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February 8, 2008

Juno Nominees Announced

Written by
cindy mcleod

jazz, blues, news, Canada

Jazz & Blues Nominees a Broad Cross-Section of Artists from Across Canada

Canada’s equivalent to the Grammy Awards will take place in Calgary, with the 2008 gala ceremony slated to be broadcast live on Sunday, April 6th.

Jazz and blues fans can find a listing of this year’s nominees below:


Altered Laws METAPHORA
Artist Jazz*Festival

JUNO Award-winning saxophonist Tom Keenlyside and brilliant pianist Miles Black continue to delight with their jazz quartet, Altered Laws. Featuring their own melodic compositions and the bold performance of bassist Miles Hill and mastery of drummer Bernie Arai, the group takes an intriguing and creatively challenging approach to their music. The ensemble performs together regularly and is currently developing new material.


The Toronto-born guitarist/composer has four CDs to his name, 1997’s David Occhipinti, 1999’s Syzygy, 2003’s Intersection and the new Forty Revolutions. The latest features seven original compositions. Besides those recordings, Occhipinti has released two albums with Mike Murley, 2002’s JUNO Award nominated Duologues and 2005’s Duologues Vol. 2. In 2006, he composed “Four Pieces for String Quartet” which was performed by the Madawaska String Quartet and “Purple Sky” which was performed by the Array Music Ensemble.

Manteca ONWARD!
M*Fusion III

During the group’s first 18 years, this celebrated group became known as one of the most original and energetic big bands anywhere. With over eight recordings selling over 100,000 units around the world, Manteca has become a “must see” concert attraction. Internationally, the group has shared the stage with legends such as Miles Davis, Van Morrison and Weather Report. After an absence of more than a decade, the nine-piece, fronted by Matt Zimbel, reunited and released its ninth recording, Onward!

Michael Occhipinti and Creation Dream CHASING AFTER LIGHT
True North*Universal

Guitarist/composer Michael Occhipinti’s modern and eclectic approach to jazz has earned him a large following of listeners and the respect of critics and musicians alike. Chasing After Light is Occhipinti’s follow up to the successful, Creation Dream — The Songs of Bruce Cockburn. The new recording showcases his memorable original compositions and a broad palette of guitar sounds.

Nineteen Eight*Festival

The Chris Tarry Group has been in existence in many different incarnations since 1994. With seven award-winning albums ranging in scope from trio’s to 15 piece mini-big bands, Chris Tarry has constantly pushed the envelope of jazz with the presentation of his music. Seven sold out concert tours and many festival appearances have made The Chris Tarry Group one of the most successful jazz groups in North America. Regular appearances in New York, Los Angeles, and Europe have increased the band’s international exposure. Chris’ experience as one of the worlds top call electric bass players is a huge influence on the type of music he writes. Always eclectic, always soulful, and always memorable, The Chris Tarry Group brings you the history of contemporary jazz warmly wrapped with the ability of some of the greatest players in the world.


Brandi Disterheft DEBUT

She’s already jammed her CV with concerts at Carnegie Hall, jazz festivals in Vienna and Chicago, halls in Japan and China, and performed as a featured soloist with the Canada Pops Orchestra — all by age 25. Her new album, Debut, descends from the tradition of Mingus and Blakey, combining touches of lush atmosphere with lively, swinging grooves. The late Oscar Peterson said of her: “She is what we call serious.”


Touted as one of Canada’s most gifted young jazz pianists and composers, David Braid is a JUNO Award winner, National Jazz Award recipient, and has performed extensively across Canada, Europe, Australia, Korea, Japan, China, and other parts of Asia. Braid recently utilized his interest in hybrid jazz forms through a new unique collaboration with jazz cellist and composer Matt Brubeck. The release is entitled Brubeck Braid: twotet/deuxtet.

Jodi Proznick Quartet FOUNDATIONS
Cellar Live*Festival

Since moving to Vancouver in 2000, Proznick has become a celebrated bassist. She has played with international jazz stars such as David “Fathead” Newman (of Ray Charles fame), Ed Thigpen (Oscar Peterson Trio, Ella Fitzgerald), and Charles McPherson (Charles Mingus). She has been featured on many recordings, including a recent Fathead release. A highlight for Proznick was opening for Peterson with the Oliver Gannon Quartet at the Orpheum in 2004. Her latest album is Foundations.

Oliver Jones, PJ Perry, Ian MacDougall, Terry Clarke, Michele Donato LIVE JAZZ LEGENDS

A longtime member of the Order of Quebec and Order of Canada, Jones is one of the country’s most illustrious jazz pianists. Born in Montreal in 1934, he studied under Daisy Peterson Sweeney, sister of the late Oscar Peterson. By 17, he was a regular performer on the club and hotel circuit. In 1980, he teamed with bassist Charlie Biddle and embarked on his jazz career. He would go on to produce albums at a rate of almost one a year, featuring originals and jazz standards. Despite retiring in 2000, he’s still active in the entertainment scene. On Live Jazz Legends, Jones is joined by PJ Perry, Ian MacDougall, Terry Clarke, and Michel Donato.

Born in Calgary and raised in Victoria, trombonist McDougall spent the ‘60s touring Great Britain with the John Dankworth Band. He then began a lengthy career as a freelance player, composer and arranger in Canada. He has also played with Rob McConnell’s JUNO Award and Grammy winning Boss Brass and with the Brass Connection. The past decade has included tours in Canada, Australia, Europe and the U.S. as a soloist and with his groups.

Born in Montreal to a family of musicians, by the early ’60s Michel Donato was performing with such players as Pierre Leduc, Art Blakey and Charles Aznavour. He moved to Toronto in 1969 and soon after joined the renowned Oscar Peterson Trio for an international tour. Upon returning to Montreal in 1977, he recorded an album with Felix Leclerc before teaming up with legendary jazz pianist Bill Evans. Over the years, he would play with Lorraine Desmarais, Oliver Jones, Karen Young and others. For Live Jazz Legends, he teams with Jones, PJ Perry, Ian MacDougall and Terry Clarke.


The Toronto-born saxophonist, composer, and bandleader is earning a reputation as one of the leading lights in the next generation of Canadian jazz musicians. Her newest CD, Code Breaking, features all-new compositions and a special guest, JUNO Award-winning saxophonist, Mike Murley. Demonstrating an evolution in Davidson’s sound and composing, Code Breaking features original compositions arranged for a new “electric” ensemble with saxophone, Fender Rhodes piano, and drums.



FATHEADS’s 2007 release, Building Full of Blues, is the sixth album in a critically acclaimed catalog that has won the group nominations and awards, including a JUNO Award and several Maple Blues Awards. Marrying blues with elements of soul, R&B, and a little bit of Cajun spice, the band has a distinctive sound. The band consists of leader Al Lerman (harp, sax, vocals), Omar Tunnoch (bass, vocals), John Mays (lead vocals), Darran Poole (guitar) and Bucky Berger (drums).


Kennedy was blessed as a member of the Detroit scene in the ‘70s with The Chairmen Of The Board in which he sang the blues rocker “I’m The Chairman Of The Board.” After a string of million-selling singles with this legendary band, Harrison hit the road, honing the crafts of a consummate bluesman.

Jack de Keyzer BLUES THING
blue star*SRI

The Toronto guitarist returns with Blues Thing, his first studio recording since 2003’s JUNO Award winner, 6 String Lover. Strong songwriting dominates this album with mature lyrics covering life, love, happiness and, the blues. This is De Keyzer’s jazziest record to date with his guitar front and centre. A six-time Maple Blues Award winning artist, who has performed with Etta James, John Hammond Jr., Robert Gordon, Bob Diddley & Blue Rodeo.

Little Miss Higgins JUNCTION CITY

Little Miss Higgins captivates audiences with her original, gutsy, spirited country blues songs and a crystal clear voice. The Alberta native is mostly accompanied by partner/guitar player Foy Taylor. Together, they are creating innovative guitar work rooted in a country blue style and an unforgettable “top hat” stage show.

Pour Soul*CD Baby

THE JOHNNY MAX BAND, “the hardest working band in the land”, has been nominated for their first Juno Award on the strength of the critically acclaimed independent CD, A Lesson I’ve Learned, (Pour Soul Records). True to form, the disc is chock full of a swampy mélange of Blues and R&B. Southern Soul sensibilities abound as Max’s direct, uncoloured vocals lead the way while Teddy Leonard’s alternately cool and scorching guitar work and long time Nashville session man Martin Alex Aucoin’s keys prop up every number. Effectively replicating their live sound, “Lesson” ain’t nothin’ but a party! These guys play it like they mean it. Believe it!

for more info and complete listings visit www.junoawards.ca

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