Prairie Fire Jazz Ensemble/Dean McNeill

Prairie Fire Jazz Ensemble/Dean McNeill


Stellar all-Canadian contemporary large jazz ensemble. Ens membership includes many professional top mid-career jazz players. "Prairie Fire"CD rep. includes 8 originals & 3 contemporary arrangements of jazz classics. All comp./arr. by ensemble Director Dean McNeill. Most of band from western Canada.


This CD is Dean McNeill's project as a jazz composer and pro large jazz ensemble director.

Dean McNeill: Head of the Department of Music at the University of Saskatchewan,
Canadian trumpeter/composer Dean McNeill holds music degrees from the University of
North Texas (Masters), McGill University (Undergraduate), and Grant McEwan College
(Music Diploma). Dean has composed and/or arranged music for professional ensembles
including brass quintet, symphony orchestra, large and small brass ensembles, jazz
combo, and large jazz ensemble. Dean’s arrangements of the jazz standard 'All of You'
won an award from Downbeat Magazine for 'University Student Arrangement of the Year'.

In the jazz idiom Dean has performed with the Banff Centre Jazz Orchestra, Vancouver
Jazz Orchestra, the Birth of the Cool Repertoire Project, the Art Blakey Tribute Project,
with the likes of Kenny Wheeler, Pat LaBarbera, P.J. Perry, Bobby Caldwell, Hugh
Fraser, Tommy Banks (big band and combo), among others. Dean currently directs the
'Metro Jazz Ensemble of Saskatoon' and he has led many of his own small jazz groups as
touring projects throughout Western Canada. He has performed recently as a featured
guest artist with the Winnipeg Jazz Orchestra, Washington State Jazz Ensemble 1
(Pullman, Washington), Crane School of Music Jazz Ensemble 1 (Potsdam, New York),
Brandon University Jazz Ensemble 1 (Brandon, Manitoba), and the University of
Manitoba Jazz Ensemble 1 (Winnipeg, Manitoba).

In the classical idiom Dean has been a member of the Saskatchewan Brass Quintet
(Saskatoon, Saskatchewan), the Blue Bonnet Brass (Fort Worth, Texas), and the Red
Deer (Alberta), Irving (Texas), and Saskatoon (Saskatchewan) Symphony Orchestras. He
has performed in numerous classical chamber recitals throughout western Canada, and in
recent years, performed trumpet recitals at the University of Alberta (Edmonton,
Alberta), Auburn University (Auburn, Alabama), Oklahoma State University (Stillwater,
Oklahoma), University of Saskatchewan (Saskatoon, Saskatchewan), and the 2007
Western Canadian Music Awards (Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan).

Dean has adjudicated throughout Canada and in this capacity has shared the stage with
such performers as Tommy Banks, Dee Daniels, Hugh Fraser, Kelly Jefferson, Bob
Mintzer, P.J. Perry, Campbell Ryga, Brad Turner, Sunny Wilkinson, and many others.

Dean has been the Musical Director of the Texas Lone Star Film Awards, the Edmonton
Jazz Society’s Little Bird Big Band and Jazz Works (music workshop) and, on multiple
occasions, been an adjudicator for the Western Canadian Music Awards and Canadian
Juno Awards. A recipient of the UofS Dept of Music’s Dwaine Nelson Teaching Awards
Dean currently teaches large jazz ensemble, jazz arranging, and applied trumpet at the

Dean recently released a CD of original compositions for large jazz ensemble entitled
Prairie Fire-Large Jazz Ensemble Music by Dean McNeill. Prairie Fire is available at

Dean is a Yamaha artist.

Ensemble Bio:

The below is a extensive bio on each band member.

In short the Prairie Fire CD (and big band) is a collection of highly accomplished and respected professionals Canadian jazz artists.

Alto Sax: Campbell Ryga was honored the Jazz Report Magazine’s Award ‘Canada’s Alto Saxophonist of the Year 2000’ presented to him at the annual Jazz Report Awards Ceremony held in Toronto in May of the year 2000. The two former recipients of this award were Moe Koffman and PJ Perry. Since 1987 Campbell has received 3 Juno Awards, two for his work with the Hugh Fraser Quintet, and one for his work with Colin James.

Since 1981 Campbell has toured internationally on 19 occasions, primarily to Western Europe and to Latin America, most notably the Havana International Jazz Festival, where he has performed for four consecutive years. Most of this touring has been with the internationally acclaimed Hugh Fraser Quintet, of which he is a founding member, an association that began in 1981. Campbell has performed week-long engagements at Ronnie Scott’s Jazz Club in Soho, London on four separate occasions. Campbell has also been involved in cross country Canadian touring on 21 separate occasions.

Campbell has contributed to 46 jazz recordings inclusive of his two recent releases as a leader, the first being ‘Coastal Connection’ and the most recent being ‘Spectacular’ just released in December of 2001, both for Radioland/Universal Records. Campbell Ryga has recently been nominated for a Juno Award for Best Traditional Jazz Album of 2001, for the recording ‘Spectacular’.

Alto Sax: Originally from western Canada, Mark DeJong studied saxophone performance at the University of Calgary under J. Clark Reid. Mark holds a Masters in jazz performance from Rutgers University, and is active as a performer and clinician throughout North America. He has appeared at ma


2008 CD: "Melange: New Music for Trumpet and Piano", at
2007 CD "Prairie Fire - Large Jazz Ensemble Music by Dean McNeill", Cellar Live records or
2006-2007 CD "Bumper Crop IV Perceptions" (University of Saskatchewan Jazz Ensemble, conducted by Dean McNeill in 2007 and Mark DeJong in 2006)
2004-2005 CD "Bumper Crop III Prairie Rhythms" (University of Saskatchewan Jazz Ensemble, conducted by Dean McNeill)
2003-2004 CD "Bumper Crop II Outstanding in their Fields" (University of Saskatchewan Jazz Ensemble, conducted by Dean McNeill)
2001-2002 CD "Bumper Crop" (University of Saskatchewan Jazz Ensemble, conducted by Dean McNeill)
1998 CD "Two O'clock Lab Band A Salute to Benny Carter - University of North Texas Two O'clock Lab Band"
1998 CD "Teaching Music Through performance In Band (volume two)"
1997 CD "Wind Dances - University of North Texas Wind Symphony"
1997 CD "Two O'clock Lab Band - University of North Texas Two O'clock Lab Band"
1997 CD "Holsinger 5, The Music of David Holsinger - University of North Texas Symphonic Band"
1997 CD "Live at the Arts Centre Red Deer College" - Dean McNeill Jazz Quartet
1992 CD "Cookin' The Books - McGill Jazz Ensemble"
1990 CD "Late Late Show - McGill University Swing Band"
1990 CD "When I Sing (Alberta Cancer Foundation)" Colleen Frances Lazoruk
1988 CD "Day and Night CD with guest artist David Liebman - McGill Jazz Ensemble"
1990 LP "Trembita"

Set List

This band performs contemporary jazz works for large jazz ensemble. The focus is 5-10 minute pieces. We play only Canadian content as supplied by the band's membership many of whom are award winners in their own right. For more information visit