Past Artist Bios

John Nugent

John is a native Newfoundlander jazz saxophonist turned international booking agent, followed by artist manager, jazz record label owner, and currently producer.

His skills as a musician landed him a stint playing in the Woody Herman Band, which then led to him booking the band’s Canadian tour.

John has served as artist manager for renowned jazz trumpeter Randy Brecker. In this capacity he negotiated the recording contract for Mr. Brecker’s recording entitled 34th and Lex, which went on to sell 86 000 copies in the USA - a very high level of sales for a jazz recording.

He is founder and president of New York based production company NYJam, and is currently the Producer/Artistic Director of both the Rochester and Stockholm Jazz Festivals.

 

Steve Amirault

Steve Amirault is one of Canada’s most innovative and unique voices as both pianist and composer. He has been awarded several grants from both the Canada Council and the Conseil des Art et des Lettres du Quebec, won the Montreal International Jazz Festival Competition, and received a Juno for his collaboration with saxophonist Francois Carrier.

Some performance highlights would include several recordings of original material on Canada’s premier jazz radio shows, CBC’s Jazz Beat, Silence on jazz, and Club de minuit. Over the years Steve has performed countless concerts at the Montreal International Jazz Festival, the Ottawa International Jazz Festival and the Halifax Jazz Festival.

For more information please visit Steve Amirault's Website.


 

Tena Palmer

Canadian singer, Tena Palmer is an improviser, composer and experimental musician presently living in Ottawa, Canada.
Her musical training includes a B.Mus. in jazz performance (voice), from St. Francis Xavier University, N.S., Canada, where she also earned a diploma in jazz performance on baritone saxophone & flute.

Tena is best known in Canada for her work with the Celtic Jazz quartet, Chelsea Bridge. As a member of the quartet, Chelsea Bridge, she recorded and toured extensively, playing New York City’s Blue Note, toured in Scandinavia and the U.S. as well as frequent national touring. Each of the group’s three CDs, were on the top 10 lists of national jazz critics for their respective release years. At the Festival International de Jazz de Montreal, the group won le Prix du Maurier for Best Canadian Band in 1993; the same year Palmer won le Prix SOCAN for Best Canadian Composition. In 1996, the group was also chosen Best Vocal Jazz Group by Jazz Report magazine.

For more information please visit Tena Palmer's Website

 

 

Bill Frisell
"Bill Frisell is the Clark Kent of the electric guitar. Soft-spoken and self-effacing in conversation, he apparently breathes in lungfuls of raw fire when he straps on his (guitar)...His music is not what is typically called jazz, though it turns on improvisation; it's not rock'n roll; and it sure ain't that tired dinosaur called fusion. In one of the biggest leaps of imagination since the Yardbirds and Jimi Hendrix, Frisell coaxes and slams his hovering split-toned ax into shapes of things to come...But besides being a guitar genius, he's turned into a terrific songwriter. Like Monk, Frisell's harmonic and melodic ideas form a succinct, seamless mesh with outer sonic and rhythmic ideas about his ax."
~
Spin

Bill Frisell will accompanied in the St. John’s Jazz Festival by Jenny Scheinman on violin, Greg Leisz on pedal and lap steel guitars, and Danny Barnes on banjo.

 

Roots Orchestra: Messing With Tradition project with Halifax
The focus of this year's ROOTS ORCHESTRA is a deconstruction and reconstruction of traditional forms of East Coast Canadian music with a strong concept of social and musical interaction. The core group of musicians is made up of talented improvisers and intuitive musicians from across Canada, augmented by additions in each locale to make two similar but different bands for each performance. The foil for these conglomeration of intuitive thinkers is a pair of traditional instrumentalists from each of the two distinct East Coast cultural centres being represented - Nova Scotia and Newfoundland.
Our plan for the process is to use the materials presented by these pairs of traditional musicians to act as a springboard for the core band to create spontaneous or somewhat organized musical responses to the traditional music using the diversity of instrumentation and musicality to form two 50-minute sets of music. The Kitchen Party atmosphere of the event will foster music for social interaction and fun using the tools and inspiration created not only by the traditional music, but by the unique musicianship of the band.
The band is : Bill Brennan (piano), Andrew Downing (double bass), Jean Martin (drums etc.), Duane Andrews (guitar), Jesse Zubot (violin), John Scott (cello), Dani Oore (saxophone), Pat Boyle (trumpet), François Houle (clarinet), Rob Power (percussion - St. John's only), Sageev Oore (accordion, Halifax only), Dave MacIsaac/Troy McGillivray (traditional - Nova Scotia), Jason Whelan/Billy Sutton (traditional - Newfoundland).
Roots Orchestra: Messing With Tradition project with Halifax

Jean Beaudet Trio
Jean Beaudet studied the piano at the Royal Conservatory of Music in Toronto. He then played in various blues, rock and calypso groups. His professional jazz career began in the early seventies. Many of Canada’s most eminent jazz critics have called Jean Beaudet one of the country’s finest virtuoso pianists. Zack Louber (acoustic bass) graduated from McGill University in June 2000 with a Bachelor of Music majoring in Jazz Performance with high distinction in Jazz Bass. Since graduation, Zach has performed at numerous international jazz festivals…as both leader and a sideman. Martin Auguste (drums) is an original member of the Papasoff Trio, has been part of most of Papasoff’s projects over the years and currently works with Jay Atwill and Coral Egan.

Jerry Granelli Sandhills Reunion
Like rocker Bruce Springsten with his Nebraska or author Annie Proux with her two volumes of Wyoming stories, Jerry Granelli's Sandhill Reunion—where his band accompanies Rinde Eckert's words—evokes the American experience in the prairie heartland, placing poetic viginettes of small experience under a powerful microscope on a set of of jazz-backed prose poems that explore Billy the Kid, a bygone strip joint, a kiss blown at a wedding from the violinist to a small boy in a "Little White Suit," and roughneck workers constructing a bridge over a "River of Glass," dangling "like a grey spider" on the end of a taunt rope to inspect the rivets and bolts.

The music, composed variously by members of the band, swells with swirling reeds—clarinet, bass clarinet, bari sax, cello/bass/guitar, and Granelli's drums. It blows moody and cool around Eckert's words like a prairie fog; or chugs into a reedy bump and grind on "Just Angels," a tale that takes us into a bygone "Godforsaken den of inequity."

Sandhill Reunion is unlike anything I've heard, but the mood it draws—going back more than thirty years—is the same as that of Bob Dylan's John Wesley Harding or the Band's The Band: odd, folksy, sometimes surreal tales, very American in nature, told with a simple eloquence entwined with superb yet understated musicianship. An odd, poignant masterpiece.

~ Dan McClenaghan (allaboutjazz.com)

Papa Mambo
Winnipeg’s Papa Mambo has been delivering the musical goods ( Latin and Afro-Cuban jazz) since the late ‘80’s. Papa – Rodrigo Munoz – is the driving force behind this combo, one of Winnipeg’s most popular musical ensembles. Even a sojourn of a few years in his native Chile did little to dispel the band’s “papa” – larity. Papa Mambo had left its mark on the Winnipeg scene. So when Rodrigo and Carol Hutchinson returned in 2001, there was great anticipation that some great musical things were about to happen. The core of Papa Mambo was still there: Rodrigo on percussion, Carol had never stopped singing, Dave Lawton had become the man to call for a trumpet gig, Ken Gold’s saxophone was omnipresent in Winnipeg and Gilles Fournier had become bassist numero uno. Jeff Presslaff brought his impressive US jazz background to the group, while the percussive section was filled out with some newer names like Scott Senior Daniel Roy, Victor Lopez and William Bonness. The ingredients were there for the perfect five-star Afro-Cuban, Latin-Jazz feast.

Queen Mab
Formed in the mid-90’s, Canadian piano and clarinet duo Queen Mab has won rave reviews for their blending of composed and improvised music, and jazz and classical music. Queen Mab consists of Toronto pianist Marilyn Lerner – who has led a couple of albums on her own…and Lori Freedman, an award-winning clarinetist from Winnipeg who has made guest appearances with a number of Canadian orchestras, and performed on over 15 recordings including her own solo release, Huskless. Queen Mab’s first recording, Barbie’s Other Shoe came out in 1997 on multi-instrumentalist Vinny Golia’s 9 Winds label. It was followed a few years later by Close, released on another independent West Coast avant-garde music label, Spool. Queen Mab has toured and performed at major festivals across Canada, from Newfoundland’s Sound Symposium to the Vancouver Jazz Festival.

The V16 Project
Judging by its grille and supercharged front end, Jerry Granelli’s new thing is built to cruise. The V16 Project, a power quartet nominally under the drummer’s leadership, has the potential to go any which direction. That it does, in it’s own peculiar way, relentlessly shifting among styles and mixing them up to the point where you can’t tell them apart. Everyone pitches into the composition, as would be expected given the looseness of this configuration. The V16 Project, like a lot of refreshing improvisation these days, takes a roots-punk orientation toward the music. Jazz purists, or purists of any kind, you better skip this one.

LaConnor
Francois Houle (clarinet, laptop) and Jesse Zubot (violin, electronics) have been performing together on the West Coast of Canada for severaI years now. Strong from their respective projects, (Au Coeur du Litige, François Houle 5, Zubot & Dawson, The Great Uncles of the Revolution), the two have joined forces with Toronto percussionist-turntablist extraordinaire Jean Martin (Barnyard Drama) to release an album of highly engaging and intricate works that incorporate electronics, improvisation, chamber-like melodies, sampling and ambient folk music. The result is a fascinating web of intriguing, relentless textural soundscapes that stay clear of the usual pitfalls of musique-actuelle.

Trio Derome Guilbeault Tanguay
The trio is formed of Jean Derome on saxophones and flutes, Normand Guilbeault on doublebass and Pierre Tanguay on drums. These three musicians enjoy a strong reputation on the Montreal music scene and even though they are mostly known as new music and jazz musicians, they are often spotted accompanying our best singers-songwriters, poets, filmakers, choreographers, etc. A growing, faithful audience follows the Trio everywhere it performs and the concerts attract an impressive number of young jazz musicians. In spite of their straight-up beat, rockish bass touches and moments of clear melody, this trio plays anything but NPR jazz. Their approach is hard-hitting and well-versed in the sort of rebellious, free-thinking spirit that infects all types of jazz.

Trio Derome Guilbeault Tanguay

Luluk Purwanto & the Helsdingen Trio
The Stage Bus with Luluk Purwanto & the Helsdingen trio are an internationally recognized jazz ensemble, dedicated to bringing their music to audiences around the world and
continually breaking new ground for the acceptance and appreciation of improvised music.
Their Canadian tour will feature Dutch jazz pianist Rene van Helsdingen ,violinist Luluk Purwanto, regarded as one of Indonesia’s foremost jazz artists, the New York based bass player, Essiet Okon Essiet, who is highly acclaimed among international jazz musicians and the drummer Marcello Pellitteri, Associate Professor at Berklee, College of Music in Boston.

Joel Miller Mandala
Joel Miller has been considered one of Canada’s most forward-looking, refined young jazz musicians. The result is Miller’s most fully realized work in a career that has seen him collaborate with like-minded modernists Ingrid Jensen, Ben Monder, Brad Turner, Steve Amireault, studied with Dewey Redmond and Kenny Wheeler, and enjoys a fruitful personal and musical relationship with the alto saxophonist Christine Jensen, among many others on the percolating Montreal scene. He won the Grand Jazz Award at the 1997 Festival International de Jazz de Montreal. Since then, Miller has had numerous concert and club appearances across North America and Europe.

Patrick Boyle Quartet
Newfoundland trumpeter Patrick Boyle has appeared on over 25 recordings as a sideman and released his debut album as a leader "Hold Out" in March 2005.
CBC Radio After Hours host Andy Sheppard says "Patrick Boyle breathes new life into the trumpet, teaching it to sing Celtic reels and African chants as if it was born to do so." He has studied with Kevin Turcotte and Casey Sokol. In 2004 Patrick attended the Banff International Jazz and Creative Music Workshop, led by Dave Douglas. For more info, check out
www.patrickboyle.ca.
Duane Andrews Quartet
Guitarist Duane Andrews has mastered many types of music yet he continually returns to that of the gypsy king, Django Reinhardt. Winner of the 2005 ECMA for Jazz Recording of the Year and 2004 MIANL Instrumental Artist of the Year, this native of Carbonear Newfoundland seasons his Jazz with a pinch of traditional music from the Rock..
Glen Collins Quartet
Glen is a professional guitar player who studied Jazz at St. Francis Xavier University and has performed and recorded with many of Newfoundland’s finest musical acts. Glen often accompanies local Blues performer Peter Narvaez and has backed up Newfoundland Diva Damhnait Doyle on cross-country tours. His latest project, the Glen Collins Quartet, reflects his funk and Jazz Fusion roots and promises to be a high energy event, including Glen’s original compositions and repertoire from Miles Davis, Weather Report, Herbie Hancock and others.

Mary Barry
"Mary is a bilingual artist who has thrilled audiences across Canada, the US and France, moving easily from jazz to blues to chanson. Her music has been described as a gold mine of nuggets for collectors of original jazz and blues." John Holmes, The Evening Telegram

Mary's performances include the International Women's Music Festival in Paris, the Debut Plus Concert Series at Memorial University, and the St. John's, Montreal and Vancouver Jazz Festivals. A recipient of five songwriting awards, including the CBC Atlantic Song Contest, Mary's critically acclaimed CD These Days was nominated for the 2005 ECMA Jazz Recording of the Year . She was recently awarded the prestigious 2004 Female Artist of the Year Award at the Newfoundland & Labrador Music Industry Awards ceremony in St. John's.

The Janet Cull Band
The Janet Cull Band is one of St. John's most unique musical entities. With it's music blending elements of jazz, blues, R&B, and rock, the Janet Cull Band presents a powerful live show that encompasses every inch of the musical spectrum.
The band has just released it's first full-length album.

L'Orkestre Des Pas Perdus
(O.P.P. for short, a.k.a. the Lost Steps Orkestra) is a six piece brass band made up of a sousaphone, a trombone, a trumpet, alto and tenor saxophones and drums. Full of humour and highly energetic, this group draws from various contemporary currents and timeless material, breathing new and inventive dimensions into music, to the great delight of the audience.
Johnston and Lear
Gary Johnston and Denise Lear perform as a duo and in various groups with singers and instrumentalists, providing music for the theatre, concert hall, and club venues. They have performed on TV and radio both locally and nationally and have recently released their debut CD "In a Heartbeat" - presenting original instrumental material composed by Gary and performed in a smooth jazz, adult contemporary format.
The Mac Barfoot Quartet
The group consists of Jimmy Thomson on vibes and tenor, Bill Brennan (himself a trained percussionist and excellent vibe player) on piano, Rob Mills on bass guitar (also plays Hammond organ) and of course Mac Barfoot (of TV and radio fame) on drums. The accent with this group is to play the standards (like a certain female Canadian jazz pianist), swing and have a good time.
Curtis Andrews African Jazz Project
Curtis Andrews is a percussionist of global persuasions. Born and raised in Carbonear, NL..his path continues to take him around the world of music. He prefers to leave the cold climes of Newfoundland in the winter months for the welcoming temperatures and people of Ghana, South India and Southern Africa where he absorbs the music, dance and of course...sun.
Mopaya
Mopaya ("foreigner" in Lingala) is an eight piece Canadian based ensemble of Angolan, Congolese and Newfoundland musicians based in St. John's Newfoundland, Canada. Their blend of African Pop/Dance music is a joyous and positive experience. Led by singer/songwriter/guitarist Jeik Kalonga Loksa the group also features Curtis and Duane Andrews (percussion and guitar respectively), cousins Natacha Lembe and Alix Maboussou (vocals), Jeik's daughter Anna Loksa (vocals), Aneirin Thomas (bass) and Luke Power (keyboard).
Brad Jefford Trio
The Brad Jefford Trio is a Jazz trio hailing from St. Francis Xavier University in Antigonish, NS. Comprised of Brad Jefford on guitar, Devin Ryan on bass, and Graham Ellsworth on drums, the group formed in the fall of 2004 when the members met at the St. F. X. School of Music and started playing together. After discovering a unique chemistry between the players, they began playing more and more and developed a vast repertoire of standard tunes to which each member brings a fresh perspective. The group’s music ranges from latin, to swing, to pensive ballads, to more experimental and ambient songs. They produce their best results in a live setting and this is why they decided to record themselves live. The combined efforts of each player reacting and responding to the others creates a fresh and unique sound each time they play- no song is the same twice. The groups direction is in creating new and exciting paths for the music to travel and this can only be attained when they are in the moment, feeding off of one another’s energy.

Loco Motif
Formed almost two years ago to play a weekend gig with visiting drummer friend Mike Billard, the band had so much fun playing together that they decided to continue. Bill Brennan, Jack Daw and Kirk Newhook called upon Scott Mansfield to fill the drummer role in what was to become a group of strong writers who shared the common goal of developing their tunes and pursuing a long-term goal of creative collaboration.

 

 

Clockwork
In December of 2004, some friends who had all jammed and performed together a bunch of times before, were actually all in St. John's at the same time for the Christmas holidays. They got together, did a rehearsal or two, and ended up playing a one night only gig. The bar contacted them the next day and enthusiastically asked "when can you play again?" Unfortunately, our drummer was leaving very soon, so our bass player switched over to drums, and we got a new bass player. It was at this point that Clockwork was born, as we knew that all four members of the current band would all be around as of summer. The group is now working to try and become a notable band in the local jazz scene.