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Jack Mouse/Janice Borla Group

Jazz
Contact Person:Jack Mouse
Phone:630-609-4030
Email:[email protected]
Website:jackmouse.com

About

The partnership of jazz drummer Jack Mouse and jazz vocalist Janice Borla spans nearly 40 years. Renowned jazz performers, improvisers and educators, they have collaborated on a number of projects – performing together, producing one another’s recordings, designing and delivering innovative jazz educational programs. Jack Mouse’s extensive background began with three years as featured soloist with the U.S. Air Force Academy Falconaires.

He has since performed with such notable artists as Stan Kenton, Clark Terry, Bunky Green, Joe Williams, James Moody, Randy Brecker and many others. His recordings as a leader include two CDs of his original compositions, “Intimate Adversary” and “Range of Motion.” His recordings of free improvisation include “Snakeheads & Ladybugs,” “Three Story Sandbox” and “Artful Dodgers.” He can also be heard on recordings by Janice Borla and Dan Haerle. Former Assistant Professor of Music and Coordinator of Jazz Studies at North Central College for 24 years (1996-2020), he has also served on the faculties of the American Conservatory of Music, Benedictine University, Clark Terry Great Plains Jazz Camp, National Stage Band Camps, Jamey Aebersold Combo Camps and the Janice Borla Vocal Jazz Camp.

With the Bunky Green Quartet he pioneered jazz education at the Montreux Jazz Festival. He presents clinics and workshops at jazz festivals, music conventions, colleges and high schools throughout the world and online. Mouse was inducted into the Emporia High School Hall of Fame in 2018 and into the Emporia State University Frank A Beach Hall of Distinction in 2022. Presently he is a staff artist/clinician for Yamaha Drums, Sabian Cymbals, Vic Firth Sticks and Aquarian Drum Heads.

Janice Borla’s recordings and performances have earned her consistently high praise for her beautiful sound, superb technique, adventurous repertoire and imaginative vocal improvisations. Often cited for her risk-taking approach, her eclectic repertoire favors instrumental jazz tunes by modern and contemporary jazz composers. In 2021 she ranked sixth in the Jazz Vocalist category of the DownBeat Readers Poll. With each successive recording she drills deeper into the musical approach that distinguishes her – to wide critical praise.

“Promises to Burn” and “From Every Angle” both received “4 stars” in DownBeat Magazine and ranking as one of its “Best Albums of the Year.” “Agents of Change” was named “The #1 Jazz CD of the Year” by WBEZ-FM Chicago Public Radio and praised by Jazz Times as “Genius. Pure genius.” Notable performances include multiple appearances at the Chicago Jazz Festival, the Jazz Showcase (Chicago), Birdland and the Iridium (NYC).

A recognized pioneer in vocal jazz education, she founded the Janice Borla Vocal Jazz Camp and Hot Jazz – 6 Cool Nites Concert Series which ran for 26 years. Former Associate Adjunct Professor of Music at North Central College (1996-2020), Borla also served on the jazz faculties at Benedictine University, Northeastern Illinois University and College of DuPage. As a guest artist and clinician she has performed at high schools, colleges and festivals in the U.S, Canada, Europe and Japan. She is a judge for the DownBeat Student Music Awards since 2007.

Primary Program Description

With their extensive experience as performers and jazz educators, Mouse and Borla offer a variety of options, either as a two-person team or with their jazz group. The Jack Mouse/Janice Borla Group is a versatile contemporary jazz ensemble, featuring 4-6 jazz musicians. Personnel varies depending on availability. Instrumentation can be tailored to the specific needs and budget of the presenter, ranging from a quartet (rhythm section plus voice) to quintet (addition of trumpet or saxophone) to sextet (adding both trumpet and saxophone).

Recent performances at the Emporia Granada Theatre included guitarists Fareed Haque and Danny Embry, bassist Larry Gray, multi-instrumentalist Scott Robinson and trumpeter Mike Steinel. The group’s concert performance splits the concert into two segments – first presenting Mouse’s original compositions, as featured on his recordings; then adding Borla on the second half, performing selections from her recordings. Jack Mouse and Janice Borla are also available for guest solo appearances with local high school, college and community ensembles, both instrumental and vocal. Each offers arrangements for jazz band and vocal jazz ensemble that feature them, if needed.

Program Fee

Jack Mouse/Janice Borla Group concert: $3,600 – $5,200 depending on number of musicians. Jack Mouse and/or Janice Borla guest soloists: $1000 – $2000 Travel and lodging not included; negotiable based on travel distance.

Educational Activity Information

Individually, Mouse and Borla are masterful jazz clinicians, offering workshops and master classes for both individuals and ensembles, in conjunction with concert performances. Mouse is well-known as a drum clinician, long associated with Yamaha Drums. His lifelong musical experience steeped in jazz has given him an encyclopedic knowledge of the genre, its history, significant artists and recordings.

Whether conducting a clinic or master class for drummers, helping a young rhythm section to function more effectively, or working with a large jazz ensemble, he brings the breadth of his musical knowledge and teaching experience to bear to engage successfully with jazz students at all levels. Similarly, Borla’s experience as vocal jazz educator enables her to work with individual students and ensembles of various levels. She offers an extensive collection of vocal jazz arrangements of varying levels of difficulty, in settings ranging from SAB and SSA to SATB and SSATB, available for use for concerts and festivals.

All are designed to provide young improvisers an opportunity to gain experience and confidence honing their improvisatory skills. Her long-running summer vocal jazz camp, designed specifically for solo vocalists, focused on assessing and then expanding and enhancing students’ vocal aptitudes as individual performers, making her a superb clinician for vocal soloists. Each of the members of the Jack Mouse/Janice Borla Group is also a highly-regarded jazz educator, and can be engaged for individual clinics, workshops and master classes as well as interactive rhythm section workshops.

Additional Activity Fee

The fee for an educational component (clinic/master class/workshop) the day of the concert performance is $300 per musician. Fees for additional educational options are negotiable.

Community Activity Information

Borla and Mouse launched Flashpoint Creative Arts, a non-profit organization whose mission is to promote the understanding and practice of improvisation as an essential life skill. Seeking engagement with their constituents, they present vocal improvisation workshops for a wide array of groups, from civic organizations to at-risk youth with financial and resource limitations to persons with special needs. The workshops are offered free of charge, typically in conjunction with a scheduled performance/concert appearance.

Using vocal improvisation and drum sounds in an informal workshop setting, participants learn by “call and response” how to improvise regardless of age or musical experience, first as a group and then individually. The emphasis is not on “singing” as such, but on using sound and rhythm to create musical conversation. One such workshop led to an ongoing “Improvisation as Therapy” initiative for youth with autism and other developmental disabilities in partnership with the Little Friends Center for Autism during the time they lived in Naperville, Illinois.

In 2019 Mouse and Borla were made Paul Harris Fellows by the Rotary Foundation of Rotary International in recognition of their work with young people with autism spectrum disorder. In October, 2019, following a Jack Mouse/Janice Borla Group concert at the Emporia Granada Theatre, Mouse and Borla presented a series of seven consecutive vocal improvisation workshops with special education students from the Emporia Public Schools and adult patrons from Hetlinger Developmental Services and Stepping Stones Unlimited.

Supporting Material

Community Activity Recording

Performance/Program Recording

Resumes

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