Released: June 17, 2016
On A Life In Song
, legendary Canadian singer/songwriter Ian Thomas looks back on a hits-heavy catalogue spanning more than four decades. This is a retrospective with a difference, though. Rather than being simply a greatest hits collection, A Life In Song
marries singer/songwriter, Ian Thomas’s extraordinary body of work with his band and the 70 plus musicians of the acclaimed Prague Philharmonic Orchestra and features dramatic orchestral reinterpretations of Thomas’ musically and lyrically eloquent material.
This grand ambition is executed with both surgical precision and abundant musical passion. Ian rose to the challenge with truly impressive vocal performances, while his ace band added subtle touches that enhance the lush soundscapes.
Recorded, mixed and mastered in hi resolution 24Bit-192kHz audio, A Life In Song
features songs like Painted Ladies, Long Long Way, The Runner, Right Before Your Eyes, Pilot, Hold On and more, that were international hits for both Ian Thomas and such artists as Santana, America and Manfred Mann’s Earth Band, plus more recent material and one brand new composition, “So Cold In The City.”
A Life In Song
is a potent reminder of the lyrical and musical genius of this superb songsmith. The result is a record destined to both thrill longtime fans and enchant new converts.View One Sheet (PDF)
Released: June 3, 2016
Welcome to the Monkey House. This acclaimed project is the brainchild of singer/songwriter/arranger/producer Don Breithaupt, and, nearly 25 years into its career, Monkey House has recorded its strongest work yet
Left, the fifth Monkey House album, is the follow-up to the 2012 album Headquarters. That recording made believers out of some internationally renowned musicians who were then eager to participate in Left. That elite grouping includes LA session great Jay Graydon, guitar ace Elliott Randall (Steely Dan), and jazz star Donny McCaslin (David Bowie), while returning guests include current Steely Dan members Drew Zing and Michael Leonhart.
Left is more than just a collection of songs, it’s a fully formed and compelling work of art. Don explains "I view the making of an album as part of the art form. It is meant to be cohesive, something that musically and sonically sounds like one body of work.” He has accomplished exactly that here.View One Sheet (PDF)
Released: May 6/16 (CD) - May 20 (Digital)
Moons is the sound of a group totally at ease with itself and the music it wants to create.
To be released on Alma Records on May 6 (CD) and May 20 (Digital) this is the consistently compelling and charming third album from Myriad3, an eclectic jazz-rooted trio comprising skilled composers and instrumentalists having a blast making music together.
Five years of intensive work have paid off in the forging of a deep personal and creative empathy between pianist Chris Donnelly, bassist Dan Fortin, and drummer Ernesto Cervini. As a result, their compositions are explored intuitively, not intellectually. Donnelly explains that “when we get together to rehearse, we just brainstorm and play.”
Out of these spontaneous beginnings, the carefully crafted and road-tested compositions on Moons gradually emerged. In the fiercely democratic Myriad3, each member brings material to the group that is then collectively hammered (or caressed) into shape.
Adding to the comfort level audible on Moons is the fact it was recorded with the same team of producer Peter Cardinali and engineer John ‘Beetle’ Bailey featured on the first two Myriad 3 albums, 2012’s Tell and 2014’s The Where. This album was recorded at Toronto’s elite Noble Street Studios. Over the course of last summer and then with European and Japanese shows in November, Myriad3 gave these new compositions a good workout in performance, prior to bringing them into the studio.
Comparing Moons to the two earlier albums, Dan notes that “the material here is pretty different, and I’d say more thoroughly composed than The Where. I believe we have evolved with each album.” Chris concurs, adding that “Tell is rather a live off the floor record, with The Where being more of a transition to where we are now with Moons.”
Adding a refreshing variety to Myriad3’s material is the fact all three members have different compositional methods. Fortin explains that “we all write with our own distinctive style but we’re very much informed by the others. I write a very different kind of song for this band compared to other projects, and Chris and Ernesto’s songwriting is a real influence on me.”
The concise tunes on Moons take the listener on an intriguing journey. “There are some tunes on here I call slow burns, with things changing slowly and gradually,” says Ernesto. “Stoner,” for instance, is gently meditative as befits the title, but with plenty of intriguing subtle shifts, while Cervini’s title track composition is soothingly tranquil.
Already a crowd favourite, “Skeleton Key” has an insistent yet melodic feel, while “Brother Dom” and “Sketch 8” are more dramatic and assertive in tone. The one cover here, “Counter of the Cumulus” is by electronic artist Disasterpeace, and its choice reflects the freshly contemporary and cutting-edge outlook of Myriad3.
A dynamic act in performance, Myriad3 have successfully toured Canada, the US, and Europe multiple times and are making inroads in Japan and Asia. Their Canadian profile was boosted in 2015 when The Where was nominated for a Juno Award (the Canadian equivalent of a Grammy).
Chris, Dan and Ernesto are passionately committed to Myriad3. While they set their focus on a bright future, it is time for us to luxuriate in the musical glow of Moons.View One Sheet (PDF)
Released: August 5, 2014
"CANADA'S EMERGING LATIN MUSIC QUEEN" - 680 News, Toronto
"A major international talent that's on its way..." - Toronto Star
"Musical class on an international level meets driving South American rhythms and first class Latin"
- Hamburg Morning Daily
"Poetry and Rhythm - subtle, strong, elegant, sophisticated yet simple and honest, that is how I would describe Eliana Cuevas' singing, stage presence and music. She impresses with her strength but is never forceful. South American rhythms, poetry and jazz are all elements of her music, which obviously flows from the core of her being" - The Live Music Report
"Ms. Cuevas has pushed her skills to the limit... Despite its pop appeal, Espejo is a wonderful revelation of the artistry of Eliana Cuevas. It is indeed a wonderful reflection of her expressive musicality as well as the depth of her spirituality and soulfulness" - Latin Jazz NetworkView One Sheet (PDF)
Released: September 25, 2015
One of the signatures of internationally-acclaimed Toronto jazz trio Myriad3 is their sense of creative adventurousness and musical open-mindedness. That is dramatically showcased now with the re-creation of their 2012 debut release Tell, as a chiptunes album.
With the support of his bandmates, bassist Dan Fortin and drummer Ernesto Cervini, Chris Donnelly was the mastermind behind this album. To create Tell((chip)), he had to download virtual instruments and experiment with different layers of software to come up with authentic chip sounds. "Each track took 50 to 60 hours of work," he recalls. "A note for note translation from the original just wouldn't work, so I ended up reinventing an orchestra for each track, tweaking each one to explore the possibilities."
The time was well spent, as the results are striking. To take a trip into a fascinating new musical world, check out Tell((chip)) today.
Released: Sept 2, 2014
Call them “modern standards.” The compositions of the prolific and terrific songwriting team of Jeff and Don Breithaupt are clearly modeled on the classic compositions of that golden age of songwriting represented in the Great American Songbook. Like such role models as The Gershwins, Rodgers & Hart and Cole Porter, these talented siblings devote themselves to the marriage of lovingly crafted melodies and well-honed lyrics, all arranged intricately, then sung by the cream of the crop of the pop and jazz singers of the era.
Just check out this elite crew, featuring many Grammy and Juno Award winners, platinum-selling and internationally acclaimed artists: Kellylee Evans, Denzal Sinclaire, Emilie-Claire Barlow, Ron Sexsmith, Jackie Richardson, Heather Bambrick, Marc Jordan, Paul Shaffer, Sophie Milman, Laila Biali, Sarah Slean, Monkey House, Patricia O’Callaghan, Ian Thomas, and Tyley Ross. Whew!View One Sheet (PDF)
Released: October 28, 2014
On Home for the Holidays, Joey DeFrancesco and his comrades bring fresh life to these Christmas favorites, while respecting the core melodies that have made them so popular. "The thing about a jazz Christmas album is that you play the melodies pretty much intact," he explains. "I stuck to the harmonic element of the melodies, but then you go into the improvisation on the solos. That is when we take our liberties." A fine example of DeFrancesco's refreshing approach to the material is his transformation of "Blue Christmas," the closing song on The Party. The potent combination of fluent piano and guitar, resonant tenor saxophone and Joey's virile vocals chase away the melancholy of the lyrics, turning the tune into a vibrant and upbeat delight. His sensitive and serious side is revealed on The Tradition, with his tasteful and moving solo organ renditions of "O Come All Ye Faithful," "Away In A Manger," and "O Holy Night."
Home for the Holidays is actually a double album, a treasure trove of some 23 tunes. Disc One (entitled The Party) features many of the most popular Christmas and holiday songs ever recorded. "This has the typical Christmas party songs," says Joey, and the list includes such favorites as "Rudolph The Red Nosed Reindeer," "Merry Christmas Baby," "Home for the Holidays," "Santa Claus Is Coming To Town," and "Blue Christmas."
Fitting snugly alongside these tunes are two superb new original DeFrancesco compositions, the title track, "Home for the Holidays," and "Christmas at 3 a.m." DeFrancesco calls Disc Two (The Tradition) "the more traditional liturgical side of Christmas music." Here, he reprises such beloved hymns and carols as "O Come All Ye Faithful," "The First Noel," and "Silent Night," while infusing them with his distinctive musical dynamism.
DeFrancesco grew up listening to such '60s-era Hammond organ-based Christmas albums as Jimmy Smith's Christmas Cookin', Don Patterson's Holiday Soul and Jimmy McGriff's Christmas With Jimmy McGriff. He has done his influences proud by coming up with a thrilling new Christmas classic, one similarly destined to stand the test of time. This is an album you definitely must take Home for the Holidays.View One Sheet (PDF)
Released: June 17, 2014 (Canada), September 2, 2014 (USA)
Myriad3 exploded onto the international jazz scene with the release of their debut album, Tell, in late 2012. This introduced the world to an exciting new trio whose sound is greater than the sum of its individual seriously-talented parts. The trio comprises pianist Chris Donnelly, bassist Dan Fortin, and drummer Ernesto Cervini. Tell earned Myriad3 impressive airplay in Canada and the U.S. (where it topped the CMJ charts for three weeks). It made the band a critic's favorite, and led to successful tours across Canada, the U.S. and Europe. So Where to next?
Onward and upwards is the answer to that query. Any talk of a sophomore slump or jinx is extinguished upon first listen to the second Myriad3 album, The Where. This is the sound of a group compelled to experiment and progress, not rest on their laurels. Known for their prowess in performance, they've been booked by some major jazz festivals across Canada in June and July. A second U.S tour is set for September, followed by their second foray into Europe.
Myriad3 is a band looking ahead, not back. Following their progress to who knows where is guaranteed to be a really exciting journey.
Released: February 4, 2014
The highly anticipated release of Mosaic: Classical Guitar Favourites, from classical guitarist Michael Kolk confirms that his serious potential as a musician combining masterful technique and superb musical instincts is now fully realized.
The album contains a nice variety of different eras and genres. Michael works his finger-fueled magic on pieces from composers ranging from Bach to Debussy to Villa-Lobos and the Spanish composers for whom he has special affection, such as Isaac Albeniz, whose classic compositions Rumores de la Caleta and Granada are reprised reverently here, as well as a couple of pieces that are not normally heard on the guitar.
Bach has long been a key component in Kolk's repertoire. "He is a staple of the classical guitar," Michael explains. "Bach is one of those composers where as guitarists we try to prove ourselves worthy to play his music. His compositions are so masterful, and you just try to do them justice."
Kolk’s sense of musical adventure is showcased on the gorgeous Debussy piano preludes, The Girl With The Flaxen Hair and Danseuses de Delphes. "I find it is very exciting to play Debussy on the guitar. They are piano pieces but the guitar really lends a new kind of sound palette,” he notes.
Capturing the beautiful subtleties of Kolk's effortlessly fluent and graceful playing was the acclaimed team of producer Peter Cardinali and engineer John 'Beetle' Bailey. They set up shop in the famed Toronto venue The Glenn Gould Studio, a space noted for its superb acoustics. "It was so quiet it was almost alarming at first. Every nuance comes out, and I really enjoyed playing there,” says Michael.View One Sheet (PDF)
Released: July 30, 2013
Ian's large and loyal musical audience will be simply delighted at Little Dreams. It reaffirms his reputation as a songwriting craftsman with a rare gift for both memorable melodies and genuinely insightful and eloquent lyrics.
Recording sessions took place at Revolution and The Drive Shed studios in Toronto, with The Drive Shed's John Bailey recording and mixing Little Dreams. The all-star cast of players bringing Ian's songs to life included the dynamic rhythm section of bassist Cardinali and drummer Jorn Andersen, guitar wizard Kevin Breit, pianist Gary Breit, and keyboard ace Robi Botos, with guests Murray McLauchlan, Molly Johnson and Marc Jordan.
Songwriting is a dream Ian Thomas has pursued since he was a teenager. "I go with the idea that songwriting is more of an affliction than a talent. It doesn’t matter if you sell any records or not. You write songs because it is who you are. It has been my passion since I was 15." His skill as a songwriter has been acknowledged by some of the biggest names in rock and pop. Just check this out for a partial list of those who have recorded (and had hits with) his songs: Bon Jovi, Santana, Manfred Mann, America, Chicago, Bette Midler and Anne Murray.
As a solo artist, Ian was one of Canada's biggest stars in the 1970s. He won a Juno Award for Most Promising Male Vocalist in 1974, then delivered on that potential with hit record after hit record such as top 40 Billboard hit "Painted Ladies," "Hold On," "The Runner" and multiple gold albums.
Now, Little Dreams confirms that he is writing and singing better than ever. For that, we can be very grateful.
Released: November 13, 2012
Myriad3 was an accident. Chris, Dan, and Ernesto had never played together until a few substitutions and a twist of fate put them on stage together for the first time in late 2010. Since then, they have dedicated their considerable talents on a joint project that has rapidly attracted serious attention - modern jazz, meets classical, meets pop, meets Oscar Peterson.
Myriad3 is composed of pianist Chris Donnelly, bassist Dan Fortin, and drummer Ernesto Cervini. The group's creative chemistry became instantly apparent, and Myriad3 quickly became a real priority for all three players. The fact that they have already toured nationally and internationally and completed an album in just 18th months together testifies to that commitment.
And what a debut record Tell is. It is indeed rare for a new ensemble to come up with a signature sound as quickly and compelling as this. Defining that sound isn't an easy task, as classical and pop influences can be detected and woven into its jazz based fabric. They certainly live up to the dictionary definition of myriad: composed of numerous diverse elements or facets.
Monkey House, the slick, funky brainchild of Emmy-winning songwriter/producer Don Breithaupt, is an oasis of pop smarts and jazz harmony in a by-the-numbers world. Headquarters, the band's first new album since 2005, includes guests like Steely Dan veterans Michael Leonhart and Drew Zingg, and Canadian guitar heroes Kim Mitchell and Rik Emmett. Named for a 1970 Kurt Vonnegut book, Monkey House began in 1992 as a vehicle for songs Breithaupt considered "maybe too quirky to cover." Years of accolades (including ten CSJA nods) and multi-genre airplay (AC, jazz, pop, AAA, smooth jazz) followed.
"Catch A Corner", by "Cinque" (pronounced "Cheen-kwe") features a who's who of jazz and R&B/funk musicians - Steve Gadd on drums, Joey DeFrancesco on Hammond B3 organ, Peter Cardinali on bass, Robi Botos on piano and Fender Rhodes, and Johnny Johnson on tenor, alto, soprano and baritone saxes. The groups' first release spans across a wide musical landscape - from smoking B3 trio jazz, to down and dirty funk and R&B.
2010 was the 100th anniversary of Django Reinhardt's birth, and Les Doigts de l'Homme wanted to celebrate their main inspiration by returning to their Gypsy Jazz roots with "1910". On this, their third album, and in their current live act, they put on a new show around Django's repertoire but with the Les doigts de l'Homme touch. The arrangements are complex, inspired and beautiful. Wanting to create a collection of music that is popular and accessible for the mass public, the interpretation remains fluid, clear and musical. The emotion, the sensibility and the dream is omnipresent.