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Album: Prairie Fire

New CD sparks creative energy for jazz composer Dean McNeill: Prairie Fire latest recording project from contemporary artist ensemble

Where there's smoke, there's fire... Prairie Fire, in this case, a smokin' hot collection of new works from jazz composer and trumpeter Dean McNeill. Head of the Department of Music at the University of Saskatchewan, McNeill has created a wholly Canadian project that showcases some of the best talent on the national jazz scene. To be released August 25, Prairie Fire features a mix of original music and new arrangements of well-known standards in this much anticipated studio recording.

+ Click to read the full album press release

"...this is among the most pleasurable and rewarding contemporary big-band albums to come out of Canada—or anywhere else—in quite some time."

— Jack Bowers, All About Jazz

Reviews of the Prairie Fire CD

Prairie Fire has received good reviews from All About Jazz and Ray Baril, Head of Winds at McEwan College. Click the headlines below to read the full reviews.

+ Nick Lavigne, CAJE: Brings together some of Canada's best musicians

+ Jack Bowers, All About Jazz: Pleasurable and rewarding contemporary big-band album

+ Ray Baril: Musical depth and maturity evident in playing and composition

Buy the Album

The Prairie Fire CD is on sale at McNally Robinson Booksellers, and you can contact Dean McNeill directly to order the CD.

Listen to Song Samples

Click to listen to a few sample tracks from the album. All songs are mp3s.

















More about the album, a fully Canadian project

In February of 2007, a group of Canadian musicians recorded this CD and performed a CBC 2 (national radio) concert, the latter of which included original repertoire supplied by various members in the ensemble.

The album was recorded in February of 2007 by a group of Canadian musicians during a national CBC radio concert. The Prairie Fire album showcases a cross-section of Canadian talent, musicians who are too often isolated from one another due in part to our country's vast geography.

The project (CD and concert combined) served to showcase a cross-section of Canadian talent, which is all too often isolated from one another due in part to our country's vast geography.

When selecting musicians for the CD recording, I chose Canadians who were great players and good friends of mine. The majority of the ensemble's membership has also been inspirational to me over the years which made the entire project that much more meaningful.

Prairie Fire

Thanks to CBC for their support of this project. This project would not have been possible were it not for the support from the following:

Saskatchewan Arts Board, Delta Bessborogh Hotel, Saskatoon Freehouse Restaurant and Crystal Russell, St. John’s Music and Craig Haynes, the Driving Force, Yamaha Piano Centre and Roger Jolly, Mendel Art Gallery, University of Saskatchewan Educational Medial Access and Production (EMAP) Sound Engineer Wayne Giesbrecht and EMAP Director College Fitzgerald, U of S Department of Music Administrative Assistance Troy Linsley, U of S Associate Dean of Fine Arts and Humanities Dr. Peter Stoicheff, Dr. Tommy Banks O.C., members of the Metro Jazz Ensemble of Saskatoon, Publicist Roy Sydiaha, University of North Texas Professors Jim Riggs and Dr. Paris Rutherford, McGill University Professors Gordon Foote and Kevin Dean, Grant McEwan College music faculty Ray Baril, Bobby Cairns, Charlie Austin, and Rick Garn, Auburn University Professor Dr. Ramon Vasquez, U of S Sessional Instructor Mark DeJong, the enormously talented musicians performing on this CD, my family, in particular my parents Ken and Joy McNeill, and most importantly my loving wife Jennifer McAllister.

This CD is dedicated to my newest and biggest inspiration, daughter Phoebe Deanne McNeill. Thank you for listening.

- Dean McNeill

In This Section

Say hello to the musicians who played on Prairie Fire

Alto Sax: Campbell Ryga
Alto Sax: Mark DeJong
Tenor Sax: Kelly Jefferson
Tenor Sax: Greg Gatien
Bari Sax: Keith Kurshell
Lead Trumpet: Mike Herriott
Trumpet: Bill Mahar
Trumpet: Brian O'Kane
Trumpet: John McLeod
Trumpet: Dean McNeill
Lead Trombone: Rob Somerville
Trombone: Hugh Fraser
Trombone: Barb Hamilton
Bass Trombone: Dawn McLean-Belyk
Guitar: Mike Rud
Piano: Tom Van Setters
Bass: Mike Downes
Drums: Ted Warren

Many of the musicians have their own websites, click below to visit them

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