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dean thiessen           thad bailey-mai           wynston minckler           ben parker

The STRANGER FRIENDS (quartet) explores original compositions that tell stories of one’s experiences with struggle and frustration, triumph and delight, nostalgia and chaos. The compositions are thoughtful and exciting as they pull from Thiessen’s many influences: from the landscapes of his childhood in the Alberta prairies to the literary works of John Steinbeck, as well as the creativity of his fellow musicians.

The band has workshopped this music to its full potential to present a soundscape that paints a picture for the listener. Many of the pieces can be heard on Thiessen’s debut album, aptly titled Stranger Friends. The ‘Good Samaritan Suite’ is recent work commissioned for and performed by this group that reflects on the well-known story of the Good Samaritan. This group is always exploring new compositions and new methods of improvisation as they continue to develop their collective sound.


“This music is an ode to the core meaning of STRANGER FRIENDS: it is a celebration

"Thiessen isn't following the standard conventions of small-group jazz composition here, and he want's you to know it."

- Chris Fraser,

Read the full review here

The Good Samaritan Suite

In February of 2020 I was approached by Brian Fraser, the minister at Brentwood Presbyterian Church, about the opportunity to participate in one of their musical ministries known as 'Suite Sundays in the Sanctuary: Sacred Jazz Suites.' The main objective of this ministry is to champion composers, such as myself, to compose musical suites based on the parables of Jesus found throughout the New Testament of the Bible. Delays due to Covid meant this project was finally completed in January of 2022.

Click here to read more about this project and to listen to excerpts of the music

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