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The TD Markham Jazz Festival Stage Performers for 2015

Friday  |  Saturday  |  Sunday

Friday, August 14th 2015

Bria Skonberg | 7:15 pm - 8:45 pm | Millennium Bandstand
Bria Skonberg
Sponsored by:
Update Stereo

Since moving to New York in 2010, Bria has earned a Jazz Journalists’ Association nomination for “Up and Coming Jazz Artist of The Year” and has been included twice in DOWNBEAT Magazine’s Rising Star Critics’ Poll. Her debut US release So Is The Day peaked at #7 on the US National jazz charts; the 2014 follow up release Into Your Own features percussionist Mino Cinelu. Bria has recently been honoured with a New York Bistro Award for “Outstanding Jazz Artist”.

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Albert Lee and Cindy Cashdollar | 9:15 pm - 11:00 pm | Millennium Bandstand
Albert Lee and Cindy Cashdollar
Sponsored by:
Government of Ontario

Albert Lee is the “guitar player’s guitar player,” universally recognized as one of the world’s finest, as well as one of the top rockabilly guitarists in history. Eric Clapton has said, on record, Albert Lee is “the greatest guitarist in the world.” Austin-based Dobro and steel guitarist Cindy Cashdollar‘s career has taken some twists and turns that have led her to work with leading artists in various genres including Ryan Adams, Bob Dylan, Van Morrison, Dave Alvin, Rod Stewart, and others.

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Saturday, August 15th 2015

The Jazz.FM91 Youth Big Band | 1:00 pm - 2:30 pm | Millennium Bandstand
The Jazz.FM91 Youth Big Band
Sponsored by:
Wincon Security

The JAZZ.FM91 Youth Big Band is for middle and secondary school students, providing an opportunity for young, talented musicians to participate in a formal audition process, and to potentially join a city-wide band. The programme helps exceptional student musicians to hone their skills while interacting with a new and diverse group in a professional setting. Led by Musical Director Jules Estrin, an educator and professional musician, they perform several times throughout the year.

The Sicilian Jazz Project with Pilar | 3:00 pm - 4:30 pm | Millennium Bandstand
The Sicilian Jazz Project with Pilar
Sponsored by:
Remington Group

The Sicilian Jazz Project has been called “a masterpiece of cultural fusion” and received a 2009 JUNO Award nomination (Canada’s Grammy). The recording also resulted in the prestigious Ragusani nel Mondo Award being presented to Michael and his producer brother Roberto Occhipinti in Ragusa, Sicily in 2009. In 2010, Michael Occhipinti received a Chalmers Fellowship to live in Sicily and explore the folk culture further. The fruits of that trip form the basis of the group’s new album Muorica featuring special guests Pilar and Don Byron.

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Blackburn | 5:00 pm - 6:30 pm | Millennium Bandstand
Sponsored by:

Growing up under their R&B pioneer father Bobby Dean Blackburn, brothers Duane, Brooke, Cory, and Robert were schooled in the soul, blues, jazz, and gospel influences of the popular music of the fifties, sixties, and the present day. In April 2015, they released their fourth CD, Brothers in this World, which is presently charting at #1 in Canada and #14 in the U.S. on the Roots Music Report charts. Their new release has appealing elements beginning with groove followed by vocals, songwriting, and musicality.

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Steve Hill | 7:00 pm - 8:30 pm | Millennium Bandstand
Steve Hill
Sponsored by:
Sue Chen Law

When it comes to one-man bands, guitarist and singer Steve Hill has no limits. He performs standing up while singing and playing guitar, with his feet playing bass drum, snare drum, hi-hats and, with a drum stick fused to the head of his guitar or any other percussion within reach. Steve was the 2015 Juno Award Winner for Blues Album of The Year, 2015 Maple Blues Award Winner for Electric Act of The Year, Guitarist of The Year, Recording/Producer of The Year and Entertainer of The Year.

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Alicia Olatuja | 9:00 pm - 10:30 pm | Millennium Bandstand
Alicia Olatuja
Sponsored by:
Government of Ontario

Alicia Olatuja wowed everyone at the 2013 US Presidential Inauguration with her solo during the Brooklyn Tabernacle Choir’s performance of The Battle Hymn of the Republic. She’s earned raves from the New York Daily News, The View, with the Choir’s album, and a single In The Dark released on March 5 from her forthcoming CD. Alicia often performs as a soloist with the Juilliard Jazz ensemble, and has sung with Christian McBride, Chaka Khan, and many others. She recently released her solo debut album, titled Timeless.

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Monsoon | 12:30 pm - 2:00 pm | McKay Backyard Patio

Justin Gray is a bassist, composer, producer, recording engineer and educator. His main influences include jazz, Indian classical and world music. Justin co-leads the Toronto based Indo-Jazz ensemble Monsoon. He also leads the Indo-Jazz Collective at Humber College. In 2010, Justin invented and co-created (with Luthier Les Godfrey) the Bass Veena, an instrument designed for Indian Classical and Indo-Jazz music. Justin is now emerging as the first artist to perform traditional and original music on this instrument worldwide.

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Yvette Tollar Tribute to Joni Mitchel | 2:30 pm - 4:00 pm | McKay Backyard Patio
Yvette Tollar Tribute to Joni Mitchel

Long considered one of Canada’s leading modern jazz vocalists, Yvette Tollar, returns to the TD Markham Jazz Festival to play music from her JUNO nominated album, Ima, and to give us a sneak peek into her latest project which focuses on the music of Joni Mitchell. With an unmistakable velvety tone and fearless lyrical delivery, she'll make the hairs on your neck stand at attention. Also featured are pianist Dave Restivo, bassist Mike Downes, and trumpeter Alexander Brown.

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Vince Maccarone's Los Variants | 4:30 pm - 6:00 pm | McKay Backyard Patio
Vince Maccarone's Los Variants

Los Variants is the brain child of Vince Maccarone. This seven piece super group combines elements of jazz, funk, and World music to create a seamless mosaic of international groove. Los Variants is made up of some of Canada’s top musicians. The band features vocal powerhouse Maryem Tollar, multi-instrumentalist and vocalist Waleed Abdulhamid, Ernie Tollar on saxes and ney, Justin Gray on bass, Benjamin Barrile on acoustic guitar, Patrick O’Reilly on electric guitar and Vince Maccarone on drums and percussion.

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Dominic Mancuso | 6:30 pm - 8:00 pm | McKay Backyard Patio
Dominic Mancuso

2010 Juno Award winner and Canadian Folk Music Award for World Music Artist of the Year, Dominic Mancuso is an acclaimed singer, songwriter and producer. The multi-instrumentalist with an ‘impassioned singing style’ is defining a rich hybrid sound, fueled by the multicultural flavours of Toronto, his versatile guitar playing and passion for world music. Mancuso’s latest release, Comfortably Mine showcases his global sound and diverse talent. In Comfortably Mine, he reinvents classic Italian songs by breathing new life into them in imaginative ways.

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Mark Kelso's Jazz Exiles | 12:00 pm - 1:30 pm | Varley Art Gallery Patio
Mark Kelso's Jazz Exiles

The Jazz Exiles is an exciting new super group formed by drummer/composer Mark Kelso. Featuring local heavyweights Rich Brown on bass, Robi Botos on keys, Luis Deniz on sax and newcomer Joey Martel on guitar. This group plays original music that is exciting and wild yet melodic and accessible to all. Formed to continue on in the tradition of the Jazz/Funk and Fusion groups of yesteryear, this ensemble will definitely give you something to cheer about!

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Tara Kannangara Group | 2:00 pm - 3:30 pm | Varley Art Gallery Patio
Tara Kannangara Group

Trumpet player/vocalist, Tara Kannangara’s approach to music making and live performance is lyrical, whimsical, and unpredictable. With an emphasis on strong original compositions and unique arrangements of classic songs, Tara provides a beautiful and thoughtful listening experience. Tara has had the opportunity to work and perform with leading international jazz artists, including Esperanza Spalding, Theo Bleckmann, Tim Hagans, Ran Blake, Donny McCaslin and others. Joining Tara on stage are: Colin Story (Guitar), Chris Pruden (Piano), Julian Anderson-Bowes (Bass) and Mackenzie Longpre (Drums).

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Shirantha Beddage | 4:00 pm - 5:30 pm | Varley Art Gallery Patio
Shirantha Beddage

Drawing inspiration from Coltrane, Monk and Pepper Adams, Toronto musician Shirantha Beddage is being hailed by critics as a fresh and powerful voice on the baritone saxophone. His most recent CD, Identity, was nominated for Traditional Jazz Album of the Year at the 2013 JUNO Awards. Shirantha also earned the 2013 Galaxie Rising Star Award at the Montreal Jazz Festival for his original compositions. In addition, his works have also been featured on the 2014 FX television series Fargo.

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The Andrew Scott Quartet featuring John Webber | 6:00 pm - 7:30 pm | Varley Art Gallery Patio
The Andrew Scott Quartet featuring John Webber

Andrew Scott swings with a repertoire of blues, ballads and bebop. In both live performance and on record (This One’s for Barney, Blue Mercer, Nostalgia), Andrew demonstrates a deep commitment to the tradition of swing and bebop guitar playing. For today’s cross-border quartet performance, John Webber, best known as a NYC first-call bassist (George Coleman, Eric Alexander, Peter Bernstein, Bill Hardman, Junior Cook, Jimmy Cobb), joins as an equally fine guitarist in the tradition of Grant Green and Wes Montgomery.

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Sunday, August 16th 2015

Bob Rice Latin Big Band | 1:00 pm - 2:30 pm | Millennium Bandstand
Bob Rice Latin Big Band
Sponsored by:
Power Stream

Bob Rice is a Juno Award nominated composer/arranger/producer/trumpeter who currently leads two of the most exciting Latin jazz bands in Canada, which regularly feature many of Canada’s finest jazz and Latin musicians. His new album, Bobby Rice Latin Jazz Big Band: X-Treme Latin Jazz, album received a Juno nomination for Jazz album of the Year: Group. He is also currently on faculty at Humber College and holds a Master’s degree in composition to complement a B.A. and Humber music diploma.

Rhythm Express | 3:00 pm - 4:30 pm | Millennium Bandstand
Rhythm Express
Sponsored by:
Government of Ontario

Rhythm Express was born with Jamaicans Everton Paul (drums/percussion), Shane Forrest (guitar/engineering), Jesse ‘Dubmatix’ King (bass), and Bill King (keyboards). The vocal pool is among the finest: Gavin Hope, Selena Evangeline, Ammoye Evans, Michael Dunston and Aria Zenua. The horns: Christopher Butcher (trombone), Bobby Hsu and Michael Arthurs (saxophones), Rebecca Hennessy, Alexis Baro and William Sperandei (trumpets), and Cuban percussionist Magdelys Sav. With the Rhythm Express’ mix of ska, funk, reggae, and soul you’ll hear the music of the sixties and seventies that influenced change.


Charlie Hunter Trio | 5:00 pm - 6:30 pm | Millennium Bandstand
Charlie Hunter Trio
Sponsored by:
Government of Ontario

Charlie Hunter, Curtis Fowlkes and Bobby Previte share a whole lot of history, but they’ve never recorded an album like Let the Bells Ring On. The album features 10 original tunes by Hunter designed for the trio’s singular, deep-pocket sound. The album will be self-released on Charlie's own label on June 9th, (vinyl on July 21) 2015. Their most extensive undertaking is the free improv project Groundtruther, a protean project that assumes a new form with special guest musicians

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Eliana Cuevas | 12:00 pm - 1:30 pm | McKay Backyard Patio
Eliana Cuevas

Through years of touring and collaborating with Juno Award-winning performers, Eliana Cuevas has grown into an accomplished singer-songwriter and bandleader with unlimited colours in her compositional and lyrical palette. Her latest album Espejo seamlessly blends genres from blues to pop with Cuevas' signature soaring vocals and Latin jazz sound. She has won a National Jazz Award for Latin Jazz Artist of the Year (2009), Independent Music Award for Best Latin Album (2014) and Toronto Independent Music Award for World Music Artist of the year (2014).

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Beyond the Pale | 2:00 pm - 3:30 pm | McKay Backyard Patio
Beyond the Pale

Toronto’s Beyond the Pale has been making its distinctive brand of boundary-busting Euro folk fusion for nearly 18 years. Though rooted in Klezmer and Balkan music, Beyond the Pale draws inspiration from other musical styles, including bluegrass, reggae, jazz, funk, classical, and more. Combining original compositions and arrangements of traditional material, the group’s style reflects many musical genres but belongs exclusively to none. The quintet has released three award-winning CDs and they’ve toured many parts of the world. Their performance is co-presented by the Ashkenaz Foundation

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Eccodek | 4:00 pm - 5:30 pm | McKay Backyard Patio

Eccodek’s sixth official release and fourth studio album, Singing in Tongues is the band's most potent blend of dub, tribalism, electronica and the exotic to date. Grounded in the sound of Africa, the place that inspired Eccodek’s future globalism over 10 years ago, the songs are anchored by the vocal and instrumental double threat of Mali’s Jah Youssouf. These Eccodek/Youssouf collaborations are a visceral, poetic blend of African storytelling, deep bass, mile-high grooves, dubwise sensibilities and widescreen production.

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Kirk MacDonald & Harold Mabern | 12:00 pm - 1:30 pm | Varley Art Gallery Patio
Kirk MacDonald & Harold Mabern

With a reputation as one of Canada’s leading saxophonists, MacDonald cut his first record at the age of thirteen. He has received numerous awards, and has worked with many leading musicians. MacDonald has performed on over fifty CDs. Mabern is one of jazz’s most enduring and dazzlingly skilled pianists. He was an unsung hero of the 1960s hardbop scene, performing and recording with many artists such as Miles Davis. MacDonald and Mabern will be joined on stage by Neil Swainson (bass) and André White (drums).

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Patricia Cano | 1:30 pm - 3:00 pm | Varley Art Gallery Patio
Patricia Cano

Upon graduating from University of Toronto in Theatre and Spanish Literature, Patricia spent five years in Paris with le Théâtre du Soleil, during which time she went to Seoul to study traditional South Korean singing and drumming. She then spent seven months in Rio de Janeiro, listening, playing, singing and feeling her way through the Carioca scene! Patricia launched her singing career with her album This is the New World, co-created with her Brazilian musical partner, Carlos Bernardo.

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Allison Au | 3:30 pm - 5:00 pm | Varley Art Gallery Patio
Allison Au

Juno-nominated in 2013 for their debut album, The Sky Was Pale Blue, Then Grey, the Allison Au Quartet is a Toronto-based modern Jazz ensemble. Formed in 2009, the group has maintained a steady performance schedule at Toronto’s major Jazz clubs. The group also attended the Creative Music Residency at the renowned Banff Centre three years in a row, funded by the TD Jazz Fellowship Scholarship (2011),The Alfred and Phyllis Balm Scholarship (2012), and The Margareta and Benno Nigg Scholarship (2013).

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Artist's Talk - Harold Mabern | 11:15 am - 11:45 am | Varley Art Gallery Patio
Artist's Talk - Harold Mabern

Varely Art Gallery Lobby - Artist's Talk - Mabern is one of jazz’s most enduring and dazzlingly skilled pianists. He was an unsung hero of the 1960s hardbop scene, performing and recording with many artists such as Miles Davis. MacDonald and Mabern will be joined on stage by Neil Swainson (bass) and André White (drums).

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