For half a century, jazz music was the first musical language of North American culture, but jazz evolved into rock’n’roll, country, and pop music as the culture shifted. To many ears, especially young ones, jazz music is challenging. Not because it’s difficult or because it’s obtuse, despite what some might say, but because it requires context; a context lost to time.
The Brampton non-profit, B-Jazzed, looks to provide this context. They want to build a bridge back to the music that our modern culture was built on.
“B-Jazzed has created an awareness of jazz music and its musicians that has simply never existed before in the city of Brampton,” explains B-Jazzed Artistic Director, Carmen Spada.
One of the ways it does this is by co producing the “Sessions at Studio 2” concert series with the Rose Theatre. Designed to bring Canada’s premiere musicians to Brampton, it’s inaugural season comes to close this May 21 with the JUNO-award winning ensemble, The North.
The North features Canadian jazz stalwarts Mike Murley, on sax, and pianist David Braid in tandem with a scandinavian rhythm section featuring Anders Morgensen on drums and Johnny Aman on bass. After touring together for a brief while, the group recorded and released a record of original music that just won the JUNO for best Jazz album.
“About a decade ago David Braid and I both started setting up work in Copenhagen through some mutual connections,” explains Murley. “Anders and Johnny often set up Scandinavian tours with various visiting American artists so we were very happy when they offered to do the same for us in 2016.”
It might be tempting to dismiss a Canadian/Scandanavian fusion as enigmatic or even hard to notice, but the group has been thrilling audiences since they first played together.
“There is a strong Scandinavian tradition in rhythm sections that is rooted in a different perspective than traditional North American rhythm sections,” says Murley. “Simply put, it is a different approach to time feel, often lighter and more interactive than traditional North American approaches to swinging.”
This difference is appealing to both Murley and Braid. Canadian jazz is often quite similar to American jazz, for obvious reasons, but they relished the notion of embracing a more European approach.
“I think geography can definitely influence the music,” says Murley, “but really it is difficult to generalize any of this in the global village of 2019. Anders is a solid, swinging drummer and Johnny is a real anchor in the band, as all great bassists are.”
Of course, Murley and Braid have developed their own rapport from years of playing together.
“I have toured and recorded and collaborated with David for the past two decades,” says Murley. “He is one of my favourite musicians anywhere!”
As for the show, they’re excited to be bringing The North to Brampton.
“The audience in Brampton will have an opportunity to hear what I think is a wonderful international musical collaboration of creative yet accessible jazz music.” says Murley. “The fact that the band has toured as frequently as we have in the past few years has only served to deepen our musical rapport.”
The folks at B-Jazzed are very excited to bring The North to Brampton too.
“Brampton features an enthusiastic and appreciative audience of jazz supporters, who are eager to engage,” says Spada. “B-Jazzed is proud to facilitate these opportunities.”
The North: featuring Mike Murley and David Braid perform at the Rose Theatre May 21 at 8pm.
Tickets are available by calling (905) 874-2800 or online here.