Michael Davidson & Dan Fortin / Cris Derksen & Jesse Baird

Tue Jun 25 7:00pm
Ticket Price: 
Free Admission

Presented in collaboration with the Aga Khan Museum

Michael Davidson is a Toronto-based vibraphonist in the improvised, jazz, and creative music scene.

He works with many of the active jazz and improvised music players in Toronto including: David Occhipinti, Nick Fraser, Brodie West, Ryan Driver, Rob Clutton, David French, Harley Card, Andrew Downing, Alex Goodman, Jim Vivian, Darren Sigesmund, Ethan Ardelli, Fabio Ragnelli, Felicity Williams, Dan Fortin, Trevor Giancola, Allison Au, Rebecca Hennessy, David Braid, and Michael Herring.

Michael leads a chamber jazz septet with cello, voice, bass clarinet, vibraphone, alto sax, double bass, and drums. Another compositional outlet is the trio, Digital Watch, featuring Dan Fortin and Davidson French.

He also co-leads the chamber jazz quartet Hobson’s Choice, who in the words of CBC’s The Signal host Laurie Brown,
“...has made a unique contribution to the Canadian scene with their debut album (of the waves). Just when I think I have the sound pegged, they switch things up.”

Michael approaches improvising with passion and stunning sensitivity, as well as Monk-like wit.

"Michael Davidson, is a vibraphonist of remarkable dexterity and wit, whose fascination with Monk’s body of work has led to this weekly ongoing tribute to the jazz piano colossus."
-bob ben for wholenote magazine

He is an active composer in the realm of jazz, and his inventive compositions are featured in The Michael Davidson Septet, Digital Watch and Hobson’s Choice. He has been composing seriously since 2001 and has received funding from The TAC, The OAC, and The CCFTA for his original projects. Recently, Michael composed and recorded a film score for the BravoFact film, "She Sings for Me."

His compositions have received praise from esteemed Canadian jazz drummer/ composer Barry Elmes,
"Not only are his songs creative and well crafted, each one has a story to tell."

Michael is also a devoted educator through his work at Humber College in the jazz program.

You can hear Michael playing around Toronto with The Michael Davidson Septet, Hobson’s Choice, Pocket Camera, Monk’s Music, The Dan Fortin Quartet, Digital Watch, Ben Gunning, Ryan Driver, Andrew Miller's Congruence, Andrew Downing's Otterville, Tara Davidson's Duets, Darren Sigesmund's Strands, and the Jefferson Grant sextet. These ensembles represent the diversity of Michael’s musical interests, spanning from contemporary jazz to chamber to improvised. Both his original material and his interpretation of standard repertoire are evocative and communicative with the intensity of someone who, while madly in love with the tradition, has something new to say.

Bassist Daniel Fortin was born and raised in Peterborough, ON. He has played with, and/or currently plays with: Bernice, Myriad3, The Queer Songbook Orchestra, John Southworth, Serena Ryder, Emilie-Claire Barlow, David Occhipinti, Florian Hofner, Bryn Roberts, July Talk, Allison Au, Devon Sproule, Mike O’Neill, Matt Wilson, Duchess, The LeBoeuf Brothers, Felicity Williams, Melissa Stylianou, Veda Hille, Amanda Tosoff, Alex Goodman, Dave Restivo, Harley Card, and many others.

In a world where almost everything — people, music, cultures — get labelled and slotted into simple categories, Cris Derksen represents a challenge. Originally from Northern Alberta she comes from a line of chiefs from NorthTall Cree Reserve on her father’s side and a line of strong Mennonite homesteaders on her mother’s. Juno nominated classically trained cellist and composer braids the traditional and contemporary, weaving her classical background and her Indigenous ancestry together with new school electronics to create genre-defying music. As composer Cris has a foot in many worlds, 2019 compositions include: Maada’ookii Songlines- a Mass Choral event for 200 singers Commissioned by Luminato, Rebellion - a short symphonic piece commissioned by the Thunder Bay Symphony Orchestra. Iron Peggy- A Vancouver Childrens Fest Performance.

2018 works include: DORA Award for Best Sound Design for Theatre 2018; Kiinalik: these sharp tools, TIFF Premier Biidaaban (the dawn comes) Short Animation Film by Amanda Strong, Ka:hawai Dance Company production of BloodTides, Kamloopa Theatre production, 2018 Banff Centre for the Arts String Quartet Residency White mans cattle And Wood Quintet International 5 bucks per head.

Performing with some of Canada’s elite musicians Cris has performed and Collaborated with Buffy Sainte Marie, Tanya Tagaq, Kanye West, Naomi Klein and A Tribe Called Red, Leanne Simpson, Lightning Dust, e.s.l. to name a few.

Touring nationally and internationally Cris has traveled the globe with performances including: Hong Kong, Mongolia, Darwin Arts Festival (Australia), APAP (NYC), APAM (Australia), Women in (e)motion (Germany), Future En Seine (France), WOMEX (Spain), SXSW (Texas), Riddu Riddu (Norway), Respect Festival, Colors of Ostrava (Czech Republic), Barroquisimo (Mexico), MADE festival, Live at Heart (Sweden). Nationally, Derksen has performed at most Canadian festivals including; Vancouver Island Music Fest, Vancouver Folk Music Festival, Salmon Arm Roots and Blues, Harrison Music Festival, Calgary Folk Fest, Regina Folk Festival, Winnipeg Folk Fest, Aboriginal People’s Choice Music Awards, Luminato Festival, Frostbite Festival, Rifflandia, Prismatic Festival, Dawson City Music Festival, Edmonton Folk Music Festival, Alianait Festiva, JunoFest, the Canadian Aboriginal Music Awards and the 2010 Cultural Olympiad.

Cris obtained a Bachelor of Music in Cello Performance at the University of British Columbia and shared the title of Principal Cellist with the UBC Symphony Orchestra.

Jesse Baird grew up surrounded by the music industry from a young age. A 3rd generation drummer, he studied jazz performance at the University of Toronto & attended the Banff Centre for the Arts. Since then he has travelled the globe touring with acts ranging in styles from jazz, latin, pop and rock music. Some of those performances included the Grammy’s 50th anniversary show, Saturday Night Live and The Tonight Show. He has had the pleasure of working with some of Canada’s pop/rock sensations such as Broken Social Scene, Steven Page (formerly of the Bare Naked Ladies) and Leslie Feist. It was with Feist that he received a Juno Award for his work on her second album ‘the reminder’.

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