York jazz Professor Barry Elmes has been a mainstay of the Canadian jazz scene since the early 1980s. A drummer, composer, producer, recording artist and educator, he has performed all over the world and his work has been documented on more than 60 CDs.
On Thursday and Friday, the renowned jazz musician will perform at the Rex Jazz Bar in downtown Toronto with the members of his critically acclaimed group, the Barry Elmes Quintet. The performance celebrates the group’s 20th anniversary and marks the release of their newest CD REDSHIFT
This is the group’s first new release in a decade. REDSHIFT features nine songs, including seven new compositions by Elmes, a Wayne Shorter composition plus an arrangement of a traditional hymn.
Right: Barry Elmes
The music is performed by the quintet’s regular members, a who’s who of the best jazz artists from Canada, including Elmes’ colleagues from York University’s Department of Music, faculty members Mike Murley on tenor saxophone and Kevin Turcotte on trumpet and flugelhorn, Reg Schwager on guitar, Steve Wallace on bass, Elmes on drums and special guest artists York faculty member Kelly Jefferson on flute and tenor saxophone, and Vanessa Rodrigues on the Hammond organ.
The CD’s title REDSHIFT harkens back to Elmes’ love of reading and fascination with astronomy. “Composed in honour of the astronomer Edwin Hubble and his associates whose work in the early 1900s provided convincing evidence that there are galaxies other than our own and that the universe is indeed expanding,” says Elmes. “Photographing the light of stars in distant galaxies Hubble measured the spectral shift toward the red end of the spectrum, or the ‘redshift’. The bigger the redshift, the faster the galaxy is speeding away from us.
“Hubble’s work also provided a practical demonstration of the relationship between time and distance in space and offered substantial evidence for the Big Bang Theory,” says Elmes. “Or put another way, I still experience a sense of wonder when I look up at stars in the sky knowing that everything I see happened a long time ago.”
Elmes has played and/or recorded with many renowned jazz artists including: Tommy Flanagan, Charlie Haden, Hank Crawford, Diana Krall, Joe Henderson, John Abercrombie, Oliver Jones, Phil Nimmons, Dizzy Gillespie and the Moe Koffman Quintet.
His discography includes four previous recordings by the Barry Elmes Quintet (two-time winner of Acoustic Jazz Group of the Year), and recordings by the contemporary jazz quartet Time Warp, which he co-founded and co-leads with York music Professor Al Henderson. His honours include five Jazz Report Awards, two of which are for Jazz Musician of the Year.
In 1992, Elmes represented Canada with Time Warp at the Venezuela International Jazz Festival and was featured with the Oliver Jones Trio on the Governor-General’s Tour of China, Japan and Korea in 1994. In 1996 he performed in Brazil and toured South Africa with the Canadian Jazz Giants. He toured Chile in 2000 with the Barry Elmes Quintet, and celebrated the ensemble’s 10th anniversary with a cross-Canada tour in 2001. He presides over the independent jazz label, Cornerstone Records, and performs frequently at major festivals and jazz clubs.
The performances at the Rex begin at 9:30pm on Thursday and 9:45pm on Friday. There is a cover charge of $9 on Thursday and $10 on Friday.