James Bicigo plays a trombone in his Red Deer College office Thursday afternoon. Bicigo and Karen Gustafson are releasing Pacific Crossing Friday. (Photo by Sean McIntosh/Advocate staff)

Red Deer College teachers to release album

There’s an old phrase that states, “If you can’t do; teach.”

Well, two Red Deer College music professors are proving they can do and teach.

Karen Gustafson, trumpeter, and James Bicigo, trombonist, will release their second album – Pacific Crossing – Friday.

The album is a few years in the making. It first began in 2015 when the two moved to Shah Alam, Malaysia to record the album with Malaysian composers and musicians.

After recording some of the album there, the two moved to Red Deer, after Gustafson got a job at RDC, where they continued to record with the help of a few local musicians.

Much of the album was recorded at Gaetz Memorial United Church in Red Deer.

Bicigo said it’s very much an international album, with musicians and composers coming from Malaysia, Canada and the United States.

“There’s a little something for everybody,” he said. “There’s some pop influenced music, some really contemporary style music, some of it has a world vibe … and even some classical.”

Gustafson said it’s mindblowing to see how much the album and their lives have changed since 2015.

The album is like “something you’ve never heard before,” said Gustafson. “I’ve never heard of this sound being done before, so it’s really unique, unusual and exciting.”

The album features Bicigo and Gustafson performing works for trumpet and trombone with several other instruments such as piano, organ and Malaysian gamelan.

Working at the college while making the album has been tough, said Gustafson.

“It was definitely a challenge, but it’s what we do as musicians and it’s what we love to do. It’s our art,” said Gustafson.

The students of a music business class Gustafson teaches benefitted from seeing how an album comes together, she said.

“I’ve been able to show them how to get an album onto Amazon or onto iTunes and things like that. It’s really become a hands-on things that they’ve seen evolve,” she said.

Bicigo said the students are excited to get their hands on a copy of the album.

Pacific Crossings is available on iTunes, Apple Music, Google Play, Amazon Music and Like Platforms.

For more information on the album and musicians, visit jimbicigo.wixsite.com/pacificcrossings.

Red Deer College faculty will hold a recital – Karen Gustafson and Friends – Feb. 25 where songs from the album will be played.


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