Time Warp Jazz Orchestra brings it home to York University

Time Warp, one of Canada’s best known and longest running jazz ensembles, takes centre stage in a celebratory performance at York University on Tuesday, Oct. 6. 

The Time Warp quartet was founded in 1980 by drummer Barry Elmes (MA ’05) and bassist Al Henderson (BA ’76, MFA ’83), who both studied in York’s groundbreaking jazz program. Going on to forge stellar individual careers as performers and composers, they also continued their collaboration as co-leaders of the quartet.

 Above: Members of Time Warp get ready for their Oct. 6 show at York University

Today, Elmes and Henderson are leading lights of the Canadian jazz scene and Time Warp has achieved international renown. With nine CDs under its belt, extensive tours and numerous accolades (including winning the Jazz Report Award for Acoustic Jazz Group of the Year four times), the band has inspired a generation of fans.

Time Warp’s unique style and highly original repertoire reflects musical influences spanning the entire history of jazz and beyond. Known particularly for its own compositions and its fresh interpretations of the works of Duke Ellington, the ensemble has always pushed the boundaries of the genre. Long before the term “world music” was widely known, Time Warp was drawing on musical and cultural influences from around the globe, including the rhythms and harmonic structures of West African music, Japanese koto music, Hungarian folk songs, North American urban funk rhythms and New Orleans parade music, to create its distinctive sound.

All four members of Time Warp are currently on faculty in York University’s Department of Music. Elmes chairs the department, Henderson directs the York University Jazz Orchestra, and Kevin Turcotte (trumpet) and Kelly Jefferson (saxophone) teach in the jazz program.

The quartet will be joined by 11 other leading artists to form the Time Warp Jazz Orchestra for its one-night-only performance.

Two of the guests are Time Warp alumni: saxmen Bob Brough, a charter member who played with the group throughout the ’80s, and Mike Murley (BFA Spec. Hons. ’86), a 15-year veteran of Time Warp and a graduate of York’s music department, where he now heads the jazz studies area.

All the other guest artists in the big band are currently teaching and/or studying in York’s music program. Saxophonists David Mott and Sundar Viswanathan, vocalist Karen Burke, trumpeter Bill Thomas, cellist Mark Chambers and trombonist Ron Westray, the newly appointed Oscar Peterson Chair in Jazz Performance, are all full-time faculty. Cellist and York PhD candidate Matt Brubeck, guitarist Lorne Lofsky and pianist Mark Eisenman teach in the jazz program.

The orchestra’s Oct. 6 concert will feature the world premiere performance of new arrangements for large ensemble of several favourites from the Time Warp repertoire, including Theme for Coleman Hawkins, Nima na Kombo, Gridlock, Reincarnation of Rat Boy and Henderson’s Ellingtonia suite. The concert will be recorded for a future CD release.

The Time Warp Jazz Orchestra performance is a U50 event, celebrating York University’s 50th anniversary.

The performance begins at 7:30pm and will take place in the Tribute Communities Recital Hall, Accolade East Building, on York’s Keele campus. Concert tickets are $15 each. Admission for students and seniors is $5.

For more information, visit the York University Box Office Web site or call 416-736-5888.