Carleton Professor Jesse Stewart has won a Juno for Instrumental Album of the Year. As one third of the group Stretch Orchestra, Stewart wears many hats — award-winning composer, percussionist, improviser, artist, instrument builder, educator, researcher and writer.
“We were surprised and delighted to have been nominated for the Juno,” said Stewart. “Actually winning the award was a huge shock and, of course, a great honour. One of the most gratifying things about the whole experience has been the tremendous amount of support and encouragement I have received from the students, staff and faculty here at Carleton.”
The Stretch Orchestra is described as an eclectic trio that routinely traverses a wide gamut of musical styles, from jazz to rock to folk, often within a single tune. The group includes Stewart on percussion, Kevin Breit on guitar and Matt Brubeck on cello (yes, he is Dave Brubeck’s son).
“The common language between the three of us is jazz but we all come from different backgrounds,” said Stewart. “There’s a real mix of sensibilities with an experimental edge but this album is a little more tuneful, which I love. Being on stage with these two – our music facilitates or grows out of this friendship.”
Before joining Carleton’s music faculty in 2008, Stewart lived in Guelph, Ont. and saw his band-mates more regularly. Distance has not hindered the music writing process as he says they often do their writing before their gigs, jamming new ideas out during sound checks.
At Carleton, Stewart teaches music composition. As a composer, he writes mainly for percussion, found objects and instruments of his own design. As a researcher, Stewart’s work focuses primarily on experimental music, jazz, hip hop, music of the African diaspora and musical improvisation. He is a co-investigator with the Improvisation, Community, and Social Practice Project (ICASP), which received a multi-year $2.5-million Major Collaborative Research Initiative grant through Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council in 2007.
Stewart is the second Carleton community member in recent years to win a Juno. In 2011, jazz singer Kellylee Evans, a Carleton alumna (BAHons/97) won the Vocal Jazz Album of the Year award for her album Nina.
For more information:
613-520-2600, ext. 1391