Oscar Peterson and Oliver Jones - A Celebration

Showtime: Saturday, December 9, 2017

Location: Hammerson Hall

Oscar Peterson and Oliver Jones - A Celebration

On Saturday December 9, 2017, the Living Arts Centre will be hosting a concert like no other to cap off our 20th Anniversary celebrations.
It's a gather of three generations of Canadian and International jazz greats who will pay their respects to Oscar Peterson's and Oliver Jones's legacy and musical brilliance.
Be a part of a special evening where Oliver Jones will receive the LAC Lifetime Achievement Award in honour of the LAC's 20th Anniversary from Celine Peterson (Oscar's daughter and Oliver's goddaughter) and be sure to join us for a post-show meet-and-greet in the LAC Atrium with the amazing performers.

And in recognition of Oscar Peterson's dedication to music education, every orchestra ticket that you purchase will enable a budding music student to attend the concert as our guest. It's an invaluable gift and an extraordinary way to mark the occasion!

Here's what Kelly Peterson, Oscar's widow, who will be joining us that evening, added "I can say that Oscar and I both have always been fervent supporters of music education, and of the benefits of all students having the opportunity to study music...I’m looking forward to the celebration of Oscar and Oliver at The Living Arts Centre on December 9th. It’s wonderful to have them both honored together. As Oscar, Oliver has always been an encouraging voice for younger artists, so I think it is especially appropriate that this special evening will include not only the statesman of jazz, Monty Alexander, but also the younger voices who are the future of this marvelous music." 

The project is curated and produced by Frank Francis of Caliban Arts Theatre with musical direction by Ron Westray. The lineup of piano luminaries includes legendary jazz giant and icon Monty Alexander (Harlem Kingston Express; Dizzy Gillespie, Quincy Jones), JUNO and Emmy Award winner D.D. Jackson, Montreal Jazz Festival Grand Jazz Award-winner Robi Botos, and Marc Cary (Betty Carter, Roy Hargrove). Other esteemed musicians include world renowned Canadian vocalist Dione Taylor, Grammy-winning saxophonist Casey Benjamin aka stutzmcgee (Robert Glasper Experiment, Stephon Harris), JUNO-winning bassist Brandi Disterheft (Michael Kaeshammer), percussionist/drummer Kahil El'Zabar (Ethnic Heritage Ensemble) and Jamaaladeen Tacuma (Ornette Coleman, Jukebox).

Thank you for your support! We look forward to celebrating with you!

Montréal born Oliver Jones made his debut as a pianist at age five at Union United Church, and by the time he had his first nightclub appearance, he was nine. In his 77 year career he has released an impressive 23 albums (and one DVD). He has been recognized with numerous awards including the Order of Québec; he was appointed an officer of the Order of

Canada and is also the proud recipient of the Martin Luther King Jr award. In 2013 Dr. Jones was honored with a stamp in his likeness as part of the Canada Post stamp program paying tribute to black history. A veteran of life on the road – he has toured extensively throughout Canada, appearing at festivals, concerts and clubs, either as a solo artist or with his trio. His travels also took him to the United States, Europe, New Zealand, Australia and his tour of Nigeria was the subject of a 1990 National Film Board of Canada documentary, Oliver Jones in Africa.

In early 2016 Oliver announced his plans to retire from performing professionally after one last cross country tour of Canada. His very last show was in Barbados in January 2017 as a tribute to his parents.

"It's been seventy-seven years and I guess that's more than enough time working any job, but it's always been my contention I should play until that feeling is gone but the feeling is still there," says Jones but he can no longer play at the same capacity, though Jones says he still plans on performing a few times a year. His retirement plans include travelling, dusting off his saxophone and helping to promote Canadian jazz artists who are just getting started.

In a career filled with superlative achievements, Oliver Jones remains one of Canada's finest musicians

Professor Ron Westray’s professional contributions encompass a stunning list of achievements in the areas of performance, composition, recording, and publishing. Since the early nineties he has performed as trombonist or lead trombonist with the most prestigious jazz ensembles in the world, including the Mingus Big Band, New York’s Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra, The Wynton Marsalis Septet, Irving Mayfield and the New Orleans Jazz Orchestra, and the Marcus Roberts Ensemble, in hundreds of performances around the globe. His compositions for jazz big band, jazz orchestra and smaller jazz ensembles range from original works to arrangements and/or adaptations of pre-existing works, some published by Walrus Music Publishing, some through his own company Wooden

Flute Publishing. Jazz @ Lincoln Center has commissioned two of Westray’s works: Chivalrous Misdemeanors (selected tales from Cervante’s Don Quixote) funded through a grant from the Greenwald Foundation (via JALC), receiving a Pulitzer Prize nomination, and the jazz suite Scenes in the City: The Music of Charles Mingus. Westray is associated in a variety of roles on recordings for more than a dozen labels: as leader, producer, performer, composer, arranger, or in combination.

RON WESTRAY has held the Oscar Peterson Chair in Jazz Performance at York University in Toronto since 2009. Ron is a prodigious composer and arranger of music for ensembles of various sizes. Westray got his start in jazz touring with the Marcus Roberts septet in the early 1990s. He has been featured on all of Roberts’ large ensemble recordings since that time. Westray went on to become lead trombonist and arranger in the Lincoln Center Jazz Orchestra, a position that he held for 12 years before entering academia via the faculty at the University of Texas in Austin in 2005. Westray is a role model and mentor for younger musicians world-wide.

“Ron Westray has such a pure, deep, rich sound on the trombone—it’s just beautiful. He is a very charismatic performer who plays with tremendous precision, virtuosity, and soul.” - Marcus Roberts

John is a musician and actor with professional experience on stage, in film, on television and radio. He was the male narrator for The Globe and Mail’s Facts and Arguments podcasts, also the Dear Sweetheart series featuring letters home from a Canadian soldier overseas during WWI, and did voice work for a short film feature in the Halifax Chronicle-Herald’s Titanic celebrations series.

He has contributed to major art installations in Toronto’s Nuit Blanche, The Encampment installation in Ottawa’s Major’s Hill Park and was project coordinator for the public art piece, The Community Totem, in Toronto’s Cy Townsend Park. John was on the inaugural Wychwood Barns Community Association Board of Directors and continues to be active in social and developmental service sectors.

John loves radio, loves to connect with and engage with people and find out what makes them tick and how they are inspired. He loves music, and all of its diverse genres, having been introduced at an early age in a dynamically musical family.

Share your evenings from 6PM to 9PM, Monday to Friday, with John Devenish, the Dinner Jazz host on JAZZ.FM91

“She is what we call serious.” –Oscar Peterson Jazz contrabassist, singer, composer, Brandi Disterheft, has captivated audiences in Canada, Europe, Japan, China, Haiti and even the coveted Carnegie Hall. It’s not only her fiery bass playing that make audiences stand-up and holler, but also her innovative live shows as she sings in both English and French showcasing her ambient and dreamy voice. Winning a JUNO for her “Debut” album (Superfran Records), Brandi is currently signed to Montreal’s Justin Time Records with whom she had the honor of recording with icons Oliver Jones and Hank Jones on the album “Pleased to Meet You” that earned a Grammy in 2011.

A featured soloist with the Canada’s Pops Orchestra at just the age of 21, Brandi began performing in her teens with her mother, a Chicago-born pianist and B3 Organist. Having been under the apprenticeship of Miles Davis’ bassist, Ron Carter, since she relocated to NYC, she has since also recorded with Benny Green on Anne’s Drummond’s album “Revolving” and Cyrus Chestnut and Jeremy Pelt on Vincent Herring’s albums “Uptown Shuffle” and “Night and Day.”

This promising talent from the north is currently touring her forth album “Blue Canvas” featuring an all-star New York City line-up with jazz master Harold Mabern and the great Joe Farnsworth. In her eloquent liner notes, the multi-talented musician reminds us of the Muses of Ancient Greece philosophized by Plato, and how these Gods and Godesses would lead the artist into a state of ecstasy. And such are the feelings that lead her to state that: “This album tells a story about that escape to freedom and the unyielding feeling of coming alive.”

The prairie sky, expansive and wide, covers a great deal of North American real estate. And of all the emotions contained therein, it’s the prairie blues, a rural feeling that sings louder than all others on Dione Taylor’s new EP Born Free.

Music has always been an integral part of Dione Taylor’s life. A pastor’s daughter from Saskatchewan, she was born and raised in a family she describes as very connected to the gift of song. "My whole family sings and plays instruments in church,” praises Ms. Taylor, who began playing the organ at age four and by ten was the music director and organist at The Shiloh Assembly Apostolic Church in Regina.

Coming full circle, Dione finds herself reconnecting with her childhood. “The sounds and music of my youth are all present on Born Free. From the gospel music at church to the southern country gospel at home on the record player, it’s all in there!” This Juno‐nominated, soulful, powerful Canadian singer/songwriter released Born Free in late November 2015. This is a narrative of trial and faith told through a passionate blend of fiery gospel vocals with sounds from the delta blues.“The word gospel means ‘truth.’ I sing and write songs inspired by the journeys and real‐life stories of Black Canadians throughout history.”

Having first burst onto the music scene with her Juno‐nominated debut album Open Your Eyes, Taylor’s career trajectory has been remarkable. With performances at festivals and concert theatres across the North America and Asia for audiences that have included the President of the United States and Queen Elizabeth II, she has made a worthy name for herself as one of this country’s most talented artists. Dione was nominated for a Gemini Award for her rendition of Oscar Peterson’s “Hymn to Freedom,” which she performed alongside Oliver Jones at the Canadian Songwriters Hall of Fame Gala.

For more information please visit: www.dionetaylor.com

Fifty-five years after he moved to the United States from Kingston, Jamaica, his home town, pianist Monty Alexander is an American classic, touring the world relentlessly with various projects, delighting a global audience drawn to his vibrant personality and soulful message. His spirited conception is one informed by the timeless verities: endless melody-making, effervescent grooves, sophisticated voicings, a romantic spirit, and a consistent predisposition, as Alexander accurately states, “to build up the heat and kick up a storm.”

In the course of any given performance, Alexander applies those aesthetics to repertoire spanning a broad range of jazz and Jamaican musical expression—the American songbook and the blues, gospel and bebop, calypso and reggae. Like his “eternal inspiration,” Erroll Garner, Alexander—cited as the fifth greatest jazz pianist ever in The Fifty Greatest Jazz Piano Players of All Time (Hal Leonard Publishing) and mentioned in Robert Doerschuk’s 88: The Giants of Jazz Piano—gives the hardcore-jazz-obsessed much to dig into while also communicating the message to the squarest “civilian.”

In August 2000, the Jamaican government designated Alexander Commander in the Order of Distinction for outstanding services to Jamaica as a worldwide music ambassador. In 2015, the great modern pianist Donald Vega released With Respect To Monty, which included his interpretations of seven Alexander compositions. Furthermore, 2016 will mark the seventh edition of the namesake Monty Alexander Jazz Festival in Easton, Maryland, for which he has served as Artistic Director and perennial performer every Labor Day weekend since 2010.

D.D. Jackson is a Canadian-born, Emmy and JUNO Award-winning composer and jazz pianist based in the New York area. He has recorded, toured and performed with such acclaimed artists as: drummers Jack DeJohnette, Milford Graves, Andrew Cyrille, Billy Hart and Questlove of "The Roots"; saxophonists David Murray, Hamiet Bluiett, Oliver Lake, James Carter, Chico Freeman, Jane Bunnett, Chris Potter, and Dewey Redman; trumpeter Ahmed Abdullah; trombonists Craig Harris and Frank Lacy; violinist Billy Bang; flutist James Newton; poet Amiri Baraka; bassists Jamaaladeen Tacuma, Art Davis and William Parker; percussionists Kahil El'Zabar and Mino Cinelu, and many others.

He has also recorded 12 jazz CD's as leader or co-leader featuring his original compositions, ranging from his JUNO Award-winning solo piano CD “...so far”, to his larger-scale meditation on the events of 9/11 entitled “Suite for New York”; and two operas.

Jackson in more recent years began composing music for television, film and other media, and in 2016 received his first Emmy Award for composition (for his writing on the 7-Emmy winning PBS show “Peg + Cat”), after 2 previous additional Emmy nominations as composer and a 4th nomination this year for the upcoming 2017 Daytime Emmy’s (for “Best Song”). Additionally, he has received numerous commissions, most recently from The Ahn Trio and The Metropolis Ensemble.

As a writer and educator, Jackson has penned articles for such publications as the

His website is: http://ddjackson.com

Jazz pianist, keyboardist, producer and composer Marc Cary holds tight to his roots in Washington, D.C.’s go-go music scene, but they represent only one element among the myriad. Cary’s interests run from Indian classical to Malian music to hip-hop. He started his career working with Betty Carter, a legendary vocalist famous for drawing soul and sincerity out of her bands, and went on to work with Roy Hargrove, Dizzy Gillespie, Erykah Badu, Shirley Horn, Stefon Harris, Q-Tip and – most influential of all – Abbey Lincoln.

Cary’s For the Love of Abbey (2013) is his first solo piano record, and possibly his most intimate. Covering 10 of Lincoln’s songs, and offering three original tunes in tribute to her, Cary conjures a shimmering, timeless aura that bespeaks the spiritual and artistic lessons that the late singer conferred upon him.

Critics agree that Cary has achieved a remarkable balance. JazzTimes calls the album “a moving love letter to one of his mentors,” and says “For the Love of Abbey shimmers and soars.” CriticalJazz.com gave the record five stars, arguing that it “successfully transform[s] the work of his friend and mentor into a personal statement with deep spiritual and emotional content.”

Hungarian born Romani/ Musician Robi Botos was raised in a musical family and is largely self-taught. Shortly after coming to Canada, Robi caught the ear of Canadian Jazz great Oscar Peterson and quickly became his protégé. To this day, Robi remains a disciple of Dr. Peterson’s mighty sense of swing and technical virtuosity. Along with this influence, Robi possesses a deep tradition in Romani, Hungarian and European Folk and Classical music.

Robi’s dynamic live performances have earned him international recognition – winning numerous competitions around the world including first prizes at the Montreux Jazz Festival Solo Piano Competition in 2004 and first prize at the Great American Piano Competition in Jacksonville, Florida in 2008. Robi has been nominated for two JUNO Awards and won as a part of Mike Downes’ Trio in 2014. At the National Jazz Awards in 2007 Robi was chosen as Keyboardist of the Year, and in 2007 Robi was awarded Best Jazz Artist from NOW Magazine. Robi’s debut album for A440 Entertainment/Universal Music Canada, ‘Place to Place’, was one of the most anticipated Canadian jazz albums of 2011. In 2012, Robi and his trio, with bassist Mike Downes and drummer Morgan Childs, won the coveted TD Grand Jazz Award from the Montreal International Jazz Festival.

Robi has accompanied many great jazz musicians and vocalists in the Canadian music scene for years. One of them is Juno winner, Order of Canada and former CBC Radio host, Molly Johnson. Robi has played in Molly’s bands for over seven years now and tours with her internationally, including recent tours of Japan and France.

Jamaaladeen has always stretched the mold of what and how a bassist is supposed to play. He has re-defined his instrument's artistic potential. In the 1970's, his creatively free approach to the bass caught the eye of saxophonist Ornette Coleman. Tacuma became a member of Coleman's Prime Time. He toured with and performed on some of Coleman's historic recordings : "Dancing In Your Head", "Body Meta", and "Of Human Feelings". Tacuma continued to press the musical envelope with his debut album in 1983 entitled "Showstopper" and latest historical recordings “FOR THE LOVE OF ORNETTE” features Ornette Coleman and Bon Vivant with Free Form Funky Freqs is a trio with Vernon Reid and G.Calvin Weston He has worked with diverse artists: Jeff Beck, Carlos Santana, Marc Ribot, Derek Bailey, Pharoah Sanders, Grover Washington Jr., Peter Murphy, The Roots among others. He has worked with orchestras led by Anthony Davis at Carnegie Hall. And in the past few years he is recognized for his artistic excellence worldwide with the "PARALLEL CULTURE" AWARD 2009, Marcus Garvey Foundation 50th Anniversary Award 2011, The Pew Fellowship in the Arts 2011 and the The Uptown Theater Hall of Fame Award. He has received The MacDowell Colony, Headlands Center for the Arts and Civitella Ranieri residency fellowships. Jamaaladeen continues to tour, produce and record worldwide.

Kahil El’zabar is considered by his peers to be one of the most prolific innovators of his generation. He has recorded more than sixty well-received projects, and has won numerous international awards as a musician and composer. El’zabar has worked with such luminaries as Dizzy Gillespie, Cannonball Adderley, Stevie Wonder, Donnie Hathaway, Pharoah Sanders, Neneh Cherry, Nina Simone, Ntozake Shange, David Murray, Nona Hendryx, and Lester Bowie, to name a few. He has scored successful feature films like, “How You Like Me Now,” (Warner Brothers) “Mo Money,” (Columbia Pictures) and “Love Jones,” (New Line Cinema). He also scored arrangements for the theatrical version of Disney’s ”The Lion King”. He recently scored two popular documentaries in 2014, “BeKnown,” (which is on the life of El’zabar) and “America the Beautiful III,” by Darryl Roberts. In 2006, The Chicago Tribune named Kahil El’zabar Chicagoan of the Year. In 1994 President Bill Clinton appointed Dr. El’zabar to the National Task Force on Arts in Education, and in 2012 President Barack Obama’s administration awarded him the International Ambassador’s Award in the Arts. In 2014,Sir Kahil El’zabar was knighted by the Counsel General of France (Chevalier Medal de Lettres) in honor of his many global contributions within the Arts. El’zabar strongly believes that art expressed first from the heart into the practice of one’s higher mind, inspires a journey to the soul.

Born in 1978, Benjamin grew up listening to music in his South Jamaica Queens, New York home. He started playing the saxophone when he was 8-years-old and complemented his early jazz studies by attending pianists Barry Harris’ Jazz Workshops and Dr. Billy Taylor’s Jazzmobile.

A GRAMMY® award-winner, Casey Benjamin is the first original member of the Robert Glasper Experiment. Through his melodic ingenuity on the vocoder, textual mastery on the keytar and spiky virtuosity on the alto, soprano and tenor saxophone, Benjamin gives the Experiment its most defining sounds that has enable it to gain international acclaim in the jazz, R&B and hip-hop scenes.

In addition to the Experiment, Benjamin toured with singer Patrick Stump (Fall Out Boy) and has worked with a string of other stellar musicians that include jazz greats – singer Betty Carter, bassist Derrick Hodge, vibraphonist Stefon Harris, trumpeter Roy Hargrove, bassist Victor Bailey, drummer Terri Lyne Carrington and bassist Buster Williams; hip-hop artists – Nas, Kendrick Lamar, Lupe Fiasco, Kanye West, Busta’ Rhymes, Diddy, and Wyclef Jean; R&B/Pop singers – Solange, Mary J. Blige, John Legend, Lady Gaga and Beyoncé; and more!

Although Benjamin remains a charter member of the Robert Glasper Experiment, he’s working on his forthcoming solo project.

Teodross Avery - As a musician, Teodross “Teo” Avery stands as one who defines live music—best experienced front row, and full throttle. His commanding presence, on stage and off,reflects his musical ingenuity and skill. With an outstanding pedigree, both professionally and academically, Teo is a young saxophonist to watch, as evidenced by many of today’s biggest names in music relying on his wide musical reach.

Teo has performed with the likes of Dee Dee Bridgewater, Roy Hargrove, Leela James, Roy Ayers, Mos Def, and the late great Betty Carter, among many other great musicians. Lauryn Hill requested him as a member of her sold-out world tour from 1998 to 1999. On the heel of the Lauryn Hill tour, Teo was invited in 2000 to tour with the mega rock group Matchbox Twenty.

Justin Tyson is a drummer from Indianapolis, IN. He attended Berklee School of Music and began his career playing in small clubs in Boston. After moving to New York in 2009 he became the drummer in the avant guard electronic band Cubic Zirconia. Since then he has to performed with Estelle, Jessie J, Ryan Leslie, Esperanza Spalding and more. He is currently the drummer for the New York based bands Now vs Now and the Robert Glasper experiment.

Sponsored by

Join us early and complete your Living Arts Centre experience with our Pre-Show Dinner Buffet at LIVE Restaurant! LIVE Restaurant offers you an enjoyable experience with great food and great ambience.
Doors open at 5:00pm
For reservations, please call 905-306-6116

Enjoy A Show And Support Music Education

Buy Orchestra Level Tickets & a Music Student attends as our guest!

There is nothing more fulfilling than giving budding artists the opportunity to experience diverse Arts, Music & Culture.

With your help, Music students have the opportunity to experience amazing musical talent! If you purchase an Orchestra Seat ticket to Oscar Peterson & Oliver Jones: A Celebration, one lucky student will be granted a free ticket to the show!