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“Performing for thirty years as a Canadian musician, Brooke Bentley Blackburn has accumulated a vast repertoire of original compositions.”
Brooke Bentley Blackburn, the primary composer and guitar player of the Toronto-based rhythm and blues ‘Blackburn’ has recently sprouted his solo project ‘The Bentley Collective’. Brooke’s debut album and will consist of blues/groove songs and Ballads that amalgamate the various styles and compositional methods he has acquired throughout his entire career. Playing with the likes of Eugene Smith, Bobby Dean Blackburn (father), Shakura S’Aida, Blackburn and other prominent musicians in the Canadian blues roots scene, Brooke has inherited a writing style that consists of melody, groove and lyrical structure that evolved from the blues tradition. His compositions are based on his personal experiences and his unique guitar style is translated to his audiences in a very bonding and human way.
“Born in Brooklyn, New York, raised in Switzerland and long-time Canadian living in Toronto. Shakura S’Aida is a truly international artist whose involvement in the Canadian music scene has been ongoing for almost 25 years. ”
As a solo artist and 2013 JUNO award nominee, Shakura’s career has spanned genres and countries and taken her to some of the most noted stages in the jazz world. In the past two years alone she has performed in the Caribbean, Moscow, Dubai, Romania, Switzerland, Canada, the United States, Australia, Austria, Italy, Germany, France, Macedonia, Switzerland and helped organize a festival in Kigali, the capital of Rwanda. Whether she’s speaking Swiss-German, French or English, Shakura instantly connects with her audience — and at the same time richly demonstrates the multiculturalism that Canada prides itself on. Along the way, she has enriched the jazz, blues and classic R&B communities with her soulful voice, enthusiastic personality and commitment to her deep soul music.
“An obvious uniqueness that identifies and sets apart the band is that Blackburn is a band of brothers – literally.”
Duane, Brooke, Cory and Robert all share the Blackburn name; a name that has become truly connected to Toronto’s music history. The Blackburn brothers have been playing music together for years and came together as a band naturally. Nominated for the 2016 JUNO Awards Blue Album of the Year, The Blues Community had been sitting on the edge of their seats since 2009 for the next serving of Blackburn and the band quenched the thirst of Canadian listeners, releasing their newest album “Brothers In This World” in March of 2015.
“Participant in the world renowned Banff International Workshop in Jazz and Creative Music, Alex Tait, will play alongside popular Toronto based quartet Heillig Manoeuvre.”
Vocalist, bandleader and composer Alex Tait is the daughter of late Juno award-winning trumpet player and composer Rick Tait, who sparked her love of music at a very young age. In the spring of 2010 Alex was selected to participate in the world-renowned Banff International Workshop in Jazz and Creative Music.
Heillig Manoeuvre is a Toronto-based quartet formed by Manteca bassist/Musical Director Henry Heillig. The band's repertoire is primarily original material which Heillig describes as "friendly, contemporary jazz". Heillig's accomplished bandmates include Alison Young on the sax, Stacie McGregor on the piano and Charlie Cooley on the drums.
“ Joel Johnson, award-winning bluesman from Six Nations, Ontario, is one of Canada’s most electrifying guitarists.”
The Joel Johnson Band provides hard-hitting blues fronted by wailing guitar and solid vocals. A Maple Blues Awards nominee in 2015 for Best New Artist or Group, the Joel Johnson Band also competed in the International Blues Challenge in 2015 and 2013 representing the Grand River Blues Society. He has shared the staged with some of the best in the blues world such as Bob Margolin from the Legendary Muddy Waters Band, Jack De Keyzer, Members from the Legendary Downchild Blues Band, Anthony Gomes, the late great Mel Brown, Jim McCardy of the Yardbirds along with many more. Joel plays a wide variety of high energy style blues, from swing, funk, rock and slide guitar.
“ Jordana Talsky has been trained in opera, musical theatre, world music and acapella, and her influences range from pop, jazz and RnB to Latin.”
Jordana has a unique sound and style and headlines shows at top jazz clubs across the city. Her debut album, released in 2013, continues to receive airplay across Canada, the U.S., Europe and Australia. She was a finalist in the 2014 John Lennon Songwriting Competition and 2014 Sarah Vaughan International Vocal Competition. Talsky is currently recording her sophomore album, set to release in autumn 2016.
“Hamilton- based bluesman and JUNO Winner Steve Strongman is making waves internationally and at home in Canada.”
Steve Strongman’s breakthrough 2012 release was recognized with a JUNO award for Blues Recording Of The Year. In 2010 he was chosen by the Hamilton Spectator as one of Hamilton's "Top 40 under 40" and was featured on the cover of Hamilton Magazine. Steve has shared the stage with the international blues royalty including BB King, Buddy Guy, Jimmie Vaughan, Joe Cocker, Ronnie Earl, Roy Clark and Jeff Healey to name a few. Having established himself as a musical force to be reckoned with, Strongman has quickly moved into the top ranks of Canadian Blues music, and is one of the most compelling young bluesmen in the scene today.
“Alfie Smith is a prolific songwriter, an accomplished performer and talented multi-instrumentalist.”
Known best for his resophonic guitars, brazen slide licks and uncompromising vocals, Alfie is endorsed by several luthiers including Goodman Guitars (who have recently named a guitar model after him) and Goldtone Banjos. He has been nominated for a dozen Hamilton music awards including Best Male Vocalist and Best Guitarist, and has represented Toronto in the Memphis International Blues Challenge. To date, Alfie has released six records. He has been a featured performer at Mariposa, Festival of Friends, Home County, Festival Borealis, Eaglewood, Mill Race, Red Rock, Brampton, Niagara Blues Festival, Harbourfront Blues Festival, Octoberfolk, Orillia Spring Blues, Barriefolk and Orangeville Blues & Jazz festival.
“With over 45 years of entertainment, Jay Douglas has developed a wide-ranging repertoire of American Blues, West Indian Rhythms, Jazz Standards combined with fancy footwork and incredible on-stage charisma.”
Jay Douglas is a dynamic singer with a captivating stage presence. Jay has performed his repertoire of music for audiences around the world, including parts of Europe & Asia. A featured performer at numerous night clubs, resorts, Caribbean and Mediterranean cruise ships, and major hotel chains in Canada and the USA, Jay has also performed at Toronto's Roy Thompson Hall and headlined at the Canadian National Exhibition as well as many annual Toronto events.
“With a career spanning 27 years, nine albums and the winner of the Maple Blues Award for Female Vocalist of the Year for three years straight, Quebec blues belter Angel Forrest is known for her powerful voice. ”
Well known in the Canadian blues scene, Angel has been performed at major festivals in Canada and Europe. She also had the chance to share the stage with many artists including Jarvis Church Burton Cummings, Shawn Phillips, Thornetta Davis, Larry McCray, Eric Burdon and more. There is no question that Angel Forrest is one of the most powerful singers on the contemporary blues scene today. The strength of her performances, her distinctive voice and fiery personality has allowed her to conquer the hearts of thousands of fans around the world.
“Singer-songwriter Andria Simone was born and raised in Toronto, Ontario. Her style can be described as “soul-flavoured”, but she is a lover of many genres.”
Andria Simone’s eclectic taste in music can be partly attributed to the various places she has lived, including Manchester, England and Lviv, Ukraine. She is not a conventional 12-bar blues singer, but she can certainly excel in that format. Since 2012, Andria has performed extensively with her ace young group whom she affectionately dubs “Those Guys”. They comprise bassist Mark Wilson, guitarist Dave Kirby, saxophonist Brian Dhari, and drummer George Nikolov. Word of Andria Simone and Those Guys as live act has spread like wildfire on the Toronto scene, leading to regular sold-out gigs at such major live music venues as Hugh’s Room, Drake Underground, 3030 and Mod Club.
“Pope has been hailed by New Canadian Music as the newest member to the list of talented female jazz singers of Toronto.”
Hailed by New Canadian Music as the newest member on the list of talented young female jazz singers in Toronto, 20-year old Eliza Pope has already broken onto the scene, establishing herself as an up-and-coming talent. Mark Rheaume of CBC Radio claims that, “Pope does an outstanding job putting new life in both standards and more recent fare and - very importantly - adds some new songs of her own to the mix.”
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