Al Muirhead and the Canada Sessions All Stars
People aspire to be master of many skills and Al Muirhead is one who has accomplished this dream and has no plans of slowing down. Whether it is playing a sweet and melodic trumpet solo, composing and arranging for a big band, small ensemble or orchestra, performing one take sessions on recordings or mentoring young musicians, Al is an inspiration in the Canadian music scene and is known as the "Elder statesman of Jazz Trumpet in Alberta". Al has recorded as a sideman on 26 albums and recently released his first solo album featuring himself and old friend Tommy Banks called It's About Time. The critically acclaimed album received a JUNO nomination in 2016. Al has just released his 3rd Album called Northern Adventures - Canada Sessions 1. For this album, he assembled the finest jazz musicians in Canada and created another masterpiece. Joining Al for his performance in Lethbridge are: Laila Biali Award-winning Canadian pianist and vocalist, Laila Biali, has been garnering world-wide recognition for her music which she has performed at prestigious venues including the North Sea Jazz Festival, Tokyo’s Cotton Club, and Carnegie Hall. She has toured with GRAMMY award winners Chris Botti, Paula Cole and Suzanne Vega, and recorded with and supported international icon, Sting. She is an exciting and unique talent, and I admire her greatly -- Sting ... more details ? Vern Dorge - woodwinds For decades now, Lethbridge native Vern Dorge has been one of the busiest woodwind specialists on the Toronto scene. His performance credits range from "Blood Sweat and Tears" to Ella Fitzgerald and Aretha Franklin and so many more "A" list musical luminaries. In addition to his performing and recording career, Vern has been in the orchestra pit for countless musical theatre productions. We are so excited to welcome Vern back home. Chris Andrew- piano There are very few hats that Chris Andrew doesn’t wear. As one of Canada’s finest pianists, Chris brings ingenuity, highly acclaimed technical abilities and passionate performances to the musical table, making it a table other musicians want to join. In fact the very talented Andrew has graced the stage with Josh Redman, Paquito D’Rivera, Thomas Chapin, Kirk MacDonald, Sunny Fortune, Joe LaBarbera, PJ Perry and Brad Turner. Kodi Hutchinson - bass An award-winning double bassist, Kodi is one of the busiest musicians in Western Canada. He has his own group - the Hutchinson Andrews Trio, is the host of the very popular CKUA Radio program A Time for Jazz, is the CEO of Chronograph Records, and he runs the Jazz YYC - the Calgary Jazz Festival.
Guitarist/composer Nobuki Takamen was born in Hiroshima, Japan. Jazz historian Scott Yanow describes him as ''an excellent improviser in his own bop-inspired style.'' John Heidt of Vintage Guitar Magazine has also called him ''a mature player with keen sense of composition [and] considerable technical skill.'' A mainstay of the New York jazz scene, Nobuki has toured with his group in the USA, Canada and Europe, performing at some of the best international jazz festivals and clubs including the Montreal International Jazz Festival, the Rochester International Jazz Festival, Blue Note NY, Iridium Jazz Club, Blues Alley and Smalls Jazz Club. He has also toured annually throughout Japan since 2004. Nobuki released two albums on What's New Records. His third album, Live at the Iridium, released on Summit Records, presents a complete, uncut performance from a set at Iridium Jazz Club in 2009. His fourth album, Three Wishes, recorded with his trio, was also released on Summit Records in 2012. Nobuki's playing and music have been featured in publications worldwide, including DownBeat, Vintage Guitar Magazine, Just Jazz Guitar, AllAboutJazz, Jazz Podium, Jazz'n'more, Jazz Special, Musica Jazz and Jazzwise. Besides leading his group, Nobuki has been playing solo frequently since his solo concert at the Montreal International Jazz Festival as part of 100% Guitare in 2009. He recorded his first solo guitar album one month prior to his Europe tour in August 2014. This album, Solo Guitar was released in December 2014. Vintage Guitar Magazine commented: ''Takamen is a master. Beautiful solo guitar''. In 2016, Nobuki released his sixth album, Live in Japan. This 2-disc album was recorded live during his tour in his native country in 2015, with his long-time musical collaborators, Toshiyuki Tanahashi on bass and Naoki Aikawa on drums. Mark Sullivan of AllAboutJazz remarked of this trio music: ''This is jazz guitar trio music at its finest''. Nobuki endorses Acoustic Image Amplifiers, Raezer's Edge Speaker Cabinets, ZT Amplifiers, Eventide and Reunion Blues.
Rooster Davis Group
The Rooster Davis Group is a mini super group, boasting some of Edmonton's greatest talent in its lineup, with each member having strong individual careers, both freelancing and as bandleaders. RDG is all about delivering an exciting performance full of energy with a high level of musicianship and execution. The group is based around the driving, virtuosic piano style that has principally developed in New Orleans, particularly starting with Professor Longhair, James Booker, and Fats Domino, and continues today through the current masters such as Dr. John and Jon Cleary. The music is a fun, danceable mix of blues, boogie, and New Orleans Funk. RDG’s music has all the bounce and drive the music of New Orleans is known for and as a result has been successful in all types of venues from folk to jazz and blues.
From the prairies of Saskatchewan to the stages of the world, sharing his talent with some of the greatest and most influential musicians of all time, Colin James has quietly and steadily established himself as one of Canada's greatest musicians. For his 18th album, Blue Highways, Colin pays tribute to some of his long time blues idols including Howlin’ Wolf, Jimmy Reed, Freddie King, Jr. Wells & Buddy Guy, Peter Green, Robert Johnson and William Bell to name a few. In the spring of 2015 after wrapping up his Hearts on Fire Tour, Colin was loving playing with his band and really happy with the sound they had created on stage. What better time to make a record! Especially the record Colin had been itching to make for years – a collection of some of his favourite blues tracks. In less than a week Colin was recording in The Warehouse Studios in Vancouver and in just two days, Blue Highways was born.
Anna McBryan - guest conductor and featured artist a the "Sweet Inspiration Gospel Concert" Anna McBryan is a soulful, singer-songwriter from Lethbridge, Alberta. She has been performing professionally for the past 18 years and performs all over the world. She just returned from a four-month tour which took her from the warm waters of the South Pacific to the majestic mountains of Alaska performing a solo show for Holland America Line. Some performance highlights include opening up for Keith Urban in 2003 at the Enmax Center in Lethbridge, various appearances with the Lethbridge Symphony Orchestra and Musaeus, and singing the national anthem for the opening ceremonies for the Scotties Tournament of Hearts 2007.Anna is also involved in musical theatre having had the opportunity to play Petra in the Lethbridge Symphony Association’s production of Sondheim’s A Little Night Music in October 2006. Anna began doing Dueling Pianos in 2011 and she hasn’t looked back! She regularly plays with Cal Toth(Lethbridge) and Van Walraven (Las Vegas) all over Western Canada.