Michael Davidson & Dan Fortin / Cris Derksen & Jesse Baird

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

Vibraphonist Michael Davidson (Hobson's Choice, Otterville) and double bassist Dan Fortin (Myriad3, Bernice) are two of Toronto's most in demand musicians. They have been playing together for over a decade: in the experimental jazz-rock band Stop Time; on Fortin's 2015 album Brinks; and in groups lead by the likes of Tara Davidson and Allison Au. Having been hired so often as a team, it made perfect sense for the two to focus on the unique musical aesthetic they've cultivated over the years. Hence, the birth of a new duo and a new album: Clock Radio.
There is no musical setting more intimate than the duo. Each musical gesture is exposed, and without empathic listening on the part of both musicians, it cannot succeed. In the summer of 2017, Davidson traveled to Berlin to study with renowned mallet percussionist David Friedman. In the course of his two month trip, Davidson experimented with a variety of new compositional techniques, and returned to Canada with a new book of songs that he felt best suited the ?exibility of the duo setting. These pieces blur the line between composition and improvisation, and draw equally from jazz, free music, and classical composition.

Clock Radio is an album, through and through: it can be listened to as one long piece, rather than as a collection of disparate songs. Melodic, harmonic, and rhythmic thematic materials recur throughout the entire narrative. The duo creates musical material to engage with feelings of nostalgia: they explore the way a narrative is in?uenced by gestures in the present moment. Each piece is inextricably linked with memories of past thoughts and feelings. This album is an intimate and vibrant portrait of a duo at the height of its expressive powers. The pair seamlessly weave through time and space, ?owing through a lush soundscape of moods and textures. It is as if time is transformed for this brief but uplifting sojourn into a carefully crafted yet spontaneously elastic world of sound.

Presented in collaboration with the Aga Khan Museum

Michael Davidson is a Toronto-based in demand vibraphonist & composer in the improvised, jazz, and creative music scenes. In 2017 he was one of three finalists for the Toronto Arts Foundation's Emerging Jazz Artist Award.

Michael has worked with many of the active jazz and improvised music players in Toronto and internationally including most recently a collaboration with saxophonist Roscoe Mitchell and 2 months of focused study with David Friedman in Berlin, Germany.

With bassist Dan Fortin, he has helped to foster a community of musicians that are exploring the meeting of improvisation and composition with their new independent label, Elastic Recordings, and duo, Clock Radio. Michael 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. He is an active composer in the realm of jazz, and his inventive compositions are featured in Stop Time, The Michael Davidson Septet, Otterville, Clock Radio, and Hobson's Choice. He has been composing seriously since 2001. Michael has received OAC and TAC funding to embark on large scale composition projects for these groups.

Michael's playing has received praise recently for his duo with bassist Dan Fortin, Clock Radio:

"...the musicians marshal their forces with superb discipline, producing a wonderfully fresh sound which also manages to possess the requisite amount of mystery.."

-Raul da Gama, The WholeNote, 2019.

You can hear Michael playing around Toronto with Clock Radio, Mingus Cat-Alog,The Michael Davidson Septet, Hobson's Choice, Pocket Camera, Monk's Music, The Dan Fortin Quartet, The Ryan Driver Sextet, Tara Davidson's Duets, Andrew Downing's Otterville. These ensembles represent the diversity of Michael's musical interests, spanning from contemporary jazz to chamber to improvised.


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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