Jake Koffman, born in Toronto on March 31, 1987, is part of the next generation of musicians and educators dedicated to the preservation, the integrity, and the evolution of jazz music. Born into Canadian music royalty, Jake grew up admiring the accomplishments of two grandfathers who were musicians inducted into the Order Of Canada. On his mother’s side is Victor Feldbrill, who conducted the Toronto and Winnipeg Symphony Orchestras, among many others, and to whom the Toronto Star referred as “an indispensable cog in the city’s musical machinery.” On his father’s side is one of the most prominent voices in Canadian jazz history, reedman and flutist Moe Koffman, whose work with Rob McConnell and Dizzy Gillespie, as well as hit song “Swinging Shepherd Blues”, have firmly ensconced him in jazz history, and helped put Canadian jazz on the world map.
Starting on the alto saxophone, flute, and clarinet at the age of 13, Jake started playing gigs almost immediately in a wide range of bands, from jazz groups both big and small, as well as touching on rock, hip hop, reggae and Brazilian music. From playing with these groups, the tenor and soprano saxophones were quickly added to his arsenal of instruments. After graduating from high school, Jake attended the renowned Humber College jazz program, in which he stood out among the crowd, landing a spot in the Studio Jazz Ensemble, which lead to performances with such iconic jazz musicians as Randy Brecker, Mike Stern and Chris Potter, among others. It was at this time that Jake expanded his palette to include baritone saxophone, and bass clarinet.
After earning his bachelor’s degree in music performance, Jake began his freelance career as both a bandleader, and a sideman. Jake can frequently be heard in Toronto clubs performing with such invaluable and consistent members of the Toronto jazz scene as Bernie Senensky and Neil Swainson, who are on Jake’s debut album, recorded in May, 2013. Jake has also been performing with highly acclaimed vocalist Nikki Yanofsky, which led to the opportunity to work with the legendary Quincy Jones.
Cross-generational improvised music has been a strong part of the foundation with which jazz music continues to build its mountain, and by learning from the true masters of this music, Jake Koffman is ensuring its survival.