Keeping Jazz Alive - Musician Bios and Recordings

The concerts will be available here all day, every day. The music will change so that you can hear the latest in what Toronto’s best have to offer. Check back often as more musicians come on board. It's JPEC’s way of
Keeping Jazz Alive.
JPEC Stars at the CCAT Luncheon 2023
2023 Consular Corps Association Photos
Alex Bird and Ewen Farncombe
Alex Bird is a Juno nominated Jazz singer and songwriter in Toronto, ON. With a swinging style and an indescribable charm, Alex is currently working on an entirely new chapter in the Great American Songbook. His original debut album "Whisky Kisses" was released in October 2020 and received reviews, awards, airplay, and distribution around the world. Following that momentum, Bird has just release his second album, "You Are the Light and the Way" (Nov 2021). This sophomore album was made possible thanks to the generosity of the Canada Council for the Arts, who fully funded the release of this emerging new talent. Bird and songwriting partner Ewen Farncombe wrote 12 new originals, with Farncombe also crafting horn and string arrangements. To top it all off, "You Are the Light and the Way" has been nominated for Best Vocal Jazz Album at this year's Juno Awards (2022).

Ewen Farncombe is a Juno nominated pianist and composer based out of Toronto and has been a professional on the scene there for nearly a decade. Having played on various recordings and with numerous bands, he has earned his reputation as a reliable and highly skilled musician. While he was attending Humber College for a degree in music performance, he received several prestigious awards, including the Hnatyshyn Foundation Oscar Peterson award. While jazz and other Black American music is Ewen’s passion, he is a versatile player and is known to play many genres of music.
Alex Bird & Ewen Farncombe
Virginia MacDonald and Lucian Gray
2020 International Clarinetist Corona Competition first prize winner Virginia MacDonald has established herself as a respected and sought after musician in the Canadian jazz scene. Virginia has worked extensively as a leader and side woman at numerous venues across Toronto and Canada, and has performed in several Canadian and International jazz festivals. Known for her lyrical and soulful clarinet playing, Virginia has been described as a "powerful new voice in the Canadian scene" by Juno Award-winning bassist Mike Downes.
In addition to her busy performance schedule, Virginia is an in-demand educator and has given masterclasses at McGill University, the Global Music Institute, and the True School of Music.
Virginia is a Rovner ambassador.

Lucian Gray has established a reputation, both domestically and internationally, as one of Canada's leading guitarists, and is integral to Toronto's jazz scene as both sideman and leader.
In addition to being one of Canada’s most in demand players, Lucian is also known as a long-standing music educator who has been teaching in the Toronto area since 2005. Lucian is the Director of Community Music at Humber College.
Virginia & Lucian
Diana Panton Trio
Diana Panton (vocals): has been consistently praised by listeners and music critics alike for her ethereal vocals, exceptional song selection and emotional intensity. She has been named one of Canada's TOP 5 Jazz Vocalists and the listenership at JAZZ.FM voted Panton onto their list of the Top 25 of Canada's Most Significant Jazz Musicians.
Don Thompson (piano): Don Thompson has been a fixture on the Toronto jazz scene since the late 1960s. He formed part of the Toronto Quartet of Paul Desmond during the mid-seventies and also played for a long time in Rob McConnell's Boss Brass.
Reg Schwager (guitar): Reg Schwager began playing professionally at fifteen. He is recognized and praised by all the great musicians in the Toronto jazz scene.
Diana Panton Trio
Luis Deniz (saxophone) and Teri Parker (pianist)
JPEC is proud to present the latest in our Keeping Jazz Alive series: award-winning jazz saxophonist Luis Deniz performs his composition "Stronger Together" which will be on his debut album entitled "El Tinajon" scheduled for release later this year and jazz pianist, Teri Parker, who has released four full length albums of original music and toured throughout Canada, from Victoria, BC to Halifax, NS.
Luis Deniz & Teri Parker
Laura Anglade (vocalist) and Jonathan Chapman (bassist)
Jazz vocalist Laura Anglade is currently making a name for herself on the Canadian jazz scene and beyond. Originally from a small village in the South of France and raised in Connecticut, she is influenced by her parents’ gypsy jazz and classical backgrounds. Some of her inspirations include Carmen McRae, Sarah Vaughan, Nancy Wilson, Anita O’Day, Shirley Horn, Mel Tormé and Blossom Dearie. Laura has made several appearances on the Montreal, New York, Québec City and Toronto jazz scenes, collaborating with artists like Neil Swainson, Adam Arruda, André White, Ranee Lee and Jean-Michel Pilc. She has also performed in numerous Jazz festivals including the Festival International de Jazz de Montréal. Her debut album "I've Got Just About Everything", which came out in June 2019 on Justin Time Records, has been met with praise by critics and fans alike. A second duo record is currently in the works, and will feature guitarist Sam Kirmayer. Laura has appeared on Global News, Jazz Today, Whole Note Magazine, and has been recognized by Radio Canada's Ici Musique as one of the top 5 female jazz musicians to watch out for.

Award-winning bassist, Jonathan Chapman, stands strong as a multidimensional artist. Functioning as a bassist, composer, and bandleader, Jonathan aims to deliver coherent music that challenges any listener to rewarding depths. Currently residing in Toronto, Ontario, Jonathan has become a welcomed asset to the music scene. He has performed with an extensive list of artists including: Dave Liebman, George Garzone, Billy Childs, Jerry Bergonzi, Vijay Iyer, Jason Palmer, Darren Barrett, Robin Eubanks, Ingrid Jensen, Christine Jensen, Joel Miller, Joe Sullivan, Kevin Dean, Andre White and Mike Murley, among many others. Jonathan graduated from Berklee College of Music in Boston, MA (2012-2016) where he studied on a full-tuition scholarship. Recently, he earned a M.Mus from the Schulich School of Music at McGill University (Class of 2018).
Laura Anglade & Jonathan Chapman
Joanna Majoko (vocalist), Andrew Marzotto (guitarist)
Joanna Majoko Toronto-based vocalist, composer, and bandleader Joanna Majoko has established a reputation for herself as one of Canada’s most exciting young singers, and is a regular presence on the bandstand with some of the country's top musicians. Born to German and Zimbabwean parents, Majoko spent her childhood in Zimbabwe, and brings a rich, diverse set of influences to her performance practice: she is equally at home singing neo-soul, orchestrating a jazz standard, and playing the caxixi and the claves. This year Majoko releases her debut EP, No Holding Back, an astonishing, powerful statement on her personal history, the fruitful collaborative relationships of her musical present, and her vision for the future to come.

Andrew Marzotto is a Toronto born and based guitarist, composer and educator. He is a 2016 graduate of the Berklee College of Music in Boston, Massachusetts where he was a member of the Berklee Global Jazz Institute. At Berklee, he had the incredible opportunity to study with Mick Goodrick, Joe Lovano, Hal Crook, Danilo Perez, and David Tronzo. He has performed extensively throughout Toronto and Boston as well as toured extensively across the USA, Canada, and Europe with Justin Nozuka. In addition to being a busy performer, Andrew is also an in-demand session guitarist, having played on recordings by Young Thug, Jaden Smith, Nailah Blackman, Craig Cardiff, Dayna Stephens and others.
Joanna Majoko & Andrew Marzotto
Kalabash is a Toronto based contemporary jazz sextet that features some of the finest jazz musicians in the city, a true "Art" project, where these talented musicians explore the layering of jazz melodies and harmonies, over folk and popular rhythms from the entire Caribbean, English, French, Spanish and Dutch speaking. The result of this fusion is a scintillating style of contemporary jazz, that adds delightful tones of ‘Caribbean Blues’ to the rich jazz tradition.

Collen Allen: Saxes, Flute, Clarinet
Gareth Burgess: Steel Pans
Joaquin Nunez Hidalgo: Drums
Anthony Pierre (leader): Percussion
Michael Shand: Keyboards
Andrew Stewart: Electric Bass

We invite you to enjoy three pieces that explore the rhythms of Cuba:
"Firo": an Afro Cuban jazz original piece written by Kalabash drummer Joaquin Nunez Hidalgo and named for his father Porfiro Nunez, an accomplished musician, singer and guitarist, from the town of Antilla in Cuba.
"Steel": also from Joaquin Nunez Hidalgo, written in the Afro Cuban jazz tradition, this time drawing on the popular "son montuno" rhythm and musical style.
" Nothing Personal": this a jazz standard written by Don Grolnick, recorded and popularized by Michael Brecker, that has been given an Afro Cuban 6/8 treatment, in the tradition of Mongo Santamaria's "Afro Blue," but using the enthralling rhythms of Cuba’s Bata drums instead of congas.
Alexander Brown (trumpet), Bernie Senensky (piano), Dave Young (bass)
Alexander Brown, a native of Cuba, is a hard-bop, post-bop and Latin oriented musician and one of the most vital trumpeters and composers in Toronto's dynamic musical scene. Various awards include winner of the Cuba Disco International music 2006, Nominee to the rising stars award for the best new musical composition at the Montreal Jazz fest 2014, and winner of the TD Discovery Series Special Projects 2015.

Bernie Senensky has earned the reputation of being one of Canada's premier jazz pianists. His playing has been featured internationally in countless jazz festivals, clubs, concerts and recordings.. Bernie was twice voted Best Acoustic Pianist in the Jazz Report Awards. He has also been awarded the SOCAN Best Jazz Composition award (for his piece, "Blues for Clifford").

Dave Young is a multiple award-winning bassist, composer and Order of Canada recipient, Dave Young, is, without a doubt, one of Canada's most valuable and beloved musical exports. Whether performing as part of a 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.
Alexander Brown Trio
Soul Stew
Soul Stew plays a mixture of Blues, Jazz, R&B, Funk, a bit of Reggae and a lot of Soul, recalling the classic sounds of the legendary recording bands (a la The Funk Brothers from the movie Standing in the Shadows of Motown) of Stax, Motown, Philly, The Meters, Muscle Shoals, and the Hi Rhythm section of Memphis. A part of JPEC’s 2018 Winter Series, and a 10 year residency at College Street Bar in Toronto; Soul Stew has warmed audiences with rhythms of red-hot RnB and soothing Soul for more than 25 years.

Michael Dunston (Vocals) is a chart-topping R&B recording artist.

Roberto Occhipinti (Bass) is an award winning musician who has performed with the Winnipeg Symphony, the Hamilton Philharmonic and the Canadian Opera Company.

Mark Kelso (Drums and Vocals) is a Toronto based musician, originally hailing from Belfast, Northern Ireland.

Matt Horner (Keyboards), John Johnson (Saxophone) and David Gray (Guitar) all well known and highly respected members of Toronto’s valued Jazz Community.
The Ghetto   What's Happening...
Don Thompson (vibes), Joe Sealy (piano)
JPEC is honoured to present Don Thompson (vibes) and Joe Sealy (piano), 2 of Canada's most highly respected and internationally acclaimed musicians, as they perform 3 tunes from the Duke Ellington Songbook.
This session was recorded by Roberto Occhipinti and Travis Harrison.
Sentimental Mood   Do Nothing...   Things Aint...
Eddie Bullen (piano), Andrew Stewart (bass), Joaquin Nunez Hidalgo (drums)
Eddie Bullen, from his first album, 'Nocturnal Affair' to his most recent 'Kaleidoscope', gives his audience a taste of contemporary jazz, flavoured with Caribbean rhythms. Since his move to Toronto in 1980 from Grenada, Eddie has worked with Caribbean, Canadian and American artists like Melba Moore, Anslem Douglas, Byron Lee, Maestro, David Rudder, and Dee Dee Bridgewater and many others. To date Eddie Bullen has produced over 200 albums and is currently working on several new ventures through his record company Thunder Dome Sounds and publishing company QDB music. Eddie's two sons Quincy and Tre-Michael are both following in their father's footsteps. In addition, Eddie is fulfilling his passion for nurturing youth talent through a high school co-op program he launched in 1986.

Andrew Stewart's musical career began at the tender age of 3 when he learned to play drums Inspired by his father Andrew fell in love with the inspirational soulful gospel and rhythm and blues music of the day. At 6 years old, with the guidance of his father, Andrew learned to play guitar and bass. By age 8, Andrew was copying bass lines and guitar licks he heard in church, TV, and records. At Humber College, he studied with bassist Lennyt Boyd and Even Tarleton. Since then Andrew has played in the studio and on stage with Salome Bey, Caribbean Jazz Collective, Liberty Silver, Eddie Bullen, Michael Stuart, Robert Botos, and others.

Joaquin Nunez Hidalgo was born and raised in Cuba. Inspired by his musically gifted father Porfirio Nunez, a former singer/guitarist with one of the oldest Cuban orchestras "Brisas de Nipe", Joaquin had a successful music career in Cuba, and shared the stage with some of Cuba's most elite musicians like Emiliano Salvador, Juan Pablo Torres and Joel Rodriguez Milor. When he came to Toronto, Joaquin quickly became immersed in the local music scene performing as a drummer and percussionist with to Canadian based artists (Jane Bunnett, Bill King, Njacko Backo, Caribbean Jazz Collective, Eddie Bullen, Hilario Duran, Luis Mario Ochoa). He is 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 and is a regular workshop leader for JPEC's outreach program. Link
Tony Rosenberg (sax, flute, piano, synch bass, sampled drums)
Tony Rosenberg is a Toronto based Saxophonist. A graduate of Humber College, Tony performed in the Conn-Selmer CenterStage Band in 2015, a big band featuring the top performing secondary school students from across Canada. Tony has been a regular participant in JPEC's highly successful dinner and brunch Student Trio Series at Aga Khan Museum’s Diwan Restaurant, featuring Rising Jazz Stars. Link
Bernie Senensky (piano)
Bernie Senensky has earned the reputation of being one of Canada's premier jazz artists on any instrument. His playing has been featured internationally in countless jazz festivals, clubs, concerts and recordings. In fact, he is now recognized as one of the foremost jazz pianists - anywhere. Bernie was twice voted Best Acoustic Pianist in the Jazz Report Awards. He has also been awarded the SOCAN Best Jazz Composition award (for his piece, "Blues for Clifford"). Link
Dave Young (bass), Reg Schwager (guitar), Terry Clarke (drums), Kevin Turcotte (trumpet)  *
Dave Young is an Order of Canada recipient, and has played with the likes of Lenny Breau, Kenny Barron, and Oscar Peterson.

Reg Schwager began playing professionally at fifteen. He is recognized and praised by all the great musicians in the Toronto jazz scene.

Terry Clarke played with John Handy, and joined The Fifth Dimension in 1967. In 1969 he moved to Toronto and joined Rob McConnell's band.

Kevin Turcotte studied music at the Banff School of Fine Arts and later, at the University of Toronto, where he joined the faculty in the 1990s. He has performed with the likes of Mike Murley and Rob McConnell and the Boss Brass. Click on any selected tune:
Dolphin Dance   Speedball   Speak like a Child   One Finger Snap   Riot   Ides of March   My Man's Gone Now   The Target   Forty Five Degrees
Hannah Barstow (piano and vocals)
Hannah Barstow is firmly rooted in the tradition of jazz, and is strongly influenced by the classic trios and quartets of Shirley Horn, Ahmad Jamal and Blossom Dearie. Hannah performed in JPEC’s first Generations concert under the leadership of Mike Murley. Link
Thompson Egbo-Egbo (piano), Lauren Falls (bass)
Thompson Egbo-Egbo has performed for Quincy Jones, Joni Mitchell and the Royal Family. An early student at the Dixon Hall Music School in Regent Park, he developed a range of musical knowledge and talent which took him to Berkley College of Music in Boston.

Lauren Falls has made a big impact on the New York jazz scene playing at Dizzy's Club Coca-Cola and others. Link
Ori Dagan (vocals, piano)
Ori Dagan is an award-winning jazz singer-songwriter, his rich baritone voice and impressive abilities as an improviser produce an instantly recognizable sound. His 2017 recording "Nathaniel: A Tribute to Nat King Cole" was the first visual in jazz history. Link
Adrean Farrugia (piano), Sophia Perlman (vocals)
Adrean Farrugia an award winning pianist and composer; leader in 4 albums, JUNO nominee, faculty member at Mohawk College, performed or recorded with such greats as Ernie Watts, Adam Nussbaum, Bob Brookmeyer, Randy Brecker, Molly Johnson, Jane Bunnett, Ron Blake and others.

Sophia Perlman is singer, musician, songwriter, arts facilitator, choral conductor, music director and educator. She is known primarily for her work as a jazz, blues and improvising musician. Link
Reg Schwager (guitar), Don Thompson (piano, bass)  *
Reg Schwager began playing professionally at fifteen. He is recognized and praised by all the great musicians in the Toronto jazz scene. Bass, piano and vibes are just some of the instruments that Don Thompson plays.

Don Thompson has been a fixture on the Toronto jazz scene since the late 1960s. He formed part of the Toronto Quartet of Paul Desmond during the mid-seventies and also played for a long time in Rob McConnell's Boss Brass. Click on any selected tune:
Au Privave   Gee Baby Ain't I Good To You   Girl From Ipanema   Lapis   Weaver Of Dreams   Yardbird Suite  
Barbra Lica (vocals), Joel Visentin (piano, vocals), Tom Fleming (guitar)
Barbra Lica is a JUNO-nominated singer-songwriter and has performed everywhere from New York City’s legendary Birdland to Toronto's prestigious Koerner Hall, and opened for the likes of Christian McBride, Pat Metheny, Bob Dorough, and Terence Blanchard. She has been ranked as one of Canada's Top 5 Jazz singers on the CBC, as well Top 5 up-and-coming Toronto jazz artists on blogTO. With a long and colourful history in jazz music, Barbra's newest repertoire is the result of much back-and-forth between Toronto and the great musical city of Nashville, borrowing from a multitude of genres including country, roots and folk music.

Toronto-based pianist and composer Joel Visentin has worked with a number of celebrated world class musicians including Kelly Lee Evans, Darryl Neudorf and Ingrid Jensen. In 2015 he joined up with guitarist Adam Beer-Colacino and drummer Jeff Halischuk to form the group of his dreams, JV's Boogaloo Squad. They have since worked their way up through the national club circuit, headlining at Canadian jazz festivals and reaching #6 on US Campus Jazz Radio charts as well as number #29 on JazzWeek's chart for US commercial Radio with their newest album, "Going to Market". Hailing from 'Parts Unknown' and weighing in at a HULKING 134lbs of pure Outlaw Jazz,

Tom Fleming has improvised music at countless festivals and clubs the world over. He is currently working on a Doctorate of Musical Arts at the University of Toronto. Link
Andrew Forde (electric violin), Alexei Orechin (guitar), Cameron Tinklenberg (piano/synths)
Award-winning violinist and acclaimed composer, Andrew Forde has performed for Presidents (Clinton & Bush Jr.).

Alexei Orechin has been actively shaping the Toronto music scene as composer and guitarist for over ten years.

Cameron Tinklenberg studies music technology and digital media development. Link
* pre COVID-19 unreleased recording, recently mixed for JPEC use.
How to give a nine-piece jazz orchestra concert from home
A First for Canada? Ray Koskie, President, Jazz Performance and Education Centre (JPEC) believes this initiative might be the first Canadian online, large band jazz concert recorded individually in musicians' homes. "It is very exciting and we are very grateful for the participants’ commitment and talent."
When JPEC asked Carn Davidson 9 leaders and JUNO nominated musicians, William Carn, and Tara Davidson, and 1Vision Production studio owner, Donovan Drummond, to individually video, record, mix and present a nine-piece jazz band concert for JPEC during COVID isolation, they said "Yes". Then, when JPEC said their policy was to always pay their musicians, it was a welcome shot in the arm for the gig-free groups during this period. But it wasn't all easy. Here are some challenges they faced.
Big band, Small basement: Davidson and Carn had to decide the most efficient way to record a nine piece band in different home studios of each musician - without direction. Deciding to play songs that the group had previously recorded and performed made it easier. "Thankfully, our group is used to performing without a conductor," says Carn.

After the drums comes the bass solo. "Our bassist and drummer, Andrew Downing (bass) and Ernesto (Cervini ) (drums), are the heroes here." Ernesto went first, just playing to a metronome in his ear. Both bass and drums, alone in their homes, had to imagine the whole band while they were recording.

Home Schooling: Carn for the first time, had to edit and put all the tracks together and also figure out how to record, edit and mix. "I've spent hundreds of hours in studios but never had to record myself. It was a great experience. I'm hooked!"

Ready for Mixing: After mixing the tracks down to 3 final songs, Carn compiled the videos that each band member had done, and sent it all in mp4 format so that Drummond could mix and edit the sound and video parts.

Hide and Seek: 1Vision Production studio owner, Donovan Drummond, faced another kind of challenge. Smack in the middle of the sandwich generation, Drummond is at home isolating with his 5 year old son and his aging father so, his usual time of one week to fully edit and master a video, became a bigger test.

The End Result: Once Drummond received it, he got to work. His editing and musical background allowed him to work with whatever he was handed and his professionalism showed in the end product. The sound is rich and robust. If you close your eyes you might be in a concert hall.