Jazz Performance and
Thoughts from the President
Every so often JPEC's peerless leader Raymond Koskie, will be offering some personal thoughts on the jazz world. This is the first of these articles:
Canadian Talent and Collaboration = International Fame
JPEC congratulates several Canadian performers for their superb representation of our country's vibrant jazz scene.
Like so much of our Canadian talent, these artists deserve their place in the international jazz. It's gratifying to see Downbeat's reinforcement of this recognition.
Mike Murley, working with three other musical collaborators has just won the 2018 Juno Award for Jazz Album of the Year (Group) for The North. Along with David Braid, Murley's oft-times partner, Danish drummer, Anders Mogensen and Finnish bassist, Johnny Aman, The North gives audiences a taste of the experiences of jazz musicians living in Canada and Scandinavia.
In other Juno news, Mike Downes' album Root Structure has won the 2018 Jazz Album of the Year: Solo.
According to Alan Musson, Critic for UK Vibe, this album scores 5 out of 5. He says: "This album is as close to perfect as it is possible to get and fully warrants its rating here. Buy it!"
Canada's WholeNote Critic Lesley Mitchell-Clarke adds that Downes' album is one of the most intriguing and innovative small group jazz recordings of the year.
Further acknowledgement and appreciation of Mike Murley's genius is spotlighted in April's Downbeat Magazine. Live at U of T was recorded in Toronto in 2017 in collaboration with Dave Liebman along with Toronto natives, Terry Clarke on drums and Jim Vivian on bass. Liebman, who as a visiting artist/adjunct professor since 2013 has added his world-class talent to the U of T Jazz program of which Murley is Chair.
Says Jim Macnie, Downbeat Critic, I've always loved a band that sports a 2-saxophone front line... Dave and Mike spark each other.
Jennifer O'Dell, Downbeat Critic, calls the quartet an all too rare treat on multiple levels, while Downbeat's Paul de Barros calls the leaders two saxophonists sparring live with bass and drums.
Two other members of Canada's diverse talent pool are praised in April's Downbeat. Positive, upbeat CD launch reviews are given to Laila Biali and Justin Grey. Ken Micaleff praises the latest from Justin Gray & Synthesis, New Horizons calling it a unique East/West fusion with particular interest in the music's platform for solo instruments, much like South India's Carnatic music. However, says Micallef, sometimes when everyone solos at once, Grey will incorporate, what Micallef calls a western turn.
Laila Biali's CD is simply called Laila Biali which is music in itself. Downbeat's Fred Bouchard says Biali shows off an assertive, pleasing voice and insistent piano style. Her aim is true and her vision is far and wide, says Bouchard. He adds the ebullient grace and canny aid from drummer husband, Ben Wittman and others run the gamut from hard-paced to moderation.
For the first time, a compilation of one-night only, live gala fundraising performances at JALC has been released in CD, vinyl and digital formats. United We Swing brings together Artistic Director Wynton Marsalis, his septet and talent from 94 Grammy Awards.
Everyone from the Blind Boys of Alabama to Ray Charles in one of his final performances gives their take on blues-inflected versions of an iconic American repertoire.
JPEC has been nominated for this year's Ontario Arts Council Premier’s Award for Excellence in the Arts. JPEC meets all the criteria for this award which shows appreciation for the province's deep appreciation of the wonderful artists and arts groups who have chosen to work here and its appreciation for their invaluable and lasting contribution to the enrichment of our way of life.
The nomination recognizes JPEC's tireless commitment during the past 10 years to sustain and build awareness of jazz music as an important art form in Ontario, to support not-for-profit jazz performances in the province, and to support community education with an emphasis on various forms of jazz music. It tells of how JPEC's management team is comprised of community volunteers that reflect the broad diversity of the province. There are no paid staff and, through the efforts of the volunteer management committee, 100 percent of all program funding is sourced from private donations and corporate sponsorships.
The Winner of the Award will be announced in October, 2018
Three great concerts rocked the Studio Theatre in Toronto Centre for the Arts in February and March.
On February 17, Soul Stew with Alana Bridgewater had the crowd dancing in the aisles.
March 3 brought Carn/Davidson9 followed by Hilario Duran Quintet "Contunbao" to the Studio Theatre stage.
And March 17 saw a double bill of the Jazz Exiles and the Dave Young/Gord Sheard Brazilian Quintet.
Turn On The Heat was the first of JPEC's series in 2018, the year of our 10th Anniversary. Watch for more anniversary events.
Outreach in Schools
Focus on Joaquin Nunez Hidalgo
Joaquin Nunez Hidalgo was born and raised in Cuba. His early inspiration was his musically gifted father Portirio Nunez, a former sing/guitarist with one of the oldest Cuban orchestras "Brisas de Nipe". As a professional artist, Joaquin has had a successful music career in Cuba. Performing in numerous music events and festivals, he shared the stage with some of Cuba's most elite musicians like Emiliano Salvador, Juan Pablo Torres and Joel Rodriguez Milor.
Eventually settling in Toronto in 1999, Joaquin quickly became immersed in the local music scene performing as a drummer and percussionist with top Canadian based artists (Jane Bunnett, Bill King, Njacko Backo, Eddie Bullen, Hilario Duran, The Canadian Tenors), performing in many of jazz festivals across the country, including Montreal, Beaches and Ottawa.
Joaquin's first JPEC outreach workshop began in May, 2014.
JPEC is proud to have him as one of its School Outreach musicians.
Joaquin performs a catalogue diverse in choices and styles of music from Latin to pop, jazz and fusion:
Joaquin recently finished a stint in the Toronto production of "Dirty Dancing" at the Royal Alex. He is also the leader and musical director of the Afro-Cuban percussion ensemble "Rumba Iyabo" and the traditional Cuban music group "Cubanos". Joaquin also teaches percussion and hand drum technique in the "Soul Drums" music program.
Check out Live Jazz in Toronto
JazzFm - In the Clubs: www.jazz.fm under Events
Straight ahead: www.comingupstraightahead.com
Jazz Bistro: jazzbistro.ca