A saxophonist, composer and arranger, Jean-Pierre Zanella is very much in demand on Quebec’s music scene. He got his Master’s degree in Jazz at the Eastman School of Music in Rochester, NY in 1982. Zanella has developed strong ties and also recorded with Brazilian artists such as Marcos Valle, Altay Veloso, Boca Livre and pianist Marcos Ariel. He has received the honorific Ordem do Rio Branco bestowed by the Brazilian government, and recorded with several instrumentalists from Canada and the US.
He has eight solo albums to his credit: Caminho, nominated for a Félix (1994); Mystic Infancy, which received the Opus Award for best jazz album in 1998; Puzzle City, which also won the Opus Award for best jazz album in 1999 in addition to being a Juno nominee; Mother Tree (2002) was also nominated for a Juno and a Félix and won a Opus; 2006 release Villa-Lobos & Jobim was nominated twice as best jazz album, in the Interpretation and Best Arranger categories; and Infinito (2010) was nominated for a Félix in the jazz creation category. Zanella also won the SOCAN award for best jazz composition during the 1998 Festival International de Jazz de Montréal.
His CD Quattro Venti was nominated for a Félix in the jazz album category (2017). Zanella’s latest work, Rio Minas, was released in April 2020 and was nominated for a Félix and an Opus Prize in the jazz category. He is the recipient of the 2011 Oscar Peterson Prize awarded by the Festival International de Jazz for his contribution to the Canadian jazz scene.