York music faculty winners at National Jazz Awards

Two of York’s music faculty advanced to the winners’ circle.June 21 at the fourth annual National Jazz Awards in Toronto, which spotlights outstanding Canadian talent in jazz. They are Kevin Turcotte, named Trumpet Player of the Year, and Mike Murley, Saxophonist of the Year (winning over fellow faculty member and nominee Kelly Jefferson). Murley’s CD Extra Time took Album of the Year.

Right: From left, Kevin Turcotte, Kelly Jefferson and Mike Murley

Turcotte is one of Canada’s most sought-after performers on both trumpet and flugelhorn. His distinctive playing can be heard on more than 60 recordings. As a longstanding member of the group Time Warp, co-founded and lead by York jazz professor Barry Elmes, he has toured and recorded extensively in Canada and abroad, and performs regularly in Toronto jazz clubs. He also appears with many other Canadian ensembles. Turcotte teaches trumpet and directs a jazz workshop at York University.

York alumnus Mike Murley (BFA 1986) is recognized as one of Canada’s finest jazz artists. His critically-acclaimed work has placed him at the forefront of the country’s jazz scene for more than a decade. Since winning a Juno Award in 1991 for his CD Two Sides, Murley has appeared on seven other Juno Award-winning recordings and received 20 nominations for other albums as both a leader and a sideman. As well as heading his own quintet, Murley is a member of the Juno Award-winning Rob McConnell Tenet. He has taught part-time in York’s jazz program since 1995.

Right: From left, Richard Whiteman and Mark Eisenman 

The highly celebrated pool of nominees included many York music faculty, who were nominated in 10 categories. Barry Elmes was nominated for Drummer and Producer of the Year and his quintet was in the running for Acoustic Group of the Year. Mark Eisenman and Richard Whiteman competed for Keyboardist of the Year. Lorne Lofsky was among the nominees for Guitarist of the Year, and Kelly Jefferson for Saxophonist of the Year. Mike Murley was nominated for Composer, Instrumentalist, Musician and Saxophonist of the Year, and his quintet was nominated for Acoustic Group of the Year. Many alumni of York’s jazz program were also among the nominees.

Right: From left, Barry Elmes and Lorne Lofsky

National Jazz Award nominees were determined by industry officials, including those working in the fields of radio and television broadcasting, jazz festivals, recording companies, journalism and publicity. Winners were chosen online by jazz fans across the country.

This quintessential jazz celebration was hosted by vocalist Heather Bambrick and pianist Joe Sealy at the Phoenix Concert Hall in Toronto.

For more information visit the National Jazz Awards Web site.