Sundar Viswanathan Ensemble headlines York’s Faculty Concert Series

Versatile jazz woodwind player, vocalist, composer and international touring artist Sundar Viswanathan takes centre stage with an all-star rhythm section in a signature concert Tuesday, Jan. 18 at 7:30pm in the Tribute Communities Recital Hall on York’s Keele campus. The show is the third offering in the Department of Music’s Faculty Concert Series.

Three veterans of Toronto’s jazz scene – pianist David Braid, bassist Andrew Downing and drummer Anthony Michelli, an instructor and PhD candidate at York – join Viswanathan in performances of original world-music-influenced compositions as well as selections from his latest recording, What a Dream I Had… .

Left: Sundar Viswanathan

Released last year at a standing-room only event at Chalker’s Pub in Toronto, What A Dream I Had… features fresh interpretations of jazz standards and popular songs. The crowd-pleasing tracks on the album include Night and Day, I Thought about You and Change Partners. Toronto Star jazz columnist Ashante Infantry described Viswanathan’s vocals on the CD as “a cross between Kurt Elling and Chet Baker” and complimented his performance of the material as being “as commanding live as recorded.”

In addition to his quartet and his world jazz fusion group Avataar, Viswanathan regularly performs with the band Jaffa Road, the 2010 grand prize winner of the John Lennon Songwriting Competition, Toronto Independent Music Award winner for world music and 2010 Juno nominee for best world music recording. Other notable artists with whom he has played, toured or recorded include Wynton Marsalis, the Grammy-nominated Charles Tolliver Big Band, Joe Lovano, Sun Ra Arkestra, Rez Abbasi, Kiran Ahluwalia, Tasa, Billy Hart, Jim McNeely, Jeanne Lee, Al Martino and Kenny Wheeler.

Viswanathan has appeared in clubs and at major festivals across Europe, South Africa and Japan. Closer to home, his performance credits include the Lincoln Center, the Count Basie Invitational Jazz Festival and leading New York City jazz clubs such as the Blue Note and Birdland; Toronto venues including Lula Lounge, Trane Studio, the Rex Hotel, Glenn Gould Studio and Harbourfront Centre; and the Living Arts Centre in Mississauga.

Viswanathan joined the professoriate in York’s Faculty of Fine Arts ten years ago. His concert on Jan. 18 is the third of five performances in the 2010-2011 Faculty Concert Series, spotlighting faculty artists in the Music Department. Upcoming concerts include a classical trio featuring cellist Mark Chambers, violinist Jacques Israelievitch and pianist Christina Petrowska Quilico (Feb. 8) and the Ron Westray Ensemble (March 1).

Tickets are $15, or $5 for students and seniors. Series tickets for a three-concert package cost $30. For tickets, contact the Box Office at 416-736-5888.