The Ecstasy of Becoming
Flying Pooka!  •  The Ecstasy of Becoming
Released: October 6, 2023
Sometimes the best musical collaborations are created by chance. Juno-winning pianist and composer Florian Hoefner took a leap of faith when he moved to remote St. John’s in Canada’s easternmost province, Newfoundland and Labrador, in 2014. While the beauty and remoteness of the place greatly inspired his artistic output, the size of its jazz scene at that time required Hoefner to mostly rely on his existing connections from his time in Berlin, New York City and Toronto for his musical projects. It was a great surprise when just before the pandemic, interdisciplinary wind and vocal improviser Dani Oore ended up in St. John’s for a posting as postdoc with IICSI (the International Institute for Critical Studies in Improvisation). The two had briefly met once before and never played music together. At a brief informal jam the synergy between their musical concepts became immediately apparent and they began performing together as a duo. Being grounded on an island during the pandemic strengthened their musical bond, and they emerged with a recording of fully improvised music on the highest imaginative plane, something that felt whole, a story from beginning to end. 

The Pooka is a shapeshifting creature known in Celtic and Northern European cultures to take people on wild rides. On their new album The Ecstasy of Becoming, Oore and Hoefner surrender themselves to a Flying Pooka, inviting you to join them on its spellbinding journey. Oore flows seamlessly between horn and impassioned glossolalic vocals, often in the midst of a single phrase. His sounds issue directly from deep within the soul together with Hoefner’s complex and expansive harmonies and soundscapes. 

Fully improvised music that simultaneously sustains tonality and shifting harmonies is rarely encountered outside of solo contexts. Yet, everything on The Ecstasy of Becoming is a first take because there was no pre-planning of musical material for any part of the recording. Instead, each composition, and their combined arc, emerged in real-time: an unfolding process of intuitive listening, bursting with effervescent melodies, harmonic sophistication, and structural depth. The result is raw, elegant, bold, fragile, playful — a story of vulnerable transformation —and a way of listening that could nourish a divided world. 
Their song names emerge (capitalized) within a poem:
Part I: Becoming
from a Primordial Puddle, prebiotic abyss
carbons, microbes, sponges and the apple, Little Awakenings
terrestrial invasions Water to Land; floating, swimming, crawling, and dancing
neck wrenching salt pillar, Chasing Loss
praise. what remains but Sweet Love and Broke Memory?
agonal breath, Death Dances, transmission
the Soul Surfaces

While this story of transformation has a part deux — a sequel that’s already mastered with plans for future release— their forthcoming international tours will keep pace with still newer developments in their sonic palette.
Night and Day (The Cole Porter Songbook)
Adi Braun  •  Night and Day (The Cole Porter Songbook)
Released: 09/15/2023
Adi's most ambitious album yet, Night and Day (The Cole Porter Songbook) is a collaboration with Emmy-winning Canadian keyboardist, songwriter, producer, and arranger Don Breithaupt (Monkey House). The pair had long had a mutual admiration for each other's work, as Don explains."Adi was one of the first singers to record songs by the Breithaupt Brothers, on her 2005 album The Rules Of The Game, and I've always respected her sound, her nuance as an interpreter, and her international approach to jazz.

"I contacted her in 2021, as I had a feeling I could help her cook something great. The minute we zeroed in on the Cole Porter songbook, a bottomless well of great melodies and lyrics, we had our focus." The material on Night and Dayneatly showcases the broad emotional and musical range of Cole Porter's work, as exemplified in the title. Adi explains that "I find his songs illuminate different aspects of love, in a fascinating way."The tunes Braun interprets here range from light and bubbly romps to such powerfully emotional songs as "Love For Sale" and "In The Still Of The Night."
Cry Me A River
Hilario Duran and his Latin Jazz Big Band  •  Cry Me A River
Released: 09/08/2023
Hilario Durán brings the full scope of his artistry, the depth of knowledge of musical genres in the perfect storm of big artistry on Cry Me A River. The celebrated Cuban-Canadian composer and piano-master Hilario Durán leads his 19 piece ensemble with special guests Paquito D'Rivera & Horacio "El Negro" Hernández in a stellar big band recording - the first in 17 years.

Hilario Durán brings the full scope of his artistry, the depth of knowledge of musical genres in the perfect storm of big artistry on Cry Me A River. The nine works on this recording are born of Durán’s Afro-Cuban cultural topography but are also informed by his gifts for bending tradition and infusing his arrangements with unfettered improvisation.

Through the course of the album the Grammy-nominated and Juno Award-winning Durán actively throws overboard melodic, harmonic, and structural hooks that have become expressively blunted through overuse, building big band charts from what might – or might not – be left in the musical continuum.

“I have waited almost twenty years to record another big band album,” Durán says. “But there was plenty of preparation for this moment,” Durán reveals. He refers to the four radio broadcasts of his compositions and arrangements with the great WDR Big Band in Koln, Germany. “It was great to showcase my music and to ‘workshop’ some new arrangements... aspects of the craft I learned working with the Orquesta Cubana de Música Moderna in Habana which I inherited from Chucho Valdés… So much to be grateful for the gift of music… it seemed that the time is right for this new album, Cry Me A River,” Durán muses.

Durán integrates a myriad of genres into his singular style on the album – traversing innovations that have made his music uniquely breathtaking. He points to Claudia, a song he arranged while he was touring as Musical Director with Valdés, and features D’Rivera on alto saxophone, as Dizzy Gillespie’s Night in Tunisia. Fantasia Impromptu is a kind of jazz-meets classical scherzo featuring D’Rivera on clarinet. “It is our way of honoring the classics – in this case, Chopin,” Durán says.

Of the title song, Cry Me A River Durán says: “Elizabeth Rodríguez is just fantastic on violin. In her solo she plays deep in the Cuban tradition and follows that with an incredible improvisation!” he says. “Pacá por Juanito is a tribute to Juanito Márquez,” Durán explains, “He was one of the greatest musicians of Cuba the conductor of Orquesta de la Radio y Televisión in the 60’s. I learned how to arrange for big band, by studying his scores for that orchestra.” Another original is Mambo y Tumbao. “Here, I highlight both traditional forms (mambo) and the revolutionary innovators of Cuban music – the great Bebo Valdés, who invented the ‘batanga’ rhythm, and the influential bandleader Pérez Prado. And of course, I Remember Mingus is a tribute to Charles Mingus, the great composer, bassist, and bandleader. Check out Marc Rogers’ solo here,” Durán says enthusiastically.

One name missing from the performance credits is Yailin Durán, the bandleader’s daughter. “She taught me all about hand-movements… everything I know about conducting,” Durán explains. “I owe the deepest gratitude to her for all my big band music… for Cry Me A River.”

Produced by Peter Cardinali
Recorded at Noble St. Studios by John “Beetle” Bailey
Mixed at the Drive Shed
Seré Libre
Eliana Cuevas with the Angel Falls Orchestra  •  Seré Libre
Released: May 12, 2023
Seré Libre, the new album from acclaimed Venezuelan-Canadian artist Eliana Cuevas is a stunning production with the Angel Falls Orchestra, named after the world’s tallest waterfall, located in Auyán-tepui, Canaima National Park, Venezuela. “I created this 27- piece orchestra, as it was the one missing piece to realize my dream of fusing the incredibly rich traditions of Venezuelan folk rhythms and classical music.”

“We also wanted to make a point of choosing songs that accentuate Afro-Venezuelan rhythms,” explains award winning arranger, producer, conductor Jeremy Ledbetter, “To combine those with the European classical format has allowed Eliana to share with the world the cultural richness of her country.”

Seré Libre is the seventh entry in Eliana Cuevas’s eclectic discography, one that has brought her wins at the National Jazz Awards, the Toronto Independent Music Awards, and the Independent Music Awards in the US. Her boldest artistic statement to date, it will reward your close attention.

"Musical class on an international level meets driving South American rhythms and first class Latin."
The Toronto Star
Front Street Duets
Hilario Duran - David Virelles  •  Front Street Duets
Released: October 14, 2022
Internationally Acclaimed Cuban Jazz Pianists and Composers Hilario Duran and David Virelles Present a Collection of Virtuosic Collaborations
on Front Street Duets

Front Street Duets, set for release on ALMA Records on November 4 (October 14 in Canada), is a compelling collaboration of two internationally acclaimed Cuban jazz pianists and composers, Hilario Duran and David Virelles. This collection of piano duets features the virtuosic playing of two musicians in peak form. Duran and Virelles have a musical and personal relationship dating back over two decades, but this is their most extensive project to date.

The Toronto-based Duran is a towering figure in Cuban music. Over a career now spanning over 45 years, he has won three Juno Awards and earned a Grammy nomination (for 2006’s From the Heart, by Hilario Durán and his Latin Big Band). His extensive discography includes work as a solo artist, and in duo, small group and big band settings, and he has also achieved distinction in the classical and chamber music worlds.

Now based in New York City after a stint in Toronto, Virelles records as a solo artist for such labels as ECM and Pi Recordings. He has collaborated extensively with such noted musicians as Andrew Cyrille, Bill Frisell, Henry Threadgill, Steve Coleman, and Ravi Coltrane, and last year he won the prestigious Herb Alpert Awards in the Arts.

When ALMA head and album producer Peter Cardinali presented the concept to Duran and Virelles a couple of years ago, both instantly agreed. “This album is very special because I had the privilege to work with David,” Duran explains. “He is the most important Cuban piano player of this new generation, and now he has so much success in the New York City scene, playing with great jazz stars and doing his own projects.”
Remember The Audio
Monkey House  •  Remember The Audio
Released: July 15, 2022
The world has changed a lot since 1992, when Don Breithaupt first collected an album’s worth of his irresistibly hooky and jazzy pop songs and formed Monkey House. Since then, the talented and prolific Los Angeles-based singer, songwriter, composer, arranger, and producer has stamped the band’s Kurt Vonnegut-inspired moniker on five albums of original material, including Headquarters (2012), Left (2016) and Friday (2019), the latter a blazing tour de force which topped the iTunes jazz chart and went to #11 on the Billboard Contemporary Jazz Albums chart.

Now, to mark their thirtieth anniversary, Monkey House presents their most accomplished and exciting set yet, Remember The Audio, on which Breithaupt is joined by his A-List wrecking crew of Mark Kelso on drums, Pat Kilbride on bass, Justin Abedin on guitar, and guests including trumpeters Randy Brecker, Guido Basso and Michael Leonhart, guitarist Drew Zingg, and singers Lucy Woodward and David Blamires. After years of fluid lineups, Breithaupt says he had an epiphany back in 2011 while rounding up the usual suspects to make Headquarters: “Hey, wouldn’t it be nice if this coalesced into a steady band?”
Desert Bloom
Florian Hoefner Trio  •  Desert Bloom
Released: June 3, 2022
In this sequel to his award-winning, Juno-nominated album, “First Spring,” German-Canadian pianist/composer Florian Hoefner delivers another powerhouse performance on “Desert Bloom”, to be released worldwide June 3rd on Alma Records.

With striking new compositions and inspired arrangements, Hoefner’s hallmark lyricism and knack for suspenseful dramaturgy are on full display. With “Desert Bloom,” it is clear that Hoefner has taken complete advantage of the opportunity to deepen and strengthen his compositional craft. The result is an exceptional new album.
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Alfie Zappacosta  •  Saved
Released: February 5, 2021
Few recording artists deliver some of their finest work in the fifth decade of their career, but that is clearly the case with Saved, the new solo release from award-winning, platinum selling Alfie Zappacosta, out on Alma/Universal on February 5, 2021, bringing his deep catalogue to 16 albums. Saved will be available on CD, Streaming, Digital + Hi Res Digital Platforms.

The first single, Saved, from this gorgeous album comes out on January 8, 2021.
Listen Here!

Zappacosta is at the very top of his game here, as a singer, a songwriter and producer. There is that rich soaring voice that has always been his signature, one that, like a fine Amarone Italian red wine, has improved with age, gaining a new degree of resonance evident on Saved.

From soulful and romantic ballads like “Always Near,” “Unspoken,” and “Here In My Heart,” to the gospel-tinged “Saved,” and the upbeat and jazzy “Had Enough” and playful “This Place In Time,” Alfie’s versatile vocals never miss a step. The diversity of tempos and tones on Saved always keeps things interesting.

The songs draw from pop, jazz and rock elements, and reflect Alfie’s current mandate: “I’m a writer and I like to write as many different kinds of songs as I can. Once upon a time, record labels would want you to have a certain style so they knew how to market you, but now I can do anything I want.”

Zappacosta’s solo catalogue has certainly justified the faith shown in naming him Most Promising Artist at the 1988 Juno awards. That year, he won a second Juno, Album of The Year, for his hit second record, A-Z.

That same milestone year brought Alfie multi-platinum success with “Overload,” a song he co-wrote with Marco Luciani and recorded for the soundtrack of the Patrick Swayze movie, Dirty Dancing. That album sold over 42 million copies, and earned Zappacosta an American Music Award.

Rather than resting on past laurels, Alfie Zappacosta continues to forge ahead in compelling fashion. He is eager to perform again for his loyal audience in Canada, and beyond. Until then, you are strongly urged to take a listen and get Saved!
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El Curruchá
Eliana Cuevas feat. Aquiles Báez  •  El Curruchá
Released: February 12, 2021
On her new album, El Curruchá, featuring Aquiles Báez, renowned Venezuelan-Canadian singer/songwriter Eliana Cuevas returns to her roots, offering up a nostalgic homage to the music she grew up listening to in her homeland of Venezuela. The result is a beautifully intimate performance, by turns playful and deeply emotional, featuring virtuosic guitar and vocal work.

The passion and soul at the heart of Venezuelan music is brought to vivid life here. These melody-rich songs will, at various turns, make you want to laugh, cry, dance and sing along, as they explore a full gamut of emotion in intoxicating fashion.

El Curruchá (set for a February 12, 2021 worldwide release on ALMA Records), is a generous 13-song collection featuring imaginative new versions of classic Venezuelan songs of the last 30-50 years. Eliana stresses that “the focus of this album is to showcase traditional compositions from Venezuela. Venezuelan music is a universe of sounds and rhythms as rich and broad as the music from Cuba and Brazil but not as widely known.”

Eliana’s collaborator on the album, Aquiles Báez, is more than an internationally renowned guitarist and composer who has worked with such artists as Paquito D’Rivera and Fareed Haque. He is also a household name and musical hero in Venezuela, one of the biggest proponents of contemporary Venezuelan music and a mentor and an inspiration to a whole generation of musicians there.

Eliana’s long-held dream to create such an album as El Curruchá owes a great deal to Báez, she explains. “Many years ago I listened to an album from a well-known Venezuelan singer, Ilan Chester. His 2001 recording, Corazón Navideño, much like El Curruchá, with just voice and guitar, which, as it happens, was played by Aquiles Báez, way before I met him. I loved and listened to this album many times, and from there came a dream that I’d love to do an album like this, with someone like Aquiles.”
Happily that opportunity came along later, as Cuevas recalls. “When I was recording my album Espejo, I e-mailed him from Canada, hoping that he would play cuatro on a song. He was very receptive to the idea, so we sent each other files, and he played on ‘El Tucusito’.”

“That was our first collaboration, without meeting in person. I then went to Venezuela where we met and collaborated further, and then he brought his trio to Toronto to play some shows with us at the Lulaworld festival. With Aquiles being here, I took the opportunity to record El Curruchá with him, and now the time is right to release it.”

The Toronto recording session, produced and engineered by Cuevas’ husband Jeremy Ledbetter, went very smoothly, as Báez was already very familiar with the material. “Aquiles’ playing is so beautiful, so musical and soulful,” praises Eliana. “Plus he is a lovely human being with a great sense of humour, and we have become good friends.”

The personal and musical empathy of the pair is audible in the warmth of the album. From mellow and soulful compositions to upbeat and witty numbers, Cuevas and Báez remain totally in sync. Nowhere is this better demonstrated than on the title track, one featuring fast and fluent guitar picking and almost impossibly speedy vocals from Eliana.

“El Curruchá” has a special personal significance to Eliana, she explains. “It was a song my father played all the time. Whenever there was a family gathering, he’d pull out the cuatro and play that song. He passed away when I was 11. He loved music and played and sang, and that song is a very important memory from my childhood. Plus it is so much fun!”

Báez contributed one original song, the rhythmic and upbeat “San Rafael”, while Cuevas’ “En Un Pedacito De Tu Corazon” is reprised here, in a stripped-down form.

“Caballo Viejo” “is a classic song that became known outside Venezuela, and it was used as the basis of the Gipsy Kings’ hit "Bamboléo". Eliana notes that “it was written by Simón Díaz. If anybody knows about joropo, a very traditional Venezuelan rhythm, they know him.”

She describes “Maria Antonia” as “another quirky and funny song. It is about a woman who does eccentric things, like showering on the table and sleeping in a laundry tub. ‘Aquel Zuliano’ is built around a very percussive rhythm from Maracaibo called gaita, one usually played around Christmas time.” Another highlight on an album devoid of lowlights is “Flor De Mayo,” a quietly expressive tune showcasing Eliana’s subtle vocal skills.

El Curruchá is the sixth entry in Eliana Cuevas's impressive and eclectic discography. She has never been constrained by genre boxes in her songwriting, drawing freely from jazz, Latin, folk and world music elements.

This stylistic diversity is reflected in the fact she has won a National Jazz Award for Latin Jazz Artist of the Year, two Toronto Independent Music Awards for Best World Music Artist, an Independent Music Award for Best Latin Album in the US, and a Canadian Folk Music Award for World Solo Artist of the Year.

When our current troubled circumstances ease, Eliana is looking forward to touring with Aquiles Báez. In the meantime, this talented pair have brought us El Curruchá, for our great listening pleasure.
The Cuban
Hilario Duran  •  The Cuban
Released: May 22, 2020
THE CUBAN (original music from the motion picture)
“A musical journey of love, friendship and the power of the imagination” Starring: Louis Gossett Jr., Ana Golja, Shohreh Aghdashloo, Lauren Holly and Giacomo Gianniotti
First Spring
Florian Hoefner Trio  •  First Spring
Released: September 27, 2019
You are never really allowed to leave the music of Florian Hoefner once you have listened to it. The pianist has a knack of taking possession of your sensibilities, making the notes of melodies leap off the page and into you.

The music of First Spring is no different. Setting out to capture the splendor of music swirling around in his mind, the pianist has succeeded in relocating the ethos of traditional songs and the high and lonesome sound off bluegrass to the landscape of jazz. In the collision of these musical realms, something truly remarkable and miraculous emerges that gives new meaning to the definition of “beauty” and becomes central to Hoefner’s aesthetic credo. He demonstrates that the heart of tradition lies in innovation. If Hoefner remains in the tradition, he also soars – and in doing so – also sets the music on this 2019 album exuberantly free.
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Monkey House  •  Friday
Released: July 26, 2019
Friday is more than just a collection of songs - it’s a fully formed compelling work of art, and their strongest release yet. Welcome to the Monkey House!

Sophisticated musicianship, imaginative lyrics, and a flair for melody are signatures of the sound of Monkey House, a sound that has earned the group serious critical acclaim, peer respect, and a steadily expanding international following.

Those characteristics are again evident on Friday, set for release on ALMA Records July 26, 2019. It is the fifth full-length release from the L.A./Toronto combo that has just celebrated the notable milestone of 25 years of playing together. That rare longevity has resulted in an invaluable empathy in the musical interactions of the core members: singer/songwriter/keyboardist Don Breithaupt, drummer Mark Kelso, bassist Pat Kilbride, and guitarist Justin Abedin. Also contributing prominently to Friday is the elite Toronto horn section of William Sperandei, Vern Dorge, John Johnson, William Carn and Tony Carlucci, as well as percussionist Art Avalos.

Adding to the comfort level in the studio for the recording of Friday was the return of the team of co-producer Peter Cardinali and engineer John ‘Beetle’ Bailey, reprising their roles from previous Monkey House records. Cardinali also plays bass on four tracks.

All but two of the tracks on Friday are solo Don Breithaupt compositions. One of them, "Book Of Liars", is a cover of a song by Steely Dan's Walter Becker. "As a lifelong Steely Dan fan, Walter's death hit me hard," says Don. "I thought it'd be a nice gesture to do one of his."

As has become the norm on Monkey House records, Friday features some notable guests. Guitarist Drew Zingg (Boz Scaggs) and trumpeter Michael Leonhart (Steely Dan) have guested on previous albums and make tasteful contributions here, as does François D’Amours (Gino Vannelli), and Snarky Puppy guitarist Mark Lettieri. Ground Up artist Lucy Woodward (Rod Stewart) adds background vocals throughout, while famed vocal quartet The Manhattan Transfer add their magic to the choruses of “The Jazz Life.” It’s hard to mistake the sound of those four incredible voices together.”
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Myriad3  •  Vera
Released: September 28, 2018
“Myriad3 is cutting edge, the future of modern jazz.”

Vera is the sound of a band at the very top of its game. To be released on Alma Records worldwide on September 28, the fourth album from the acclaimed Toronto-based trio is an adventurous yet always accessible work that showcases both the compositional skills of each member and their considerable prowess as musicians.

The creative chemistry at play within Myriad3 (comprising keyboardist Chris Donnelly, bassist Dan Fortin, and drummer/multi-instrumentalist Ernesto Cervini) is perfectly complemented by the veteran team of producer Peter Cardinali and engineer/mixer John “Beetle” Bailey.

That dynamic duo has manned the board on all the group’s albums to date, and their deep understanding of the Myriad3 sound and vision remains an invaluable asset.

The recording of Vera took place over a week at Toronto’s Union Sound, with another few days devoted to judicious overdubs on some of the tracks. Cervini adds bass clarinet, clarinet, flute, alto sax, glockenspiel and a host of percussion instruments, with Donnelly adding Fender Rhodes on “Couche Tard”, synth on a couple of other tunes, and spoons on “Piano-Rag-Music.” Vera was recorded, mixed and mastered in ultra hi 24Bit / 192kHz resolution.

The members of Myriad3 have refreshing eclectic and divergent musical tastes and inspirations. Dan observes that “we all come from different places and listen to different music, but when a record is done it always feels cohesive and of a piece. That is just a very natural process for us.”
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Come Fall
Ellen Doty  •  Come Fall
Released: March 2, 2018
Ellen Doty is a soulful Canadian vocalist and songwriter with a world-class voice. Her music incorporates everything from pop and jazz to soul, folk, and indie music: a sound that is uniquely hers. A true storyteller whose works are as intimate and as personal as their handwritten lyrics, Ellen's immense talent for songwriting is only complemented by her stunning vocals. Rich, sultry, and sweet, Ellen's voice draws listeners in and takes them on an unforgettable journey.

Doty's long-awaited sophomore album "Come Fall" is set for release on March 2, 2018. The project seeks to strip the music down to its bare bones, leaving a raw and incredibly spacious sound. No bass. No background vocals. No horns. No layers. Just piano, voice, and drums. The mixture of pop, jazz, soul, folk, and indie music, is a sound that is undoubtedly hers.

The album was recorded at Sumbler House near Toronto with drummer Davide Di Renzo (Cassandra Wilson, Tom Cochrane, Molly Johnson, etc.) and pianist Mark Lalama (Kevin Breit, Sisters Euclid, Daniel Romano, etc.). It was engineered by Juno-award winning engineer John "Beetle" Bailey, and features co-writes with many notable writers including Justin Rutledge, Andy Stochansky, Danny Vacon (The Dudes), and more.
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Mi Mundo
Brenda Navarrete  •  Mi Mundo
Released: January 19, 2018
Mi Mundo introduces a shining new star on the world music firmament. This is the solo debut of Brenda Navarrete, a Cuban-based singer, songwriter, percussionist and bandleader of rare skill and musical originality.

“Being able to record Mi Mundo in Havana is a dream come true,” Brenda explains. “Havana is where I was born. Cuba is my country, my homeland, and having the opportunity to record here with musicians who know me and who understand my musical style is amazing. The energy of Cuba and Havana is very important to me, and I think that we have captured that force on this album”.

The stylistically eclectic album features a variety of group settings, with the primary instruments consisting of drums, piano, electric bass and percussion, including batá and congas played by Navarrete. Renowned special guests include Horacio ‘El Negro’ Hernandez, Rodney Barreto and Jose Carlos on drums, Roberto Carcasses, Rolando Luna, Leonardo Ledesman and Hilario Duran on piano, Alain Perez and Munir Hossn on bass (Alain also arranged several of the songs and wrote “Taita Bilongo”), Adonis Panter on quinto and Eduardo Sandoval on trombone.
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Hilario Duran  •  Contumbao
Released: September 22, 2017
Hilario Duran makes a triumphant musical homecoming on his new album Contumbao (to be released on ALMA Records on September 22, 2017). Internationally recognised as a jazz pianist, composer, arranger and bandleader of the highest order, the Cuban-Canadian Duran has been based in Toronto for the past two decades, but his musical heart and soul have remained closely connected to the land of his birth.

He has continued to collaborate with Cuban musicians, but he takes this to another level on Contumbao. "For a long time I have wanted to go back to Cuba and play and record with my longtime musical friends there," Hilario explains. "I told Peter Cardinali [head of ALMA and Hilario's longtime producer] of my idea, and he supported me completely."

Last November, Cardinali and award-winning engineer John 'Beetle' Bailey accompanied Duran to Havana, and the team set up shop in Havana's famed EGREM recording studio, the most storied such facility on the island. This is where the young Duran had recorded hundreds of sessions, as a pianist, arranger, composer and musical director, both with other artists and with his star Cuban band Perspectiva, in the '80s. "The studio has not changed a lot since then," he says. "The vibe of the room is the most important thing and it still sounds great."

An all-star cast was assembled, and Contumbao was recorded in a 10-day period Hilario describes as "very intense. There was a lot of energy at the sessions."

Adding evocative and compelling musical accompaniment to Duran's fluent and expressive piano playing and compositions were guitarist (and Perspectiva bandmate) Jorge Luis Valdes ("Chicoy"), bassists Jorge Reyes and Roberto Riveron, drummer Horacio "El Negro" Herndandez , conga player Jorge Lius Torres "Papiosco", Pancho Amat (tres), Jorge Luis Quintana "Changuito" (timbales), and Brenda Navarette (Batá and guest vocals on "Recuerdos"). The percussion group Rumberos De Cuba was recruited for two numbers, "El Tahonero" and "Rumba de Cajon." Navarette and Riveron were recorded at a different session in Toronto.

Cuban piano great Chucho Valdes makes a special guest appearance, teaming with Hilario for a thrilling piano duet on "Duo Influenciado." This track was also recorded in Toronto, in the midst of Valdes' touring with Joe Lovano. "I was so pleased to record with Chucho for the first time, as he was one of my biggest influences. I used to copy all his solos," Hilario recalls.

The admiration is mutual, as Valdes gave Duran a big career boost back in 1975 by recommending him for The Orquesta Cubana de Musica Moderna. In recent years, Valdes recruited Hilario to arrange and compose for his band, and the pair recently performed German shows featuring two pianos and an orchestra.

The cast of musical heavyweights assembled in Havana work their magic on 11 new Duran original compositions.

With Contumbao, Hilario Duran has created another compelling entry in a rich and rewarding discography. His earlier albums have earned him three Juno Awards (Canadian music's most prestigious award) and a Grammy nomination (for 2006's From the Heart, by Hilario Duran's Latin Big Band, featuring Paquito D'Rivera and Horacio Hernandez). His playing has also been featured on many other award-winning albums.

His return to the recording arena with Contumbao is both welcome and richly satisfying.
Golpes y Flores
Eliana Cuevas  •  Golpes y Flores
Released: September 08, 2017
With her new album Golpes y Flores, Eliana Cuevas has created a beautiful musical love letter to her native land of Venezuela.

The award-winning singer/songwriter has been based in Toronto since 1997, but she drew inspiration from her homeland for this, her fifth record (to be released on ALMA Records on September 8). Eliana explains that “Venezuelan music is very rich and I wanted to showcase some of what my country has to offer musically speaking. I was keen to feature traditional Afro-Venezuelan rhythms and mix those in with what I do here in Canada.”

Cuevas was able to discover and record some of the finest percussionists in that country, and their contributions mesh seamlessly with those of her A-list Canadian accompanists. Their work is framed within her eloquent original compositions, while Eliana’s fluent and pure vocals complete a sound that is both timeless and freshly contemporary.
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A Life In Song
Ian Thomas  •  A Life In Song
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.
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Monkey House  •  Left
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.
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Myriad3  •  Moons
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.
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Myriad3  •  TELL((CHIP))
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.
Just Passing Through: The Breithaupt Brothers Songbook Vol. II
The Breithaupt Brothers  •  Just Passing Through: The Breithaupt Brothers Songbook Vol. II
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!
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Home for the Holidays
Joey DeFrancesco  •  Home for the Holidays
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.
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The Where
Myriad3  •  The Where
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.
Mosaic: Classical Guitar Favourites
Michael Kolk  •  Mosaic: Classical Guitar Favourites
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.
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Common Ground
Wolak / Donnelly  •  Common Ground
Released: September 24, 2013
The highly creative collaboration between Kornel Wolak and Chris Donnelly is the story of two uncommonly talented virtuoso players from different genres finding a mutual musical Common Ground. The result is a genuinely thrilling record in which jazz meets classical and something intriguingly fresh and new is formed.

The result of intensive work together is a two hour program described by Wolak as featuring "the light delivery of heavy content. It's a program a lot of people have not seen or heard before." The duo's debut tour experience was a great success, and now, happily, we get to hear the program on disc. The material featured on Common Ground covers a vast expanse of musical terrain, all explored in a manner that is both accessible and adventurous. It is fair to assume that no other recording out there features interpretations of Brahms (two of the four movements of "Sonata"), Gershwin, Rimsky-Korsakov's unforgettable "Flight Of The Bumblebee" and Oscar Peterson (the lyrical "Hymn To Freedom ") on the one disc.
Little Dreams
Ian Thomas  •  Little Dreams
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.
Myriad3  •  Tell
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.
Eliana Cuevas  •  Espejo
Released: August 5, 2014

"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 Network
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Monkey House  •  Headquarters
Released: July 24, 2012
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.
Changing Seasons
Phil Dwyer Orchestra  •  Changing Seasons
Released: October 25, 2011
Acclaimed saxophonist/composer/bandleader Phil Dwyer terms Changing Seasons "my most ambitious project yet, without a doubt." That's saying something, given his resume and adventurous spirit. Changing Seasons, featuring internationally renown violin virtuoso Mark Fewer, bridges the jazz and classical worlds in seamless fashion. Changing Seasons is inspired by John Coltrane as much as Vivaldi, and the combination of a large band with horns and a massed string section integrates these diverse musical elements in a truly fresh and accessible way.

There’s so much more here that would take pages to chronicle: from here, the joie de vivre is all yours. Count this is as one of 2011’s best and most emotionally rewarding albums in any style of music. Lucidculture, Worldpress

WINNER - 2011 Juno award for "Best Contemporary Jazz Album of the Year"
Catch A Corner
Cinque  •  Catch A Corner
Released: August 30, 2011
"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.
Rome In A Day
5AFTER4  •  Rome In A Day
Released: June 21, 2011
From 5 After 4 comes six. This highly-acclaimed veteran Toronto contemporary jazz combo makes a welcome return to recording with a sixth album that showcases the sound of four guys playing at the top of their game. The happy outcome is Rome In A Day. The album is a masterful and delightfully diverse collection of all-original new 5 After 4 material. The group's founder and driving force, drummer/composer Vito Rezza, contributes 6 compositions, long-time keyboardist Matt Horner chimes in with four numbers, and the freewheeling "Animal Crackers" is credited to all four members.

Capturing the group at the height of its powers, and in a dynamic setting, Rome In A Day is a memorable and soulful jazz fusion recording. Dave Wayne, All About Jazz
Les Doigts de l'Homme  •  1910
Released: June 7, 2011
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.
Cuban Rhapsody
Jane Bunnett and Hilario Duran  •  Cuban Rhapsody
Released: June 7, 2011
When two of the most acclaimed modern explorers of Cuban music combine their prodigious talents on the music they love, musical magic happens. That is demonstrated in truly enchanting fashion on Cuban Rhapsody. Hilario Duran and Jane Bunnett are both virtuoso players, arrangers, composers, and bandleaders in their own right, and they have the Juno Awards and Grammy nominations to prove it. The timeless compositions of classic Cuban jazz and folkloric anthems on this album form a rich body of work that could be termed the Cuban equivalent of The Great American Songbook.

Soprano saxophonist and flutist Jane Bunnett joins with pianist Hilario Durán on what is likely to be one of the top recordings of the year. Karl Stark, Philadelphia Inquirer

Nominated for a "Contemporary Jazz Album of the Year" Juno Award
Chris Donnelly  •  Metamorphosis
Released: 2011
One Take: Vol 4
One Take Series  •  One Take: Vol 4
Released: November 3, 2010
The fourth and newest recording in the One Take series features Hammond B3 legend Joey DeFrancesco, Vito Rezza (Drums), Robi Botos (Piano/Rhodes), and Phil Dwyer (Tenor Sax). This volume came together in true One Take fashion – planned on the night before the session, and recorded in the wee hours the next. Again ... no rehearsals, no overdubs, no edits – just raw, untouched and inspired performances ... and in One Take!
Mario Romano Quartet  •  Valentina
Released: November 3, 2010
To call 'Valentina' a long-awaited debut album is definitely an understatement. You see, Toronto jazz pianist, arranger and bandleader Mario Romano has taken nearly four decades to fulfill his creative dream. The wait is now over!

With 'Valentina', Mario Romano has written a love letter to jazz, and has done so with genuine passion and poetic imagination. Read it now!
Amabutho  •  Sikelela
Released: August 30, 2013
The members of AMABUTHO hail from various parts of South Africa - from the dusty streets of Soweto to Kwa-Zulu Natal and Durban. They have developed their own distinctive style of music which carries on the South African tradition of melding disparate cultures and influences. Infectious, joyous, at once rhythmically primal and musically complex, it captures the spirit and optimism of its players and the nation they come from.
Hilario Duran  •  Motion
Released: November 10, 2009
In his much anticipated follow up to the Grammy nominated and Juno award winning Latin Big Band recording, From The Heart, the piano master, Hilario Duran brings together a power trio comprising bassist Roberto Occhipinti, and drummer Mark Kelso. In the process he has created Motion, a memorable, new canvas of sound, unveiled - layer by tantalizing layer - through a palette of vivid and subtle tonal colors on eight mighty tracks.

On Motions, Duran, Occhipinti and Kelso display complete mastery over every aspect of the musical process adorning this album with the sublime and unforgettable qualities of a truly great record.

Nominated for a "Contemporary Jazz Album of the Year" Juno award.
A Bend In The River
Roberto Occhipinti  •  A Bend In The River
Released: 2008
A BEND IN THE RIVER follows upon the success of Occhipinti’s recordings “The Cusp,” “Trinacria” and “Yemaya,” which garnered a Juno nomination in 2005. The musicians come from the talented young pool of Cubanos who have made Toronto and New York their new home: LUIS DENIZ (alto sax), DAVID VIRELLES (piano) and DAFNIS PRIETO (drums.) Strings, winds and trumpet were added. Three tracks feature a full orchestra recorded in Moscow. While the music is not specific to any one country, rhythmically, it makes references to Africa, Brazil, and the Middle East. It is jazz as the original World Music.

Nominated for a 2008 ‘Contemporary Jazz Album of the Year’ Juno Award!
My Romance
Kristy  •  My Romance
Released: November 18, 2008
As vocalists go, Kristy is surely one of a rare breed - a singer who inhabits, as if by magic, the nooks and crannies of each and every moment of the song. A singer, who with ever so subtle twists of diction and changes in breath, executes such a remarkable command of melody that she can hold and bend its line to tell every new story in a breathtaking way. In doing so, she joins only an elite few who can tell simple tales in song with such melodic simplicity, intensity and utter mesmerism that the singer becomes the song!

My Romance marks the arrival of a bright new star in vocal jazz, and heralds the return to the art of telling a story through the simple beauty of the melody.
Chris Donnelly  •  Solo
Released: September 23, 2008
Chris Donnelly believes the art of the "solo piano" was his true calling. The result is this fine and memorable record featuring seven brilliantly original compositions and four utterly original interpretations of classic songs by legendary jazz musicians - from the playful "Donna Lee - Variations" by Charlie Parker, to the majestic "Hallucinations" from the mercurial pen of Earl "Bud" Powell; and the Bill Evans' classic "Very Early" to the "Cinderella Medley - So This Is Love/A Dream Is A Wish Your Heart Makes" from the pens of Hoffman, David and Livingston.

“…listening to his music: one experiences intelligence, skillful execution, creativity and most importantly, an inventiveness that still acknowledges the jazz tradition.”
David Braid
Division Kent  •  Gravity
Released: June 15, 2007
From the Heart
Hilario Duran  •  From the Heart
Released: August 7, 2006
Featuring Grammy Award winning jazz great Paquito D’Rivera,drummer Horacio “El Negro” Hernandez and a who’s who of Cuban and Canadian jazz stars, this recording boasts Duran’s rhythmically sophisticated compositions and sensual arrangements written for his exciting 20-piece Latin Jazz Big Band. All of Hilario Duran’s extraordinary talents, influences, and passions combine to create a majestic, tradition-inspired tribute to Cuban Jazz Band Orchestras. It’s a heartfelt masterpiece! Juno Award Winner!

"Hilario Duran is an unparalleled pianist, as well as being a composer and arranger of the first order... one of the greatest pianists of this 20th Century" Chucho Valdes, Pianist

2007 Grammy Award Nominee!

2007 Juno Award Winner! - ‘Contemporary Jazz Album of the Year’
From The Heart
Hilario Duran and his Latin Jazz Big Band  •  From The Heart
Released: 08/07/06
Featuring Grammy Award winning jazz great Paquito D’Rivera,drummer Horacio “El Negro” Hernandez and a who’s who of Cuban and Canadian jazz stars, this recording boasts Duran’s rhythmically sophisticated compositions and sensual arrangements written for his exciting 20-piece Latin Jazz Big Band. All of Hilario Duran’s extraordinary talents, influences, and passions combine to create a majestic, tradition-inspired tribute to Cuban Jazz Band Orchestras. It’s a heartfelt masterpiece! Juno Award Winner!

"Hilario Duran is an unparalleled pianist, as well as being a composer and arranger of the first order... one of the greatest pianists of this 20th Century" Chucho Valdes, Pianist

2007 Grammy Award Nominee!

2007 Juno Award Winner! - ‘Contemporary Jazz Album of the Year’
Play Time
Mike Ruby  •  Play Time
Released: September 23, 2008
20-year old saxophonist, composer and bandleader Mike Ruby is one of the brightest, young stars on the international jazz scene. Mike’s muscular tenor is backed by a fine young band featuring the award-winning keyboardist Pascal Leboeuf and the Toronto-based rhythm team of bassist Dan Fortin and drummer Adam Arruda.
One Take: Vol 3
One Take Series  •  One Take: Vol 3
Released: January 1, 2008
Don Thompson and Reg Schwager are two of Canada’s greatest International musicians, and a long musical partnership’s intuitive grace is at the heart of the new ONE TAKE “Volume Three” CD and DVD (Alma Records). The latest in producer Peter Cardinali’s acclaimed series of studio sessions featuring jazz’s in-the-moment magic, ONE TAKE “Volume Three” beautifully captures the veteran duo’s technical mastery and fluid, lyrical brilliance.
Movin' and Groovin'
Jake Langley  •  Movin' and Groovin'
Released: February 21, 2006
These days, very few jazz musicians have the experience of keeping a cohesive working band on the road. For the last couple of years, guitarist Jake Langley has been playing almost 200 dates a year with B3 organ great Joey DeFrancesco and drummer Byron Lanham. In addition to their critically acclaimed live shows all over the world, the trio has also recorded together several times. Langley’s latest CD, Movin’ & Groovin’ captures the musicians’ soulful repertoire of hip hard-bop classics and a pair of Jake’s groove-driven originals.

Nominated for a 2007 ‘Traditional Jazz Album of the Year’ Juno Award!
Encuentro En La Habana (Havana Encounter)
Hilario Duran  •  Encuentro En La Habana (Havana Encounter)
Released: November 15, 2005
This album was recorded in Cuba on the 25th and 26th of February 2005 at the EGREM Studios in Havana. To record again with the former members of one of Cuba’s most ambitious musical projects was long a dream. For years we all performed together as the band for Grammy Award-winning trumpet player Arturo Sandoval. When Arturo moved to the United States, we renamed the group Perspectiva, evolving a new musical perspective. I have a great emotional attachment to this project. Returning to Havana to reunite with my old friends and colleagues, in the studio where so much great music was made, was deeply satisfying and a creative highlight of my career. As you listen to these tracks, I hope this excitement and creative joy is apparent.

Nominated for a 2006 ‘Contemporary Jazz Album of the Year’ Juno Award!
Roberto Occhipinti  •  Yemaya
Released: June 26, 2006
Imagination, versatility and technical excellence are all adjectives that describe Canadian bassist, Roberto Occhipinti. Long recognized for his chameleon-like ability to dig in to almost any musical form, it is in his love and enthusiasm for Latin jazz that he burns brightest.

“With the ambitious Yemaya, Occhipinti has skillfully brought those worlds together, marrying his classical training with his abiding passion for Latin jazz and world music. In doing so, he has set himself apart as an innovator, as well as one of Canada's most versatile and adventurous musicians.”
Nicholas Jennings

Nominated for a 2006 ‘Contemporary Jazz Album of the Year’ Juno Award!
One Take: Vol 2
One Take Series  •  One Take: Vol 2
Released: June 14, 2005
This is the second recording in the series of One Take CD and DVD releases. Featuring musicians Terri Lyne Carrington (Drums), Marc Rogers (Bass), Phil Dwyer (Sax) and Robi Botos (Piano/Rhodes). Again … no rehearsals, no overdubs, no edits – just raw, untouched and inspired performances … and in One Take!

Nominated for a 2006 ‘Contemporary Jazz Album of the Year’ Juno Award!
Let Me Tell You About My Day
Phil Dwyer, Alan Jones, Rodney Whitaker  •  Let Me Tell You About My Day
Released: June 5, 2005
Saxophonist Phil Dwyer, German-based, American drummer Alan Jones, and veteran bassist Rodney Whitaker have a long and illustrious musical relationship, and you can hear it in the inspired, intuitive blowing on every cut of their new CD, 'Let Me Tell You About My Day.'
Roberto Occhipinti  •  Trincaria
Released: January 1, 2007
The concept for Trinacria is Latin jazz that pays homage to its past, present and future. Featured are compositions by jazz legends Thelonius Monk and Herbie Hancock as well as original material by Roberto Occhipinti and Cuban pianist Hilario Duran. Roberto's band demonstrates its polish and versatility with tunes such as "One Finger Snap" and Hilario Duran's beautiful arrangement of "Waiting for the Float."
Thomas Peña, Latin Jazz Network
New Danzon
Hilario Duran  •  New Danzon
Released: September 28, 2004
Hilario Duran and his trio have taken this elemental musical form to a new level, combining it with the modern elements that are so integral to the experience of current jazz musicians. New Danzon by the Hilario Duran Trio is a marvelous way to experience this fusion of cultures - both old and new - resulting in a magnificent artistic achievement, arrived at through the respectful tradition of classic songs, yet incorporating the most current elements of Modern jazz.

Juno Award Winner! 2005 ‘Contemporary Jazz Album of the Year’
The Cusp
Roberto Occhipinti  •  The Cusp
Released: January 1, 2007
“Roberto Occhipinti's ''The Cusp'' is effectively the point at which contemporary jazz intersects with the many other idioms and traditions that currently influence it. The Toronto bassist, who is best known for his work with Jane Bunnett's Afro-Cuban groups, looks to several of those idioms here, as he puts his new, nine-piece ensemble smartly through the paces of Cuban rhythms, tunes by Wayne Shorter and Jimi Hendrix, an aria from Puccini’s Tosca and a three-part suite inspired by a trip to Mali. Occhipinti’s alert, bustling arrangements make it all sound quite seamless.”
Mark Miller-Globe & Mail
Drums of Avila
Vito Rezza and 5AFTER4  •  Drums of Avila
Released: November 16, 2004
The fifth album from Vito Rezza and 5AFTER4 is a collection of uniquely original music. Vito is joined by some of the world’s greatest players – iconic saxman Michael Brecker; B3 giant Joey DeFrancesco; legendary harmonica player Toots Thielemans, fellow drummer and ex-Zappa co-conspirator Vinnie Colaiuta; renowned bassist Richard Bona; and distinguished trumpeter Guido Basso, to name a few. Jazz at its best!
Live at The Orbit Room: Hip To The Tip
The Dexters  •  Live at The Orbit Room: Hip To The Tip
Released: September 19, 1995
This interactive Enhanced CD includes classic renditions of R&B standards ranging from the immortal "Green Onions" by Booker T. and The M.G.s to the space-age bachelor pad anthem "Melancholy Serenade", better known as the theme from The Jackie Gleason Show. Guests include Alex Lifeson of RUSH fame
Morumba Cubana
Puentes Brothers  •  Morumba Cubana
Released: July 15, 2000
Alexis demonstrates a fluid mastery and daring improvisation on guitar, bass, and tres, playing off of Adonis' addictive bongo beats while both Puentes Brothers contribute dynamic, passionate vocals and infectious, juicy rhythms on assorted percussion instruments. Grounded in the earthy primal groove of traditional Cuban dance music, Morumba Cubana is a heady, seductive, effervescent sound that brings Cuban son into the 21st century.

Nominated for a 2002 ‘World Album of the Year’ Juno Award!
Aidan Mason  •  Azania
Released: May 23, 1995
Azania is a collection of instrumental songs that blend the clarity and freshness of New Age music with the bittersweet melancholy of the Blues. The romantic voice of the classical guitar weaves its melodies into a tapestry of gentle South African rhythms - it's New Age Blues.
No Strings Attached
Michael Kaeshammer  •  No Strings Attached
Released: November 1, 2000
This recorded gem features a flowering of the 23 year old musician’s compositional talent and musical contributions from the cream of the Canadian jazz and R&B scene and the kings of New Orleans funk.

Nominated for a 2002 ‘Contemporary Jazz Album of the Year’ Juno Award!
Tell You How I Feel
Michael Kaeshammer  •  Tell You How I Feel
Released: December 8, 1998
"It's Boogie, stride, barrelhouse, call it all and anything. But it has a unique and creative kick to it, because Michael Kaeshammer's ideas abut old musical forms are already halfway into the next century."
Jurgen Gothe, CBC Disc Drive
The Boomers  •  Midway
Released: March 16, 2004
Midway, The Boomers stellar new recording has been a long time in the making.

Alma Records prides itself on "animating people's souls" and is justifiably proud of this latest Boomers' offering. Fans, new and old, will no doubt deem the six-year wait for Midway worthwhile.

Midway is filled with anecdotal gems of lives being lived through the perspective and reality that aging brings. "I don't feel particularly old, just closer to my future" .I Don't Feel Particularly Old. The never�ending motivation of love, "No satisfaction, no quenching to this thirst, I seek the blessing live the curse", Greedy Man. The humbling continuity of life "in spite of yourself some will love you as long as you live", Life Goes On.

Midway, The Boomers' fourth album, hits stores in September 24, 2002 while the first single, "I Want to Believe in Something" is released to radio on August 12. The song affirms the belief in a relationship, while searching for other truths.
25,000 Days
The Boomers  •  25,000 Days
Released: September 17, 1996
The Boomers third album, "25 Thousand Days" was released in even more countries than previous albums. The songs "Saving Face" and "I Feel A Change Coming" charted in Canada and Germany. The Boomers phenomenon continued to grow.
Art of Living
The Boomers  •  Art of Living
Released: August 24, 1993
As soon as the Boomers returned from Germany, Ian began writing the next album, which was to be "Art of Living." In the fall of 1992 they began recording. It was released in the spring of 1993 and this time Canadian radio took off with "You Gotta Know" becoming one of the most played songs on Canadian radio that year. Germany again responded and another tour followed throughout Europe and North America. The response was even greater than before and the band began to feel like a drug to the members. Over the following months, songs for the next Boomers album began to appear, and again by word of mouth a buzz had begun to appear, and again by word of mouth a buzz had begun in the United States. One radio programmer in Phoenix, Arizona started playing an imported copy of the "Art of Living" and took the CD to a radio programming convention. Soon there were close to 80 stations on the Boomers and the CD was being imported again by the thousands.
What We Do
The Boomers  •  What We Do
Released: June 18, 1991
The Boomers' first album "What We Do" came out in Canada to critical acclaim. Shortly after it's release, something wonderful was happening in Germany. In-store play at WOM, a music store in Munich, had resulted in word of mouth promotion and the CD was being imported by the thousands. WEA Germany wanted to release it and did in 1991. Germany welcomed and embraced the Boomers. They did a tour. Playing the music live had a spiritual effect on both band and audience.
Michael Kaeshammer  •  Strut
Released: March 16, 2004
With each new recording the brilliant, young pianist Michael Kaeshammer releases, he digs deeper into the jazz tradition while carving out his own unique musical vision. On his latest CD, Strut, Kaeshammer follows-up the New Orleans-inspired ‘No Strings Attached’, and award winning debut, ‘Tell You How I Feel’, with an even deeper, funkier and more playful exploration of the music’s roots. Strut demonstrates his continued growth as a stylist, composer, and, on a sultry reading of Comes Love and a Professor Longhair-inspired version of Cry To Me, and emerging talent as a soulful vocalist. There’s not a brighter star on the jazz horizon.

Nominated for a 2004 ‘Contemporary Jazz Album of the Year’ Juno Award!
One Take: Vol 1
One Take Series  •  One Take: Vol 1
Released: March 16, 2004
This recording is the first in a new series of One Take CD and DVD releases, and an absolute must for the lovers of jazz in its truest sense. One Take captures ¬the heart and soul of the world class musicians as they share the magical emotion of a first take. Featuring Joey DeFrancesco, Guido Basso, Vito Rezza, Lorne Lofsky – no rehearsals, no overdubs, no edits – just raw, untouched and inspired performances … and in One Take!

Nominated for a 2004 ‘Traditional Jazz Album of the Year’ Juno Award!