Artists 2016

Alison Young

Alison Young is a versatile and in-demand saxophonist. She plays soprano, alto, tenor and baritone saxophones in a variety of bands, in styles ranging from jazz to blues to pop and R&B. Alison has toured across North America, Europe, South America, and the Caribbean with Colin Hunter, Alysha Brilla, Big Rude Jake and others. Alison has played on Juno nominated albums by Alysha Brilla and Shakura S'Aida. Currently, she performs with local bands and her own quintet. For more information visit

Attila Fias & Que Isso

An exciting trio dedicated to Brazilian Jazz, Que Isso? is a mix up mash of modern Brazilian music which pays homage to the classics. Playing music from Brazilian composers such as Hermeto Pascoal and others, plus pianist Attila Fias’ original compositions, this is a tasteful yet fiery superimposition of three great musicians. The antics, humour and stories that Que Isso? brings to the performance makes it complex, lively, rhythmic and fun! This group has played the TD Toronto Jazz Festival for 8 years in a row to a packed house. They have also played at various Brazilian events such as Expressions of Brazil at Harbourfront Centre and the Brazilian Pavilion at Carassauga Festival of Cultures.

Bret Higgins’ Atlas Revolt

Bret Higgins’ Atlas Revolt is the brainchild of Toronto bassist Bret Higgins and was created as a vehicle for his original instrumental compositions. Formed in 2013, the group explores genre-defying instrumental music that draws inspiration largely from film scores, jazz, rock, surf and elements of Eastern European and South American music. Their first CD released on John Zorn's Tzadik Records in 2015 has been met with glowing reviews. ‘Bitches Brew, Pink Floyd and Taraf Da Haidouks put through a blender in Tom Waits’ kitchen’. For more information visit


Carlo is a dynamic instrumental surf band based in Toronto. The group consists of four members: Kelsey McNulty (keyboards), James Taylor (guitar), Scott McCannell (bass) and Michel Delage (Drums). The group has become known for presenting high energy shows that feature catchy melodies and strong rhythmic grooves. Carlo is heavily influenced by classic surf groups like the Ventures, and the Shadows, as well as Canadian cohorts such as the Imperials, and Shadowy men on a Shadowy Planet.

Dione Taylor & The Backsliderz

Dione Taylor is a Juno-nominated, soulful Canadian female singer/songwriter who released her new album, “Born Free” to rave reviews in late November 2015. This Saskatchewan-born, Toronto-based artist has been promoting Born Free, which she calls “the Prairie Blues”, with electrifying live performances in clubs, at festivals and on TV & Radio across the country. For more information visit

Dr. Lonnie Smith

Dr. Lonnie Smith is an unparalleled musician, composer, performer and recording artist. An authentic master and guru of the Hammond B-3 organ, he has been featured on over seventy albums, and has recorded and performed with a virtual “Who’s Who” of the greatest jazz, blues and R&B giants in the industry. Consequently, he has often been hailed as a “Legend,” a “Living Musical Icon,” and as the most creative jazz organist by a slew of publications. ‘Jazz Times’ magazine describes him as “a riddle wrapped in an enigma wrapped in a turban!” For more information visit


GAME.SET.TRAP is redefining perceptions of ‘trap-based’ music by bringing the inherent soulful, musical elements to the forefront. By interpreting lyrics through the instrumental arrangements, they artfully conceal its controversy, hearing it stripped down to its core musical elements and making for a universally engaging performance. GAME.SET.TRAP performs in the ‘jazz-soul’ idiom, pulling motivic influences from Ahmad Jamal and Duke Ellington. Bringing new concepts influenced by the NEXT Collective, Christian Scott, and Ben Williams, this Toronto trap-jazz collective is connecting cultures and generations. For more information visit

Genevieve Marentette Trio

Genevieve Marentette is beloved among Toronto’s musicians for her talent and grace but she has been living and singing in Asia for eight years. Since returning to Toronto in September, she was featured in the JAZZFM.91 Cabaret series and has released a six song EP. It was produced by George Koller and titled after her nickname, ‘Gigi’. Gigi has also just been featured in a duet with David Clayton-Thomas on his latest record of Jazz Standards called, ‘COMBO’. The Trio also features Mark Kieswetter and George Koller. For more information visit

Harpoonist and the Axe Murderer

In reality, Shawn ‘The Harpoonist’ Hall and Matthew ‘The Axe Murderer’ Rogers evoke much more than just grisly nautical imagery. Armed with an arsenal of harmonicas, a mess of foot percussion, and a road-worn Telecaster, the duo kick out raw and primal blues in the tradition of a “decades-deep blues style” (Scott Brown, What’s up Yukon), while infusing the genre with a jolt of renewed energy. For more information visit

Heillig Manoeuvre

Heillig Manoeuvre is a vehicle for sharing music that is both challenging and satisfying, without intimidating its audience … contemporary jazz from a songbook, not a doctoral thesis. ‘As a composer, I set the starting points for our musical adventures. Then they come to life in the hands of my favourite companions – Alison Young (Saxophonist), Stacie McGregor (Pianist) and Charlie Cooley (Drummer). As a bassist, I am influenced greatly by the conversations we create together, and I play my best when in their company.’ – Henry Heillig For more information visit


Jinta-la-Mvta is a unique ensemble that combines its own roots in Japanese folkloric music traditions with influences from Jewish, Greek, Balkan and American musical traditions. The group has developed a singular sound that combines the Japanese Chindon-ya style (a kind of street music marching band) that was often used as a vehicle for commercial advertising with other marching band and street music styles from other cultures and parts of the world, such as Jewish klezmer music and New Orleans jazz. Co-presented with the Ashkenaz Festival. Sponsored by the Japan Foundation

Joel Visentin’s Boogaloo Squad

Keyboardist, Joel Visentin, has a passion for the sound of the Hammond B3 organ. His group stands on the shoulders of soul/jazz giants like George Benson, Jimmy Smith, Grant Green and Doug Riley with renditions of classic Stax and Motown standards as well as his own original material. As a regular fixture at Toronto’s jazz/blues ground zero, The Rex, they have crafted a soulful sound that is simultaneously lost in the thrill of the moment and evoking a timeless musical nostalgia.

Laura Cole

Canadian Rock and Soul Singer Songwriter, Laura Cole, finds the raw, gritty glory in a ‘Dirty Cheat’ – her debut EP produced by Grammy Winner Steve Bigas and Executive Produced by the Legendary Daniel Lanois. A compromise free, colourfully blunt songwriter, Laura brings her edgy, soulful and distinctively bluesy musical vision to life in this EP. Cole draws on a wide swath of rock, jazz and R&B influences ranging from Etta James and Aretha Franklin to Billie Holiday, Sam Cooke and the late Amy Winehouse. For more information visit

Molly Johnson

Known as one of Canada’s greatest voices, award-winning jazz vocalist Molly Johnson is a mother, singer-songwriter, artist and philanthropist who has grown to become a Canadian icon in the jazz scene worldwide. Molly’s luscious interpretations of jazz and blues standards speak to an emotional depth that few vocalists in any genre have ever reached. For more information visit Get Tickets

Morgan Childs Quartet

Morgan Childs is a Toronto-based drummer who has performed and recorded with a number of notable international jazz musicians, including Robi Botos, Phil Dwyer, Ingrid and Christine Jensen, Mike Murley, Laila Biali, Brandi Disterheft, and Ian Hendrickson-Smith. Morgan's straight-ahead approach to hard-swinging jazz has garnered him comparisons with his drumming heroes Max Roach and Billy Higgins. His 2015 release "On The Street of Dreams" features an all-star ensemble of Kelly Jefferson, David Restivo and Jon Maharaj, and was named one of the top Canadian jazz CDs of 2015 by Ottawa Citizen jazz critic Peter Hum. For his 2015 performance at the Markham festival, Morgan has assembled a quartet of spectacular talents; David French (tenor saxophone), Nathan Hiltz (guitar), and Jonathan Meyer (bass). For more information visit

Peripheral Vision

Peripheral Vision is one of the most exciting and innovative jazz quartets to have recently appeared on the international jazz scene. Based in Toronto, the creative leaders of the group are long time musical collaborators – guitarist Don Scott and bassist Michael Herring are joined by saxophonist Trevor Hogg and drummer Nick Fraser. They maintain a busy touring schedule in support of their three critically acclaimed albums, the latest of which, ‘Sheer Tyranny of Will’, was nominated for a 2016 JUNO award. For more information visit

Quique Escamilla

2015 JUNO Award Winner (World Music Album of the Year) and 2014 Canadian Folk Music Award Winner (World Solo Artist of the Year), Quique Escamilla, is a multi-instrumentalist, singer-songwriter and producer. Since his arrival in 2007 from Mexico, he has rapidly become a rising star on the Canadian music scene. Quique effortlessly connects with his audiences and shares a flavour of Mexican culture, heritage and traditions through his music and live contemporary performances. He breaks down language barriers through his powerful voice and passionate delivery. For more information visit

Rich Brown & The Abeng

Rich Brown & The Abeng is the latest project from Canadian bassist and composer Rich Brown. The band takes its name from an African instrument made from a hollowed out cow horn. It is used by the Maroons of Jamaica to call the community together for social gatherings. The music of The Abeng has been described as highly charged, richly imaginative, and at times poignant. The band features Brown, Luis Denis - alto saxophone, Kevin Turcotte - Trumpet, James Hill - piano, and Ian Wright - drums.

Tanika Charles

In five short years Tanika Charles has transformed from an emerging solo artist to a commanding performer, band leader, and staple of the Canadian festival scene. Both on and off stage, Edmonton-raised Charles presents an immutable charm, at times endearingly abrasive and honest in her vulnerabilities. Her art is inherently autobiographical. In 2016, Tanika released her long-anticipated debut LP, ‘Soul Run’. The album’s first single and title track, a tale of withered romance and high octane escape, has already found its way into national radio rotation. For more information visit

The Boxcar Boys

The Boxcar Boys create their distinct sound by weaving together a captivating bevy of folk traditions, Dixieland jazz and Klezmer. Their shows are joyous acoustic celebrations featuring six inimitable musicians on clarinet, tuba, fiddle, trombone, accordion and washboard. The band's most recent album, ‘Cicada Ball’, was launched in 2015 to a sold out crowd at The Burdock Hall. The band supported the album with a successful tour of the East Coast and received national airplay on CBC and campus radio charts. For more information visit

The Jeff McLeod Organ Trio

The Jeff McLeod Organ Trio was formed based on a mutual love of the gritty and swinging sound of the classic Hammond organ/guitar/drums format. Their shows feature a great mix of original music, jazz organ standards, and adaptations of tunes from outside the jazz realm. The group formed in 2009 when Jeff McLeod and guitarist Ben Bishop were living in upstate New York. Since relocating to Toronto, they have been joined by Morgan Childs on drums.

The Justin Bacchus Collective

With a unique funk-soul sound and performance, Justin Bacchus excites crowds with the help of a highly accomplished band of players. The Collective performs all the great classics from Bill Withers to Prince, Stevie Wonder, Michael Jackson and many more. Each classic is stamped with an unmistakable mark that manages to surprise audiences every time through original arrangements and tight soloing. In 2014, The Justin Bacchus Collective released the album, 'Time of your Life'. It is a masterpiece of soulful originals. For more information visit

Tio Chorinho

Tio Chorinho is the only ensemble in Canada dedicated to performing Brazilian choro music. Known as the “New Orleans Jazz of Brazil,” Choro was born in Rio de Janeiro. It is an infectious mix of European and Afro-Brazilian influences, and is the foundation of many Brazilian music styles. Tio Chorinho features Eric Stein (mandolin), Avital Zemer (7-string guitar), Maninho Costa (percussion), Carlos Cardozo (cavaquinho) and Andre Valerio (guitar and cavaquinho). Tio Chorinho released its debut CD ‘Chora Brazil’ in 2016 For more information visit


Innovative and electrifying, jazz drummer Ernesto Cervini has energy to burn, whether radiating it from behind his kit or working on his musical and educational projects. With his sextet, Turboprop, Cervini flexes his arranging muscles, and creates musical textures, and moods on which these musicians can play. The band's sound is reminiscent of the hard swinging Jazz Messenger bands of Art Blakey, although they tackle a wide range of music; from Charlie Parker to Claude Debussy to Radiohead, plus originals from the band members. For more information visit


If you are a fan of classic soul and R&B, Yuka is your new favourite band. The latest release from Yuka (pronounced “yoo-kah”) is entitled, ‘From The Ancients’, and proof that you can’t judge an album by its cover. At first glance, the artwork suggests something otherworldly but once the needle hits the groove there is no mistaking the seven-piece Toronto band’s deep devotion to the organic sounds that made Memphis, Detroit and New Orleans famous. For more information visit