jim brenan established himself as a top-notch performer and educator in the north american jazz community before accepting the position of coordinator of jazz studies at the school of creative and performing arts at the university of auckland where he wrote and administered new zealand’s first undergraduate degree in jazz studies. currently jim the chair of the department of theatre, speech and music performance at mount royal university.
jim holds a bachelor in jazz studies from st. francis xavier university and a masters in jazz studies from rutgers university in new jersey, where he studied with renowned master saxophonist ralph bowen. along with formal study jim performed extensively in the tri-state area, new york, philadelphia and new jersey. in this capacity jim had occasion to create music with michael mossman, ralph bowen, kenny barron, slide hampton, kenny wheeler, ravi coltrane, randy brecker and kenny drew jr. among others. as well jim performed with phil woods, illinois jacquet and flip philips for the new jersey jazz hall of fame concerts.
jim has been heard across canada the united states and europe as the lead tenor saxophone with the maynard ferguson big bop nouveau band. as a member of this band jim also performed with diane schuur and recorded for the concord record label as a featured soloist on the “michael feinstein and maynard ferguson big city rhythms” big band album. this past year jim performed on juno nominated recording: earl macdonald: re:visions, another great opportunity for jim to travel and record, this time at the famous bennett studios in new jersey, usa this year marks the release of jim’s fourth cd entitled “50/50”. this new album features regular band mates chris andrew (piano) and rubim de toledo (bass) with a blend of Calgary and Edmontons finest musicians, making up a new, larger 11 piece jazz ensemble. jim is a very active performer having recently presented concerts in new zealand, canada, mexico, Russia, tahiti and korea. jim’s previous release “January” was selected as the Jazz Album of the year at the western canadian music awards in 2014 and received a 4 star rating from downbeat magazine!