National Youth Jazz Combo 2016

Director: Kirk MacDonald

Anson Cai, Tenor Saxophone, Toronto, ON
Carter Brodkorb, Piano, Vancouver, BC
Evan Gratham, Bass, North Vancouver, BC
Petros Anagnostakos, Drums, Toronto, ON


Sundar Viswanathan's AVATAAR marries modern jazz, Classical Indian music, Brazilian lyricism, atmospheric textures and ambiance, Javanese gamelan, and contemporary improvisation. The music has drawn comparison to Mahavishnu Orchestra, Keith Jarrett with Jan Garbarek, late John Coltrane, and Oregon. The group's mesmerizing blend of rhythmic hypnotism, sonic landscapes and soaring melody marry ancient and modern musical sounds. Petal is Avataar's debut release. Cleverly layered and cinematic in scope, the music drives and swirls through a vast sonic palette.

North Pandemic Groove Quartet

North Pandemic Groove Quartet is Yuya Monma (guitar), Takezo Yamada (trumpet), Shunsuke Ochi (bass) and Taihei (drums). They are the winners of the 2014 Sapporo Jazz Festival, taking first place over 300 contestants. All are in their 20's and come from Hokkaido, Japan. Their main musical focus is on jazz, funk and fusion and this year they released their first CD, North Pandemic Groove.

The National Youth Jazz Combo 2015

Director: Kirk MacDonald

Matt Lagan, Tenor Saxophone, Toronto, ON
Noah Franche-Nolan, Piano, Vancouver, BC
Evan Gratham, Bass, North Vancouver, BC
Teo Srnic, Drums, Toronto, ON

Chelsea McBride's Socialist Night School

Chelsea McBride's Socialist Night School is a unique cross-generational collective of Toronto-based jazz musicians. Award winning veterans like William Carn, Colleen Allen and Brownman Ali stand next to the city's hottest 20-somethings in this contemporary modern big band. Bandleader Chelsea McBride's complex original compositions have been called “picturesque”, “cinematic” and “joyful” by media, and are influenced by the lineage of Bob Brookmeyer, Maria Schneider and Darcy James Argue. The Socialist Night School is a story-telling vehicle for McBride's evocative writing style.


Riverrun is a quartet made up of some of Toronto's strongest musical personalities. Their sound has been described as Electro-chamber-jazz and Minimalist-avant-garde- pop. Cinematic, delving and disciplined, Riverrun cuts across stylistic boundaries and goes deep into the moment.

Yoshihiro Murakawa Quartet

Performing as part of the Youth Jazz Showcase - June 28 11am-2pm at the Toronto Star Stage

Payadora Tango Ensemble

"Each musician is a star soloist in their own right. Playing together has allowed them to develop and mature turning Payadora into a superstar group." - The Whole Note

Christian Li Group from Berklee College of Music

The Christian Li Group plays with a dynamism that breaks down intricate structures into free-floating energy. Compositions are written for and informed by each member of the group. Their idiosyncrasies and diverse backgrounds feed a music that exists for and because of those who experience it. Members of the band are Christian Li, piano; Matthew Halpin, tenor; Zach Brown, bass; Sergio Martinez, percussion; and Roberto Giaquinto, drums.

The National Youth Jazz Combo

2014 National Youth Jazz Combo
Director: Kirk MacDonald

Harrison Argatoff (Kelowna), tenor sax
Zachary Stuckey (Mississauga), guitar
Ben Heard (Ottawa), bass
Daniel Guerrette (Toronto), drums


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