Live to Air: Canadian Jazz All Stars
April 18, 7:00 pm – 8:30 pm
UPDATE: This event is now AT CAPACITY. Thank you to everyone who made donations. See you there!
Canadian Jazz All-Stars is a first-time collection of artists, bringing together formidable musical forces including Guido Basso, Heather Bambrick, Mike Murley, Robi Botos, Dave Young and Davide Direnzo.
Together, these world-class artists have performed on the finest world stages, garnered international praise and accolades, and collected more than two centuries of musical seasoning. They are at the top of their game, are true performers and entertainers, and are the cream of Canada’s musical crop.
These performers have just completed a series of concerts across Ontario in January, and this Live to Air concert is a rare showcase of the leading lights of Canada’s jazz community in the intimate setting of the Long & McQuade Performance Hall at the JAZZ.FM91 studios in a very special 90-minute concert.
Thursday, April 18, from 7 to 8:30 pm, hosted by JAZZ.FM91 music director and Afternoon Drive host Brad Barker.
Trumpeter, flugelhornist, harmonica player, arranger, composer and conductor Guido Basso was only nine years old when he began playing the trumpet, becoming recognized as a prodigy while studying at Montreal’s Conservatoire de Musique du Quebec. He was just a teenager when he became prominent on the Montreal club scene, where singer Vic Damone first heard him and took him on an international tour with him for two years.
In 1958, he joined singer Pearl Bailey and her bandleader husband, famed drummer Louis Bellson, touring North America with them for three years before moving to Toronto to join the busy studio and television scene there. His playing career as a stand-out sideman and leader soared, and he became one of the biggest jazz names in the country. Beginning in 1975, he frequently organized and led big-band concerts at Toronto’s Canadian National Exhibition, featuring jazz luminaries including Dizzy Gillespie, Quincy Jones, Woody Herman, Benny Goodman, Duke Ellington and Count Basie. Basso was a charter member of Rob McConnell’s stellar The Boss Brass and the Rob McConnell Tentet, playing with The Boss Brass as a featured soloist and appearing on 30 of their recordings. He was part of the highly successful Sound of Toronto series of reunion concerts of The Boss Brass in 2008. He was awarded the Order of Canada in 1994.
As one of Canada’s top jazz vocalists, Bambrick has collaborated with some of the best around, including Phil Nimmons, Fred Hirsch, Gene DiNovi, Guido Basso, Lea Delaria, Anne Hampton Callaway, Carol Welsman, Jackie Richardson and Ian Shaw, as well as the late Rob McConnell and Peter Appleyard. She’s a founding member of vocal ensembles The Beehive Singers and Broadsway, and has appeared as a guest performer with various jazz ensembles and with the Toronto Symphony Orchestra, the Newfoundland Symphony Orchestra, the Hamilton Philharmonic and the Windsor Symphony Orchestra.
Heather’s solo recordings include It’s About Time and Those Were the Days, both of which were nominated for East Coast Music Awards and resulted in international airplay and critical acclaim. Her 2017 recording You’ll Never Know was nominated for vocal jazz album of the tear at the 2017 Juno Awards and for jazz recording of the year at the 2018 ECMAs. It’s been praised by critics and industry leaders and has risen to the top of Canadian jazz radio charts. Bambrick has been a guest artist on numerous diverse recording projects, including those of the Caliban Bassoon Quartet; Sophisticated Ladies, Peter Appleyard’s final recording; and Just Passing Through, the award-winning recording from Jeff and Don Breithaupt. She’s been honoured with Canada’s National Jazz Award for vocalist of the year.
An engaging, lyrical saxophonist, Mike Murley is one of Canada’s most celebrated and well-respected jazz artists. Currently active as a leader in various formations from duo to septet, Murley also maintains a busy schedule as both a sideman and an Associate Professor at the University of Toronto Jazz Program. He has played on fourteen Juno Award-winning recordings since 1990, seven as a leader or co-leader, seven as a sideman. His most recent Junos include The North (2018), Metalwood’s Twenty (2017) and his trio’s Test of Time (2013).
Since moving to Toronto from his native Nova Scotia in 1981 Murley has enjoyed a career that has spanned a wide stylistic spectrum. Recordings with legendary Canadian artists such as Ed Bickert, Guido Basso, and Rob McConnell showcase the saxophonist’s talents in the mainstream standard repertoire. On the more contemporary side, Murley has collaborated frequently with the younger generation of improviser/composers including pianist David Braid and guitarist David Occhipinti. He is also well known for his work with the three-time Juno Award winning electric jazz group Metalwood. In addition he has recorded and performed with numerous other Canadian and international artists including John Abercrombie, David Liebman, Paul Bley, John Schofield and Kenny Wheeler.
Robi Botos has been hailed as one of the most diverse multi-instrumentalists of this generation. From the hard-bop style of Bill Evans and Herbie Hancock, to the swing of Oscar Peterson and the heartfelt melodic expression of Mulgrew Miller and Cedar Walton, Robi has managed to master the technique of his idols, all while showcasing his musical expressions in a voice that is purely his own. While Robi is known for being a strong player in the traditional jazz and funk fields, he always incorporates an element of the music he grew up listening to into his playing. Says organist, trumpeter and pianist Joey Defrancesco: “Robi is one of the most swingin’, soulful, funky, world class players I’ve ever heard, and he has a technique like you can’t believe. Definitely one of my very favorite players!!!”
Born of Romani descent in Hungary, Robi taught himself first to play drums as a young child, and got his first taste of being a professional musician working throughout Budapest. Robi was first introduced to the piano when he was 7 years old, and never looked back. He continued to perform throughout Hungary and when he turned 20, decided to move his wife and children to Canada, to further pursue the career he was born for. Now 20 years later, Robi has solidified himself as one of the most sought-after pianists in the country.
Toronto-based and Winnipeg-born multiple award-winning bassist and composer Dave Young, is, without a doubt, one of Canada’s most valuable and beloved musical exports. Whether he’s performing as part of a classical symphony, or as an integral member of an iconic jazz trio (with the likes of the late Oscar Peterson), or leading any of his dynamic ensembles, Dave remains a total musician, with artistic soul in abundance. He first began studying the guitar and violin at age ten, but a turn of events at his first gig (a University dance band) compelled him to pick up the bass. Equally comfortable in the worlds of orchestral classical music and jazz, Dave is a multiple threat. As a classical musician, he has been a member of The Edmonton Symphony, The Winnipeg Symphony and The Hamilton Philharmonic. As a jazz artist, he is a chameleon-like bassist, who often shines brightest in collaborative efforts with other musicians. Because of his technical skill, few bassists (jazz or otherwise) are able to dig in, swing hard and still render a lyrical arco solo as Dave can.
This drummer and percussionist was born in Guelph, Ont. He is said to have been a child prodigy “born with sticks in has hands.” He is an alumnus of the University of Toronto’s jazz studies program. He is considered one of the most versatile and in-demand drummers in Canada.
He was the house drummer for the ‘Canadian Idol’ television talent competition for three years, and has worked with many of the country’s top performers and recording artists including Jacksoul, Holly Cole, Ashley McIsaac, Melissa Stylianou, Dione Taylor, Heather Bambrick, Eliana Cuevas, Richard Underhill, Bill King, Sarah Slean, Carol Welsman, David WIlcox, and Emilie-Claire Barlow.