Archive for jazz

Sammy Miller and The Congregation

Monday, January 13, 2020 | 8:30PM

Sammy Miller and The Congregation
Advance $20.00 / Door $25.00 *

Sammy Miller and The Congregation are on a mission, crisscrossing the country like a vaudevillian revival show with evangelic fervor for music. The seven-piece band is pulling people out of their solitary lives and putting them in the moment with a bracing dose of joyful jazz performed with infectious theatricality. The New York City-based, familial collective has captured its frenetic energy and unflinchingly optimistic songwriting on its debut album, Leaving Egypt.

“We want to get people back in a room together,” Sammy Miller says. “I love the idea of being unhinged, sincere, vulnerable, and breaking down walls through humor. Music is an uplifting gift, and I want to be generous in sharing it with people.”

Sammy Miller and The Congregation has been described as a mashup of the sensibilities of Ben Folds and the Preservation Hall Jazz Band. The band freely mixes vocal and instrumental tracks live and on record, asking the audience to go along for the ride with the lead melody being carried by vocalists half the time, and instruments the other half.

The seven-piece group is a community of adventurous and charismatic superstar musicians who are conservatory-trained but who have not lost their childlike wonder and awe for playing music. The band lineup is Sammy Miller, drums and vocals; Sam Crittenden, trombone; Ben Flocks, tenor sax; Sammy’s sister Molly Miller on guitar; Alphonso Horne, trumpet; Corbin Jones, bass and tuba; and David Linard, piano. Independently, the band members have performed and recorded with notable artists including Wynton Marsalis, Lady Gaga, Jason Mraz, and Beyoncé.

Sammy convened the band in 2014, and 2015, he earned a Grammy Award nomination for his work as a drummer with Joey Alexander. Since the band’s inception, the Congregation has played nonstop around the world. Select highlights include performances at Umbria Jazz Festival, Monterey Jazz Festival, Jazz At Lincoln Center, The White House, The Kennedy Center, Prokofiev Concert Hall in Russia, and at the Newport Jazz Festival where the group received a standing ovation. The seven-piece band has also garnered prime critical acclaim from such venerated outlets as Los Angeles Times, Wall Street JournalSF WeeklyVanity Fair and Jazz Journal, among other publications.

In addition to these accolades and accomplishments, the award-winning theatre incubator Ars Nova selected The Congregation for the “Makers Lab” to develop their genre-bending show, Great Awakening. Sammy Miller and the Congregation have also done an exuberant TEDx video illustrating their philosophy on jazz and showcasing their irresistible theatricality and musicality.

Sammy started playing drums at age five in a group with his five siblings. “After school we would teach ourselves rock songs, disco songs, and country songs — ”everything was fair game” he recalls. When he got a little older, he discovered an all-consuming love of comedy and jazz. As a kid, he’d go to the library and check out 30 CDs a time, alphabetically exploring the jazz section from Ahmad Jamal to Zoot Sims. He also became obsessed with comedians such as Chris Rock, Lenny Bruce, and Bobby Slayton. “I’ve always loved the risktakers in entertainment — the people who would rather get it real than right,” Sammy shares.

Starting his career at an improbably young age, Sammy was cast on Mad TV at 11 years of age. At 18, Sammy moved from LA to New York City; at 21 he started studying for his master’s in jazz at Juilliard. “When I was at Juilliard, I realized jazz couldn’t just live in a conservatory vacuum. It needed to provide its initial function of being an expansive creative outlet where the rules are there for you to break and improvisation went beyond notes and into an experience,” Sammy says.

He soon found a cadre of jazz students who felt similarly — outliers who were fiercely individual on their instruments, but also craved a manner of expression beyond the solo. “We all went to Juilliard and have these credentials, but we didn’t like the insular feeling of the jazz scene. We were seeking warmth and connection,” Sammy says. These misfit creatives descended on venues around NYC where the genre was not played. “I wanted to find a new audience,” Sammy says. “We played in dive bars where people were scared of jazz.”

Their live show grew to be something of a mix between a comedy troupe and a dazzling rock band that played a vigorously reimagined strain of jazz. “We let ourselves be free on the bandstand and we took the audience with us,” Sammy says. The band’s boundless energy, inclusive ideals, catchy songwriting, and revue style presentation made them a word-of-mouth buzz band. The septet expanded its reach through adopting the rock band philosophy of touring endlessly in a van to build a fanbase.

The Congregation’s 9-song debut album, Leaving Egypt, opens with the lone drum figure of “Searching For Ragtime.” Here, the music is stripped down to its essentials, its heartbeat. The journey from there spans rollicking gospel-tinged jazz, rowdy and funky New Orleans second-line music, smoky back alley blues-jazz, and stately balladry. The album concludes bookended with a tender solo piano track “When I’m Gone”.

Select album standouts include the singles “Shine,” “Date A Jew,” “Bluebird,” and “It Gets Better.” The track “Shine” boasts Sammy’s ingratiating vocals, undeniably uplifting lyrics, playful piano hooks, and an imaginative arrangement with dynamic horn and backup vocal-driven crescendos. Sammy sweetly tucks in some purposeful messaging in “Date A Jew.” This is a simmering narrative track that showcases the Congregation’s groove pocket and its subtle musical interplay. The balmy “Bluebird” exudes a Paul Simon-imbued folk elegance. “It Gets Better” bursts forth with a loping groove, and cleverly unfolds with moody passages that veer into the sunny side of the street.

Leaving Egypt was cut in four 16-hour days at the legendary United Studios where the many famed Count Basie sides were tracked. The band enlisted drummer extraordinaire Jay Bellerose (Alison Krauss, Ray LaMontagne, Robert Plant, B.B. King) to supervise and produce the proceedings.

The debut represents a milestone for Sammy Miller and the Congregation’s creative continuum. It captures the group’s vulnerability, communal nature, charming and warm wit, and playfully virtuosic musicality. “This is us,” Sammy says of the album. “I’m proud of it, and I’m eager to embark on our mission to bring joy to people’s lives through music.”

website: http://www.sammymillercongregation.com/

youtube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hOtXFbstD3A

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Wintergarten Orchestra

Monday, December 30, 2019 | 8:30pm

Wintergarten Orchestra
$30 Advance / $35 Door *

Wintergarten Orchestra is known and loved for delivering popular songs from the USA, Berlin and Paris during the roaring 1920’s and 1930’s. Their influences include Cab Calloway, Paul Whiteman, Pasadena Roof Orchestra, Palast Orchestra. Needless to say, you’ll love this band if you’re a fan of movies like The Great Gatsby, Some Like it Hot Television series: Downton Abbey, Jeeves and Wooster or Boardwalk Empire.

This big collection of seasoned Toronto musicians are coming back to celebrate 2020 New Year’s Eve… somewhere in the world. We invite everyone to skip the madness of New Year’s Eve on the usual night, and join us for a night of spectacular music to ring it in ahead of the crowd. Brash horns, crooning vocals and soaring violins will take us back nearly a hundred years to the dawn of The Jazz Age!

website: https://wintergartenorchestra.com
youtube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jxAPBiF7Qmo&feature=youtu.be

* Advertised pricing excludes taxes and ticketing fees.

* Ticket price includes a glass of bubbly for an early new year’s toast

Kellylee Evans: Winter Song

Friday, December 20, 2019 | 8:30pm

Kellylee Evans Winter Song
$35 Advance / $40 Door *

*MEMBERS-ONLY PRE-SALE ACTIVE UNTIL SEPTEMBER 25, 2019

JUNO Award-winning jazz vocalist Kellylee Evans warms up the Azrieli Studio just in time for the season with Winter Song: an enchanting night of holiday classics, new standards, and Kellylee’s own gems.

Six albums deep, Kellylee Evans is still shaking it up on Come On, her latest Decca album.

The stylistic connoisseur has tackled everything from jazz to R&B and pop in such previous tasty classics fight or flight?, Nina – her Juno-winning tribute to the legendary Nina Simone – and I Remember When.

Praised by the Latin Jazz Network for a “gorgeous voice (that) rises to the heavens in rapturous wonder as if in consanguinity with a chorus of angels” and by the Yukon Arts Centre for “a stunning crystalline voice, both powerful and emotive,” Evans now pushes her muse firmly into the soulful pop territory with Come On: a wonderfully refreshing album about love and life that comes on the heels of two nearly career-ending accidents: a freak lightning strike in her Ottawa kitchen and further effects of a concussion suffered during a fall at her home.

However, Evans is nothing if not resilient: the runner-up of the 2004 Thelonious Monk Competition offers views on love and loss in an alluringly rhythmic approach that has touches of psychedelic pop, resonating soul groove and that je ne sais quoi that is strictly Kellylee and forged by her jazz discipline.

From the stirring soul-stomper “Come On” – which combines an effervescent Motown feel with traces of psychedelia – and the funky groove-a-liciousness of “Hands Up” to the string-and-horn-spiced magnetism of “Know His Worth,” the 10 songs of Come On find Kellylee at her most magically potent.

website: http://www.kellyleeevans.com/
youtube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dPzjtRKRa8A

* Advertised pricing excludes taxes and fees.

Jazzcast n’ Joy

Wednesday, December 11, 2019 | 8:30PM

Jazzcast n’ Joy
Featuring Alexis Baro, Jay Douglas, Drew Jurecka, Alex Pangman, Denielle Bassels, Eliana Cuevas and Jeremy Ledbetter Trio as Musical Director
Advance $20.00 / Door $25.00 *

 

Alexis Baro
JUNO nominated trumpet player Alexis Baro was born into a musical family in Havana, Cuba. Classically trained, he took up the trumpet at the age of age 8 and completed his musical education receiving a teaching certification at the prestigious Amadeo Roldán Music Conservatory in Havana.  He moved to Canada in 2001 and has been wowing Canadian jazz fans ever since.

Jeremy Ledbetter
An engaging and fiery performer whose music knows no boundaries, Canadian pianist Jeremy Ledbetter has made a career from travelling the far-flung corners of the globe in search of the most fascinating and unique musical ideas out there, then seamlessly integrating them into his work as a pianist, composer, and producer.

Alex Pangman
Proudly known as ‘Canada’s Sweetheart of Swing’, Juno Nominee Alex Pangman’s natural vocal abilities and deep appreciation for the classic jazz era have earned her a place in our nation’s heart.  Alex is also a host on Jazzcast.ca with her show Swing Set.

Eliana Cuevas
Eliana Cuevas has grown into an accomplished singer-songwriter and bandleader with unlimited colours in her compositional and lyrical palette. Among her honours are the National Jazz Award for Latin Jazz Artist of the Year (2009), a nomination for Best World Music Solo Artist at the Canadian Folk Music Awards (2008) and a Toronto Independent Music Award for Best World Music Artist (2007).

Drew Jurecka
Drew Jurecka is a Toronto-based accomplished violinist who is comfortable in many genres. He has spent the last ten years playing jazz, pop, rock and other contemporary styles in Toronto. Though violin is his primary instrument, he also works frequently as a performer and recording sideman on viola, saxophone, clarinet and mandolin.

Denielle Bassels
Denielle Bassels is a rising star on the Canada jazz scene.  Her whimsical brand of music is a caravan of jazz manouche, blues, folk, with a tinge of pop, all wrapped in an innovative and scintillating package. Already an award-winning artist for the song “Cool Cool Water” from her 2017 album What About Wool Wishbags, Bassels garnered the Grand Prize in the prestigious John Lennon Songwriting Competition, for Jazz.

Jay Douglas
Jay Douglas first took to the stage in Montego Bay, Jamaica many years ago as youth. With over 45 years of showmanship, he has developed a wide-ranging repertoire of American blues, West Indian rhythms, jazz standards, fancy footwork, and plenty of stage charisma and is a two-time Juno nominee.

 

*Advertised pricing excludes taxes and ticketing fees.

Jane Bunnett and Maqueque

Sunday, November 10, 2019 | 7:00pm

Jane Bunnett and Maqueque
$25 Advance / $30 Door *

MAQUEQUE ON THE MOVE

How did Jane Bunnett and Maqueque evolve – in less than five years – from a project to support and honor the new generation of young women jazz players and composers, to a Grammy nominated, critically acclaimed band that is in demand internationally at major Jazz festivals?

This all-female collective is led by veteran jazz icon, soprano saxophone player, flautist, composer and proud Canadian Jane Bunnett. With five Juno awards, three Grammy nominations and an Officer of the Order of Canada (Canadas highest civilian award) Jane decided to dedicate herself to taking Maqueque to the world.

With hard work, virtuosity and chemistry, presented to audiences with power and joy, the dream is alive and thriving!

Their third release, On Firm Ground/Tierra Firme, is a bold testament to the strength and originality of Jane Bunnett and Maqueque.

“This band sounds like no other today in Jazz.” – DOWN BEAT magazine, which voted Jane Bunnett and Maqueque as one of the Top 10 Jazz Groups in its most recent Critic’s Poll.

Prior to recording On Firm Ground, the group went from strength to strength touring contantly from Canada’ s Yukon to Colombia, Brazil, Cuba and Panama to major US Jazz festivals and clubs including Newport, Monterey, Saratoga, Birdland and Lincoln Center.

NPRs Jazz Night in America did a one hour feature (“The New Queens of Afro Cuban Jazz”) on Maqueque.

A New Yorker magazine piece titled “The New Vanguard of Women in Cuban Jazz,” featuring members of Maqueque, describes Jane’s role as a mentor and inspiration to this burgeoning scene of young women in Cuba.

And Maqueque’s first two European tours cemented their reputation internationally.

There are lots of surprise on the new recording.

A recent collaborator, Sacred Steel guitar player and vocalist Nikki D Brown, comes from the Church and hails from Toledo, Ohio.

She contributes fiery steel and soulful vocals to “On Firm Ground” and melancholy playing and Vocals on “Broken Heart.”

Dayme Arocena (a founding member and inspiration for the group) is full on for this recording and offers her composition “Mysteries of Jane’s House,” showing how in a few short years she has become one of the bright lights and biggest stars in Afro Cuban Jazz.

All the group members wrote a piece for the new recording.

Pianist Danae Olano wrote three compositions and has becomes Jane’s closest collaborator. Her playing and composition skills have blossomed and her pieces represent the heart and soul of this third Maqueque recording.

Other highlights include three new Jane Bunnett compositions, including “Monkey See, Monkey Do” with lyrics by past member Melvis Santa, who adds her vocals throughout the CD.

Producer Larry Cramer contributes a stunning take on John Coltrane’s “Moment’s Notice,” done in a conga style and clocking in just under three minutes.

Drummer Yissy Garcia is the heartbeat and power that propels Maqueque along, especially  with new members Mary Paz on percussion and bassist Tailin Marrero, who adds a beautiful acoustic bass sound.

Another surprise is the addition of our newest member, Joanna Majoko, an incredibly soulful vocalist whose roots are in Zimbabwe and who immediately connected with the Maqueque groove.

Maqueque is on the move and I hope you come along for the ride!

website: http://www.janebunnett.com/
youtube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_continue=1&v=Hnh-LEhThzA

* Advertised pricing excludes taxes and ticketing fees

Diane Roblin CD Launch

Tuesday, November 5, 2019 | 8:00pm

Diane Roblin “Life Force” CD Launch
$20 Advance / $25 Door

All ticket holders receive a FREE copy of the new CD, Life Force, upon entry.

Performer, pianist, composer and band leader Diane Roblin takes the stage to celebrate her latest CD “LIFE FORCE.” She will be surrounded by some of Toronto’s most celebrated players: bassist and producer George Koller, EVI artist Bruce Cassidy, trumpeter/flugelhorn player Kevin Turcotte, Jeff LaRochelle on tenor/bass clarinet, and Ben Riley on drums. This is the electrifying band that also joined her in the studio for the album. Throughout the years Diane has lead and played with many diverse groups from Rough Trade, to renowned avant-garde improviser Charles Gayle. Influenced by McCoy Tyner, Herbie Hancock, and her time at Ornette Coleman-Karl Berger workshops, Dutch Improv Academy and her exploration of world music, Diane’s original compositions are groove oriented and encourage enthusiastic improvising across the ensemble, creating as much fun as possible for both the musicians and the audience. Toronto DJ, Jaymze Bee’s honoured Diane’s debut CD “Reconnect” on his top 3 list . It was top of the charts domestically and internationally in Asia and Europe. She has performed throughout Europe, Mexico and USA …from Ronnie Scott’s, London to Antibes-Juan les Pins, France. This CD release party is guaranteed to be a night of original exciting music, great improvisers, reflective duos and a room full of joy.  Diane Roblin plays high energy music from the heart.

“She is a facile and deeply emotional keyboardist who establishes her musical territory with muscular performance and technical skill.” Leslie Mitchell-Clarke, The Whole Note

“Roblin’s piano work dazzles.” – www.canadianmusic.ca 

Diane Roblin : Composer, Piano
George Koller: Producer, Bass
Bruce Cassidy: EVI
Jeff LaRochelle: Tenor Sax, Bass Clarinet
Kevin Turcotte: Trumpet, Flugelhorn
Ben Riley: drums

website: www.dianeroblin.com
youtube: https://vimeo.com/217417273

 

* Advertised pricing excludes taxes and ticketing fees

Ray Montford

Saturday, October 19, 2019 | 8:30pm

Ray Montford and Friends
$25 Advance / $30 Door

 

Ray Montford & Friends return to Hugh’s Room for a rare Toronto Show, one year after the release of Ray’s new album ’Share My Sky’, which is now available on vinyl as well.  For this show, Ray will perform an intimate solo acoustic set, followed by a longer electric set with his stellar band.  The repertoire will feature music from Ray’s entire catalogue.  Joining him will be: Lynn Moffatt – vocals, Ben Riley – drums and Mat Falvai – bass.
Ray Montford’s powerful original tunes are characterized by a wild and raw beauty. Often inspired by the human condition, his instrumental compositions paint haunting canvasses that are rich in imagery, leaving an indelible mark on the listener. Blurring boundaries between rock, blues, jazz and folk, the most striking aspect of Montford’s artistry is that he finds countless ways to convey emotion through his compositions and soulful playing. In the end, it’s all about taking the listener on an unforgettable journey.
Share My Sky, Ray’s new and eight studio album, finds the guitarist expanding his sonic range and compositional depth to offer his most personal and emotional statement to date.

 

* Advertised pricing excludes taxes and ticketing fees

Yamaha Presents: Bobby Shew

Wednesday, October 2, 2019 | 8:30pm

Yamaha Presents: Bobby Shew

Tickets: FREE

Started guitar at age eight but switched to trumpet at age ten. At age twelve, asked to play in a local “dance band” for weddings and dance gigs. Discovered improvisation at first rehearsal. The rest is history! Spent summers after high school in New York City listening to the great jazz masters. Attended the first two years of Stan Kenton Summer Jazz Clinics in Bloomington , IND. Able to study under Don Jacoby, Conte Candoli, Johnny Richards, John LaPorta, Shelly Manne, etc. Attended UNM for two years studying Architecture and Commercial Art. Drafted into Army, assigned as jazz soloist to NORAD BAND in Colorado Springs. After service, moved to NYC and joined Tommy Dorsey Orchestra, rooming and playing with legendary Charlie Shavers. After Dorsey, went to Woody Herman, Buddy Rich, Maynard Ferguson, Si Zentner, Benny Goodman. Settled in Las Vegas for 7 years playing top show bands in casinos. 1972 moved to Los Angeles and became a first-call studio musician as well as continuing to play on big bands of Bill Holman, Bob Florence, Louie Bellson, Toshiko Akiyoshi, Ed Shaughnessy, Bill Berry, and Nat Pierce-Frank Capp Juggernaut. Designer / developer of SHEW model Yamaha 6310Z & 8310Z trumpets and 6310Z & 8310Z flugelhorns. Designer of SOLOIST mute, Yamaha SHEW series trumpet and flugelhorn mouthpieces as well as SHEW series mouthpieces for the Marcinkiewicz Company and for Kelly Mouthpieces (Lexan mouthpieces). Author of “ETUDES AND EXERCISES FOR JAZZ AND CLASSICAL PLAYER” & “BASIC STUDY GUIDE FOR TRUMPET”. Former Chairman for IAJE and ITG. Former Assoc.

Professor of Trpt at USC ( Los Angeles – 10 years ) , Cal. State Northridge-18 years ) Calif. Institute Of The Arts ( 3 years ) . Numerous Artist-in-Residencies world-wide in Germany, Netherlands, Belgium, Japan, Canada, Austria. Elected into New Mexico Music Hall Of Fame. Numerous Grammy nominations and 1982 Received Jazz Album Of The Year award.

* For reservations, please call the box office at 416-533-5483.

Louis Simão with Patricia Cano and Carlos Bernardo

Friday, September 27, 2019 | 8:30pm

Louis Simão with Patricia Cano and Carlos Bernardo
$20 Advance / $25 Door

Louis Simão
Award winning, Toronto-based musician Louis Simão has been composing, performing and recording as a multi-instrumentalist in a variety of genres for twenty years. 2016 marked the release of his much-anticipated solo album, “A LUZ” (The Light) – a collection of Simão’s own compositions and arrangements. Joined by the best cross-genre musicians Toronto has to offer, Simão takes the listener on a journey through the sounds of the Portuguese-speaking world as experienced through the life of this first-generation Canadian son of Portuguese immigrants. His cultural background combined with his jazz sensibility and chamber music compositional style come together to create a voice that is at once universal while remaining deeply personal. Co-produced by Luis (Luisito) Orbegoso and recorded by John Bailey at The Drive Shed, Simão’s music easily flows from samba to folkloric Portuguese music, to funk-based grooves and lush string and woodwind arrangements.Accompanying Simão on stage will be Carlos Bernardo, Luis Orbegoso, Rich Brown, & Marito Marques

website: http://www.simaomusic.com
youtube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OhmP1C84EIM

 

Patricia Cano
Patricia Cano was born in Sudbury, where she began her career on stage as a young dancer, and later, as a community theatre player. After studies in Theater and Spanish Literature at the University of Toronto, she embraced the career of traveling artist, first with Tomson Highway, the Cree writer and composer, then with le Théâtre du Soleil

website: http://www.patriciacano.com
youtube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DXCjpYaZZZE

 

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Diana Braithwaite and Chris Whiteley New Blues CD launch- Gold Cadillac

Friday, September 20, 2019 | 8:30pm

CD RELEASE : Gold Cadillac

Jazz + Blues with Diana Braithwaite and Chris Whiteley CD Release
$25 Advance / $30 Door

Diana Braithwaite
Born in Toronto, Canada, Diana Lee Braithwaite grew up crooning jazz and blues classics that were played by her elder brother jazz pianist, Victor Cornell Braithwaite.

When Diana Braithwaite sings, you hear passion, with sultry stories of life beautifully expressed through music. Braithwaite is a descendant of the Wellington County pioneers in Canada. With roots in the southern United States her ancestors escaped slavery through the Underground Railroad and lived for four generations in Wellington County, the first African-Canadian pioneer settlement in Ontario, Canada. Growing up, Diana spent summers in Montreal, Quebec, in a place called “Little Burgundy”, the historic African-Canadian neighbourhood where her father and the great jazz musician Oscar Peterson were both born. Dubbed “a national treasure” by JAZZ FM’s Radio host Danny Marks, Diana Braithwaite combines elements from Dinah Washington, Sarah Vaughan, Esther Phillips and others to create her own unique appealing and expressive jazz and blues style.

Chris Whiteley
Kansas born multi-instrumentalist Chris Whiteley has had an illustrious music career spanning some 40 years. Whiteley’s extensive touring career includes working with many renowned jazz and blues legends such as Eddie “Cleanhead” Vinson and countless appearances on television and radio including a special guest appearance on Saturday Night Live with the international recording jazz artist Leon Redbone. A multiple award-winning international touring horn player, Chris Whiteley is also a sought-after recording artist and has appeared on over 250 recordings over his successful career as a trumpet and cornet player. Whiteley, who blows his trumpet with a clear tone and a sublime unique jazz style, has received numerous Canadian Maple Blues Awards as both songwriter and horn player of the year and a Jazz Report Magazine Blues Album of the Year Award. In 2010 Whiteley was awarded the prestigious BLUES WITH A FEELING AWARD, for lifetime achievement in the blues. In January 2014 Chris Whiteley won the Maple Blues Award for the top blues horn player in Canada–for the 7th time.

Video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OVYQCOASWow

* Advertised pricing excludes taxes and ticketing fees