There is still time to catch a rising jazz star

If you haven’t yet made it to the Jazz Festival, running all this week in McLaughlin Performance Hall, it’s not too late. The festival peaks today with midday and evening concerts by York’s jazz orchestra and jazz ensemble, led by renowned bassist, composer and York alumnus, Al Henderson (BA ‘76, MA ‘83).

Right: Al Henderson

These performances feature some of the exceptional emerging jazz talent in York University’s Music Department, directed by one of Canada’s most celebrated jazz artists. From the first warm tones of a tenor sax, evolving gradually into a rhythmic ensemble exploration, each concert embraces every type of jazz. Even those new to the sound will become instant fans.

The musical landscape draws on the influences of Billie Holiday, Nat King Cole and Ella Fitzgerald, as well as swing, blues, Latin, funk and fusion styles, with ample space for inspired improvisation and original compositions.

Catch these rising jazz stars at midday today, 12:30 to 1:30pm (free admission) or tonight from 5:30 to 8pm (admission $10, $5 for students and seniors). For more information, contact the Music Department at ext. 55186.

York’s Music Department pioneered university-level jazz studies in Canada, and continues to enjoy a national reputation as one of the country’s leading jazz schools. The roster of high-profile jazz alumni keeps growing steadily. They include 2005 Juno Award nominee Matt Dusk; multiple Juno winner, saxophonist Mike Murley; pianist and recording artist Marilyn Lerner; bassist Artie Roth; Aaron Davis, composer and pianist with the Holly Cole Trio; guitarist Michael Occhipinti and pianist Paul Neufeld, leaders of the award-winning big band NOJO; pianist and vocalist Brenda Earle; and two-time national guitar champion Don Ross.