Artists 2019

Alison Young

Millennium Bandstand Friday, August 16, 2019 7:30 pm - 9:00 pm Fresh off her Quintet’s ‘19 JUNO Award winning debut album So Here We Are -- Yes, JUNO Award winning Debut Album! -- Alison Young is a highly talented Toronto-based saxophonist, vocalist and composer. Since moving from Ottawa to study music at the U of T, Alison has been actively sharing her energy and flair for hard-bop, soul and New Orleans funk on the Toronto jazz scene. In ’17, Alison was chosen by the CBC as one of the ‘Best 35 Canadian Jazz Artists under 35’. Since then, Young has toured with acts such as Joe Sealy, The Heillig Manoeuvre, Johnny Reid and the Shuffle Demons. Alison is currently touring across Canada with iconic pop star Corey Heart.

Allison Au

Millennium Bandstand Saturday, August 17, 2019 3:00 pm - 4:30 pm Award-winning saxophonist, composer and arranger, Allison Au (pronounced “ow”) weaves a mosaic of influences into her seamless and soulful sound - steeped in jazz, yet skillfully laced with elements of classical, pop, R&B/hip hop, Latin, and world music. A 2016 Juno winner, Allison garnered her 3rd Juno nomination earlier this year as "Best Jazz Album of the Year: Group" for her latest release "Wander Wonder." Formed in 2009, The Allison Au Quartet has won the 2017 Montreal Jazz Festival TD Grand Prix de Jazz, the 2017 Halifax Jazz Festival Sting Ray Rising Star Award, and was named a 2017 Finalist for the Toronto Arts Foundation Emerging Jazz Artist Award.

Anwar Khurshid Trio

Varley Gallery Patio Saturday, August 17, 2019 4:00 pm - 5:30 pm Anwar is credited for sitar playing in the Oscar-winning score of the recent film, Life of Pi. Songs from his album with blues musician Paul Deslauriers are regularly featured on BluesFM, JazzFM, and the CBC. A classically trained musician from Pakistan, Anwar made Canada his home 20 years ago. Because of Anwar's attention to the nuances of vocal music and his high technical ability, his instrument becomes much like a voice. His sound influences range from Indian classical, to blues, Chinese and Arabic music.

BMC Organ Trio

Millennium Bandstand Saturday, August 17, 2019 5:00 pm - 6:30 pm The BMC Organ Trio is a soul-jazz trio from Toronto focused on original interpretations of 1960s Hammond organ “Chitlin Circuit” soul jazz. Inspired by organist Jimmy Smith and guitarist Grant Green, the trio is co-led by three of Canada’s leading instrumentalists and like-minded tone junkies in search of the perfect blend of the classic and contemporary. BMC Organ Trio is Ben Bishop (guitar), Morgan Childs (drums), and Jeff McLeod (organ)!

Brandi Disterheft

Millennium Bandstand Sunday, August 18, 2019 5:00 pm - 6:30 pm Bassist, singer, composer Brandi Disterheft has been under the apprenticeship of Miles Davis’s bassist, Ron Carter, since she relocated to NYC from Vancouver. It’s not only her fiery bass playing, it’s also her innovative live shows as she sings in both English and French, showcasing her ambient, dreamy voice. Winning a JUNO for her “Debut” album, Brandi has performed with Benny Green, Cyrus Chestnut, Jeremy Pelt and Renee Rosnes to name a few. Brandi is a Canadian staple of the NYC jazz scene. Presented by Minken Employment Lawyers

Bywater Call

McKay Stage/Garden Sunday, August 18, 2019 4:30 pm - 6:00 pm Harnessing the sounds of southern soul, gospel and blues -- highly successful and Toronto-based -- Bywater Call is a 7-piece band featuring raw, powerful lead vocals and soulful slide guitar. In 2018, the band was named Toronto Blues Society Talent Search Winner, and placed runner-up in the Road to Memphis competition to represent Toronto at the International Blues Challenge. Following a busy summer festival season, and the fall ’19 release of their debut album, Bywater Call will be heading out on an early-2020, 2-month European tour.

Elena Kapeleris

Varley Gallery Patio Saturday, August 17, 2019 6:00 pm - 7:30 pm Elena Kapeleris is a Toronto-based saxophonist, vocalist, composer, bandleader, and educator - whose love of music has lead her from Jazz to R&B, Blues, World Music and more. As a graduate of Humber College (Jazz Performance), she has studied saxophone with world renowned Pat LaBarbera, composition with Don Thompson, and voice with Shannon Gunn. Elena is a highly sought-after member of diverse local jazz and blues ensembles, including the Jay Danley Ethiopian-jazz Project.

George Koller and Secret Space Program

Millennium Bandstand Saturday, August 17, 2019 1:00 pm - 2:30 pm One of Canada’s most prolific and in-demand composers, producers and bassists, Toronto-based George Koller has performed on over 900 albums, and has toured with the likes of Peter Gabriel, David Clayton-Thomas, Chaka Khan and Laila Biali. With his Secret Space Program project, George performs impressionistic jazz, blending trad. jazz with world, free and contemporary styles - while focusing on depth of spirit and spontaneous interplay between musicians and audience.


McKay Stage/Garden Saturday, August 17, 2019 4:30 pm - 6:00 pm GUH is a band that has managed to defy conventions and categories for the length of their 28 year long bizarro career. The Toronto (and now Guelph and Belleville) collective has operated with a dedicated core group of musicians as well as a revolving door membership system since its beginning, acting as a place to roll around for the city’s more experimentally bent players. To narrow it down (ha!), their genre-bending songs have been described as being: jazz, rock, reggae, pop, latin, polka, bop, and “what-the ____ -was-that”? They call it GUH.

Heather Bambrick

Millennium Bandstand Sunday, August 18, 2019 1:00 pm - 2:30 pm Heather Bambrick is a JUNO-nominated vocalist who’s collaborated with Phil Nimmons, Fred Hirsch, Gene DiNovi, Guido Basso, Rob McConnell, Peter Appleyard, Toronto Symphony Orch., Newfoundland Symphony Orch. and many more. She’s released three recordings to date, and her latest Fine State is being released June,’19. You’ll recognize Heather from being the award-winning host on JAZZ.FM91 and recently co-founder of JAZZCAST, an internet-based Jazz station. Heather is also one of Canada’s top voice actors, a highly sought after music educator, and sits on the Advisory Council for Music Canada.

Hector Quartet

McKay Stage/Garden Sunday, August 18, 2019 2:30 pm - 4:00 pm Hector is the new project by Chris Gale, Toronto-based soxophonist, composer, producer, educator, leader and side-man. His driving style, rich tone and soulful approach have impressed crowds locally and around the world. He’s performed with the likes of Randy Brecker, Jeff Healy, The Arkells, Colin James, Blue Rodeo, The Shuffle Demons, the Powder Blues Band and many more. Long-standing member of The Worst Pop Band Ever, Chris is also co-founder of Hector Quartet – a soulful, energetic collective of Toronto all-star musicians.

John Finley

McKay Stage Saturday, August 17, 2019 6:30 pm - 8:00 pm From opening for The Rolling Stones at Maple Leaf Gardens, sharing the bill at Shea Stadium with The Temptations and Junior Walker & the All Stars, and as vocalist for the L.A. supergroup Rhinoceros, John Finley was just getting started as a formidable songwriter. In 1973, Three Dog Night covered his song “Let Me Serenade You”, bringing John’s songwriting to charts worldwide. Throughout the 70’s, artists as diverse as Johnny Nash, Melissa Manchester and Ben Vereen recorded and released John’s songs as well. Now back in Canada he's performing in blues, jazz and R&B settings across the country.


Millennium Bandstand Sunday, August 18, 2019 3:00 pm - 4:30 pm Award-winning “hard-bop” sextet Kollage was originally formed in 1999 -- as Toronto’s legendary drummer and Order of Canada recipient, Archie Alleyne, joined forces with Doug Richardson -- to create a band that preserves the tradition and importance of jazz born of the Blue Note Records era 50’s and 60’s. Since then, Kollage has been one of Canada’s most influential jazz bands, developing some of Canada’s best known jazz musicians. In 2013, the now late Alleyne, and last founding band member, passed the band’s leadership onto Musical Director Stacie McGregor. In 2017, Kollage released a recording of original compositions titled, No Fuss, No Muss.

Kristin Fung

Varley Gallery Patio Sunday, August 18, 2019 2:00 pm - 3:30 pm A creative spirit and soulful innovator, Kristin Fung is an unusually refreshing and infectiously joyful voice on the Canadian music scene. Her dynamic and versatile performances as a vocalist, keyboardist, ukuleleist and composer cross multiple musical landscapes, from lyrical groovy R&B originals (as on her debut EP, Massive Stride) to experimental opera (Anthony Braxton) to soulful jazz. Kristin has performed at Roulette (NYC), Vancouver Inter. Jazz Festival, and several of Toronto’s top concert venues.

Lauren Falls

Varley Gallery Patio Saturday, August 17, 2019 2:00 pm - 3:30 pm Bassist Lauren Falls has come a long way from her hometown of Port Alberni, BC to earning her Masters Degree at the Manhattan School of Music, while also making an impact on the New York jazz scene. Having completed undergrad jazz studies at Humber College, Lauren has recently returned to Toronto, and the local jazz community is happy that she has. She has shared the stage with the likes of Mike Stern and Seamus Blake, and been mentored by the likes of James Moody, Billy Childs and Geri Allen. Falls is also an accomplished composer, having performed her original music extensively across Canada and the US. with her self-titled group.

Low Down Brass Band

Millennium Bandstand Friday, August 16, 2019 9:30 pm - 11:00 pm LowDown Brass Band (LDB), synthesizes the gritty sounds of Chicago with the high energy street beat of New Orleans. LDB brandishes a powerful brass frontline of trumpets, trombones, saxophones, with a funky backline of drums and sousaphone. Stellar vocal harmonies. adventurous improvisation, movement, and grooves serve to create LDB’s infectious and diverse sound that has something for everyone. LDB is now touring their latest release titled LowDown Breaks (2018) feat. MC Billa Camp on vocals. This new record steps deeper into refining LDB’s unique sound, combining hip hop breaks with live soul samples and deep cut grooves.

Michael Kaeshammer

Millennium Bandstand Saturday, August 17, 2019 9:00 pm - 10:30 pm Internationally acclaimed Michael Kaeshammer has toured the world with his talents as a singer, songwriter, pianist & producer. A spellbinding and JUNO Award winning artist, Kaeshammer’s performances are intimate and inviting affairs. His new album, SOMETHING NEW, is a new musical adventure. It features original songs about love, life, travel and politics. As a trademark, Michael is unafraid of crossing genre boundaries and uses his many influences to take the listener along on a most memorable journey.

Oakland Stroke

Markham Museum Wednesday, August 14, 2019 8:00 pm - 10:00 pm Uptown funk & soul comes to Markham with the Greatest Horn Band Hits of the 70s, as renowned Toronto super-group Oakland Stroke faithfully recreates the music of fabled Bay Area soul band Tower of Power – including that of Blood, Sweat & Tears – Earth, Wind & Fire – Chicago – Stevie Wonder – Isaac Hayes – and more! This 10-piece juggernaut of a band has the innate power to get you off your feet! Its consistently Sold Out shows are a testament to the band’s extensive following.

The Bright Lunch Trio

Varley Gallery Patio Saturday, August 17, 2019 12:00 pm - 1:30 pm The Bright Lunch Trio is a Toronto-based jazz group made up of a singer from the Prairies (Whitney Ross-Barris), a guitarist from the Maritimes (Nathan Hiltz) and a bassist from the local burbs (JUNO award winning, Ross MacIntyre). Long ago, when singer, Whitney Ross-Barris flat-out lied to guitarist, Nathan Hiltz about being able to write songs, he quickly called her bluff, and six years later (fall ’17) they released their debut, self-titled album The Bright Lunch Trio, a collection of original songs, combining the proud traditions of jazz and the Great American Songbook.

The Jerome Tucker Band

McKay Stage/Garden Sunday, August 18, 2019 12:30 pm - 2:00 pm Philadelphia’s Jerome Tucker is a lead vocalist and bassist who joined the US Navy, ending-up in the Gulf Coast and moonlighting for various Blues and Cajun artists. Following the Navy, he co-wrote songs with Ivan Neville, moved to Chicago and performed with the city’s greats. Today, Toronto is home, featuring his own band: Carl Harvey (guitar), Unionville’s Rob Christian (sax, flute & keys), Kingsley Etienne (B3), Neil Brathwaite (sax) and Rich Greenspoon (drums) - resulting in a polished explosion of funky soulful blues.

The Worst Pop Band Ever

McKay Stage/Garden Saturday, August 17, 2019 2:30 pm - 4:00 pm @WorstPopBandEver With influences ranging from Wayne Shorter to Levon Helm to J Dilla, The Worst Pop Band Ever is a Toronto-based quintet that combines a love of improvisational jazz and modern popular music. Despite their name, the band features award-winning musicians who have shared stages and/or recorded with such esteemed artists as Ernie Watts, Blue Rodeo, Sultans of Swing, Shuffle Demons, and Laila Biali. Whether it’s blending acoustic bass with turntables, or analog synths with a saxophone, WPBE sets out to twist both originals and covers, straddling genres and butting heads with expectation.

Tia Brazda

Millennium Bandstand Saturday, August 17, 2019 7:00 pm - 8:30 pm Tia Brazda’s jazz-pop gems have pay homage to the golden era, while remaining daringly modern. Her retro style and distinctive voice have garnered comparisons to Billy Holliday and Amy Winehouse, while her mix of jazz and pop, she quotes is, “sort of Ella Fitzgerald meets The Everly Brothers”. Tia honed her unique sound in the jazz rooms of Toronto. Her 2012 debut EP Cabin Fever, and 2015 album Bandshell, both met with resounding #1 iTunes Jazz Chart success. Her latest album Daydream (2018), sees her versatility reach bold new directions, where bossa nova, soul, pop, jazz and the tango-infused French chanson “Un amour bohème”, are all superbly interpreted.

Viper’s Cloud

Varley Gallery Patio Sunday, August 18, 2019 4:00 pm - 5:30 pm Viper’s Cloud is a Toronto based Gypsy Jazz collective curating traditional Eastern European music, 1940’s hot jazz and swing music in the style of famous Romani-French jazz guitarist Django Reinhardt. The group ranges from a duo arrangement all the way up to an 8 piece band featuring Violin, Clarinet, Double bass, Manouche guitar and Trumpet.

Virginia MacDonald

Varley Gallery Patio Sunday, August 18, 2019 12:00 pm - 1:30 pm At twenty-four years of age, clarinetist, composer Virginia MacDonald is already established as a sought after musician on the Toronto jazz scene; she’s performed as a leader and side woman with a veritable who’s who of artists, at venues and festivals across the GTA. Recipient of the prestigious Yamaha Music scholarship in both ’18/’19, and judiciously selected to attend the exclusive ’18 Berklee Coll. of Music workshop with Grammy winner Terri Lyne Carrington. Virginia will be joined by Lucian Gray (guitar) and Jonathan Chapman (bass).