Sponsored by the Ken Page Memorial Trust
The Ken Page Memorial Trust is a non-profit charitable fund created to support jazz as a vital art form, jazz education and the musicians who devote their lives to the music. Established in 1999 by Anne Page, in association with the Toronto Downtown Jazz Society, the Trust serves as a living legacy to commemorate the life of international businessman and devoted jazz enthusiast, Ken Page.
January 20, 2023
Anna Webber (b. 1984) is a flutist, saxophonist, and composer whose interests and work live in the aesthetic overlap between avant-garde jazz and new classical music. In May 2021 she released Idiom, a double album featuring both a trio and a large ensemble, and a follow-up to her critically-acclaimed release Clockwise. That album, which the Wall Street Journal called "visionary and captivating," was voted #6 Best Album of 2019 in the NPR Jazz Critics Poll, who described it as “heady music [that] appeals to the rest of the body.” Her 2020 release, Both Are True (Greenleaf Music), co-led with saxophonist/composer Angela Morris, was named a top ten best release of 2020 by The New York Times. She was recently named a 2021 Berlin Prize Fellow and was voted the top “Rising Star” flutist in the 2020 Downbeat Critic’s Poll.
January 27, 2023
Ravi studied the art of tabla playing in India under eminent master such as his uncle Pandit Nikhil Ghosh and Pandit Anindo Chatterjee. Although most of his training is in the Farrukabad gharana, he has also trained in the Qasur style with Pandit Sushil Kumar Jain. He has accompanied many accomplished artists such as Aarti Anklikar, Buddadev Das Gupta, Dhruba Ghosh, Lakshmi Shankar and Shantanu Bhattacharya. Ravi has been an active member of the Canadian world music scene for nearly 20 years. As a vital part of Toronto’s large South Asian community, Ravi continues to perform traditional music from India, while participating in many cross-cultural exchanges. He has toured extensively in Europe, India, United States, Mexico, Argentina and Japan. Ravi is a frequent collaborator with such groups as Niyaz, Constantinople, Avataar, and Monsoon. Currently, he is involved in three new collectives; 1) So Long Seven (folk-roots world music), Near East (India, Mid-East) and Sansar (Hindustani, Carnatic).
In 2011 Toronto's South Asian community acknowledged Ravi's contributions to music by bestowing on him the Grant’s Desi Achievers Award. Ravi has had several Juno nominations and is featured on Kiran Alhuwalia’s Juno winning recording Beyond Boundaries. For 11 years Ravi led his own Indo-jazz ensemble Tasa, which in turn influenced many world music artists in Canada. Tasa toured internationally and recorded 4 CDs of Ravi’s original music. Tasa was awarded an Urban Music Award for Best World Music album.
Ravi is frequently hired as a guest lecturer by the music department at York University and Humber College. In 2017 he founded the Rhythm House music school, dedicated to providing high quality instruction on tabla, sitar and other Hindustani and Western instruments. The school provides private as well as group classes and master classes with Pandit Anindo Chatterjee. Rhythm House employs highly accomplished teacher on each instrument.
February 3, 2023
Jacob Sacks is one of the most creative pianists on the NYC jazz scene today. For over 25 years both in NYC and beyond, his strong individual voice has been heard in a variety of settings ranging from the mainstream jazz traditions of the Mingus Big Band and Orchestra to the open approach of the Paul Motian Septet and Octet(+1) to the vamp based fusion of David Binney’s Balance.
Originally from Michigan, Jacob was a 1995 Presidential Scholar In The Arts before he moved to New York City to study with Garry Dial at the Manhattan School Of Music. After graduation in 1998, Jacob was a finalist in the 1999 Thelonious Monk International Jazz Piano Competition.
Jacob has performed with musicians such as Lee Konitz, Clark Terry, Joe Maneri, Terumasa Hino, Charles Gayle, Eddie Henderson, Tim Berne, Michael Formanek, Tom Rainey, Ralph Alessi, Ben Monder, Rich Perry, Chris Potter, Mark Turner, Adam Rogers, and Matt Wilson, and has also done collaborations with artists such as Orlando Hernandez, Eric Wubbels, Ethan Iverson, Karen Ng, and Liz Kosack.
In addition to performing solo piano, Jacob leads several different ensembles - The Jacob Sacks Trio, the Jacob Sacks Chamber Quartet, the Jacob Sacks Quintet, Plaid Fantasy, and the Jacob Sacks Saloon band. Jacob is also a co-leader in the Yoon Sun Choi - Jacob Sacks Duo, Landline, PLAY, Two Miles A Day, 40Twenty, and trioTrio. As a side person, Jacob is a current member of the Dan Weiss Trio, Eivind Opsvik’s Overseas, the Hank Roberts Trio and Sextet, Okkyung Lee’s Yeo-Neun, Mike McGinnis + 9, Ohad Talmor’s NewsReel, and the Gonçalo Marques Quartet.
Universally esteemed as an educator, Jacob has synthesized his experiences as a creative performing musician and artist with his experiences as a student of Sophia Rosoff, Garry Dial, and Mark Kieswetter. His approach to balancing and blending the teaching of musicianship with the development of individual creativity has been acclaimed worldwide.
Jacob has led masterclasses both domestically and internationally at institutions such as Manhattan School Of Music, University of Michigan, University of Toronto, Humber College, Porto Conservatory, Birmingham Convervatoire, and AMR Geneva. In addition to leading masterclasses, Jacob teaches for the New School, and teaches lessons, classes, and ensembles in his private practice in Brooklyn.
February 10, 2023
Born in Toronto, trumpet player/vocalist Marie Goudy started her professional career at the age of sixteen. By the age of nineteen, she had already played with many notable musicians including Benny Golson, Cleo Laine and Maria Schneider. Since then she has performed with Michael Buble, Donny McCaslin, Glass Tiger and many others.
She graduated from the University of Toronto's Masters in Jazz Performance program in 2017. She has made her mark on the Toronto music scene playing jazz, funk, mariachi, folk and Latin music, and was a featured soloist in the 2018 SOCAN Awards. Marie has played on three JUNO-nominated albums with folk-funk singer/songwriter Alysha Brilla and toured to France, Chile, Yellowknife, and Singapore with that group. In 2020, Marie came in second place in the Toronto Star Readers’ Choice Awards for Best Local Musician or Band.
Marie is a celebrated composer and arranger, and in 2018 released her first album of original music with her ensemble the Marie Goudy 12tet. This album, “The Bitter Suite” featuring vocalist Jocelyn Barth and produced by John MacLeod, was released in October of 2018. It reached #3 on the national jazz charts and received many glowing reviews, appearing on several “Top 10 Albums of 2018” lists. Marie currently leads the jazz quintet Paloma Sky, who performed a live on-air concert on Jazz FM 91.1 as part of their “Discover Women in Jazz” program in August 2022.
February 17, 2023
Born in the Pinar del Río province of Cuba, Steinway Artist, Grammy Nominated, and 2014 Jalc Millennium Swing Award! recipient pianist and composer Elio Villafranca was classically trained in percussion and composition at the Instituto Superior de Arte in Havana, Cuba.
Since his arrival in the U.S. in mid 1995, Elio Villafranca is at the forefront of the latest generation of remarkable pianists, composers and bandleaders. His concert Letters to Mother Africa was selected by NYC Jazz Record as Best Concerts in 2016. In 2015, Mr. Villafranca was among the 5 pianists hand picked by Chick Corea to perform at the first Chick Corea Jazz Festival, curated by Chick him self at JALC. Elio Villafranca’s new album Caribbean Tinge (Motema), received a 2014 Preis der Deutschen Schallplattenkritik Nomination by the German Records Critics Award, as well has been selected by JazzTimes and DownBeat magazines for a feature on their very competitive section Editor’s Pick. He also received a 2010 Grammy Nomination in the Best Latin Jazz Album of the Year category. In 2008 The Jazz Corner nominated Elio Villafranca as pianist of the year. That year, Mr. Villafranca was also honored by BMI with the BMI Jazz Guaranty Award and received the first NFA/Heineken Green Ribbon Master Artist Music Grant for the creation of his Concerto for Mariachi, for Afro-Cuban Percussion and Symphony Orchestra. Finally, his first album, Incantations/ Encantaciones, featuring Pat Martino, Terell Stafford, and Dafnis Prieto was ranked amongst the 50 best jazz albums of the year by JazzTimes magazine in 2003.
Over the years Elio Villafranca has recorded and performed nationally and internationally as a leader, featuring jazz master artists such as Pat Martino, Terell Stafford, Billy Hart, Paquito D’Rivera, Eric Alexander, and Lewis Nash, David Murray, and Wynton Marsalis among other. As a sideman Elio Villafranca has collaborated with leading jazz and Latin jazz artists including: Chick Corea, Jon Faddis, Billy Harper, Sonny Fortune, Giovanni Hidalgo, Miguel Zenón, and Johnny Pacheco among others.
This year, 2017 Elio Villafranca received The Sunshine Award, founded in 1989 to recognize excellence in the performing arts, education, science and sports of the various Caribbean countries, South America, Centro America, and Africa. He is based in New York City and he is a faculty member of Temple University, Philadelphia, The Juilliard School of Music, New York University, and Manhattan School of Music in NYC.
March 3, 2023
Alanna Stuart is a Toronto- and Kingston, Jamaica-based music artist, researcher, curator, and documentarian.
As one-half of the Polaris Prize-nominated duo Bonjay, Alanna created and performed a bass heavy, soul-driven sound that the New York Times calls ‘Canadian Dancehall’. Bonjay’s sonic hybrid established them with praise from NPR, KCRW, BBC, CBC, The New York Times, The Guardian, Pitchfork, Globe & Mail, Exclaim Magazine, and others.
Alanna is also a proud member of the Queer Songbook Orchestra, a chamber pop ensemble performing orchestral interpretations of pop classics and jazz standards, and sharing the obscured queer histories through poetry and recited stories.
Alanna is currently in the thick of an exciting solo work centered on what she dubs ‘femmehall’: a movement promoting the presence of women in dancehall production and presentation. She co-produced and engineered her forthcoming solo debut, To All The Girls I've Loved Before, with added vibes and ideas from La-Nai Gabriel (Maylee Todd, Madam Gandhi) and Robin Dann (Bernice), and some rhythmic contributions from Jamaican music icons, Sly & Robbie. The record features Jamaican music-inspired versions of songs by a mix-up selection of the women who have influenced her, from Liz Fraser to Solange to Casey Mecija.
Outside of the studio, Alanna is the founder of creative research consultancy Maroon Creative, exploring the relationship between the term ‘diversity’ and cultural innovation in tastemaking scenes around the world. Alanna is a Toronto Arts Council Leaders Lab Fellow and Radio Starmaker Fund and Pop Montreal board member.
Outside of the studio, Alanna conducts research that problematizes the concepts ‘diversity’ and ‘innovation’, and explores how creative industries engage with socially marginalized tastemakers around the world. Alanna is a Queen’s University Cultural Studies MA student, Toronto Arts Council Leaders Lab Fellow, and Radio Starmaker Fundboard member.
March 10, 2023
With an established reputation as one of Canada’s leading saxophonists, Kirk MacDonald cut his first record at the age of thirteen. Throughout his career, he has received numerous awards, and has worked with many leading musicians in a variety of musical genres. He has performed on over fifty CDs as both leader and sideman, and has participated in numerous national broadcast recordings for CBC Radio. In addition to performing extensively throughout Canada, he has also performed in the USA, United Kingdom, Germany, Spain, France, Italy, Holland, Monaco, Australia, Korea, Bermuda, and the Bahamas.
For over thirty years Kirk MacDonald has worked and recorded with many leading Canadian, U.S. and International jazz musicians including Claude Ranger, Dave Young, Sam Noto, Sonny Greenwich, Kenny Wheeler, Eddie Henderson, Harold Mabern, Walter Bishop Jr., Tom Harrell, Vic Juris, Peter Bernstein, Adam Nussbaum, Rich Perry, Kurt Elling, David Virelles, Ralph Bowen, Dick Oatts, Ben Monder, Seamus Blake, Jonathan Blake, Lorne Lofsky, Bob Mover, Pat LaBarbera, John Taylor, Ron McClure, Jack DeJohnette, Mike Stern, Jim McNeely, Bob Mintzer, Vince Mendoza, John Clayton, Chris Potter, Glenn Ferris, Maria Schneider, Dave Grusin, Danilo Perez, Adam Rogers, Dennis Mackrel, Nancy Walker, Barry Romberg, Andre White, Rob Smith, Brian Dickinson, Denny Christianson, Bernie Senensky, Phil Nimmons, James Moody, Rosemary Clooney, and the Humber College Faculty Ensemble.
Over 100 performances of Kirk MacDonald’s compositions appear on 25 albums, both as leader and on recordings by other artists. Kirk has established a substantial body of original work as a saxophonist/composer over the past three decades. As a follow up to his award winning recordings Symmetry with Tom Harrell, and Vista Obscura with Harold Mabern, MacDonald released Common Ground, a double CD of his compositions arranged by Joe Sullivan for Jazz Orchestra. Silent Voices, a co-led quartet outing with renowned saxophonist Pat LaBarbera, featuring American jazz great Adam Nussbaum on drums. MacDonald’s latest recording Generations, brings him back full circle to his roots in a program of jazz standards and the Great American Songbook. Generations features three generations of musicians: the legendary pianist Harold Mabern at age 82 and MacDonald’s wonderfully talented daughter Virginia MacDonald, at age 23, on clarinet.
Kirk MacDonald has been active as an educator for 30 years at leading jazz studies programs such as The University of Toronto, Humber College and McGill University. Through his work with these programs, numerous live performances, recordings, master classes and workshops throughout Canada and internationally, Kirk has become one of Canada’s most respected and in demand educators.
For close to three decades MacDonald has been a leader in his field of performance, composition and education and has had a huge and lasting influence on many of Canada’s younger generation of musicians. Many former students have gone on to forge national and international careers in many genres of music.
Kirk MacDonald is presently a full time professor at Humber College in Toronto. MacDonald also acts as the Artistic Director for the “Youth Jazz Canada” project and directs the “National Youth Jazz Combo”. This project also hosts a 2 week workshop in the summer for high school and post-secondary students.
March 17, 2023
Noam Lemish has never felt inclined to pick a lane. Maybe his hyphenated identity as an Israeli-American-Canadian has helped inspire his multiplicity and general disinclination to follow stylistic guidelines. Whatever the reason, over the course of two decades of intensive musical study and creation he’s always sought to expand the scope of his exploration, often blurring or ignoring deeply etched boundaries between genres, peoples, and traditions. He’s a jazz artist and a classical composer of chamber works, an improviser and an accompanist, an intrepid cross-cultural investigator and an interpreter of contemporary composition. He contains multitudes.
Based for the past decade in Toronto, where he’s on faculty at York University’s Department of Music as Assistant Professor of Jazz Instruction and Pedagogy, Lemish is best known for leading or co-leading several celebrated ensembles. The critically hailed 2018 album Pardes features the quartet he co-leads with guitarist and oud expert Amos Hoffman, a player on the forefront of the brilliant wave of Israeli musicians who swept over the New York scene in the 1990s. The project documents their singular repertoire, a gorgeous collection of arrangements based on songs that reflect the diverse nature of Israeli society. Some are drawn from liturgical or folk tunes from Middle Eastern and Central Asian Jewish traditions, “for example, centuries-old songs that are common in Yemenite or Moroccan Jewish communities,” Lemish says.
Others are popular songs that have circulated in Israel since the 1950s, what Lemish describes as “an invented folk song tradition that some Israeli jazz artists use as source material like American standards.” They don’t serve as a lingua franca in the same way as say, “Autumn Leaves,” where any jazz musician can call one on the bandstand and expect her peers to know the piece. Rather, “artists will draw on specific songs and arrange them,” Lemish says.
March 24, 2023
Bassist Kim Cass is from an island off the coast of Maine, where he was introduced to bass playing at age 10. He quickly developed a unique style on the electric bass and began playing the upright bass at age 13. Developing this instrument in a jazz context became Kim’s passion, as well as composing music featuring his upright playing.
When studying at the New England Conservatory of Music, Cass received personalized instruction from several virtuoso musicians including George Garzone, Ran Blake, Joe Morris and Joe Maneri. Cass currently resides in New York City. He has been featured in a wide variety of ensembles, executing music that is ever challenging and beautifully mysterious. Cass has performed with the likes of Matt Mitchell, Tyshawn Sorey, John Zorn, and Bill McHenry. The solo album KIM CASS, released on Table and Chairs, is a showcase of Kim’s upright bass playing and compositions. He is currently composing and practicing material for his next recording project, scheduled for 2018.