Only a Visitor. Photo: Mayan Vered

Vocalist Emma Postl feels energized every time she sees Capilano University jazz instructors perform.

“The thing about Cap is that almost all of the faculty are performing professional jazz musicians. It’s pretty special because you can go see them play and that, in turn, inspires the students to get out there and play,” says Postl. “They’re the backbone of the Vancouver jazz community, many of the professors who play and work at Cap.”

Postl won’t just be in the audience for performances by more than 10 jazz instructors from Cap U in the Vancouver International Jazz Festival, June 24 to July 3. She’ll also sing alongside more than 30 other Cap U alumni. Postl will perform with avant-pop quintet Only a Visitor on June 26 at the Robson Street Stage and with Jesus Caballero’s Solo Picnic, alongside instructor Jared Burrows, July 2 at the Granville Island Public Market Stage.

“It’s intimidating for sure,” Postl says of playing with one’s instructors. “It’s great. It just keeps you on your toes. You want to do well. You know that they know what you’re doing and when you’re not doing it correctly.”

Just two years after completing a Jazz Studies degree at Capilano University, Postl is obviously doing something right.

She performed at the festival last year with accomplished New York City-based saxophonist and composer Michael Blake after singing on his 2016 album Fulfillment.

The bands

Postl is one of three vocalists with Only a Visitor, a group fronted by composer Robyn Jacob. The quintet that features Cap U alumni Jeff Gammon on bass, Cap U alumni and vocalist Celina Kurz and Kevin Romain on drums weaves keyboard riffs with vocal trio arrangements reminiscent of Bjork and the Dirty Projectors. Only a Visitor released an EP in March and are set to record a full-length album in December.

Solo Picnic, led by Cap U alumnus Jesus Caballero with Burrows on guitar, plays Caballero’s original compositions blending jazz, free improv and prog rock that’s influenced by jazz guitarist Bill Frisell, jazz drummer Elvin Jones, Pink Floyd and Radiohead.

When she’s not working teaching music or working as a nanny, Postl also plays with a rock band called Moondle that’s composed of five Cap U alumni.

Cap U to the real world

Postl says Capilano University’s Jazz Studies degree program prepared her well for the jazz world.

The solid theoretical foundation equipped her to teach music to others and singing with Cap U’s jazz vocal group, NiteCap, increased her comfort with performing alongside accomplished visiting artists.

“The community—that’s one of the biggest things,” she says. “I’m still close friends with many of the people I played and graduated with. I’m in bands with many different people and then I see them around town… The community, alone, was definitely worth it.”

Submitted by Communications & Marketing

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Tell us the name of a student or instructor who is performing at the 2016 Vancouver International Jazz Festival and be entered in a random draw to win two tickets to Los Straitjackets, June 30, 8 p.m. at the BlueShore Financial Centre for the Performing Art during the North Shore Jazz series, part of the Festival. Send your entry to by 4:00 p.m., June 28, 2016. Winner will be notified after 4:30 p.m. on June 28, 2016.

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