Pat LaBarbera and Paul Bley to receive Canadian Jazz Master Awards

Saxophonist Pat LaBarbera and the late pianist Paul Bley are the recipients of the 2022 Canadian Jazz Master Awards, presented by the Oscar Peterson International Jazz Festival.

The awards will be presented on Saturday, April 23, during a concert at the Temerty Theatre in Toronto, a partnership between the Royal Conservatory of Music and the Oscar Peterson International Jazz Festival. The celebration will feature performances by musicians who have worked with LaBarbera for many years, along with special surprise guests.

The Canadian Jazz Master Awards celebrate and honour Canadian jazz musicians “of the highest artistic excellence who are deserving of national recognition.” Each year, the awards are presented to one living and one past legend of Canadian jazz.

Nominations are based on individuals who have reached the highest level of artistic excellence, and have made major contributions — through recordings and live performances — within the field of Canadian jazz. The nominees are chosen and reviewed by a rotating advisory panel of jazz experts from across Canada.

LaBarbera rose to prominence in the 1970s with bands led by Buddy Rich and Elvin Jones, becoming known for his energetic improvisational style rooted in post-John Coltrane tenor thinking. He has recorded 11 albums as a leader, teaches in the jazz faculty at Humber College, and has been a key member of the Toronto jazz scene for several decades. He won a Juno Award in 2000.

Bley, who died in 2016, was known for his contributions to the free jazz movement of the 1960s and for his prolific output, recording more than 90 albums as a leader throughout a career spanning six decades. He was made a Member of the Order of Canada in 2008.