New Faculty Members Announced for Schulich Jazz Area

Camille Thurman, Ira Coleman, and Darrell Green join the Schulich School of Music

The Schulich School of Music is delighted to welcome new members to its distinguished faculty.   

An intense search for a new tenure-stream Jazz Studies position was carried out in Winter 2021 seeking an individual with an international profile as jazz musician and educator who has made a significant contribution to jazz. The search was an unequivocal success.   

Committed in its efforts to offer exceptional opportunities to both faculty and students, the School has chosen to welcome not one, but three new members in the Jazz Area: full-time tenure-stream faculty Camille Thurman and Ira Coleman as well as Darrell Green as part-time ranked contract academic staff. The knowledge, training, and expertise that each possesses will enhance and make meaningful and necessary contributions to the Schulich community.   

“The School is very fortunate to have these extraordinary, world-class performing artists and jazz educators joining us thanks to the opportunity offered through Provost Manfredi’s priority hiring initiative,” shares Dean Brenda Ravenscroft of the Schulich School of Music. “We are delighted that the strengths, experience and passion they bring will not only contribute to the excellence of the jazz education offered by Schulich but also advance the School’s priorities, from curricular enhancement (particularly in the Jazz Vocal program) to our strategic goals in diversity and community outreach.”

Photo of Camille Thurman
Camille Thurman

Camille Thurman is a jazz vocalist, multi-instrumentalist (playing tenor saxophone as well as bass, clarinet, flute, and piccolo), and composer with extensive performing, touring and recording experience. She is a unique interpreter of the jazz tradition and is quickly becoming one of the standard-bearers for the form.  

The New York City native has already amassed several distinctive honours for her musicianship, including runner-up in the 2013 Sarah Vaughan International Vocal Competition. Her vocal approach — including an impressive scatting ability — has been compared to that of Ella Fitzgerald and Betty Carter. Thurman makes considerable and dynamic contributions to the legacy of jazz while paying tribute to its heroes.  One needs only check out her virtual mentorship series The Haven Hang to witness her advocacy for gender inclusivity and equity in music at work. She is an engaging and experienced educator, well positioned to lead the enhancement and development of the School’s jazz vocal program.  

Thurman has shared stages with many jazz and R&B luminaries, including George Coleman, Roy Haynes, Dianne Reeves, The Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra (JALCO) featuring Wynton Marsalis, Terri Lyne Carrington, Jon Hendricks, Jon Batiste, Audra MacDonald, Diana Krall, Louis Hayes, Jacky Terrasson, Janelle Monáe, Alicia Keys, and Lalah Hathaway. A charismatic and committed artist, Thurman mindfully connects the present moment to the musical tradition that came before, encouraging one's individual and singular voice to be heard. 

Ira Coleman playing stand up bass
Ira Coleman

Jazz bass player Ira Coleman is as comfortable playing Jamaican rhythms as he is accompanying a gospel choir or performing in a jazz trio. He has built an international reputation for versatility, working with such well-known figures as Tony Williams, Cab Calloway, Freddie Hubbard, Betty Carter, Milt Jackson, Branford Marsalis, Herbie Hancock, Wayne Shorter, Jessye Norman, Grover Washington Jr., Barbara Hendricks, Sting, and Kathleen Battle. He has taught at Bard College since 2002, basing his educational philosophy on student empowerment and the belief that “cultural competence makes for excellent teaching.” 

A true citizen of the world, Coleman was born in Stockholm, Sweden, raised in Southern France, lived in Germany and studied at Cologne’s Hochschule für Musik before moving to the US to attend Berklee College of Music in Boston. Nuanced and deliberate, Coleman is a veteran musician and self-described eternal student who continues to explore rhythm, sound, structure, and more. He has said that “the bass fits my character. In most musical genres the bass is the pivotal centrepiece, the instrument that provides a discrete and clear foundation, and I enjoy the many challenges its function poses.” Coleman is passionate about supporting youth — and his fluency in French will facilitate these important activities within Montreal’s francophone communities.  

Drummer Darrell Green sits behind drum kit
Image by Susan Mah.
Darrell Green

Innovative jazz drummer Darrell Green is renowned for his extraordinary versatility, which ranges from traditional jazz to West African music. He is a sought-after drummer who contributes as sideman, bandleader, educator, clinician, composer, and producer. Hailing from Oakland, California, Green has developed a style rooted in modern post-bop, while retaining elements of his gospel and classical lineage. He has performed, recorded, and toured with leading jazz artists such as Cassandra Wilson, Pharoah Sanders, Benny Golson, Mary Stallings, Houston Person, and Dr. Lonnie Smith, and in venerated jazz venues and festivals around the world. Green’s deep commitment to education and to mentoring young musicians will enable him to contribute significantly both within the classroom and in the School’s outreach activities.  

Schulich Jazz Area Coordinator Rémi Bolduc is “thrilled to count Camille, Ira, and Darrell as part of our faculty,” adding that “these artists are so inspiring, and I can’t wait for them to start teaching with us. I have no doubt that our students will be extremely happy as well.”

The Schulich School of Music looks forward to Camille Thurman, Ira Coleman, and Darrell Green joining its community as musicians, educators, performers, and colleagues this academic year.   

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