Today JAZZ.FM91, Canada’s only 24/7 all jazz radio broadcaster and charitable arts organization, is excited to announce the appointment of trombonist, educator, and composer Kelsley Grant as musical director of the JAZZ.FM91 Youth Big Band.
Grant returns to the role after previously serving as the inaugural musical director of the JAZZ.FM91 Youth Big Band when the program was first introduced in 2006. He succeeds Michael Arthurs, who held the role from September, 2022, until his passing in October of 2023.
Grant received his bachelor of music from McGill University and completed his graduate studies at the Manhattan School of Music. After leaving New York, he toured the United States and Europe with Maynard Fergusonʼs Big Bop Nouveau. Grant has since performed with numerous music legends including Aretha Franklin, Jackie Richardson, Frank Sinatra Jr., Michael Buble, Maria Schneider, Michel Legrand, and Ranee Lee. He toured with the musical Forever Swing and took part in the Toronto productions of Annie, Ainʼt Misbehavinʼ, The Rat Pack, Kinky Boots, Matilda, Chicago and Ain’t Too Proud: The Life and Times of The Temptations.
Grant has been nominated twice for trombonist of the year by the National Jazz Awards. The Jefferson-Grant Quintet — which he co-leads with saxophonist Kelly Jefferson — won an Opus Award for their first recording and was nominated as acoustic ensemble of the year by the National Jazz Awards. Grant has served as a faculty member at McGill University, the University of Montreal, and the University of Toronto. He currently serves as chair of MusicFest Canada’s jazz division and as the coordinator of Humber College’s introduction to commercial jazz music program.
“As one of the main contributors to the formation of and first musical director of the JAZZ.FM91 Youth Big Band, we are extremely excited to have Kelsley rejoin the JAZZ.FM91 team,” said Jelani Watson, education and outreach officer at JAZZ.FM91.
“Kelsley’s experience as a music educator, conductor, arranger, and performer are uniquely geared to continue the growth of the band and create lasting impact on the young musicians involved,” Watson added. “Kelsley is ready to hit the ground running and get to know the band members and have them ready to continue performing at a professional level.”