François Bourassa —now with ten albums of original music under his belt—has become an ambassador for Canada’s thriving jazz community at an international level. A paragon of consistency and evolution and inspired by a diversity of sources, his award-winning eponymous quartet has been a staple of Montreal’s artistic landscape for more than 25 years. Since its creation, the group has featured bassist Guy Boisvert, saxophonist André Leroux and more recently young drummer Guillaume Pilote.
Their latest album Number 9 won a 2019 Opus Prize for Best Jazz Album of the Year and was nominated in the same category at the ADISQ Gala 2018. The album was also nominated for Best Canadian Jazz Albums of 2017 by Peter Hum, Ottawa Citizen and for 30 best jazz albums of 2017 by Felipe Freitas, Jazztrail (USA).
- François Bourassa Quartet
Itamar Erez’s music holds a depth and sensitivity that touches listeners deeply. It blends the delicateness of Middle Eastern music, the freedom found in jazz and the passion of flamenco, creating a unique sound all his own. Recipient of the 2014 ACUM Prize for Special Achievement in Jazz, and the prestigious 2014 Landau Prize, Itamar Erez is an internationally renowned composer and musician who has shared the stage with such musicians as Omar Faruk Tekbilek, Jean-Louis Matinier, Zohar Fresco, and others.
His most recent CD “Mi Alegria” was released in June 2019 and has already received raving reviews, both nationally and internationally, including a recent nomination for the 2020 Instrumental Solo Artist of the Year Award, from the Canadian Folk Music Awards. Itamar just finished recording new CD, that will come out in 2022.
“Mi Alegria distils and channels Erez’s eclectic, seminal influences and musical interests into a rich and highly personal language” Salt Peanuts Magazine, 2019
“A showcase of stunning musicianship” Vancouver Sun, 2019
- Itamar Erez Quartet
A piano, a drum set, a thousand ideas. The happy and highly creative encounter of pianist and composer Marianne Trudel with world renowned drummer and composer John Hollenbeck. An electrifying, fascinating, enveloping duo!
Marianne Trudel & John Hollenbeck : Dédé Java Espiritu plunges the listener into an infinite panorama of colours and grooves. This concert wishes to invite beauty, intuition, dreams, mystery, transe and poetry. Marianne Trudel offers up a whole new cycle of compositions that are both pared down and refined, mysterious and enticing… Where catchy grooves, enchanting melodies, surprising sonorities, and joyous spontaneity go hand in hand. Fabulous!
- Marianne Trudel & John Hollenbeck
Kim Zombik (voice) and Nicolas Caloia (doublebass) are seasoned musicians who remain wide open to fresh and new sonic possibilities. Their original and intimate songs relate bittersweet stories of cosmic encounters that undulate between swagger and sweetness. Imagine Sun Ra as Joni Mitchell’s pianist or if Laurie Anderson wrote songs for Billie Holiday, and you will have some idea of the amusing and amazing music created by this longstanding duo.
Trombonist Audrey Ochoa has achieved the ideal: presenting meticulously influential compositions with a playful and liberated approach.
Ochoa’s latest record “Frankenhorn” (2020), found herself focussing on unique arrangements and undisputed inspirations. The album features electronic remixes alongside a harmonious combination of genres and ideals. Frankenhorn was widely acclaimed and named the #1 jazz album of 2020 on the Earshot charts, and hit #1 on the US jazz charts. The album earned her a 2020 Western Canadian Music Award.
Exhilarating and exuberant, Audrey Ochoa exemplifies an artist who has dedicated herself to expertise while remaining relevant and light-hearted. With a magnificent and fresh-faced approach, she plants her flag firmly as a centrepiece of the Canadian music instrumental arena.
- Audrey Ochoa
Listening to Steph’s music can feel like scrolling through a library of extravagant effects, uniquely attuned to the human condition and to the remarkable expanse of music that makes up avant-garde and experimental jazz. Having worked with everyone from Henry Threadgill, Anthony Braxton and John Zorn to Yoko Ono, David Byrne and electro-pop star St. Vincent, Steph consistently finds ways to fit into music that defies the acceptable norms of traditional musical landscapes. Benefiting from a versatile technical toolset, fluid musical imagination and her own ingenuity, Steph is delightfully indiscriminate when it comes to exploring the vast tonality of the music she entertains.
- Steph Richards
Alto saxophonist and improviser François Carrier’s rich, deep playing blends lyricism with boldness and a sense of surpassing oneself. A prodigious drummer, talented composer, instrument inventor, and illustrator, Michel Lambert is an all-round fascinating artist. Classically trained, he has one foot in jazz, the other in free improvisation, while his head is at the confluence of all these influences. John Edwards is a true virtuoso whose staggering range of techniques and boundless musical imagination have redefined the possibility of the double bass and dramatically expanded its role—whether playing solo or with others.
- Carrier, Lambert, Edwards
Larnell Lewis is a GRAMMY Award winning musician, composer, producer, and educator. Larnell has established himself as one of the most diverse, skilled and sought-after drummers of this time. Along with his long-standing position in Snarky Puppy, Larnell has led several successful groups of his own including the Larnell Lewis Band. He has also toured internationally with some of the world’s most revered musicians. In June 2018, Larnell released his highly anticipated debut album “In the Moment” featuring ten original compositions in a variety of musical styles. His undeniable talent, fierce creativity and inspiring spirit reach fans and musicians across generations.
- Larnell Lewis
Malika Tirolien is a remarkable vocalist, musician, songwriter and producer from Guadeloupe, now living in Montreal. She is garnering international attention with her creative collaborations.
Her latest release Higher is the second in a tetralogy featuring earth, air, fire and water themes. It is a shining example of afro-futuristic styling, co-produced with Bokanté creator Michael League. The album showcases a new genre called “high soul”, mixing R&B, soul, hip hop and jazz to create the soundtrack of a psychedelic trip from anger to forgiveness. She has toured over 20 countries with Bokanté. Two brilliant albums from the band have already earned them worldwide acclaim and a Grammy nomination.
Malika Tirolian’s soaring voice immediately grabs your attention and her well-crafted compositions present effusive emotions with fresh takes on various genres, the whole infused with a deep knowledge of jazz.
- Malika Tirolien
Multi-award winning Canadian singer-songwriter and pianist Laila Biali has headlined festivals and venues spanning five continents, from Carnegie Hall to Leverkusener Jazztage, and supported international icon Sting. Her accolades include the 2019 JUNO Award for Vocal Jazz Album of the Year, and the The Washington Post praises her ability to “masterfully mix jazz and pop, bringing virtuosity and unpredictability to songs.”
Laila is represented by Chronograph in Canada and by ACT Music and the European agency Just Jazz in Europe.
- Laila Biali
Barbra Lica is a JUNO-nominated singer-songwriter based in Toronto. She has performed all across North America and Japan and has amassed a significant Spotify followership with over 4.3 million streams for her latest album. In addition to writing for herself, Barbra has written cuts for such artists as jazz crooner Matt Dusk, rising J-Pop singer Harumi, and Taiwanese pop recording artist, Morrison Ma. Barbra is currently promoting her brand-new singles project, blending jazz with elements of folk, country, and dream pop to explore the theme of identity from shifting perspectives.
- Barbra Lica
Montréal-based CODE Quartet is a powerhouse collective of four of Canada’s leading jazz composers and improvisers.
The chord-less quartet features original compositions that draw from each member’s unique background, creating an organic dialogue and a diverse, refined soundscape.
Jensen has racked up numerous awards, incl. two Junos. Vedady and Doxas have lent their artistry to jazz greats such as Carla Bley, Dave Douglas and Marc Copland. Originally from New Zealand, French is now a bright star on the Canadian jazz scene.
- CODE Quartet
VENA is the new quartet formed by trumpeter and composer Rachel Therrien with artists she met over the course of European tours. The ensemble, which is proudly gender equal, includes Madrid-born double bassist Dario Guilbert, German drummer Mareike Wiening, and Franco-Australian pianist Daniel Gassin. With this outstanding foursome, Rachel offers bold and contemporary compositions informed by cool jazz and the European sensibilities of her colleagues. From straight-up swing to contemplative moments and exhilarating improvisations, the four virtuosos display amazing chemistry on stage as they perform the dynamic repertoire. Rachel Therrien soars in an exciting new direction with this group and promises a thrilling, unforgettable concert.
- Rachel Therrien
A saxophonist, composer and arranger, Jean-Pierre Zanella is very much in demand on Quebec’s music scene. His 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.
- Jean-Pierre Zanella
Award-winning pianist and composer Gentiane MG founded the Gentiane MG Trio in 2014, alongside bassist Levi Dover and drummer Louis-Vincent Hamel. With this group, MG has toured extensively in Quebec, Canada and Mexico. The trio has released two albums of original music, Eternal Cycle (Arté Boréal, 2017) and Wonderland (Effendi, 2020). The three bandmates explore musical freedom and communication using MG’s pieces as a foundation to build upon, conceiving of instrumental music as a vehicle for profound expression. MG’s compositions are rooted in the jazz tradition of songwriting and improvisation while influenced by impressionistic and romantic classical music.
MG has received several awards for her work with her trio, including the François Marcaurelle de la GMMQ Award in 2017, the Radio-Canada Jazz Award in 2018 and the OPUS Award: Discovery of the Year in 2020.
- Gentiane MG