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

October 31, 2008

Yardbird Suite Jazz Festival Headline Roster

Written by
cindy mcleod

Yardbird Jazz Festival logo

Yardbird Jazz Festival
November 8-15, 2008

Canadian jazz sets the tone for festival

Edmonton’s Yardbird Suite celebrates Canadian jazz with the Yardbird Jazz Festival, November 8-15. The week’s events feature a range of styles and formats from duos to Big Band, all performed by some of Canada’s leading lights in jazz.


door 8, show 9

Tommy Banks and P.J. Perry Quintet (Edmonton)
Tommy Banks (piano), P.J. Perry (alto saxophone), Bobby Cairns (guitar), John Taylor (bass), Dan Skakun (drums)

A special performance by jazz legends Tommy Banks and PJ will be an exciting opening to this year’s Yardbird Jazz Festival. Tommy Banks will be presented with an Honorary Licentiate from Conservatory Canada as part of their annual Convocation ceremony to be held at Taylor University November 8. Conservatory Canada is a national, accredited music examination system. It is their tradition to present Honorary Licentiates to Canadian musicians who have made a significant contribution to the world of music and music education.

The performance by Banks and Perry recognizes the conservatory’s new jazz curriculum and examination system, the first of its kind by a Canadian organization. Students can now be musically assessed on the performance of contemporary styles of music such as Swing, Blues, Rock. Successful candidates receive secondary school credits for such accomplishments.

Conservatory Canada Executive Director, Victoria Warwick, is excited by Senator Banks’ willingness to accept the Licentiate. “Conservatory Canada wants to keep music students studying longer. We are all aware of the wonderful benefits gained through music study and we feel that young people will stick with their private lessons if the music is engaging and familiar for them. And what better role model than Tommy Banks, well known politician and jazz musician. I know the students attending convocation to receive medals and scholarships will be inspired and motivated by the words and music of this very accomplished musician.”

door 7:30, show 8

Turtleboy (Montreal)
Jonathan Lindhorst (saxophone), Ryan Butler (guitar/effects), Adam Miller (drums/voice)

Inspired by such great musicians as Paul Motian, Joe Lovano, Bill Frisell, and Jim Black, the bass-less jazz trio Turtleboy from Montreal combines free collective jazz and instrumental rock to create a truly unique musical experience. More often than not, the emphasis is placed more on a group sound and collective improvisation, rather than any one person’s individual solo. The band has worked tirelessly developing this concept in order to create a seamless blend of total music. Turtleboy was formed in July, 2007, and has recently completed their debut album. They were recently voted Montreal’s #2 jazz act. They will be promoting the disc at their Yardbird Suite debut which will follow several weeks at the prestigious Banff Centre’s Fall Career Development Residency as recipients of the TD Fellowship Trust Scholarship. www.myspace.com/turtleboytrio

“… stripped-down and heartfelt…A fresh new discovery”
L’Off Festival de Jazz de Montreal

6:30 PM – 9 PM

Littlebirds Big Band workshop with Don Berner

door 8:30, show 9

Festival Jam Session

“Tenor Madness”
Dave Babcock, Dino Dominelli and Jerrold Dubyk (saxophones)
Chris Andrew (piano), Mike Lent (bass), Sandro Dominelli (drums)

door 7:30, show 8

Chandelle Rimmer Quintet (Edmonton)
Chandelle Rimmer (vocals), Kent Sangster (saxophone), Chris Andrew (piano), John Taylor (bass), Sandro Dominelli (drums)

Joel Gray Quintet (Edmonton)
Joel Gray (trumpet), Don Berner (clarinet, saxophone), Rob Thompson (piano), Doug Berner (bass), John Newton (drums)

Chandelle Rimmer is Edmonton’s best kept secret. Her performing career spans more than two decades. From beautiful, lyrical ballads to hard swinging grooves and skilled vocal improvisation, Chandelle’s voice is flexible, innovative and highly expressive. She has performed with Sheila Jordan, Guido Basso, PJ Perry, Kent Sangster, Edmonton Jazz Orchestra and at the Sasktel Jazz Festival, Edmonton’s Jazz City Festival and the Yardbird Suite.

Chandelle is a graduate of Berklee College of Music in Boston. In addition to a busy singing career, Chandelle is a faculty member at MacEwan College, clinician and recording artist.

Joel Gray has spent 15 years as a freelance trumpet player and educator in Edmonton and its surrounding areas. Joel attended the music programs at MacEwan College and the University of Alberta. As a music educator, he teaches trumpet at MacEwan College, Keyano College, the Augustana Campus of the University of Alberta, and directs the Littlebirds Big Band.

Joel is a regular performer with many local artists and ensembles, including the Edmonton Symphony Orchestra, Edmonton Opera, the Tommy Banks Big Band, the New Orleans Connection, the Don Berner Sextet, the Urbanites, Trembita, Hot Cottage, and Capital Brass. He is a veteran in the orchestra pit, having performed many professional musical theatre productions at the Citadel Theatre, as well as in other venues. He has graced the stage alongside such greats as Tommy Banks, Kent Sangster, and P. J. Perry, to name a few.

door 7:30, show 8

Jim Head Quartet (Edmonton)
Jim Head (guitar), Chris Andrew (piano), John Taylor (bass), Jamie Cooper (drums)

Jim Head has played with many artists including Tim Hagans, Sheila Jordan, Kirk MacDonald, Lew Tabackin, P.J. Perry, John O’Gallagher, Rob McConnell, Owen Howard, Dave Restivo, Andre White, Campbell Ryga, John Stetch, Keiran Overs, Hugh Fraser, Chet Doxas, Doug Riley, Jane Bunnett, Jim Vivian, Pat LaBarbera, Steve Wallace, Chris Tarry, and Steve Slagle. He has also worked with a number of pop, folk, and blues artists, including Jann Arden, Serena Ryder, and Darrell Scott.

Jim’s first CD as a leader, Mind’s Eye, features Josh Rager on Rhodes, Jim Vivian on bass, and Owen Howard on drums. Since 2007, Jim is Guitar Section Head in the Music Program at MacEwan.

door 8, show 9

Steve Kirby Quintet (Winnipeg/Edmonton)
Steve Kirby (bass), Kent Sangster (saxophone), Dave Morgan (trumpet), Chris Andrew (piano), Sandro Dominelli (drums)

Before coming to Winnipeg from New York in 2003, jazz bassist Steve Kirby had established an enviable career, performing, recording and touring with some of the biggest names in jazz including Elvin Jones, Wynton Marsalis, Cyrus Chestnut, Abbey Lincoln, Steve Turre, James Carter, Slide Hampton, Joe Lovano, Lester Bowie and John Hicks. He continues to be a busy performer and clinician in Canada and the United States.

Kirby came to Winnipeg to be the Director of Jazz Studies at the University of Manitoba in 2003 and since his arrival has also become the artistic director of the Izzy Asper Jazz Performance series, advisor to the Jazz Winnipeg Festival, director of the university’s summer jazz camp, and editor of dig! Magazine. He received the 2006 Xerox Manitoba Jazz Educator of the Year Award. As a contributor to Coda Magazine, he writes frequently on the Prairies’ jazz scene including a laudatory article on our own Yardbird Suite in the May/June 2008 50th anniversary issue of the magazine.

February, 2008, saw his first Yardbird Suite appearance as a part of saxophonist Ralph Bowen’s group. In May, he released a CD with guitarist Larry Roy called “Wicked Grin”, an album which shows a wide range of styles, several distinct personalities, a great deal of wit and subtlety and a beautiful overall sound.

door 8, show 9

Alain Bédard / Auguste Quintet (Montreal)

Frank Lozano (saxophone), Jean-Christophe Beney (saxophone), Alex Grogg (piano), Alain Bédard (bass), Pierre Tanguay (drums)

Montreal bassist Alain Bédard has been a force on Quebec’s music scene since the ’80s. The president and founder of the important jazz label Effendi, he formed his acclaimed Auguste Quintet in 1994 and since then has performed numerous times throughout Quebec as well as abroad. Alain recently performed at the Jazz Festival in Vancouver with Jazzlab and Chinese jazz vocalist/instrumentalist Coco Zhao. Auguste Quintet’s current CD, Sphere Reflexion, is inspired by the music of Thelonious Monk. While paying homage to the great jazz pianist/composer, Bédard and company add their own contemporary twist to the tradition. This hip ensemble plays contemporary acoustic jazz informed by rich and modern, soaring and dynamic compositions.

for more info www.yardbirdsuite.com

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