jazz & blues music blog with news, reviews, concerts & more, with a Canadian focus

March 16, 2006

Canadian Jazz Weekend in Vancouver

Written by
cindy mcleod

The Cellar Jazz Club in Vancouver offers two heaping helpings of the cream of Canadian jazz this weekend. Brad Turner, one of Canada’s brightest lights in jazz brings his trio to the stage on Friday, and Toronto’s up-and-coming star, pianist Laila Biali and her trio join veteran saxophonist Phil Dwyer on Saturday.


Vancouver-based Brad Turner is a triple threat: trumpeter, pianist and composer. And those who aren’t aware of him should know that Turner not only does all three, but he does them all well – quite well. Turner’s pianism is melodic and lyrical without being in any way falsely sentimental, and his sense of time is impeccably quirky, à la Thelonious Monk. His compositions allow for a significant and satisfying amount of interaction with bassist Darren Radtke and drummer Bernie Arai. This is a solid album – in the mainstream without sounding in any way clichéd. Any other questions?

Friday, March 18, 2006
Brad Turner Trio
Cellar Jazz

Brad Turner (piano), Darren Radtke (bass), Bernie Arai (drums)


Though this might be considered Laila’s most recent addition to the collection of groups she leads in Toronto, the Laila Biali Trio is, effectively, the group that she has played with for the longest period of time. Brandi Disterheft and Sly Juhas are not only two of the most committed and talented musicians she has encountered over the years, but also two of her closest friends. And it is resultant of the extensive history that this unit possesses that spontaneity, exploration, and freedom are the rule rather than the exception when these three perform together. The excitement of this unleashed and interactive creativity is what has often brought audiences to their feet when this group has performed at festivals, concert halls, and leading local venues such as the Distillery District and the Montreal Bistro. This is also the setting where you are most likely to hear some of Laila’s vocal work as she has started arranging old standards as well as writing lyrics for her own tunes to be performed with this particular group. She recorded her debut CD as a solo artist with this trio, “Introducing the Laila Biali Trio,” which was released in January of 2005.

Saturday, March 18, 2006
Biali / Dwyer Quartet
Cellar Jazz

Laila Biali (piano), Phil Dwyer (tenor saxophone) Brandi Disterheft (bass), Sly Juhas (drums)


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