Montreal Chamber Music Festival presents

Tribute to Oliver Jones: Jazzman Par Excellence

This tribute to Oliver Jones features 8 artists, all of whom played with Oliver and some with Oscar Peterson.

The name of Montreal born Oliver Jones is synonymous with the greatest in jazz music. Along with his Montreal compatriot and buddy Oscar Peterson, the stamp of Oliver Jones is undeniable. At 88, he has played with the greatest and inspired generations of jazz performers and music lovers. On this night he will be honoured in a totally unique way. With performances by former members of his jazz quartet as well as Oscar Peterson’s Trio, the evening will be a jam session like no other.

Robi Botos

Robi Botos has been hailed as one of the most diverse multi-instrumentalists of this generation. From the hard-bop style of Bill Evans and Herbie Hancock, to the swing of Oscar Peterson and the heartfelt melodic expression of Mulgrew Miller and Cedar Walton, Robi has managed to master the technique of his idols, all while showcasing his musical expressions in a voice that is purely his own. While Robi is known for being a strong player in the traditional jazz and funk fields, he always incorporates an element of the music he grew up listening to into his playing. Says organist, trumpeter and pianist Joey Defrancesco: “Robi is one of the most swingin’, soulful, funky, world class players I’ve ever heard, and he has a technique like you can’t believe. Definitely one of my very favorite players!!!”

Born of Romani descent in Hungary, Robi taught himself first to play drums as a young child, and got his first taste of being a professional musician working throughout Budapest. Robi was first introduced to the piano when he was 7 years old, and never looked back. He continued to perform throughout Hungary and when he turned 20, decided to move his wife and children to Canada, to further pursue the career he was born for. Now 20 years later, Robi has solidified himself as one of the most sought-after pianists in the country.

Ranee Lee

Ranee Lee is now celebrating over 40 years in Montreal, Quebec, where she enjoys a successful, multi-faceted career as one of Canada’s most popular jazz vocalists, an award-winning actress, a songwriter, and a proud author of children’s books. Ranee has recorded thirteen albums for Justin Time, a proud discography of acclaimed recordings that feature some of the finest jazz musicians of our time among its sidemen.

A Dora Mavor Moore Award winning actress, Ranee starred in Lady Day at Emerson’s Bar and Grill, Canada’s first production of the musical portrayal of Billie Holiday. Her subsequent recording, Deep Song, featured label mate Oliver Jones and well as Milt Hinton, bassist with Billie Holiday. The recording was met with acclaim, bringing Ranee’s voice to the attention of jazz fans and concert producers throughout the world.

For outstanding service to jazz education, at the twenty-first IAJE conference in 1994, Ranee received the International Association of Jazz Educators Award. As an educator, Ranee has been part of the University of Laval faculty in Quebec City and The Schulich School of Music of McGill University faculty for over twenty years. She was appointed as a Member To The Order Of Canada and in 2007 was given an award for appreciation and contribution to the development of the McGill Jazz Program by the McGill Schulich School of Music.

Lorraine Desmarais

Pianist and composer Lorraine Desmarais is known in Canada, the USA, Europe, Mexico, China, Indonesia and Africa for her solo, trio and big band performances. She has also appeared with many symphony orchestras. She has twelve albums of original compositions. Three of these albums (Trio Lorraine Desmarais, Jazz pour Noël and Big Band) have received FÉLIX awards at the Gala de ADISQ. In 2011, she received a Doctorat Honoris Causa​ from the Université du Québec à Montréal​​ (UQÀM). In 2013, she was awarded by becoming Member of the Order of Canada. Lorraine Desmarais played in concert with artists of worldwide renown such as, Chick Corea, Oliver Jones, Jacky Terrasson, Joe Lovano, The New York Diva Big Band, the Brubeck Brothers and Paquito D’Rivera.

Eric Lagacé

Primarily known as a double bassist who plays with equal proficiency alongside jazzmen Oliver Jones, Michel Legrand, Vic Vogel and the Orchestre symphonique de Montréal, Société de musique contemporaine du Québec, and Les Violons du Roy, Eric Lagacé’s artistry is remarkably versatile and unusually eclectic. In addition to performing as Oliver Jones’s double bassist for twelve years, he has also served as principal double bass in various chamber music ensembles (Arion, Amati, ECM+, SMCQ).

After graduating with a First Prize diploma from the Conservatoire de musique de Montréal in fugue, harmony, counterpoint and double bass (he obtained the highest grades in each of these disciplines), he went on to produce numerous arrangements for artists including Natalie Choquette, Florence K, Isabelle Boulay, the Quatuor Arthur Leblanc, Alexandre Da Costa, I Musici de Montréal, Marie-Josée Lord, Gino Quilicot, as well as some forty orchestrations for the Orchestre Symphonique de Montréal.

Jim Doxas

While studying at Montréal’s McGill University, Jim established himself early on as versatile percussionist. The pool of strong drummers and percussionists in the city heavily influenced him. During his time at McGill, Jim was honoured with Yamaha’s Rising Star Award in recognition of outstanding achievement as an instrumentalist. In addition, he was a featured artist at Carnegie Hall in a gala performance celebrating young North American talent. Throughout his undergraduate degree, Jim studied with renowned pedagogue and drummer, John Riley.

 Jim has been heavily influenced by rock, jazz, Motown and World Music. His work can be heard on over 150 albums and soundtracks, and he is a popular featured artist at jazz festivals worldwide. Distinguished for his improvisational approach to jazz, he makes the case that percussion can be as performative as a lyrical instrument. What distinguishes Doxas’ approach to improvisation is that he refuses to play it safe, allowing the moment to dictate the kind of framework that will contain, shape and guide the piece of music. He is astutely committed to the belief that significant music is always distinguished by what is left unsaid, the gaps of which inspire him to produce a highly original vocabulary of accents. During the last several years, Jim has been recognized by way of receiving Felix and Juno Awards, as well as nominations for Academy and Grammy Awards. He was also the drummer in the Oliver Jones Trio for over a decade.

Taurey Butler

Hailing from East Orange New Jersey, Taurey began studying piano at the age of seven. During his last year of high school, a prescient teacher, who was also a distinguished percussionist, Barry Centanni handed Taurey a CD of Oscar Peterson and advised him to listen. He did, and from then on, he knew where he was going. ” I didn’t know a piano could do that!” he recalls and began to focus more on jazz studies.

After moving to Montreal, Taurey secured a regular gig at one of Montréal’s most prestigious jazz clubs, the House Of Jazz as well, he began accompanying Juno Award winning vocalist Ranee Lee, it wasn’t long before he signed with Canada’s premier Jazz label – Justin Time Records – the result of which is Taurey’s captivating debut recording as a leader simply entitled Taurey Butler.

Michel Donato

Michel Donato is one of Montreal’s finest jazz musicians, and one who’s been active in Montreal’s vibrant jazz scene since the early 1960’s. Over the course of that decade, this fine bassist evolved in the company of some of music’s most respected and illustrious personalities, including Art Blakey, Miles Davis, Sonny Greenwich, Charles Aznavour, Jacques Brel and Carmen McRae. The sixties also marked Donato’s venture into studio work; he collaborated on several radio programs for Société Radio-Canada and the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, appearing often on the CBC’s radio show “Jazz en Liberté”. Between Montreal and Toronto, Donato collaborated, toured and recorded with the Oscar Peterson Trio, the Bill Evans Trio, Clark Terry, Benny Carter, Zoot Sims, Art Farmer, Gerry Mulligan, Oliver Jones, Gonzalo Rubalcaba and Toot Thielemans, among others. Throughout his career, Donato has incessantly searched for new and interesting projects to keep his creative drive satisfied. He taught at both McGill University and l’Université de Montréal, began an eight-year partnership with vocalist Karen Young, while still teaming up and recording with several Canadian and international jazz artists, becoming in the process one of Canada’s most versatile and prolific jazz musicians.

In recent years, Michel Donato has composed a number of film scores (among them the award-winning music for the critically-acclaimed film, ‘Les Muse Orphelines’) and collaborated in double bass experiments with the eminent french bassist Henri Texier and the inimitable American bassist Charlie Haden. In 1995, the Festival International de jazz de Montréal presented Donato with the prestigious Oscar Peterson Award for excellence in Canadian Jazz.

Dave Laing

Dave Laing came to McGill University for music training where he studied with the late Lou Williamson and, later, Pete Magadini. Within a couple of years he began to play on the local scene including appearances at the storied Montreal jazz club, Bar 2080, performing with such visiting artists as Clifford Jordan, Jimmy Heath, Junior Cook, Frank Wess, “Big” John Patton, J.R. Montrose, Fraser McPherson and many others. At that time he also began associations with such local luminaries as Andre White, Kevin Dean, Ranee Lee, Remi Bolduc, and Geoff Lapp that would continue over the coming years.

Dave continued to solidify his position as one of Canada’s most in-demand musicians appearing on over 60 CD’s to date. His performing credits include working with such artists such as Denzal Sinclaire, the Joe Sullivan Big Band, Barry Harris, Mark Murphy, Lage Lund, Danilo Perez, Jim McNeely, Dave Leibman, Benny Golson, Slide Hampton, Jon Ballantyne, Mulgrew Miller, John Stetch, the National Arts Centre Orchestra, Kevin Turcotte, Peter Leitch, Ben Monder, Kenny Werner, Jerry Bergonzi, PJ Perry, George Garzone, Oliver Jones, Shelia Jordan and many more. He has travelled the world performing music including such diverse places as China, Brazil, Israel, Mexico, the United States, Europe, and across Canada.

Salle Bourgie
Friday, June 16, 2023 at 7:30pm
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