising and having to be creative in the moment and coming up of doing new things,” Gould said. “I think musicians are kind of running out of steam a little bit with this constant pivoting.”

Gould, however, looks forward to performing in front of a live audience once again this coming August. It’s a mixed feeling of excitement and nervousness as she prepares to travel to South Carolina where she has a set of back-to-back performances.

“I think there’s going to be a very short period of time for every musician where were just a little rusty…getting back to the swing of things,” she said.

Performing in front of a crowd is something Gould used to do six nights a week.

“I’ve had a couple of talks with myself, ‘okay, Jocelyn you’re going to have to be patient and be kind to yourself because it will take time to get back into (it),'” she said.

She will also move back to Toronto from Winnipeg, where she’s been based teaching online classes, and continue her teaching in class with students at Humber Lakeshore campus in the fall.

“Hopefully the clubs will open again so we can get back to making music together,” Gould said.