PAST BAND MEMBERS
Alto Sax, Bari Sax
CHRIS DE SOUSA
Music Director (2011-2012 Season)
Founder, Band Leader (2010-2011, 2012-2018)
Born and raised in Vancouver, Alex first picked up the trombone for jazz band at Magee Secondary, a high school who still to this day has a strong community-supported music program. Alex’s interest in big band jazz grew after his father bought him two albums – a compilation album from Verve Records named “Jazz-Club Big Band”, and “Don’t Get Around Much Anymore” by Rob McConnell and the Boss Brass. The cross-section of bands on that compilation album including Benny Goodman, Dizzy Gillespie, Gil Evans and Oliver Nelson - just to name a few - were all full of exciting sounds and incredible improvisational solos. The Boss Brass album was an entirely different work in itself, full of modern sounds, ridiculously tight ensemble playing and fantastic solos. Alex found himself hooked.
Alex went on to be an engineer, but continued playing trombone as a hobby, joining in various community music groups in the Vancouver area. Some of the jazz bands he has played with over the years include the two big bands of the Arokis Society of Music (Impressions and Urbana), Sentimental Journey Big Band, Paper Moon Swing Band, Vancouver Community College Jazz Orchestra, NightShift Jazz Band, Take Five Big Band, Dancetime Big Band, Third Stage Jazz Band (now known as Mighty Fraser Big Band), New Westminster & District Jazz Band, and Bob Liley’s Sanctuary All-Stars. Alex also balanced jazz against wind ensemble music, having played in community concert bands such as the Delta Concert Band, Richmond Community Concert Band, Little Mountain Brass Band, Vancouver Concert Band, Wind Ensembles at UBC and Capilano University, as well as two seasons with the Theatre Under the Stars orchestra. Alex has also enjoyed playing reggae, R&B, and soul with other local Vancouver bands Pendomoja, TopCity, and Snowman in Heat.
In 2015, in collaboration with a handful of other big band leaders in the Vancouver community, Alex co-founded the WestCoast Big Band Festival, an annual festival including more than 20 local big bands in public performances, now entering its fifth year in 2020. Alex also originated the Facebook group, Jazz Big Bands of Metro Vancouver, a public group connecting the big band community and its fans together to share happenings of the jazz big bands around town.
Since July 2018, Alex relocated down south to Silicon Valley but keeps in touch with his former band thanks to the internet. He currently plays lead trombone with the Los Gatos – Saratoga Big Band.