Artists 2020

Alexis Baro

Concert #1 Online Sunday, September 27, 2020 2:00 pm - 3:00 pm Trumpet phenom Alexis Baro kicks off our series with a quintet of award-winning talent! Havana-born Alexis took up the trumpet at age 8 and by 19 was playing lead trumpet for Cuba’s National Radio and Television Orchestra. In Toronto from 2001, he flourished as a writer and member of Kollage, earning nominations for “Best Jazz Trumpeter” by the Canadian National Jazz Awards in 2006, 2007 and 2008. Alexis has performed with Nikky Yanofsky, David Foster, Michael Bublé, Paquito d’Rivera, Hilario Duran, Robi Botos, Andrea Boccelli, and Horacio “el negro” Hernandez, among many, as well as opening for Herbie Hancock, touring globally and releasing six solo albums, including the Juno-nominated “Sandstorm” in 2018.

Donovan Locke

Concert #3 Online Sunday, November 29, 2020 2:00 pm - 3:00 pm Donovan Locke is a multi-talented vocalist based in Toronto. He started signing in church at a very early age, and in his teens joined the Toronto All-Stars Big Band, with whom he’s performed across Ontario and in the U.S.A. Donovan earned his Bachelor’s of Arts from Wilfrid Laurier University and his Bachelor of Education from Nipissing University. He has been a part of many Canadian productions, from David Ferry’s “The Postman” to Ann-Marie Donovan’s “Sounding Rituals,” and had the honour of signing with Cleo Laine, John Dankworth and Jackie Richardson, among many

Mark Kelso

Concert #5 Online Sunday, February 28, 2021 2:00 pm - 3:00 pm Originally hailing from Belfast, Northern Ireland, Canadian drummer Mark Kelso is a skilled percussion musician, singer, producer and composer. Mark has earned four Juno awards as a sideman and been nominated as a leader with his own two groups, the Jazz Exiles (2016) and the Chronicles of Fezziwig Project (2020). He’s served as Artistic Director for the Jazz Room in Waterloo since 2016 and head of Percussion in the Humber College music program since 2005. As a sought-after drummer and all-around player, Mark has worked and recorded with a vast range of artists, from Pat Metheny, Herbie Hancock, Michael Bublé and David Clayton-Thomas to Olivia Newton John, Bonnie Raitt, Chaka Khan, Pat LaBarbera, John Scofield, Ron Sexsmith, Molly Johnson, Laila Biali and Carol Welsman, among many.

Moneka Arabic Jazz

Concert #6 Online Sunday, March 28, 2021 2:00 pm - 3:00 pm Rooted in jazz and blues, Moneka Arabic Jazz draws from leader Ahmed Moneka’s Afro-Iraqi heritage and influences, flavoured by Toronto’s multicultural mix, to create a distinct, funky and unique sound. Ahmed’s work has led to collaborations with the Canadian Opera Company, Aga Khan Museum, Tafelmusik, Koerner Hall, Modern Times Stage, and Jaberi Dance Theatre, among others. He has been an artist-in-residence with Driftwood Theatre Group, was a Stingray Rising Stars winner at the 2019 TD Toronto Jazz Festival, and founded Moneka Arabic Jazz in part to reflect the stories and songs of his background. The group’s repertoire introduces maqam and weaves African identity and influences into its music. Each of the six talented musicians contributes to a sound that embodies the great diversity of Toronto in 2020.

Spy Jazz with June Garber + Irene Torres, hosted by Jaymz Bee

Concert #2 Online Sunday, October 25, 2020 2:00 pm - 3:00 pm Spy Jazz, hosted by Jaymz Bee, features an exceptional band – June Garber and Irene Torres on vocals, Eric St. Laurent on guitars, George Koller on bass, Great Bob Scott on drums and percussion, Attila Fias on the keyboard and Alison Young on saxes. June Garber has toured as a singer in major centres in Canada and the United States as well as Cuba, the Caribbean, Mexico, South America and Australia. She has performed in jazz festivals throughout North America, including the TD Markham jazz Festival, and with big bands in Toronto and Sarasota, Florida. Irene Torres, originally from Peru, has studied under some of the most noteworthy vocal instructors in North America. Irene loves to perform and knows that music is worth every minute devoted to it. JAZZ.FM91 radio personality Jaymz Bee hosts this delightful foray into James Bond theme songs ... [Continue reading →]